Monday, May 12, 2008

Bikes vs. Scooters

There is a large portion of my family that ride motorcycles and I know there is between bikers, an unwritten code,you wave to acknowledge other bikers you pass. This is not "wave to your gramma from the stage at your school concert" kind of wave. It is a low, very cool, very subtle, indifferent wave. In fact there is very little actual waving. It is generally only a slight lift from the handle bar, hand raised no more than 45 degrees. Sometimes I have seen a biker stick out his hand to the side. Again no hand flopping back and forth, that us too undignified. And Never, Never is the shoulder EVER involved in the wave, I think this would result in a permanent revoking of your motorcycle license. This perpetuates the idea that if you own a bike it puts you in a sort of club. There are several stages of membership. If you simply own a bike and it sits in your garage, or your storage unit. Then you belong to the "Wannabe club" These people have all sorts of stories. Some are the "good ole days" bikers, for whatever reason they don't ride anymore, but they can tell you all sorts of stories from back in the day. The great thing about this is that they don't have to be true. Because for some reason if you have a bike no one questions you. Then there are those who don't ride and blame it on their wives. "The Old Lady doesn't think it's safe" You know, just trying to keep a good man down. The truth of the matter is usually one of the following options. 1. They bought the bike on a whim, without consulting their wife or even really thinking it through-then it usually turns out that the bike doesn't really work and after a few months of sleeping on the couch the bike has suddenly lost its allure. or
2. They took it out for a spin once with no training, laid it down and scared themselves so bad they wet themselves. This is an unfortunate option, because this means they will have the bike forever, as there is no way they could sell it, and admit that they 1. don't know how to ride it, and 2. are terrified to touch it.
Then there are those who ride their bikes in the good weather for the pure thrill of it They ususally own a leather jacket and maybe some gloves but that is usually the extent of it, because if it's cold or wet they usually opt for their minivan. And Finally there are the hard core bikers with leather bandanna, jacket, chaps, and I've heard, underwear. These bikers don't even own any other form of transportation. They ride all the time. They are tough and grizzly looking. They usually have a few tattoos and are easily recognizable in public by their distinctive gate. You don't ride on a bike every where you go and not get a little bow-legged.

I digress however from my intended topic. Apparently this hand-waving code does not transfer to all types of motorized two-wheeled vehicles. I was driving on greenbush, which I think is the scooter capital of Lafayette, and I saw two people on scooters pass each other, there was no wave. In fact both guys had baseball caps and hooded sweatshirts and seem to shirk and turn their heads away so as not to be recognized. I found this to be ironic and hilarious. I can't for the life of me imagine why two people on scooters would not share the same sense of honor as a motorcyclist :)
I also saw (on greenbush) a couple riding double on a scooter. How romantic.

3 comments:

Bob"O" said...

Well I'm sure that you didn't think i would not post a comment. Yes there is a sort of clubness about motorcycling. Like there is a clubness about motherhood and golfing and about any activity that is shared by humanity including criminal activity. Why the scooter guys don't salute and yes it is a salute not a wave is easy to explain they are riding scooter on greenbush ( also north ninth street) if they are of driving age because they have drank away the privilege of driving a car. You see scooters of 50cc or less need no registration or insurance or license to operate on public roads. There for they have a stigma of what I call the DWI bikes and a salute is not given for stupidity.
I hope this clears up any questions. Dad

JEM Truly Outrageous said...

dad- i was being sarcastic. it is pretty common knowledge that if you see a guy over 18 on a scooter it means DUI.

Joshua said...

Hey Meg,

There is a similar code of waving for Jeep driver's too... Although the bigger the tires the bigger the wave. And chicks don't do the wave, only dudes...