Oct 5, 2012

Join the Club?

A lot of folks think they are joining a "club" of some sort when they buy a motorcycle and start riding it on warm sunny days. If there's a warm weather club, the cold weather riders are practically family.

Today's ride into a couple of business meetings and work was the first near-freezing ride of the fall. Winter in Minnesota is on the way, although next week is supposed to be warm again; at least, during the days. Twenty miles and two stops later, I'm on my way into school and stuck at a stop light about 5 minutes late for a morning recording session. I am freakin' in love with my Aerostich heated gear and thinking about how uncomfortable I used to be on days like this before I had electric gear. One of St. Paul's "finest" is trying to make a left turn from the lane to my right. He's dressed like the cop in this picture, except his gear is leather. I think that includes his face mask. He looks close to frozen. He sort of wobbles into the intersection, comes to a stop because the car coming across from the other lane is moving too slowly for him to time the turn. Just before he took off for the turn, I saluted him as a fellow "rider in the cold."

When he stopped to let the opposite direction traffic go by, he saluted me back; with his middle finger.  Huh? Does a hand to the helmet mean something different in Minnesota? Maybe he was jealous that he had to ride a four-ton Harley while I was on my V-Strom.

Maybe that frozen leather gear soured his disposition? Would mine. I admit I was surprised to see the pudding bowl helmet with the gangbanger face mask on a cop. It's probably been there all the time, but I just wasn't looking. Honestly, I haven't seen the St. Paul motorcycle cops on the road much all year. So, my reason for thinking about them is pretty remote.

The whole incident did remind me that there is/was/always-will-be a "them and us" divide between the cops and citizens. Even when were are the only motorcyclists on the road together on a cold October morning, that divide keeps us apart. That nasty tax collector aspect of their job puts a barrier between them and us and I don't see that barrier growing any smaller in the foreseeable future. One of the guys at work thought it would have been quite a bit different if we'd have swapped salutes. I can't disagree with that.


Anonymous said...

I give the "biker wave" pretty much every time I'm not in the middle of a non harried commute. To me it's saying "I'll stop for you" if your stranded on the side of the road . I also think it's good to show the cagers some "biker" solidarity, they see that wave and must feel left out of the fun. The debate over the wave has been hashed over and over again . The origin I think comes from the rural roads where people wave to each other when passing each other. So fuck em if they can't handle the good will .......maybe next time they will be in a better mood.

T.W. Day said...

Makes sense to me.

Andy Mckenzie said...

I'm once again reminded how lucky I am to live where I live... there's practically no rivalry between the cruisers and sportbikes, and while the motorcycle cops mostly won't take a hand off the bars to wave to anyone, they'll almost always reply with a smile and a nod.

Small town Massachusetts... it's a nice place to be. (Though the campus police LOVE pulling over college students on sport bikes, I attribute that to the inherent stupidity of an 18 year old on a liter+ bike. Frankly, the ones I notice on the road deserve being pulled over.)