This inevitably leads to a some good-natured banter when party lines cross, and sometimes it generates the kind of pointed remarks that makes one wish he was Bruce Lee, and capable of planting a booted foot (with impunity) into the balls of the person with the big mouth.
On one of these occasions, I happened to be riding with my usual partner, Dick Bregstein, who mounts a 2007 BMW F800. This is a sport-touring bike capable of lightening fast speeds with great handling. Dick dresses the part in a full-face helmet and full ballistic gear. We joined a number of “our kind” at the Brass Rail Diner, over by Lambertville, NJ, for an early biker’s breakfast. The parking lot was filled with interesting machines. Harley’s, Beemers, and every kind of Japanese bike were represented, as were vintage Triumphs and Nortons.
We congregated among our own as two of the Harley crowd made their way down the line, inspecting the rolling stock. They paused at Dick’s and one said, “This looks like a copy of Japanese bike made for a little girl.” Dick glanced at me and rolled his eyes as if to say, “This guy misses the sexual attention he came to enjoy in a Turkish prison.”
Warm, appealing grounds of a Turkish prison.
I refused to take the bait and kept my mouth shut, considering I hadn’t been beaten up since the eighth grade, when Cynthia Balk punched the shit out of me for asking her to dance. But in my mind I was thinking, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I could yell out something Asian, jump over this bike, and kick this bastard right in the balls?”
Dick Bregstein and his 2007 BMW F800 loaded for a weekend (the bike, not Dick)
On another occasion, Dick and I pulled over on a scalding hot day in southern Virginia. We’d done about 340 miles and planned to do another 60 before throwing in the towel. Dick was wearing full body ballistics as was I (from the waist up and jeans below). We were like heat sinks in the 94º temperature. Yet between us and the ice cream stand were three representatives of the chrome and leather vest lifestyle. One asked, “Why do you jerks dress like that on such a hot day?”
I assessed the situation. My bike was idling and pointed toward the road. One twist of the throttle and I’d be scott free. My answer was, “Because your girlfriend humps me extra hard when I dress like Darth Vader.” But the words died in my mouth when I realized Dick had already dismounted and removed his helmet. I imagined how perplexed the coroner would be to find the F800 shoved so far up Dick’s ass. So I said nothing. As it turned out, this was friendly banter. We had a nice conversation with these guys. I’m sorry I didn’t get their phone numbers because I wanted to show them how I looked in that gear an hour later when some stupid bitch ran me over at a stop light.
On the other hand, I’ve met lots of friendly Harley riders at the HD dealership in Lancaster and at a couple of local charity rides. When I first participated in the Pediatric Brain Tumor Ride For Kids three years ago, the Beemer riders I met wouldn’t talk to me. One even suggested that BMW officials would seize my bike if I didn’t lose weight. I was shocked to hear this from a guy wearing a roundel on his jacket. A Harley rider next to me leaned over and said, “Wouldn’t you just love to kick him in the balls?”
I told the guy I’d give him five bucks if he’d hold the douche down while I went for a field goal.
The truth of the matter is that there is a lot of pointed remarks exchanged within our club too. I am the constant target of comments aimed at my limited riding skills. But I try to give as good as I get. After one group breakfast, a bald, humorless midget held everyone enthralled by revving his Ducati. I’m sure you are all aware of the distinctive sound this machine makes at idle. I suggested it might sound differently if he put a quart of oil in it.
Two seconds later, he butted me in the balls -- with his forehead. Apparently, there are limits.
© Copyright Jack Riepe 2008 -- All rights reserved
AKA The LIndbergh Baby (Mac-Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Delphi)
AKA The Chamberlain -- PS (With A Shrug)