I ride a motorcycle – I’ve ridden motorcycles for 30 years. It’s common for me to ride in weather that makes most car drivers uncomfortable. Having a motorcycle in Seattle means that you either are willing to ride in the rain or your bike is parked most of the year. I have the water resistant jacket, pants, gloves, and boots; I draw the line at snow and ice.
Riding in the city is dangerous. Riding in the rain is dangerous. Riding in the dark is dangerous. Put these together and you have the perfect cocktail for paranoia. Motorcycle riders refer to other vehicles as “cages” that are often only placed on the road in an effort to run them over. This understanding of motorcyclists common “enemy”, combined with the freedom afforded by motorcycling, results in a sort-of fraternity, usually. This is usually demonstrated through a friendly wave, or congenial conversation at a watering hole.
Most of the year there are few other motorcycle riders on the road with me. I get very used to only occasionally seeing other hearty souls who brave the cold, wet elements – and not waving (we’re too busy trying to stay alive).
Now we are entering the time of year when a sunny day brings fair-weather bikers out from hibernation in droves. I find myself jaded by the introduction of spotless machines, poorly driven by riders who are wrapped in leather that still smells new, as they wave at me from the opposite lane. Suddenly they’re in the club?
I’m doing my best to encourage others in the motorcycle hobby, but where were you guys last week? If I don’t wave, it’s just because I’m not used to see you there...