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Vicious cycles

Motorcycles had a bad boy allure for me in my younger days. I almost got my learner’s permit. Before I went forward with this I came to a realization: I do not like to get wet or cold. This slowed me down. I would still have to have a car to get to work in the winter and the rain. It did not seem quite so attractive anymore. What do the biker gangs do in bad weather? I never see them huddled under an overpass looking like a pack of wet cats. Maybe, like baseball players, they just don’t work in the rain.I had never taken a really close look at a motorcycle, just the riders. They looked very dramatic in all that black leather and their Army surplus helmets. I was not so sure about the tattoo thing ( I don’t like needles) but I was willing to keep an open mind. Then I took a closer look at the machines. I was horrified. The mechanism that transfers the power from the big, bad engine to the wheels is, of all things, a bicycle chain! Good grief! It’s a bicycle! This took the wild thing down several notches. Visions of hairy, leather clad rebels riding bicycles into town just didn’t cut it. The noisy, ferocious sounding engines were just a ramped up version of the baseball card on the spokes. Sure they are dangerous. This is part of the culture. You can get wiped out at any time in an inattentive moment. Guess what: same thing with bicycles. They just don’t have to scrape you off of as much highway on the pedal version.I have always wondered what happens when those preppy biker clubs, often in white leathers, meet up with the dark side version at the big motorcycle rallies. Do they compare tailors? Talk about miles per gallon? Arm wrestle? Does one club trash a bar and the other one clean up the mess?Motor bikes, a kind of compromise, were a puzzle to us as kids. Nobody I knew ever got one. The thing that stopped us, aside from the cost, was that they were just not cool. They seem to get a lot of play in Asia, though. Over there, if a thing works it gets used.Years ago I tried to recapture the thrill of biking. I quickly learned that a lot of dogs hate bikes. I had to dismount and use the bike for a shield while waiting for the owner to call off Cujo. Here we see the main advantage of a motorcycle. You are faster than most dogs.Ride on, brothers!Bill Abrams resides, and roams about clad in leather and biker chains, sans bike, in Pine Plains.

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