My theories are varied as to why there has been another sudden increase in the broader population’s interest in motorcycles and riding. I tend not to chalk it up to “cool factor”. There has always been that element of unfortunates trying to look cool on two wheels and will continue to be into the visible future, but to say that is the sole reason for the sharp increase in motorcycling interest is naïve and ridiculous. Besides, those weekend warriors tend to ride once, maybe twice, snap a few photos next to their bike, and leave it to rot slowly in their garage, only to see the light of day when they need that little ego pick me up. That hardly accounts for the highways full of riders.
Today there is a quickly growing contingency of folks genuinely interested in riding itself, not just owning a shiny symbol of midlife crisis. Even more interestingly, my friends and I are no longer the odd folks out with a large movement sweeping in of younger people wanting to shed the garbage most motorcycle companies sell and get back to basics. For a long time, it was hard to go out to biker events and find anyone outside of our core group with oil in their blood, but these days more and more that latent gene, that spark inside of people like us is firing up all over the world and it is beautiful.
However, like with all things which develop suddenly, the growing pains are sharper and the learning curve ill defined. That in mind, a blog post to address a certain piece of biker decency seemed necessary. Well, that, and like with all our adventures, whatever loose course and smattering of destinations we throw darts at on the map, aka “plan”, inevitably the great cycle of fate throws extra goodies at us, a hidden locale, a whole new road getting lost finds, or, as in this case, a scenario which lends itself well to discourse.
Yesterday, as we made our way out of town, on the highway shoulder was a sharp looking young man next to his slick homage to the late sixties, broken down. Of course, we immediately we stopped to assist. And while we sat talking, waiting for another biker to return who lived conveniently right up the road and had a spare fuel filter and bit of hose available, notes were compared on the longshot that is having another biker stop to help in spite of the massive rider population these days and out came my camera as this entry was born.
If you’re new to the riding world, or maybe you’ve been riding for a year or two and weren’t aware of this incredibly important piece of biker etiquette, this may be the numero uno on the short list of motorcycle protocol:
If another biker is stranded on the roadside YOU STOP TO HELP.
There are no excuses, there are no good reasons not to. It doesn’t matter if they are the biggest scariest one percenter you’ve ever seen, the nerdy kind of guy on a foreign bike with the spaceman get up they always seem to wear, a cussing crotchety grey beard who probably has more repair knowledge in his pinky than you will ever be blessed to learn, or just a nice retired couple who thought a bike would be a fun way to see the country, you always stop to help. There are few things more irritating than being stranded, but on a bike it is particularly difficult because leaving a bike by the roadside while you go for help or parts is a foolhardy endeavor; no matter how short a distance you must go, your bike won’t likely still be there when you return. However, the slightest help, someone to run and get a part for you while you stay with your bike, just a bottle of water in the heat or cellphone that actually gets reception can make all the difference, so that even those bikers with no mechanical skill can help in some way. And all that aside, it may not say it on the paperwork you got when you bought your bike, but we are a community. An often dysfunctional community, but a community nonetheless. Even the most solitary natured among bikers know the comradery and will help a stranger when they need it. So the next time you see a rider stranded, stop and offer any help you can. It’s part of what you agreed to when you chose to join this community, and besides, someday you will be that rider stranded on the roadside.
Your story remind me of a time last year where my late husband and I stopped to help out a fellow rider. We spent several hours helping a feller get back on the road after breaking a throttle cable. One of the locals scrounged up a Jap clutch cable and we filed, scraped and Mickey moused it til it fit into his tired old Amal and throttle tube. It had no front brake, an oil-soaked rear brake, leaked about a quart an hour from the looks of it, had open pipes and a single Amal with stock jetting. The guy had no money, a handful of worn out tools and a screwdriver. He was determined to get to Georgia from Northern California on it. We wished him luck on journey once we got it fixed. I always wondered if he ever made it to Georgia on that bike.
I bet he did. Anybody with that much determination usually does. 🙂 Good he had folks like y’all to help out though.
I ride and it is the same in the uk both the motorcycle variant and the cycle one, the kindred spirits within these groups will always stop, it’s what makes this special.
Sadly, some riders don’t stop. Just do for them what you would want someone to do for you.
Great read! Very true!
Thank you. I hope more people keep it in mind. I’ve had bikes pass me when I’ve broken down. It’s infuriating.
Getting around to browsing your wonderful site and came upon this post. Bravo! I have not had the misfortune of being stranded but once or twice in my years of riding. Both times, bikers passed me buy, but car drivers stopped to help!
Your photos are fantastic. By the way, what motorbikes do y’all ride and where in the South did you live?
Thank you. I’ve had everyone from “bikers” to cops pass me by when I’ve been stranded. It’s no fun. My husband rides a 97 Road King, I ride an 06 Triumph America, and we always have projects laying around, sometimes in ride condition. 🙂 I’m an Arkansas hillbilly but I’ve lived all over the South, mostly in the Delta region. What about yall?
South Carolina is home. We live in the Upstate with access to the best motorcycle roads in the southeast, maybe the country! Blue Ridge Parkway, Tail of the Dragon, any road in the North Georgia mountains….they’re all in our backyard. Looking forward to reading more of your posts. We love exploring ghost towns when we travel out west. Sounds like you have a number of them around where you ride.
Not that you’re biased? 😉 I kid, South Carolina is gorgeous. The ghost towns in the west are so interesting, and there are certainly more here than I realized, but I need to switch it up occasionally. After the trips west this summer, Dharma Anchor got significantly more bogged down with them than I’d ever intended. 🙂 If yall make it out this way, be sure and let us know.
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Congratulations! I have featured your post on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.
I sure hope you are having a terrific week.
Thank you so much 🙂
You are very welcome. 🙂
VERY NICELY DONE!
Thank you 🙂
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Thank you very much 🙂