Posted On 25 May 2024
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This entry is part 28 of 28 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#32


We are living the Chinese curse.

Our times are indeed interesting.

On the one hand, our insane rulers are hell-bound and determined to rid the earth of ‘bikies’ by whatever means necessary, including the destruction of the Rule of Law, the manifold burdens of proof that prevent the government happily jailing people it doesn’t like, and that bane of police departments everywhere – actual evidence of criminal activity.

On the other hand, strange-looking people are adopting the motorcycle – not so much as a lifestyle choice, but as some kind of fashion-accessory cum-hobby.

I am not surprised.

We live in a time when virtually all social taboos are freely and joyously broken.

Girls tattoo their necks and hands, beards are grown by slim-hipped men who collect cats and handbags, and we are utterly indifferent to being governed by gypsies, tramps and thieves.

And the Hipster walks among us. And occasionally rides.

Unmolested, apparently, and thus free to dilute and pervert all that was once pure and righteous – and earned with blood, pain and commitment.

It was only a matter of time before the vile Hipster turned his attention to my beloved motorcycling, spread wide its exclusive little hams with his freshly tattooed fingers, and jammed his horrid phallus deep into its hitherto private parts.

Predictably, these facile trendsetters understand motorcycling about as much as they understand the meaning of the lovely little bluebird tattoo they might have put on their scrawny necks – which is to say, not at all.

To them it’s all about “fashion, music, food and of course, bikes”, which is how a Sydney event called Throttle Roll described itself to some odious online rubbish that passes for a newspaper these days.

And here I am, thinking that motorcycling was all about riding – the visceral thrill of speed, the precision of cornering, the vagaries of the weather, the trials of distance, the thrill of new roads, the comradeship of good men and true, etc.

Fashion? Fashion is something my wife is vaguely concerned about, and a concept entirely alien to me.

Music? Music is great, and if there happens to be a jukebox in a country pub I’m in, then that is a bonus – especially if I’m drunk and there are Johnny Cash songs on it.

Food? Well, sure. I like food. But I’d rather ride than eat and there have been many times in my youth when I bought tyres instead of groceries.

None of these things have anything to do with motorcycling. They never have and never will. They can’t. They don’t fit.

But, somehow, they fit the Hipster’s vacuous interpretation of what motorcycling is.

So he feeds his new fad by geysering cash at clever businesses specifically designed to accept his dollars.

In return for which he is sold vastly over-priced ancient Jap shitters that have been fitted with aluminium tanks, tyres made from bathroom tiles, and bicycle mirrors. Hell, I wish I’d thought of that money-printing enterprise.

Some motorcycle manufacturers have also jumped on the bandwagon – and more power to them. They are in the business of selling bikes, and they’ll sell those bikes to whomever has the money.

Though I struggle to understand why the industry imagines that people who buy decrepit old Japanese shitters and ride them to a café that specialises in ethically-sourced chai, would suddenly decide the latest S1000XR is the bike for them.

But if the motorcycle market is suddenly filled with bearded mincers in checked shirts, rolled-up jeans and a penchant for rock-a-billy music, then I guess their money spends as well as anyone else’s.

What’s that you say?

So what if these folks are buying bikes and getting their handlebars on. Surely more people on bikes is a good thing.

You think so?

We’ve had heaps of so-called “newbies” take up bikes in the last decade or so, egged on by the LAM scheme and a vague feeling that this motorcycle business is something they would like to try. Or even worse, doddery old fools making a comeback to riding after 30 years on the bench.

How’s that worked out?

That’s right, accident stats through the roof and hospital wards full of agony.

And a vast herd of mugwumps on bikes, who are too scared to lane-split, think that wearing fluoro is a substitute for skill (and that it actually works by aiding visibility when peer-reviewed scientific studies repeatedly demonstrate that it doesn’t), blame speed for all our ills, chant “All The Gear All The Time” like it means something, and devolve any responsibility for what happens to them on the roads to “other factors” (like the inane SMIDSY bullshit), rather than their own incompetence.

That being so, I struggle to see what benefit motorcycling will derive from accepting a bunch of fuzzy, inner-city, out-for-a-groove fashionistas on shitty old bikes into its bosom.

Yes, and you can get off my bloody lawn, too.

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