Sunday, June 1, 2008

Clarification on Scooters

In response to a few emails I've received resulting from my last post, I'd like to clarify the purpose of the post. It stemmed from the on-going discrimination the media has for American Bikers. So I'm gonna jump on my soapbox for a moment and vent.

I do not judge anyone on their ride. Many ride Vespas and the like. It is their preference for their two-wheeled pleasure, just as my Dyna is mine. Some prefer to tour the countryside in cages, but those of us who prefer the two-wheeled ride love it for a variety of reasons.

Each of us is unique in our preferences, and that includes our rides. Some like pink, some like chrome, and some like fast. To each his own.

I am sick to death of being "labeled" by the media as a "noise polluter", "rabble rouser", "drunk" and having a "death wish", simply because I ride a big cruiser. I enjoy my ride for many personal reasons, with fuel conservation being but one of those.

Ya, that's me, and I ride a big machine because I love the sound, the look, and the power. My pipes are after-market but are still within the limits of any noise ordinance. I have no desire to ride beyond the limits of the law.

What I ride doesn't mean I am a drunk, or a party animal, or have a "death wish". I hold an engineering position with a global company, have a family, and put my drawers on one leg at a time, same as anyone else.

Sure, there are always those few who cross the line. The "mean" drunk, who also happens to ride a motorcycle, wear leather and gets in a fight. Don't other mean drunks do that too? I'm a mother, and there are bad mothers out there. Does that make me one too? I lived in the Boston area for a time, and each year during sports playoffs, people died due to over-zealous fans, yet society tolerates sports fans as though it were a religion. Yet motorcyclists are lumped into one category and attacked from all directions; directly or indirectly.

In the article highlighted in my last post, the media seemed to take great delight in letting the public know of all these "energy conscious" individuals, who suddenly found the need to buy a two-wheeled conveyance, for whatever reason, and have become paragons of society by attempting to preserve energy. Excuse me? There are hundreds of thousands already out there doing that.

Yet, when a motorcyclist dies at the fault of an inattentive driver who violated their right-of-way, their death is blamed on not wearing a helmet, by the same reporters and online journalists who wrote this "feel-good" article.

We already deal with inaccurate statistics the government likes to use as reason for more regulation that etches away at our freedoms. Sadly, more untrained, unsafe, Moped riders will occupy the roadways because of the energy crisis, and many of them will die because our government refuses to acknowledge that the major cause of motorcycle deaths are those who drive cages and ignore simple driving laws.

Many journalists are now adding the terms "old, fat, balding, long beards, and/or long gray ponytails" to the description of "bikers". At 52 I may be labeled as "old" by some, but none of the other terms fit me, or many others. The media seems intent on stereotyping, and/or segregating out those who ride the larger more powerful machines as being a pariah of society. By labeling us this way, they take journalistic license in creating this "picture" for the rest of society who doesn't know any better.

In 40 years, if I live that long, that will be me in the cartoon, except I'll still be wearing my leathers, and piss on anyone who doesn't like it.

The American Biker IS a "Brotherhood". What they look like has nothing to do with anything. Riding free is just an extension of living free; being who you are, and not giving a rat's ass what others think. And once again, society (and the media) adds labels and descriptions because we aren't mainstream. I often feel as though the media would rather print, "another disgusting biker has been culled from this world", because many of their articles say the same in so many words.

Well, I know hundreds of bikers, and none of them are disgusting. They all have families and those who love them, and who they love. They hold positions of integrity in the working world, just as other non-riders do. With all the laws against hatred and bigotry in this country, it amazes me that our society allows this type of discrimination to continue and does not recognize it for what it is.

This "biker" is Richard Quigley, who successfully beat multitudes of court cases in his lifetime, all in the name of freedom. He had more integrity than anyone I know. HE would not stand for anyone taking away his freedom, or any other biker, and lived his life to that end.

I ride with clean-cut businessmen, long-haired, bearded, tattoo artists, women of all ages, mothers, daughters, sons and fathers. We ride in support of our troops, we ride to end the fight against breast cancer, and we ride for those of us who have fallen. I can't say the same for a good many other people in this world.

Does running out and buying a Moped to save you bucks at the fuel pump put you in that category? Not in my book. So why would I get all warm and fuzzy over that article? I'd rather go for the government jugular, for THEY put us into this energy crisis, not the American people, not the oil companies. Politically incorrect to the end, and proud of it.

No, I really don't care what you ride. I hope to leave a reader with a fire in your gut to stand up for what is rightfully yours; freedom to ride what you want, where you want, wear what you want, and be who you are.

And if it affects those rights, I'll write about it here, guaranteed.

If anything, part of my "personal war" is on the overwhelming state of apathy in this world. I love what I do, what I ride, where I live and work. And I'd fight to the end to keep it all, even if I have to personally object to stupid, narrow-minded journalists who spout propaganda that threatens those freedoms.

And I would inspire others to do the same.

"The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." ~ Plato

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