Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Why Don't You Get Rid of That Donorcycle?

The term "donorcycle" irritates me. At least, it did, until I thought about the people who use it. See, using the word comes across as angry and scornful, but it's really just disguising the speaker's fear.

Sure, sure, they go on about "all these" motorcyclists (usually in gangs of 50 or more, as I hear it) who fly through traffic with little regard for the safety of those around them. Why, they got cut off one time by a guy on a bike! Another time a whole bunch of motorcycles passed them, and they were so loud, and dressed so strangely!

If you listen to them long enough, their fear becomes more evident. Are they afraid of motorcycles? Sure, at first glance. But are they really afraid of a machine that merely provides thrust and a means to direct it? No, what these folks are really afraid of is the underlying psychology of freedom and self-reliance.

I believe certain people are afraid of bikers for the same reason certain people are afraid of clowns.

...Yes, I just compared bikers and clowns in a positive way. Bear with me, it'll make sense in a second.

To badly rephrase something Tom Robbins wrote, people are afraid of clowns because they are absolutely free. Clowns do whatever the hell they want to. Most folks, on the other hand, do not. Instead they live by a set of rules taught to them by an external authority figure, be it school, religion, government, marketing, bosses or that old guy down the street. People who don't live by these same arbitrary rules are bad.

A biker deliberately undertakes an activity he or she knows is risky. What's more, a biker professes to enjoy this risky activity, even though our health teachers told us not to. How dare we? We need to get back in the boxes with the other happy drones, and stop making them uncomfortable with our leather jackets and dirty fingernails. Living the life we see fit to live, a life of freedom, joy and known risk, is unacceptable to these folks. They're a step away from yelling at us to get a haircut and a job.

We bikers are an eccentric bunch. I don't mean the hawg-polishin'-ridin'-two-miles-to-the-bar-in--chaps-and-fringe bikers - those guys get spooked and go back to their beige lives pretty quickly. No, I mean the guys who ride the hell out of their bikes, all year round - or at least as much of the year as they can. We have our own ideas about what's awesome, what's not, and how we want to live. If you disagree with us, well, it must suck to be you. It takes a different mindset to realize it's better to live your own great, risky life than a mediocre "safe" life.

And just how "safe" is this proposed life, anyway? I could stay in bed all day, every day, for fear of death. But then I'm taking a risk of having a blood clot in my leg break loose and lodge somewhere lethal. We're all going to die. If you have to die, wouldn't you like to have lived an amazing life?

This idea is just as true for our work, our family life, our hobbies, everything we do. Would you rather fit in and get along, or live in a way other people wish they could live? It's not hard, but it is a choice we all have to make: fit in, or make the world fit us.

Get rid of my donorcycle? Forget it.


Mr. Motorcycle said...

Amen Lucky!


Why don't you tell us how you really feel!

I don't even know where to begin, because you hit so much in one post. All which I agree with of course. Guess I'll keep it short and sweet and say that this was well said.

Becky said...

I love your way of thinking. Alot of people are bewildered by someone who intentionally takes risks. I am afraid of drowning, but I ride a motorcycle which is so 'dangerous'. I've always bucked the system and made my own rules to live by. I'm so bad.


irondad said...

I really resent being caught up in your implications. My fingernails are seldom dirty!

The same thing can be seen when wild animals are kept in a cage. When someone opens the door to let them out, they won't exit.

You're right. When someone is afraid, or jealous, trying to degrade the one who's better off somehow makes their puny psyche's feel less like losers. Their loss.

Lucky said...

Thanks for the kind words everybody.

irondad- I'm kind of surprised to have to tell you this, what with your being a motorcycle instructor, but if your fingernails aren't dirty, you're doing it wrong. ;)

michael said...

The only thing that makes motorcycles dangerous is intoxicated and incompetent motorists.

Kill a biker, go to jail.
Drive drunk, go to jail.

irondad said...

Ok, I lied about the fingernails. I couldn't really see them under my clown gloves.

Aliza said...

GREAT post - and so true!!! I'd be on my Harley right now if i wasn't so worried about some stupid driver cutting me off and leaving my 12 year old daughter mom-less. I still have it and am waiting for my mid life crisis to kick in, so......soon, maybe soon!

Harvey S. Cohen said...

People's fears of motorcyclists may be stimulated by motorcyclists who go out of their way to stimulate fear. A deafening exhaust is the biggest offender here, but costumes that are clearly designed to look "bad" don't help. A black leather jacket with metal studs and skull decorations is not a clown costume.
Of course, some people have such strong phobias about motorcycles that the mere thought of riding one makes them babble about how dangerous it is and how they know somebody who got hurt. After riding daily for 40 years, I have learned that reasoning with a phobic is a fool's errand, so I just ignore their ill-mannered remarks.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you completely. I get that "donercycle" bs a lot too, and I always tell those people that motorycycles are NOT for everyone. Some people just can't and shouldn't ride bikes. I mean the last thing we need on the road is more A-holes who don't know what they're doing. I also get the story of a cousin of a cousin of a brother that died a horrible death from a bike accident. Then I ask what happened specifically and they usually don't know. So it becomes like folklore.

Anonymous said...

i don't know where did they get the notion that bikers are bad...

Anonymous said...

Because of some incompetent motorists, people get the notion that riders are dreadful.

redlegsrides said...

Well said Sir....

Must now catch up with your other posts.....


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Brian J said...

Harvey S: I would say...Book - Cover
My view is my life, my way and get out of my way.
Love the blog Lucky!