Motorcycles are like snakes.

Tattooed Biker
As winter leathers come off, vibrant skin patterns are revealed.

Motorcycles are like snakes. At least my wife thinks so. There is a park close to her workplace where she often goes for lunch. I was talking to her on the phone one day while she was there when our conversation was interrupted by a loud bike going by her.
“I’ve seen a bunch of bikes today,” she exclaimed. “This is the first day I’ve seen any.” Then she continued, “You know how when you see the first snake after winter they’re suddenly everywhere? It’s the same way with motorcycles.”
I can’t say I’d ever thought of it in just those terms, but she is on to something. I suppose it’s for the same reason. Motorcycle riders, like snakes, don’t come out as much when it’s cold and wet. But the sun warming asphalt is irresistible to both.
And as the summer goes on, bikers, again like snakes, go through a molting process. Riders braving early spring will be encased in warming layers, usually of leather. Those that eschew helmets are still likely to have some kind of warming head gear. But as the days get longer and warmer, the outer layers begin to slough off. As just as the dull, old skin of the snake comes off to reveal the bright vibrant pattern of each particular species, so the black winter garb coming off may reveal bright vibrant patterns of the biker’s tattoos. And just as the distinctive patterns on reptiles may warn of danger, so too can the the identifying markings on a one-percenter warn of potential lethality.
Drawing this tortured analogy to a final point, the end of summer may see the epidermis of the sun-loving biker truly resembling the reptilian scales of a snake. Dry glassy eyes squinting from a dry leathered face, cracked enough to look like scales, is a common sight at July and August rallies.
So as you head out on the road, keep an eye out for snakes and bikers. Please don’t run over one of them.

— Guy Wheatley

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