Shootin’ the Breeze
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.
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!!!
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
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!].
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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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
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