Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Rolling Thunder

DC was invaded this past weekend by thousands and thousands of vets on Harleys. They make quite an impressive sight...and sound, for that matter. When they come rolling across the Potomac in honor of their lost war-time buddies, it's very touching.

No one messes with them, either. La Bomba reported that she saw a bunch of bikes left unattended with very expensive-looking leather jackets wrapped up on the handlebars. At first, she thought that the bikers were being very trusting; then she realized, who exactly would mess with a biker? No matter how nice the jacket is, that pretty much is guaranteeing you a big ole can of whup-ass.

And burn on the WashPost. They accidentally - or at least, I'm assuming it wasn't on purpose - printed, on the cover of Saturday's Metro section, this photo: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2005/05/27/PH2005052701575.html. In case they've taken the picture down, it's of a fierce-looking member of Rolling Thunder with a little drop-kick dog perched on his knee. Obviously, the photographer was focusing on the disconnect between the big, burly man and the twee pet. What's funny is that the motorcycle guy was wearing a leather jacket on which you could clearly read a patch that said, "Asshole." Shocking. Won't someone please think of the children?

I've never been on a Harley. Growing up, my mom had a ban on motorcycle rides as one of the absolute, cross-this-and-die restrictions for us (another one was: do not skip school. She assured us that if we did, and we got caught, she would hold our hands and walk us to classes. I had no doubt that she would and consequently never, ever missed a day).

As an adult, I did manage to get on a small motorcycle though. A few years ago, I was visiting FrequentFlyer in Athens for Thanksgiving. He had to work most days, so I spent my time out seeing the sights and tooling around various tourist destinations. At one museum, I got to chatting with a guard who was very friendly. He ended up asking me out for coffee, and I figured, what the hell - FrequentFlyer was going to have to work late that day anyways. So the museum guard (MG) arranged to pick me up by a metro. I thought that we'd walk to a local cafe. MG had different plans. He wanted to drive me, on his motorcycle, to the top of a local hill so that I could see Athens in twilight. I realized that I was in for a trip to Athens' version of Makeout Point, but I thought I would cross that bridge when I came to it. I put on his spare helmet and off we went.

MG went zipping up these very windy, wet roads (it had rained earlier that day). Which didn't make me that nervous. What had me shitting bricks was his driving on the wrong side of the road around blind turns and passing more sane motorists in the process. All I could think was that I was going to die on that hilltop and, when I met up with my mom in the afterlife, I would have the biggest "I told you so" coming. By the time we made it to the peak, my legs were shaking. I very firmly told MG that if we didn't go slower on the way back down, there would be hell to pay. We put-putted back down the hill, much to my great relief. And it pretty much cured me of ever wanting to ride a motorcycle again.

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