Monday, April 12, 2010

There's no such thing as ugly or stupid... at least in motorcycles.

So I popped into Coffee Bean for my daily fix of green tea and had an interesting conversation that led me to think about judgment in motorcycling.

The guy behind the counter looked totally hip in his clear Ray-Bans, shaved head, and tattoos. Super friendly guy. And a tea drinker, too. Anyway, so I was wearing my favorite Triumph t-shirt from Glory (great store with a vintage vibe, check it out), and the counter guy asked if I rode a Triumph. So I answered, “Yes!” He then asked if I had one of the new ones that looked old. Again, I answered, “Yes, an ’04, but I also have a ’77.” So we talked about the woes of kick-starting an old machine and he mentioned how much he’d like to get one of the new ones.Since he showed an interest in motorcycles, I, of course, asked if he rode.

That’s when it happened. Something I hate to see. He turned his eyes away, got uncomfortable, and answered that he had… a scooter. “Cool!” I said. “I love scooters. I’m in the market for an old Vespa.”

Then he got even more embarrassed. “Oh, yeah… well… I just have a Yamaha Vino.”

A Vino. Vintage inspired. Inexpensive. Nothing to be ashamed of, so why was he?

He should have been proud.

Because I always get excited talking bikes, I asked him a couple of questions, which got him talking and he totally lit up and told me about all the modifications he’d made and how fun it was. Just like that, he shifted from shame to enthusiasm. He wants to get a Bonnie someday, but an upcoming wedding and European honeymoon have priority right now. Point is, he’s a future motorcyclist. And that’s way cool.

Our conversation led me to think about judgment in general. There’s way too much of it in the world. Hell, I’m as guilty as the next Doll. But here’s the deal: scooter or motorcycle, the guy is riding. He’s young. He shares a passion. He’s in the game. Should he feel embarrassed or ashamed just because he’s still working toward his dream bike? Granted, we all have tastes and preferences. I like the old beasts that barely run, which is pretty stupid. If I had half a brain I wouldn’t mess with them (like my poor little ’66 Yamaha YM1). Some riders appreciate fancy paint jobs, or ape-hangers, or carbon fiber. Some don’t. Our motorcycles are an expression of personal style. Or, they’re a reflection of our current situation. Regardless. Riding is what it’s about.

So I have a goal and a challenge: to put aside personal bias and love the fact that someone else has found the passion--even if they pull up on a Pacific Coast with a chopper kit.


  1. That's a wonderful goal. Yeah, not everyone has my passion but I should mock the passions of others... I love your post today.


  2. Hi Modo,

    Just happened to see this blog. I know nothing about motorcycles and have only been on one three times in my life, so this was very entertaining. What you said about judgement is applicable to all areas of life, something we all need to work on.