By now, many (if not most of you) have seen the now infamous Harley guys episode on South Park. I've got to admit, it was a great satire on the wonderful world of poser bike owners. You know the kind... the ones that shine their rides up to run 10 miles into town for a coffee or beer at their closest watering holes, all the while revving the motors and trying to look the badass. Weekend warriors.
Don't deny it if you fit this category, I won't be offended. Be true to yourself and who you are, and you will have no issues with relating. On the same axis, also know that many folks look at you and think you look silly. No disrespect, but the same haters that look at you like that also look at the "hardcore" riders the same way. It's a state of mind, or a certain mentality that has them feeling the way they do. Don't stress or lament on it. Be who you are.
There were some great parts in that episode, too. Now, I'm the first to admit I'm not a big South Park fan, but Trey and Matt do a great job on just about all they touch, and this was no exception. Everything from the group of riders running through town revving it up, to the restaurant scene with all them coughing.... but Cartman calling them f-gs.... priceless. Maybe I laugh because I see all too many people like this in my line of work, and maybe I laugh because I can relate to their need for some attention.
I mean, come on folks, if you can't be true to yourself enough to admit that you, too, have done this a few times in your life, then I will call you a liar. I know every time I ride a big wheelie up the hill from the store that I do it because people will watch. Showboating. Yes, I enjoy it, too, but is it a safe place to pull something like that off? Not in my opinion... but I do it anyway. Why? Because everyone—and I mean everyone—wants to be in the spotlight sometime in their life. Bikers or "wannabes" are no different.
Reality is, everyone wants to feign individuality, with all the same stickers on their helmets, and the same goodies/farkles/pretty bits/crap on their rides. Even us sportbike types are the same, just in a different wrapper. We all want to be the fastest, slickest, coolest, and most awe-inspiring riders on the planet. Some manage that, and others don't. As above, you all know who you are. Admit it, accept it, and move forward. I think the sportbike types are more critical of others, too. Harley guys just don't want to typically hang with the sportbike kids, but it's not that way on this side of the fence, or so I see it. I'm happy to ride with whomever can keep up.
Motorcycles are a great tool to get you off the couch and mingling with the outside world. Instantly, you have familiar folks to hang out with, so you can share your "war stories" and other interesting road stories with them, and vice-versa. There really is much more to owning a bike than the "pose factor," as we call it on the front porch at work, though the weekend warriors do have to make you giggle sometimes. To me, it's the camaraderie and all that it has to offer. Like-minded folks to sit and chat with, many of the same interests, desires, and pleasures. How can you blame anyone for wanting that? More so, how can you blame anyone for wanting to just fit in? Don't we all just want to fit in?
So next time you suit up in all your gear, and throw a leg over your sportbike, remember there will eventually be a show about folks just like us. You know the ones... Chicken strips the size of buffalo wings, no boots, gloves, long pants and maybe even flip flops making wheelies in front of groups of people to show them how it's done. Cool? Maybe for a second… but reality is, you're giving all of us real riders a bad name, so stop it, you f-gs.
Ben Steinberg hails from Canada and is an experienced racer, with many years racing everything from two-strokes to superbikes and even F-1 sidecars. Currently, Ben is employed as the general manager of the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort, just over the state line in North Carolina.