Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Way out past Langtry on my recent jaunt, I was entertained by the people on bicycles and motorcycles. The bicyclists seemed to be part of a rally or race or something. For many miles they were strung out along the opposite shoulder of the road. Chugging up hills, they showed me faces that were either in smiles of transport from all the endorphins they were generating, or maybe those were rictuses of agony. I couldn't tell the difference.
The other group of two-wheelers was middle-aged motorcyclists. Did every doofus Yuppie in the whole damn country go out and buy a Harley? These just aren't the bikers of years ago. Back in the Sixties, I worked with a guy who said he'd got a bid to join the Hell's Angels out in Fresno. He was a reliable narrator; I never knew him to improve a story. It's probably better for all the world that he rejected the invitation. Smart as he was if he'd worked at crime he woulda been a terror. In his later years he ran a tattoo shop, Painless Pablo's, out on Dyer near Ft. Bliss in El Paso.
I think the modern phenomenon of the bourgeois biker is a little creepy in the way so many modern phenomena are creepy. They come down the road in big packs, but they have the intimidation factor of the Shriner contingent in a July 4th parade. Saw one middle-aged guy all done up in black-leather everything in Marfa trying to hustle a cute little waitress about half his age by telling her all about something he'd seen in a museum in Mexico. That's just sad … that chicklet wasn't interested in museums. Some people just don't get social nuances.

1 comment:

Pilot said...

Finally, a post that I feel eminently qualified to offer some educated commentary on. I happen to have a pretty good background on both of the two-wheelers you mentioned. From the second hand Schwinn I got as a first bike, to the K2 mountain bike clamped in the bed of my pick-up, bicycles have always been a way of life for me. I am as irritated by these Lance Armstrong wannabes who clog already cross lined, too narrow, country roads and flip off cars that come within ten feet of them. Some of these snooty assholes are wearing bike shorts that cost more than my beloved K2 mountain bike. As much as I love bicycling, I do it on park trails, in wilderness areas, that offer a chance to dodge a copperhead, or enjoy the beauty of an occasional big cat, coyote, or deer and wild hogs. If by chance I have to cross a street, I rarely will even push the button and stop traffic, but rather allow them to go upon their way unimpeded, and wait for a gap big enough to shoot through without contributing to the already bad traffic problem up here in the city.

On the subject of the motorbikes, I am inclined to agree with your assessment of the "born to be mild" geezers who think Hardleys are a substitute for testosterone. I am between motorbikes at the moment, but the urge is starting to tug at me again. Having had a motorcycle license since they became a requirement in '66 I think it was, I think sufficient time has passed since my upholstery regenerated on my shoulder, and the ribs mended from the last pavement encounter, and when finances and situation merges at a convenient place, I'll likely pick up another classic BMW or Norton, or Vincent Black Lightning, to store in a safe place near the bay and ride when the urge for some wind in my face and hair hits me. Might even snag me a couple of dirt bikes for the big kid and I. Lotsa cool places down there to play off road. Other than that little impact scenario with sixty year old bones hitting hard clay, the only other obstacle is those wild rose hedges and the cacti.......
Last scooter trip of consequence was on my fortieth B-day.....rode my old '73 BMW with the ex, from Katy to the Sierra Madres south of Monterrey. A beautiful drive, and a week long adventure for sure. As pretty as Mexico is down in the interior though, these days I wouldn't cross the international bridge, or drive through Nuevo Laredo, in anything less armored than a Panzer, or Sherman tank.........