Monday, November 26, 2012
Biker Brotherhood...it shows in how you ride...
While the Motocycle Club stands as the epitome of biker brotherhood, many other goups, organized or not, even the last minute ad hoc weekend ride of friends, connotes some level of brotherhood. After all, the riders all have something in common, they ride. But how strong is that brotherhood? How you ride with each other and how you respond to situations as an individual and a group speaks loudly to how you are committed to your fellow bikers.
One envisions MC members riding side by side, inches apart, traveling in a tight formation at high speeds through city streets, running red lights, passing unexpecting motorists, just having fun making a lot of noise and making a good show of it. No, most riders don't ride like that, and I wouldn't recommend running red lights, but if you have you know that it's an adrenaline rush. Not so safe, but fun and exciting for sure.
Like the Blue Angels, the Navy's elite pilots who fly supersonic jets within inches of each other, the willingness and ability to ride within inches of each other, risking certain injury if not death with an accident, few but the hard core bikers dare to travel this way. Riding this way certainly says something about those bikers. Trust is paramount to riding like this. Years ago when I sometimes rode with a friend of mine who was a hard core MC biker, he would make it clear to anyone new to the ride that if you couldn't keep up, then "stay the fuck away" from him and be in the back. Those that couldn't handle the pace of the ride rarely returned for another ride with him. Honestly, it wasn't easy following Steve. He had NO fear, maybe even a death wish.
To me, how you ride speaks volumes about your competence, self-assuredness, and your commitment to the group. I stopped riding in "organized" rides a while back because of the frustrating combination of good riders and not so good riders (and too many rules!). Any size to the group and it easily gets strung out over the road, forcing some to get stuck at stop lights, break up of the line with some cage squeezing in between riders, etc. That's just not for me.
So I ride with a few, very few, regulars. And even at that I get frustrated by laggards in the group. But because mostly they are my friends I put up with it, unlike my friend Steve who would have berrated many of my friends for the way they ride. And at that, my friends will mostly tell you I ride up front. That's not my ego, mind you, it's my brain telling me to lead the way so I don't end up in the rear end of another rider out front who decides to jack up on the brakes because he sees a cop or something else ahead. That's a good way to end friendships, and maybe even lives, so I don't tolerate that kind of bullshit, and I ride up front, whether they like it or not. When I ride as part of a group, and I'm in a situation where I'm not in the lead, I am totally committed to following the leader, speed wise and lane wise, so I have to trust them.
In addition to riding like a brotherhood, I also believe that that means tat all share the gain, AND THE PAIN. So if a situation were to come that we were stopped by a cop for speeding, and the leader were issued the ticket, I believe it is MY obligation as well as every other rider in that group to cover the cost of the ticket with the one getting the ticket. No exceptions. If you're not committed to that, then you really are not my brother on the road. Stay home or ride with someone else please.
How you ride together speaks volumes of your commitment to each other. If you are a laggard and you miss the green light don't expect me to pull over and baby sit you waiting for you to catch up. Get over that shit! And, at the same time, I'm not expecting that we ride down the road with reckless abandon, throwing safety totally to the wind. But it would be nice if when I looked in my rear view mirror that you were somewhere close to me and not back there like you were on your own ride.
But, of course, we all have different ideas of what is brotherhood and how we should ride with each other. How do you like to ride?