Re: My editorial
After hearing about another Thursday night ride that ended in police involvement and crashes, I decided to finally send something to the e-mail list of riders in town. It probably won't do a lick of good, but I had to try. I figured if I just bitched them out, nothing would get though. What do you think?
Some of you know me and some of you don't. I've been an active motorcycle rider in Columbia since 1994. I was part of the original group that started meeting on Thursday nights to ride a little, get something to eat, benchrace, and watch the bike races (Prime Sports Network used to show races on Thursday nights; that's the main reason for that day of the week). Some of those guys are still around, like S****, W*****, and J*** G****. I think they'd agree that we had fun on the rides but somehow this thing has taken a turn for the worse over the years. I got away from going with the group for several years and when I've come back to check it out, I always tell myself it's the last time. It seems that instead of really wanting to learn to ride a motorcycle and hang around others with the same interest, a lot of people just want to 'be seen' on a bike or ride over their heads trying to prove something. The stunting fad has caught on full force as well. Now I'm almost embarrassed to ride in or around Columbia because I know that the general public just sees me as another one of those guys on 'crotch-rockets' that has no respect for anyone.
Motorcycles are a wonderful thing. You can get away from your daily stress and simply think about the road. Every time you ride, you have the potential to sharpen your skills. You can experience so much more on a bike than you can in a cage (car). But there is always a negative perception out there about how dangerous motorcycles are. Think about how you ride. Do you perpetuate that perception? As the guys who know me can attest, I've done my share of stupid things on a bike. I don't expect anyone to putt around under the speed limit. What I'm saying is that I hear all the time about the stupid things that happen and the apparent lack of learning ability. Remember that when your buddy trashes his bike doing a stunt and turns it in on insurance, that's why your own insurance rates are so crazy. Those insurance companies can't afford to replace a $10K bike that some squid bins after owning it for a month.
I'm not perfect. I've crashed on the street and have some scars to prove it. My point is that we all need to think a little bit and ride intelligently. Don't piss off the public or what we do won't be nearly as enjoyable anymore. I'd rather be able to nod at a policeman and go along my way than to be paranoid about whether he's going to stop me just because he assumes I'm going to do something stupid. You all have some responsibility every time you ride. It seems like a lot of guys are around for a few years then are gone. I've been here and plan to be here for a long time. Don't ruin this for everyone.
For those of you who don't know me and will just ignore what I'm saying, thinking I'm just trying to bring everyone down, that's fine. If I got you to think even a little, it was worth it. If you think I don't know what I'm talking about and can't ride, get your racing license and come shut me up. But I've gotten tired of hearing about all the crashes, the running from the cops, and all the other stupidity that's got the potential to hurt something that I really love. I don't like seeing people hurt or worse and believe me it can happen at the drop of a hat. I'm here to help anyone who is really interested in being a good rider. The guys around Columbia who can actually ride (C****, J******, etc.) will tell you that.
Just think. Going fast in a straight line or riding over your head doesn't make you a man.
Wear your gear, ride smart, and we'll all be able to enjoy this.
Is a paradigm worth 20 cents?