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  1. #1
    Hwy 40 Blue Hwy 40 Blue's Avatar
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    Me vs. the Motorcycles

    Crosschain's thread on Drag Culture vs. Bike Culture prompts me to comment on something that's been bugging me: Packs of motorcyclists roaring by me on the mountain roads near my home. The thing is, the very type of road I like to ride on is the very type of road they like to ride on. We all pay taxes to support these roads. I have a right to be there; they have a right to be there. I'm out there having my kind of fun, they're out there having their kind of fun.

    So why do I resent them? Oh, mainly 'cause they obviously take a huge amount of pleasure in making sure their bikes are so loud they sound like a jackhammer next to your head. Cripes. Multiply that by 10 or 15 blowing by and my head is ringing. Then 10 or 15 more, and 10 or 15 more....pack after pack.

    In other words, I see an inequity here. I'm not bothering them (most, I'm sure, don't even notice me) but they sure as heck are bothering me.

    My little solution is going to be, on weekends I'm going to ride mainly in some areas I happen to know they don't go. Weekdays, when I can, I'll ride my favorite roads.

    I have a friend who has a couple of motorcycles and he's a good guy. So I know that being into that doesn't make you a jerk by any means. That said, on a recent half-day mountain ride, after being passed dozens of times by dozens of ear-splitting biker packs, when my friend and I reached the top, there were two hugely distinct camps hanging about: the cyclists, in their lycra, lean and fit, sucking down water and energy bars, and the bikers, paunchy and soft and sucking on beers and cigarettes. The two camps didn't mingle at all.

  2. #2
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    My take...

    [QUOTE=Hwy 40 Blue]Crosschain's thread on Drag Culture vs. Bike Culture prompts me to comment on something that's been bugging me: Packs of motorcyclists roaring by me on the mountain roads near my home. The thing is, the very type of road I like to ride on is the very type of road they like to ride on. We all pay taxes to support these roads. I have a right to be there; they have a right to be there. I'm out there having my kind of fun, they're out there having their kind of fun.

    So why do I resent them? Oh, mainly 'cause they obviously take a huge amount of pleasure in making sure their bikes are so loud they sound like a jackhammer next to your head. Cripes. Multiply that by 10 or 15 blowing by and my head is ringing. Then 10 or 15 more, and 10 or 15 more....pack after pack.

    In other words, I see an inequity here. I'm not bothering them (most, I'm sure, don't even notice me) but they sure as heck are bothering me.

    My little solution is going to be, on weekends I'm going to ride mainly in some areas I happen to know they don't go. Weekdays, when I can, I'll ride my favorite roads.




    I have a little perspective I think, having been in both cultures.....sort of. I was a motor-cyclist for a long time, but of a little different culture than what you're describing. I rode BMW road bikes and would have classified myself as a sport tourer. I didn't make much noise but did enjoy going fast. I will admit to a little enjoyment found in rolling on the throttle and feeling the resulting power pulses and seeing slow objects become tiny in my mirrors. I hope that didn't somehow make me feel superior but I fear that is often the case for at least some of the riders you're talking about. Real or percieved, I think that's where we find annoyance, true for me anyway. Of course, there's the danger I (we) might be inclined toward a feeling of superiority now too. Feeling ourselves getting more fit, while being more ecologically responsible etc. I'll try to be tolerant toward those noisy bikers and feel good about my choice of two wheels I guess.
    "Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take many small steps" -Helmut
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  3. #3
    Hypoxic Member head_wind's Avatar
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    Being impractical, I think that it should be against the law for the putzes with loud pipes to wear earplugs. I see them wearing plugs all the time and what they are telling us is clear: "I want to annoy the hell out of you and I don't want to suffer anything for it at all!!'. Their safety argument about noise is thoroughly specious too.

    There are also the cars that won't permit you to listen to music in your own car while they are near you.

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    "Loud pipes save lives"-annoying, but might be true-cellphones

    I ride both 2 wheeled devices. I currently have two oldish motorcycles-Yamaha 1978 SR500,Honda 1983 VT500-motorcycles-the SR500 is loud the Honda isn't.I have 4 fully rideable bikes, and too many parts(I also have a room full of MC parts).
    The loud bikes are usually Harleys. Now, I don't like loud bikes anymore. Funny, as I have gotten older, and my hearing has gone south, loud things annoy me more(especially TV commercials-I now understand why my dad always yelled-turn that crap down!).
    However, I suspect the "loud pipes save lives" might be true. When I'm riding the MCs and I see the back of some dolts head with his hand up to his ear while he is looking the other way getting ready to pull across the street( plowing right into me) I just cringe;I hit my pitiful horn-and hope he turns and looks at the oncoming traffic before pulling out. He never does of course. What happens is that he starts forward as he is swivels his head around. I grab a handful of brake, just as he sees me and he hits the brakes. The guy behind me-in a car-hits the brakes also-(I hope).Now if I had really loud rumbling pipes, then Mr Cellphone would have heard me coming, and he wouldn't have started forward.
    Yeah, the loud pipes might actually work.Same story for the folks who move right into your lane because they make no effort to check their mirror blind spot by actually turning and looking.No way can they not know a loud, rumbling bike isn't there.
    Now the "helmets cause broken necks" is pure BS, but the pipes act just like a loud continous horn-you know they are there. They are annoying, but in the age of cellphones-they probably do save lives. Bicycle riders have the same risks from cellphones, but I can turn the bike in more easily-hit the sidewalk , cut behind the car etc-and avoid dealing with the moron on the cell.Luck,Charlie

  5. #5
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    I can really appreciate how you feel Blue. The mountain roads I ride in NC are the same ones the motorcyclists enjoy as well. They're curvy and I would guess would be a blast to ride on by motorcycle. I don't have a single issue with those folks but it's obvious that a few "rev" their rpm's as they come by just to increase the loudness of their machine-I guess trying to impress me???? That's my only beef......that a few intentionally make it a lot louder than it needs to be. When you're long into a hard climb on a warm day it is certainly not a pleasing experience.

    My wife was with me one day and said something to the effect of questioning "their manhood" as the need to make such a loud noise-which I got a big chuckle out of.

    About a month ago I finished a 13 mile climb up one of the roads in NC and stopped at a country store where there were other cyclists and motorcyclists. I talked to one of the motorcyclists and he was very complimentary of my riding up the hill. As it turns out we were about the same age and he used to ride bikes several years ago. He could appreciate the effort and achievement and wished he was back in that kind of shape.

    The only time I've had an issue with the motorcyclists was on an organized ride and I was descending a long curvy road. A group of three passed me during the descent. Unfortunately they were unable to go much faster due to the curves but I continued to accelerate. I wound up passing two of them and rode in the middle of their group for a couple miles. It wasn't particularly safe as I didn't know "how they rode" but it seemed safer than trying to brake at 50 mph and losing control. Just an unfortunate situation for both of us.

    Be safe out there and it's good to see you're still out riding!!

    (BTW-I took vacation Friday and played golf. Seemed like I couldn't miss a putt. I wound up making 6 birdies!!! I hope you guys are still enjoying hitting the links)
    Ride your Ride!!

  6. #6
    bobkat
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    I think you are right - the loud ones are usually Harleys! I've been really impressed with some of the newer bikes being so quiet.
    The other day I was peddling my recumbent and a guy with son behind him on a Gold Wing rode out behind me, then came up alongside me, and all three of us talked about bents and motorcycles for a few minutes, while cycling along! His cycle was almost as quiet as my bent! We laughed about that!
    Don't know why our US technology is so behind the imports! Imports are nice an quiet and all have modern technology, unlike Harleys! I get the impression that the Harley riders tend to be a bit more testosterone pumped and really want that sound to "make a statement!" If so, why the ear plugs??
    I also get the impression that the guys riding the BMW's. the Hondas, and quieter bikes tend to be the better educated, more in shape older professionals. The paunchy, soft, helmetless sucking down beer and cigarettes tend to be the Harley crowd.
    If noise saves lives, why not just put a continuously running siren on bikes? Or at least better louder horns? I think better driver education, educating about car/motorcycle/bicycle interaction might be as effective, and quieter.......

  7. #7
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Harley types don't irritate me so much, except for that damned "open pipes" ear splitting stuff as they go by. They're as oblivious to cyclists as we try to be to them. In fact, we sometimes congregate at the same country store/cafe places on Sat. mornings. Then there are the totally to the max tricked out Lexus driving business executive types on their zoot BMW cruiser bikes indulging in the latest recreational trend among the elite (don't mean that to sound so sarcastic). And then there are a few rice rocket bustards.

    I'm out doing the pleasant rollers on Sonora Road in the usual solitude with kildees crying and the wind in the long grass. Here comes a lunatic kid in cutoffs and t-shirt taking air off the top of the rollers at about 80mph on his rice rocket motorcycle. Scares me from either in front or behind....it's happened more than once.

    I don't mind the poseurs, the sincere, the little bit ridiculous out there in the motorcycle community...we have all their equivalents in our cycling world, too............it's the fools that jeopardize others that I become angry at.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  8. #8
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    A co-worker just got a BMW 1200 CL earlier this year. It barely makes a sound. He tells me that this is his second BMW bike, and he wouldn't buy any other brand.

    I suspect that in about ten years, you're going to see an awful lot of used Harley's on the market. As far as the loud pipes, it seems to be part of the culture. bobkat, I think the "statement" you're talking about is "I'm really a middle-management dweeb, but I like to play bad boy on the weekends".

    In my area, we have both the open-pipe harley crowd, and the very young hot shots on the crotch rockets, and their famous Ring-Ring-RIIINNNGGG! sound. Something about this group I cannot figure out: Why they wear full, all over helmets, complete with darkly tinted face sun shields, but no shirts! Anyone figure this out?
    I thought I was suffering from depression once. Turned out, I was simply surrounded by idiots.

  9. #9
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    Nice to know I'm not alone. I don't understand how middle-aged adults can dress up in biker COSTUMES and ride around on loud bikes on the weekends. I would feel really embarrassed. I realize most of them are good people but I just don't understand how they can justify making that much noise. That's idiotic. I've just learned to stay away from the crowds on the weekends. I'm lucky because I ride a mtb and there are plenty of trails and gravel roads where I live. The bikers don't like to get them harleys dirty.

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    I can see this topic from both sides as I ride both bicycles and motorcycles. I know what you are talking about in regards to the noise. I think the big factor here is the rider's attitude. My own bike is a Kawasaki 1500 Vulcan and the pipes on it would be characterized as loud by most people if I rode the way some of the bikers being discussed here do. I haven't had any complaints about it and in fact have had compliments on the sound. The reason for this is because I short shift it around other people, which really helps keep the noise level down. Winding it out to the max every time the rider takes off is what gives bikers a bad name. Most towns have some kind of excessive noise law. Perhaps if these were enforced more strictly it would help the problem. Of course that wouldn't do much for the bicyclists out on the highway in the country. I don't have an answer for that one.

  11. #11
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    I don't own a motorcycle now but when I did I owned BMWs which are quiet. Some motorcyclists like loud bikes so they will be noticed by drivers who may not see them, anotherwords they see it as an additional saftey feature. Some just want to be noticed. Even in the bicycle culture you have people who pose as outlaws trying to look like bicycling's bad boys; the bike messenger. Have patience for the poor poser; they have no personality of their own so they adopt one from others.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Well, I belong to both camps. For many years, all I did was ride around on my Harleys. And yes, full-on, ear splitting, custom bikes. It's great fun. It's a whole different kind of high. But, as with anything, 99% of the people are posers, and can be irritating. I love the sound of a good running, finely tuned, muscle bike, loud or not. I can't stand the sound of a posers bike, which is typically a relatively stock motor, with a pair of wide open pipes, just to be loud. It may sound great to them, because it's loud, but it's just an irritating hollow BLATTING to anyone else. A bike that has been modified by someone who knows what they are doing, and has been modified to increase performance and power, and is running well, has a whole different sound. It sounds deep and powerful, and shouldn't offend anyone.

    And of course, gear makes an excellent point. God knows that the bicycle culture has it's posers. Gotta be tolerant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thulsadoom
    . It may sound great to them, because it's loud, but it's just an irritating hollow BLATTING to anyone else. A bike that has been modified by someone who knows what they are doing, and has been modified to increase performance and power, and is running well, has a whole different sound. It sounds deep and powerful, and shouldn't offend anyone..
    A loud motorcycle is a loud motorcyle, period, in my opinion, and I don't care how much the engine was modified.

    In my cycling I have generally found motorcycles to be much less tolerant of bikers than cars. Two wide, they often take the full lane and seldom yield any room to a cyclist. When you see them coming you better pray for a shoulder and get on it.
    Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.....Milton Friedman

  14. #14
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monoborracho
    A loud motorcycle is a loud motorcyle, period, in my opinion, and I don't care how much the engine was modified.

    In my cycling I have generally found motorcycles to be much less tolerant of bikers than cars. Two wide, they often take the full lane and seldom yield any room to a cyclist. When you see them coming you better pray for a shoulder and get on it.
    Generalization is the cornerstone of prejudice.

    Every motorcycle has an individual riding it. Some will be courteous, some won't. Same with cars and trucks. Personally, I'm a lot more offended by a godawful loud 18 wheeler passing by me than any loud motorcycle. I won't even get into the whole "motorist on cell phone" thing. You probably won't see many motorcyclists pre-occupied with talking on cell phones while riding.

  15. #15
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thulsadoom
    Generalization is the cornerstone of prejudice.

    Every motorcycle has an individual riding it. Some will be courteous, some won't. Same with cars and trucks. Personally, I'm a lot more offended by a godawful loud 18 wheeler passing by me than any loud motorcycle. I won't even get into the whole "motorist on cell phone" thing. You probably won't see many motorcyclists pre-occupied with talking on cell phones while riding.
    I agree with everything you said except for the thing about not seeing many riders using cell phones. I've seen a few.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    I really only object to the noise. Yesterday I was much more grossed out by fumes from poorly tuned cars that think they have to floor the accelerator as they pass me - aarrrgghhhh! For the most part, bikers in Western NJ are amazingly "normal". Just out enjoying the road, along with the cyclists. I'm just as likely to strike up a conversation with a biker at the local country store as I am with a cyclist.

  17. #17
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sknhgy
    Nice to know I'm not alone. I don't understand how middle-aged adults can dress up in biker COSTUMES and ride around on loud bikes on the weekends. I would feel really embarrassed. I realize most of them are good people but I just don't understand how they can justify making that much noise. That's idiotic.
    You know, it's funny. Change a couple of the words in the above sentence, and it's almost exactly the same rant I hear from close minded, ignorant motorcyclists about bicyclists. "Nice to know I'm not alone. I don't understand how middle-aged adults can dress up in biker COSTUMES and ride around on those slow bikes creating traffic problems on the weekends. I would feel really embarrassed. I realize most of them are good people but I just don't understand how they can justify getting in my way and looking that gay. That's idiotic."

    I've been riding both for many decades, and I still don't understand the elitism and the ignorance on both sides of the fence.

    But I will say that anything on two wheels beats anything on 4 wheels.

    Az

  18. #18
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    So now I'm generally predjudiced? You need to read my post again.
    Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.....Milton Friedman

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    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monoborracho
    So now I'm generally predjudiced? You need to read my post again.
    I read your post and thought it included a generalization. I also read Thursadoom's reply and didn't see where you were called "generally predjudiced"; so I don't know what you are refering to. His reply did include a saying about predjudice that may or maynot apply but he didn't seem to be name calling.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thulsadoom
    Generalization is the cornerstone of prejudice.

    Every motorcycle has an individual riding it. Some will be courteous, some won't. Same with cars and trucks. Personally, I'm a lot more offended by a godawful loud 18 wheeler passing by me than any loud motorcycle. I won't even get into the whole "motorist on cell phone" thing. You probably won't see many motorcyclists pre-occupied with talking on cell phones while riding.
    Yeah, whatever, but we weren't talking about 18 wheelers and this thread wasn't about 18 wheelers it was about the annoyance of motorcycles to some people.
    Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.....Milton Friedman

  21. #21
    "I'm OK!" dminor's Avatar
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    One person's 'noise' is the next person's 'music.' It's all music to me: The deep rumble of the 45 degreee v-twin - - the same throatiness as the old Y-block Ford V-8s; the high-winding camminess of the new generation of sport bikes - some so potent-sounding, they remind me of the Triumph factory roadracers of the early '70s. Next time, instead of just hearing 'noise,' take a real listen and pick out the different instruments in the orchestra.

    I just wish there was still the whine of a well-tuned two-stroke twin on the open road.

  22. #22
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrossChain
    I'm out doing the pleasant rollers on Sonora Road in the usual solitude with kildees crying and the wind in the long grass. Here comes a lunatic kid in cutoffs and t-shirt taking air off the top of the rollers at about 80mph on his rice rocket motorcycle. Scares me from either in front or behind....it's happened more than once.
    Only 80mph? Around here you get buzzed by 3-5 guys going about 120mph all of the time. I was in my car riding down 95 a few weeks ago and one goes by at 90mph+ doing wheel stand, just riding that way! Man I cringe when I see stuff like that, it does make me feel like riding my bicycle is a lot less dangerous.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

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  23. #23
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hwy 40 Blue
    So why do I resent them? Oh, mainly 'cause they obviously take a huge amount of pleasure in making sure their bikes are so loud they sound like a jackhammer next to your head.
    Having owned a very quiet motorcycle (Why tell the cops where you are going fast?) I've often wondered if the root of having such a loud motorcycle is some kind of scatalogical wish fulfillment of being able to fart loud and long in public.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dminor
    One person's 'noise' is the next person's 'music.' It's all music to me: The deep rumble of the 45 degreee v-twin - - the same throatiness as the old Y-block Ford V-8s; the high-winding camminess of the new generation of sport bikes - some so potent-sounding, they remind me of the Triumph factory roadracers of the early '70s. Next time, instead of just hearing 'noise,' take a real listen and pick out the different instruments in the orchestra.

    I just wish there was still the whine of a well-tuned two-stroke twin on the open road.
    Sorry...have to disagree here. Noise is "pollution"...especially those %$#@! Harleys with the "Screaming Eagle" tailpipes. There's no good reason for them to be so loud that you can hear them a mile away.

    We regulate other types of pollution...I just wish the state would pass a "maximum decibel level" law to quiet those fat %$#@!'s.
    CycliStats.com - Software for Cyclists
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Cassave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrossChain
    ............
    I don't mind the poseurs, the sincere, the little bit ridiculous out there in the motorcycle community...we have all their equivalents in our cycling world, too............it's the fools that jeopardize others that I become angry at.
    Around here (Santa Monica mtns. SoCal) it's the rice rocket boys that cause me grief. I do everything I can to make sure sure I'm well clear of the apex of any corner as these guys blow by at speed. The Harley crowds are way too loud but they generally give me more than enough room on a pass. I hate getting breezed by some 19 yr. old on a 1000cc projectile..........

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