Monday, December 7, 2009

Group rides, big & small

Aw, group rides. What a blast.
It's hard to decide if I like small group rides or large group rides better. Both have their advantages & disadvantages. But both can be equally fun. & Riding with just Papa Bear is nothing but good times. Seems every ride I go on, I think that one was the best & then I'll go on another & think that one was the best & on it goes. The next ride will always be the best.

Small group rides can be just a few friends having a great ride heading for breakfast or just an adventure. Our normal small group rides are a handful of riders that are all familiar with each others riding style. We know who should ride sweep, who should lead, who doesn't like to ride in gravel & who has been drinking or not. We trust each other. We have all ridden with each other numerous times & we all know each others hand signals. Small group rides, we have to be more careful about cagers, then riders

Most rides, big or small, usually have a brief safety meeting, go over hand signals, talk about the route we will take, any known road construction, etc.

Large rides are very powerful, as 1,000's bikes go by, all the car alarms go off. Nothing gets traffics attention better then the rolling thunder going down the road. If we are lucky, a large group ride will have a police escort, but with budget cutbacks, we see that less & less. Have to give a hats off to organizers of group rides. They really have their shit together. The logistics & planning is very impressive. A problem with large group rides is you don't know how the rider next to you is. Is the guy next to you experienced? Has he been drinking? Does he take tight turns?
If there isn't hand signals, it can be a disaster. Large group rides, we have to be more careful about riders then cagers.

Which brings up another topic.
Hand signals.
I've linked some of the most common, although there are several more used but not listed.
There is the universal hand signals that is used through out the country. & Some groups have their own unique signals. It's how we talk to each other, let those behind use know what those in front are doing. Maybe even let the cagers know what is going on. I'm a firm believer in hand signals, they do good.

Large, small or solo, just be careful out there, keep the shiny side up & just remember, it isn't the destination, but the journey.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Grandson's first ride

Our grandson, LT had been begging PapaBear for a ride on the bike ever since he was just a toddler. When he turned 6, we decided he was old enough for a ride around the block a few times.

They were visiting one day & LT came running inside. "Gramma, Gramma! Papa is taking me for a ride!!!" I turn around, & there is grandson with one of my riding jackets, a helmet that is too big & my goggles kinda' hanging off his ears & perched on his nose. He had geared himself up. I helped him tighten the helmet strap, re-adjusted the goggles for a better fit & zipped up the jacket. This boy was so incredibly excited & very anxious to get on the rode, I actually feel the same way if I haven't been on the bike for a few days, kinda' start jonesing for it.

We met Papa out in the driveway. After strict instructions to stay away from the pipes, hold on tight & don't wiggle around, I helped LT up to sit in front of Papa. He grabbed a hold of the gas tank lid & turned to smile at me with the biggest smile I have ever seen on his face. & Off they went. I took a picture & sent it into a bike magazine we really like & they actually published it.

Granddaughter & I sat to wait for them on the park bench I have in my front garden. We could hear that Harley as it went through the neighborhood, they rode every street in the area. Then I realized, I couldn't hear them anymore. WTF? They were just suppose to stay close by, just the side streets. 20 minutes later, they pull up, grandson was grinning ear to ear. "Did you see me? Did you see me, Gramma?" I asked PapBear where did they go? "Oh, ya' know, gas & smokes"

Grandson now has his own proper sized helmet. He asked me to make a vest for him just like Papas. He picked out the patches himself at the local leather shop. & Wears it with pride. We found him fingerless gloves, just his size & he still wears my goggles.
I can't wait for the day that he can ride his own bike. It is in his blood, both his Papas & a few uncles all ride.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Low Life Bikers

I recently had a conversation with a clueless person. Here is her quote: "Bikers, by and large are pretty low down characters,imho." I told her she didn't know what the fuck she was talking about.

Sure there are 1%er's, but they represent a small percentage of the biker world. but even then, they have open wallets for any cause or need.

The majority of bikers I know are law abiding citizens, they are cops, firemen, business men, preachers, ministers, priests, doctors, lawyers, the list goes on & on. Politicians, sports figures, all walks of life, all levels of employment. I remember seeing years ago, about half of the Greenbay Packers ride to a home game on their bikes.

There are clubs made up entirely of Christians, military personnel, cops, firemen. Some clubs are made up of AA members. Church groups, bowling teams, co-workers.

On any given weekend there is at least one charity ride or fund raiser.

We raise money for breast cancer, a fallen police officer, a fallen soldier or a fallen brother or sister. We raise money to help out kids with no dental insurance, people that need a life saving surgery & have no insurance or very little to pay for it. Name a disease & I can name a charity ride to raise money for that disease or get one going. Tell me the name of a family that had their house burned down & I can get a couple hundred bikers to either ride to raise money, help rebuild the house or find them a place to live.

I've been on a ride that raised money for musical instruments for a local school.
How about the group that is now on TV? They have devoted their life to rescue abused & neglected animals.

Toys rides, food & clothing for the homeless rides, every seen 1,500 bikers go by with frozen turkeys strapped to the back? or 1,000 bikes go by with stuffed animals tied to the bars?

Last year, our local bikers raised over $56,000 for Special Olympics.
A few weeks ago, local groups collected a truck load of food for the local food bank.

& How about our Patriot Guard? They escort fallen soldiers funerals & provide security for the family's, shield the mourning family and their friends from protesters.

Anytime, anywhere there are bikers that will do what they can to help out someone, they have open wallets & open hearts. & If it involves kids, there wallets open even wider.
We are an extremely diverse group. All are welcome, there is no discrimination of skin color, sexual preference or even bike type.

If you think bikers are low down characters, think again. You just might be related a biker, work with a biker or your dentist or OB GYN could be a biker.

Not all bikers ride Harleys, you ride a bike with two wheels, you are a member of the biker family.

The next time you turn up your nose when a biker goes by, ask yourself. Who has given back to the community more, who has been more generous to a charity, you or that low life biker?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Bitch on the Back

Not sure if you have ever seen the t-shirt "If you can read this, the bitch fell off". I can assure you, I will never be that bitch.

Someday, I will ride my own bike again, but for now, I am content to ride on the back. I've gotten very good at taking pictures over PapaBears shoulders. I can relax & enjoy the scenery & be an extra lookout for cagers not watching out for us.

Riding on the back frees me up to pass the hand signals along, low 5 other bikers & maybe give PapaBear a hand job.

Riding on the back means I have placed total trust with PapaBear, but that trust has never been in question, I've trusted that man for 30 years & I plan on trusting him for at least 30 more.

Someday, I plan on getting a bike with a side car, so the grandkids can ride with me, maybe teach the dog to ride, he gets so excited when ever he hears a bike start up, I wonder if he was a biker in a previous life.

but for now, I'm proud to be the bitch on the back.

But you didn't see me.

My first blog.
This poem was sent to me a couple years ago. Anyone that has ever ridden a bike, wore colors or even just a Harley t-shirt can really relate.

Anonymous Writer
But, You Didn't See Me

I saw you,hug your purse closer to you in the grocery store line.
But, you didn't see me,put an extra $10.00 in the collection plate last Sunday.
I saw you,pull your child closer when we passed each other on the sidewalk.
But, you didn't see me,playing Santa at the local mall.
I saw you,change your mind about going into the restaurant.
But, you didn't see me,attending a meeting to raise more money for the hurricane relief.
I saw you,roll up your window and shake your head when I drove by.
But, you didn't see me,driving behind you when you flicked your cigarette butt out the car window.
I saw you,frown at me when I smiled at your children.
But, you didn't see me,when I took time off from work to run toys to the homeless.
I saw you,stare at my long hair.
But, you didn't see me,and my friends cut ten inches off for Locks of Love.
I saw you,roll your eyes at our leather coats and gloves.
But, you didn't see me,and my brothers donate our old coats and gloves to those that had none.
I saw you,look in fright at my tattoos.
But, you didn't see me,cry as my children where born and have their name written over and in my heart.
I saw you,change lanes while rushing off to go somewhere.
But, you didn't see me,going home to be with my family.
I saw you,complain about how loud and noisy our bikes can be.
But, you didn't see me,when you were changing the CD and drifted into my lane.
I saw you,yelling at your kids in the car.
But, you didn't see me,pat my child's hands, knowing he was safe behind me.
I saw you,reading the newspaper or map as you drove down the road.
But, you didn't see me,squeeze my wife's leg when she told me to take the next turn.
I saw you,race down the road in the rain.
But, you didn't see me,get soaked to the skin so my son could have the car to go on his date.
I saw you,run the yellow light just to save a few minutes of time.
But, you didn't see me,trying to turn right.
I saw you,cut me off because you needed to be in the lane I was in.
But, you didn't see me,leave the road.
I saw you,waiting impatiently for my friends to pass.
But, you didn't see me.I wasn't there.
I saw you,go home to your family.
But, you didn't see me.Because, I died that day you cut me off.
I was just a biker,.....
A person with friends and a family.
Please remember our fallen brothers and sisters as riding season starts.
And watch out for all those jerks in cars that don't give a shit.
Ride safe!