Jan 21
Bike Banking” width=

Staff photo by Doug Strickland
Making a payment on freedom.

I often talk about “my” motorcycles. There are two sitting at my house. Well, actually only one today because the other is out in the Gazette’s parking lot, but you get what I mean. I have two motorcycles. Well sort of. I don’t actually own one of them outright. I share the ownership of one of them.
I’m not talking about my wife. She does actually own half of everything I own. Except closets. She owns a good bit more than half of those. And the bathrooms. And the bedroom. Come to think of it, maybe I should just say I own half of some of her stuff. But that’s another topic and not really the co-owner I was talking about.
I still share ownership of one of my bikes with a bank. Now I’m certainly glad the bank was willing to lend me the money to get my bike. And I must admit. as co-owners go, they’ve been pretty generous. I mean they’ve never insisted I bring it down and let them ride it. I’ve never had an argument with them about who’s turn it was to take it to a rally. In fact, they pretty well let me act like I own it. But in the back of my mind, I know it ain’t so. So as I’m out on the open road, wind in my face and fancy free, I know that I’ll still have to swing by the bank and drop off a payment once a month if I want to stay on the road.
Somehow, note payments just don’t fit into that image of wild, self-reliant and freedom two wheels on the highway brings to mind. I listened to some of the great classic biker songs. Born to be wild, Bad to the bone, Wanted dead or alive. Nope. Not a single mention of financing.
I suppose this comes to mind because just a few days ago the wife and I were sitting on her, I mean our, couch, going over the check book, and she happened to mention we only had a few payments left on the bike. I was surprised at how good that made me feel. Unencumbered and free. More like a biker than a typical drone with a bank note. I wasn’t born to be wild, I had to finance it. But I’ve almost got it paid off, so watch out world. Here I come.
Well, not this weekend. I promised the missus I’d cut up the dead tree limbs that fell into the back yard. But next weekend for sure. Or the one after.

- Guy Wheatley

Jan 14
Gun and bikes” width=

Some bikers arm themselves for those remote locations far away from
friends and family.

I haven’t been riding much lately, so I’m pressed for inspiration. The ride to and from work doesn’t offer much excitement or enlightenment. When this happens, I often turn to some of the biker boards I belong to hoping for a spark. But unfortunately, only a few of those guys have been on the road recently and I can’t find anything about riding that sets me off.
One thing I do notice though is that there are more political posts than riding posts on many of the boards. And the topic most represented is the current challenges to the 2nd Amendment. While not all members are pro 2A, the overwhelming majority is. In fact the board has a pretty conservative feel. In retrospect, that shouldn’t be surprising. The two things that drew me to these particular boards are that they are for cruisers, and that these people have a self-reliant, fix it yourself philosophy. Being to cheap …. uh frugal to pay a dealership for a repair that I can do myself, I sought out folks with the same mind set. Most of them are far more experienced than me, so these boards are a great source of information and inspiration. These are people who will take off on a 2,000 mile trip with no more than what they can load on a motorcycle. Except in extreme cases, they intend to handle any repairs on their own. So I suppose it shouldn’t have been surprising that this same independent philosophy informed their political stances.
But it was. I suppose that is because I am what I would consider a moderate. By their standards I probably look like a flaming liberal. In fact, I’m pretty sure I do. But this isn’t a political blog, and I don’t intend to spend most of it justifying my political positions. I do intend to pontificate on what I see as the inevitable correlation between this particular groups of bikers and the 2nd amendment.
One consistent characteristic of this group of people is self-reliance. When something goes wrong with their bikes their first though isn’t “Who do I call?” It’s “What do I need to do to fix this?” Maintenance on their equipment is their responsibility, and something they do with their own hands.
“If I do it myself, I’ll know it’s done right,” is a comment often heard among this bunch regarding repairs and maintenance. It is part of their makeup to rely on themselves to stay out of trouble, or to get out of trouble if it finds them.
It should be no surprise then that the same principle guides their attitudes about personal safety and self protection. If these folks get into trouble their first thought isn’t going to be, “Who do I call?” It’s going to be, “How do negate this threat?” And just as they prevent mechanical breakdowns with preparation, many of them will have prepared for other kinds of trouble by arming themselves with both weapons and training. They will not take lightly the suggestion that, miles from anybody they know on a lonely back road, their only recourse would be to call for help. Don’t expect much support for any kind of gun legislation from the biking world.

- Guy Wheatley