The surgery was seven weeks ago. Physically, I’m recovering faster than my doctor expected. It’s always good to hear how far ahead of the curve I am on each visit. That being said, I guess I was expecting more energy, stamina and desire to do stuff. I really thought I’d have been back to blogging several weeks by now. It’s just hard to write about the motorcycles when I haven’t been on them in such a long time. It will be a least a couple of weeks before I get on them again. And then it will only be for short rides of a few blocks. As a result, I just don’t have much to talk about.
One bike-related event did happen recently while I was waiting a drug delivery. Actually, I was standing in line at the pharmacy. There was a pretty long line so I knew I’d be there for a while. They guy standing in front of me looked to be in his mid-30s. He was wearing soiled jeans, a tattered sleeveless t-shirt, and sported a goatee. He had tattoos, but so do I, so no judgment here on that score. He just seemed like a typical, working-class stiff who’d stopped by the pharmacy on his way home from work. What caught my attention wasn’t the way he looked. It was what he was saying. He was taking to the lady ahead of him about a mutual friend who’d been hurt on a motorcycle.
I listened for a second to see if I might know the person they were talking about. I didn’t know the subject of their conversation, but was just about to join in offering sympathy when the guy said something that stopped me.
“Yep,” he said loudly, “that’s why I’ve got loud pipes on my bike. Loud pipes save lives.” He then went on with an impossible tale of a lady on the interstate doing 80 in an SUV full of kids almost changing lanes in front of him until he hit the throttle and his pipes warned her off.
I’m not saying it didn’t happen. It just would have to have happened in a universe with different laws of physics than those that operate here in this one. If he had no pipes at all simply blasting hot exhaust gases directly from his heads, the lady doing 80 in an SUV would not have heard him until his was even with her. By the time she heard his pipes he would have to be almost to the front of her vehicle and past the most dangerous point. It’s far more likely she caught movement in her peripheral visual field. There has been a lot of research on this subject, and nobody has found a single piece of objective data that loud pipes are beneficial. In fact, there is a considerable body of evidence that they are detrimental. But nonetheless, some people who like loud pipes continue to insist they are a safety feature.
The fellow in line ahead of me was obviously one of them. He then continued with several other colloquialisms that were equally ridiculous, including the following two
He didn’t wear a helmet because it restricts vision. And there are two kinds of bikers: those who have had an accident and those who are going to.
As I listened to him loudly blather away, it occurred to me that with his philosophies on safety, it was no wonder he assumed that accidents were inevitable.
－ Guy Wheatley