Different Is Good

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October 31, 2012 | By: Lowell Anderson

As motorcyclists, we tend to be individuals and I would say more so than the “normal” public. We all have our own ways of enjoying motorcycles differently. You can see it in our style and in our actions. It always puzzles me how this translates all the way down to the clothing we wear and the bikes we ride. Sportbike guys tend to look like sportbike guys wearing flashy gear and helmets. Harley guys dress like Harley guys. They wear black leather vests, t-shirts, chaps and bandannas.  BMW guys tend to have a different style altogether. Sort of like a mixture of uniform and space suit. Everyone prefers to ride a different style of bike. Some like comfort, some like function and some like speed. Here at J&P many of the employees ride too. It’s interesting to stop and notice some of the differences from time-to-time. We are all enjoying the same activity, but we all tend to enjoy it in different ways.

I tend to listen to music when I ride. I have been playing drums since I was a little kid. I’m a big kid now, so I tend to “jam-out” while riding down the road. I’m sure if I passed you during one of my imaginary riding/drum solos, I would look absolutely ridiculous. Now I know it’s not the safest way to ride, but it’s what I enjoy.

Patrick Garvin also has a quirk…he has an issue about lowering the shield on his helmet. He’s not sure what the issue is, but he just isn’t comfortable riding with the shield down. (I’m pretty sure it is a mental thing.) I tease him about this constantly. Funny to see a guy wearing a really nice helmet flying down the road squinting cause he can’t bring himself to lower the shield…Hilarious!

Jason Hayes has more gadgets on his bike than should be legal. He rides while messing with his cameras, cell phone or whatever. I am waiting for him to mount a damn coffee maker on his bike. At J&P he is responsible for those product lines, so he has to familiarize himself with all this stuff in order to explain it better to the staff and sales team here. Not sure how he keeps track of what he’s doing, but he manages quite well. He’s fun to ride with too because you can be sure a few days later, he will send you a clip of the video he took of you while riding. I guess that’s a plus.

Some habits are fine and others should be avoided altogether. On occasion I like to sit in the parking lot on break and watch customers pull in. I have seen some of the funniest quirks and styles imaginable show up in the parking lot all the way in Anamosa, Iowa. Some of the highlights have been hysterical! One day we had a customer pull in on a mid 80’s Goldwing. He was a big guy and a Goldwing is a big bike. What struck me as funny was what he was wearing. No shirt, shorts, tennis shoes, glasses, and yes, you guessed it….fingerless gloves. Not sure how fingerless gloves are going to help if anything was to go wrong, but the sight of them alone was enough to make me laugh uncontrollably for about an hour.

Another day we had a guy come in on a suicide shift Panhead. He went inside and bought two tires. He came out, sat on the bike, put the tires around his body and proceeded to ride that thing like the bad-ass he was. I was truly impressed!

To each his own. I’m not here to judge anybody, and I enjoy seeing people doing what they love. We are all different, and I guess that’s what keeps it interesting. RIDE –ON!

Comments (13)

I’ve been ridin’ Harleys since 1978. In the ’70′s and 80′s, Police, Shriners and Dirty Bikers were about all you saw on Harleys. Then as the 90′s arrived, it seemed like everyone wanted to be a Biker! People spent big money for any Harley the dealer had. Then alot of them spent more money getting “Dressed” to ride than I spent for my ’76 Liberty Edition Super Glide with 2500 miles in Feb. of ’78, that I wish I would have left alone,although it did look good when I put it in a ’57 straight leg. At first, I wouldn’t even say “Hi” or even nod at these new age bikers. “They” drove bike prices way up and when you went to the swap meet, 4 speed trannys went from 100$ to 800$, even a1000$! Well, 20 years later, it has been getting practical again as far as bike and swap meet prices, too. I don’t have that animosity anymore. Since I was finally able to afford a new Night Train in 2008(500$ under M.S.R.P.),I go to Harley Dealer breakfast,rides,etc. I like to “people watch” also. I can 99% of the time pick out the people that really ride. Those are the ones that I get beside or behind on a ride. But the 300 lb. guy with 2000$ worth of do-rags,chaps,leathers and 18″ apes on his 883 Sporster and it’s 95 degrees in the shade, I try to avoid. I just wish he had spent the clothes money on a bike that fits him instead of trying to look the part! Oh, I still have a Shovel,too. You’ve got to have something to work on after you ride it!

We have a saying here in Canada where all provinces require helmets. ” Wear a ten dollar helmet if you have a ten dollar head.” Enjoyed the article. johnboy. 1100 shadow.

Good article – I as well wonder about other riders, on times, as to what they wear, but I guess they have never had the learning experience of dropping their bike even at a slow speed! Leathers and sturdy boots and a good lid are not a fashion statement – they keep certain body parts protected – just in case. I’ve been biking over 40 years and am still at the most enjoyable sport in the world – driving/riding my bike! I live in Eastern Canada and ride in minus temperatures but only when the road is dry.
Keep up the good writing!!
Old Sam – out!

Good article Lowell!

I find that I go back and forth between my full face, 1/2 helmet and no helmet, depending on the weather and my mood! Oh and fingerless gloves too….accept now as its too cold in the morning!

It does always amaze me to see people riding in flip flops and shorts. At the least I’m wearing boots and jeans.

Hope all is well in Anamosa & have a great Thanksgiving.

TRexSG

My wife and I love touring on our 1995 FLHT. We ride with the local Hog Group, and sometimes to rally’s. Most of the Harley riders outside the Harley group don’t wear helmets. I’m sure we look somewhat out of place with Helmets and other safety gear in place, but I figure I would rather be able to ride again if the Safety Gear was ever called on to do it’s job. I do not like to consider the alternative. Besides that I have grown-up children I hope to enjoy for many more years. Hopefully we will have grand children some day who may in the words of my daughter as she rode the tank yell-out as we were riding…”Faster Daddy, Faster!!!” Safe Riding to all! -Sam

Your view of others is interesting. Don’t let the critics of your article bother you. Critics seem to have the need to interject their thoughts and/or beliefs on the world. I believe your point is to accept those differences regardless of; safety, style, etc.
The adage: everywhere you leak someone will hold a bucket. Write your thoughts! The critics often do not like themselves.

I ride a softail nightrain that is black and chrome and by all accounts looks like something a typical biker would ride. But, I wear an orange full face helmet due to a bee giving me a fat lip at 70 mph while looking cool in my skid lid. So Now I wear an Orange hi Vis. full faced helmet with black and orange leather jacket (HD )with a spine protector under jacket and black leather chaps. My buddies tring real hard to look the part give me a hard time about my garb. And I get no respect from other bikers for my need to be safe. What can I say I am father who still loves to ride!

Good article Lowell,well said. I like to see the different reactions from folks depending on which bike I’m on. I am blessed to have more than one. When I stop somewhere on the heritage, and there are other brands sitting in the parking spaces, usually the riders don’t speak to me unless I speak first. And when I pull up on the fjr (yamaha) the harley crowd reacts the same way. Once the ice is broke, conversations usually flow pretty well. I enjoy riding and am not brand specific. The enjoyment of riding usually trumps brands. The best way I’ve found to make friends is to compliment them on their ride. Do this and they open up. You’ll find they are just like you, they love riding. Who knows, it may be them helping you on the roadside, if the need arises. I have leathers and spacesuits, but I’m just like you, enjoying the ride and open road…

I’m absolutely all for respecting and celebrating people’s different approaches, and i’m certainly no safety nazi, but riding with no eye protection and riding whilst f*ckin around with gadgets are both plain stoopid IMHO.

(And you laughed at the guy with fingerless gloves?!? I’d rather loose a finger than an eye!)

Different is Good, That’s what makes this lifestyle so interesting, There is always something new and unbelievable realistic in the way we live, safe ,unsafe, sane, unsane, must be why I still ride a Panhead

damn. ur suicide shifter stole my trick!

Great article you have there! But we should bare in mind the safety of everybody.

Good article Lowell. I hope the article is not lost on a certain segment of riding population that looks down their noses at other than American made bikes

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