Antisocial crowd, aren't we?


I've been riding for, um, a while. Perhaps a little longer than you, perhaps not as long. But since I've been riding I've noticed a few things changing. Bikes have got quicker, better handling and more usable for a start. They've also become a damn sight more reliable. But one thing hasn't changed.

We're all bikers.

There. I've said it. I've used that word. Now it really doesn't matter to me what you ride or who you are. If it has two wheels and an engine then you are, nominally at least, a biker. Welcome aboard.

But am I in fact kidding myself? If we look around at the bikers of today, as compared to those of even 15 years ago, there's a huge difference. We're an ad-salesman's dream these days. Far from being the scruffy, less well off working class types who used to ride bikes because they were cheap transport, statistically these days we're wealthy professionals who buy a bike as an expensive toy. And presumably to show that we're still real men (and yes, sadly most of us are still men). Now from an industry perspective, this is a Good Thing. You see, we're loaded and we throw shedloads of money at our hobby. Except in tyres, of course. And chains. And other consumables. Because most of us don't actually ride very much. We talk the talk and we buy the kit but we don't really go out and use it. Except to ride down to the pub for a meet - maybe do Box Hill on a nice Sunday and perhaps make a pilgrimage to Brands for World Superbikes once a year.

Now I wonder if the change in our makeup is the reason for another change I've seen. Not so long ago, when you saw another bike you'd at the very least give a nod of greeting. A friendly wave or a quick headlight flash would be more likely. And you'd get a response. You'd often end up having a natter with another biker at the lights, petrol station or Little Chef. And it would be prefectly normal.

So why is it that now when I give another rider a nod I get ignored 90% of the time? If we passed in the street and I said Hallo would you just ignore me? Probably not. So why do you when you're on a bike?

Is it because you don't know how to respond? Is it because you're concentrating so hard on remaining in control that you can't spare the effort to nod? Or is it because you're an ignorant twit?

I acknowledge you because, like me, you have taken a conscious decision to use a mode of transport which can be dangerous, cold, wet and uncomfortable, but which is also great fun. I don't want to meet you, talk to you or exchange bodily fluids. I am simply being friendly. Listen. You can mock as much as you like, but when you're stuck in the middle of nowhere you can guarantee that the bloke who stops to help you will be someone like me.

So next time someone gives you a nod, don't be so bloody rude.



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