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Bummer's Monthly Musings

Bummer, who's an ABATE institution, writes one of the most widely read articles in the Outspokin' each month. Now he's also right here on the web! Welcome to the Computer Age, Bummer! ~ Enjoy!

 

 

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Shootin’ the Breeze 

 August 2003 

by Bummer

Email: bummer@abate.com

  The bike I now ride is quiet. I've told myself that after decades of wakin' up the neighbors everytime I pulled in and out of my driveway, I'd just keep the stock exhaust. Actually in addition to this it's also kinda nice to have a conversation with whoever's on the back without yelling, and once ya get used to it, it's nice to hear the engine as well as the exhaust.

What is not nice is the fact that since I became a quiet rider I've almost been smashed into on a bunch of occasions! The old saying "Loud Pipes Save Lives" is true without a doubt. At least three times in the past month I've narrowly avoided plowing into some jerks that pulled out of their drives without looking. Once a guy on a damned lawnmower was cuttin' his grass and rode right out into the road in front of me.....And I'm just talkin' bout the past month!! In my own neighborhood!!!

I recently gave my old Shovelhead to my oldest son in Louisiana. It has drag pipes on it and I yanked the home made baffles out of 'em before I let him take it. In other words it is one loud, thundering machine. He ain't gonna be wakin' me up, so I figured what the hell, let the boy roar. 

I had a few close calls on that bike, but that was over the course of twenty five years! When they heard me comin', they stopped in time. Before that I had a Triumph, a BSA, a Norton and a Sporty. All were loud. My neighbors hated me, but at least they didn't try to kill me [even tho they might have wanted to!].

Speaking of attempts to cover yer butt regarding safety: I know a lot of people who wear colored leathers. They figure that they might be seen easier. Some wear day-glo helmets or stick extra reflectors on their bikes. This all assumes that those in cars actually look yer way. They want to be easier seen if a cager is looking in their direction. The problem that really bothers me is drivers who don't even turn their heads your way! You could be driving a bus and they still wouldn't see ya.

I know a guy who has an air horn on his scoot. Now, that sucker is LOUD! The problem with that is when he hits that horn drivers freeze in terror 'cause they think that a big old semi is bearin' down on 'em! Now this is alright if ya can catch 'em before they pull out.

I remember an incident where an old lady slammed on her brakes in the middle of an intersection and actually covered her eyes when he hit that thing. 

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Bummer's Shootin' the Breeze Page!
 

 

Now let's talk about eye protection: Did you know that there are more than a few states that allow people to ride without eye protection, but still insist on helmets? That's just plain stoopid. It's another example of people makin' laws who don't know what in the hell they're talkin' about! It amazes me how idiotic some of our elected representatives can be.

I wear glasses all the time, so if it's just a short ride I'm OK. I select a pair that doesn't make my eyes tear [rhymes with beer] up unless I'm goin' over 60 mph, or it's a cold day/night. If it's gonna be a cold or long and fast ride, then I wear goggles. I found a few types that fit over my glasses and work great on an interstate or when it's chilly. I know that those of ya that don't need script specs usually just use sunglasses. Ya might consider gettin' a pair of good fittin' goggles tho for those long hauls. You'll be glad ya did. Some look pretty cool. If ya just use sunshades, make sure ya get a pair that fits yer eye sockets properly. Cryin' on the highway, especially in traffic, sucks big time and I'd be willin' to bet that that's caused quite a few accidents. 

So many things cause accidents as it is. Ya don't need to increase the odds against ya.

While we're talkin' about glasses, the last time I renewed my driver's license the examiner told me to take my glasses off to do the vision test. It's a pretty easy test and most of us can pass it [unless yer wearin' coke bottles]. Now my license doesn't have the "glasses" restriction on it. The reason this is so important is that if you wear script lenses and you're on the road and yer glasses break or ya lose 'em due to wind, a pair of sunglasses can get ya home without ya bein' illegal. Then if something bad does happen, yer not gonna be charged for drivin' illegally and end up losin' everything ya own to a car driver who said you were at fault 'cause you were drivin' handicapped.

Books have been written on safe riding and I don't presume to know or practice it all, but I just thought I'd share a few things I've picked up over the years. The bottom line is ya gotta pay attention to what yer doin' and how ya do it. This motorcycle thing that we all have such a passion for is dangerous. People who work in emergency rooms work on us so often that they see us as organ donors, not people. Don't become another donor til yer ready.
    

         That's me, dammit!~Watch here for next month's installment!

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  Although havin' a horn is handy sometimes, I think I'd rather not confuse the driver any more than necessary 'cause ya never know what they're gonna do or where they're gonna go.

A lot of old timers insist on wearin' lots of lights on the rear of the bike, obviously to make sure the cars behind ya know yer there. A buddy I used to hang with had so many rear lights that he looked like a damned Christmas tree from the back, but at least he was seen.
Then of course there's skin protection.....

As I get older and lazier I find myself often wearing just tennis shoes, t-shirt and sweat pants when I'm riding [hell, sometimes I rode naked, before I got fat]. But the proper thing to do is wear a leather jacket, gloves, chaps or leather pants and over the ankle boots. New riders think all this leather is just for cold weather riding or to keep the rain off ya, but slidin' down the road with leather protecting ya is far better than denim or less. I still have gravel under my skin in some odd places to prove it.

I have a friend who dresses very fussily to say the least. The guy spends more time gettin' ready to go out on the town than a woman does [no offence meant ladies]. Everything he wears has to fit just right. One night he was wearin' a pair of very tight leather pants in a crowded bar and as the night progressed I noticed he was lookin' kinda funny.

I asked him if he was feelin' alright and he turned to me and said, "Bum, I think these damned pants are too tight. I don't feel so good. Man, it's hot in here!" Next thing ya know he looks like he's gonna pass out! I mean he actually turned white! I helped him outside where it was a little cooler. He unsnapped those snazzy pants and we rode to his place and he changed, but all the way there I laughed my ass off. 

Most of ya probably know that being uncomfortable on a bike is a very dangerous thing. Ya just don't need any distractions.
More than once I've heard people tell me that my coat sleeves are too long. The reason for this is that if yer sleeves reach to yer knuckles, that means that when ya got yer hands on the grips of the handlebars yer coatcuffs is where they're supposed to be. Cold air blowin' up yer arm is another one of those unpleasant distracting things ya don't need.

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