I'm putting this post in my blog's "humor" category because Harley Davidson motorcycle riders take their bikes pretty damn seriously, and I don't want to tick off any of the brothers or sisters.
Anyway, I used to have a motorcycle myself – a Yamaha Seca II – until my old lady (what I called my wife during the period I owned a bike, which helps to explain why I no longer have it) told me so many times that I was going to kill myself on it, I got afraid that I really would have a serious accident, become paralyzed, and have to spend the rest of my life listening to a tape player she'd put next to my ear that said, in an endless loop, "I kept saying that you were going to kill yourself and you almost did, you fucking idiot."
So I have a fondness for two-wheeled motorized transportation. I've even (shush…don't tell my wife!) been eyeing on the Internet a Suzuki Burgman 650 scooter set up as a trike. Pretty cool.
Now, a Japanese scooter isn't a Harley. You can tell, because a Suzuki Burgman 650 is (1) a lot quieter, (2) less expensive, (3) more reliable, (4) safer, and (5) more practical.
That said, there's nothing like a Harley. I say that without ever having ridden a Harley. I have, however, seen lots of Harley riders – and not all of them have been sipping lattes while their bikes are parked outside the downtown Salem Starbucks on a weekend.
Today, for example, there was an influx of Harley Davidsons in the ever-so-charming central Oregon town of Sisters. The Sisters Bead Stampede was this weekend; maybe that drew them.
I doubt it, though, given the look favored by most of the Harley riders. I didn't see a single delicate bead necklace – mainly lots of leather, studs, chains, and similar macho paraphernalia.
Which, I hasten to add, looked just fine on them.
My "hasten to add" comes in part from memories of going to college in the San Jose area in the late '60s and early '70s when the Gypsy Joker motorcycle gang ("club," if any Gypsy Jokers read this post) was highly visible. Since I drove a '57 VW bug with peace symbols plastered all over it, one of my goals – still extant – was to stay on good terms with tough-looking dudes on Harleys.
That said, there's something about the Harley Davidson culture that is, when you think about it, something to think about.
How's that for a bold criticism!
Actually I'm not critical of Harleys, though I do find them obnoxiously noisy at times. But, hey, each to his own. While I'm more attracted to a high-powered Japanese scooter, I can understand the appeal of the Harley mystique.
This guy, however, doesn't think much of it. His "Why a Harley Davidson Isn't a Real American Motorcycle" is a no holds barred critique of both the bike and those who ride them.
One Harley rider looks like another, pretty much, yet they all claim that they are 'individuals'. Seeing a group of Harleys go past is like watching a cut scene from the movie "The Stepford Wives". They're all identical, they look alike, and they all ride the same thing; junk.
Very few Harleys are truly fast or powerful. Most are just loud rattletraps, over priced dealer wannabes or pieced together hope it works tomorrow wonders. They are paper tigers, all show and no go. You can get a hundred pounds of chrome on one of those motorcycles straight from the factory. Matching leather everything as well, even down to the little official HD logo which is oh so important to this flock behavior mindset. Studded, braided, polished, painted, chromed, but ... it's all flash. It's all custom parts and paint, all jury rigged and low tech. In anything else but a Harley, the extremes that most Harley owners go to would be considered tacky and tasteless, and probably laughable.
… I think I've finally figured out just *WHY* Harley Davidson motorcycles are so popular... Harley Davidson isn't a motorcycle company, it is a cult religion. You don't ride a Harley Davidson so much as you worship it. You and every other little acolyte. A Harley Davidson is a rolling altar to mediocrity, you bend your knees and you pray to a pagan idol of chrome and leather for the pitiful life that you glean from it. That is the only way that I can see why so many people are so clueless when it comes to motorcycles. They can't stand on their own, they aren't tough enough to be individuals, so they have to reinforce their own self image with artificial constructs. Joseph Campbell would have a field day with the average Harley owner, I think that Harley Davidson is another of the 'masks of God' that Campbell once talked about so richly, or one of the supposed nine thousand names for God.
Harley Davidson. It's not a motorcycle company. It is a pagan cult religion for brain dead trend humping fashion lemmings.
Ouch. But remember, Harley owners, those aren't my words. And keep in mind: this is a "humor" post.