Why motorcyclists do things

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/07/23/why-motorcyclists-do-things.html


The closing paragraph points to one of my biggest worries for fellow bikers. Helmets with HUDs are getting better and cheaper quickly. While it’s not as distracting as a murderously stupid cager looking down at a phone screen, the personal stakes for becoming even slightly distracted are much higher.


Boredom tinkering is huge.

Every pre-EFI bike I’ve ever had had me tinkering with the carb at stoplights. It started with my Sportster, somewhat of a necessity because I was changing altitude a lot on my drives with that bike and it had a finicky idle.


Good god. Once I get carbs set I do not want to touch them.


I don’t notice it because I can’t see that area. When I’m driving at home this isn’t a big issue, since I have perfect visibility with the Alfa convertible and I have the mirrors on car #2 adjusted correctly, but when I’m driving a rental (for example the several weeks/year when I’m driving around the North Bay) anyone in that bit of road is effectively invisible. Fortunately for the cyclist, when they appear suddenly out of nowhere I tend to swerve in the opposite direction, and only hit the car on my left.

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Especially mid-ride. Then again, I hate carbs. I like my engine to start on the first try. Vintage bikes have a lot to be nostalgic about, but not that.


your paint job looks like a creamsicle :slight_smile:

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I read the the entire list and learned several new things. I have two quibbles, though. First, lane-splitting. Many times I’ve been stopped dead on a freeway and a motorcyclist comes barreling up the white line at 50-60 miles an hour, passing within an inch of my rear-view mirror. Modern mirrors stick out quite a ways, and If an immpatient driver had decided to ease out a few inches “to see what the problem is” (a common California maneuver), his mirror would have snagged the cyclist. The risk would have been reduced had the cyclist been traveling at a more reasonable speed, which brings up the other quibble. There are plenty of self-absorbed, arrogant, and stupid motorcyclists out there, just as there are self-absorbed, arrogant, and stupid automobilists. There just happen to be more cars than motorcycles.


Why do motorcycle riders rev their engine at stop lights?

With 50 years in the saddle and I can assure you that the caged auto driver forgets that the motorcyclist is even there, rev away Dudes & Dudettes!


It’s “lane sharing” and it’s more Art than Science.


Well there’s “vintage” and there’s “Vintage”.

I’ve only ever owned “vintage” bikes that never had issues because they were daily drovers and modern despite being NA bikes. I think almost any bike past 71’ or so can be very reliable with carburation barring being a piece of shit design or assembly.

I don’t consider fiddling to be a reliability issue any more than I consider bugs in my teeth to be inconvenient.

I mean, WTF? If you don’t like tinkering, smelling a little like petrochemicals, having your face sandblasted, etc. why not get a fucking cage and roll that?

/this is basically the same argument I would get from guys with hardtail bikes “Well if you don’t like pissing yourself because of kidney damage, then why even own a bike? Pussy.”


If you live somewhere where lane splitting is legal then you should adapt your driving to that condition. You don’t perform an act that is dangerous to others who are obeying the law just because you feel like you have a good rationalization for it.

If you live somewhere where it’s legal for kids to play in the street you don’t drive like an asshole and endanger others because you have a witty excuse for doing so.

That having been said, experienced and aware bikers know how the assholes in their community drive and limit their own exercise of their legal rights to accommodate others poor driving skills.

Nearly every time a bike contacts a car and the car gets a minor scratch or looses a bit of trim it was because of an inattentive, arrogant, or aggressive cager and it was only that mild because the biker radically maneuvered and/or took the hit to their own body.


Gotta say though, filtering at more than 20 mph is suicidal.

I ride a 160 mph bike, and never filter at more than 15. Just takes on twerp, and you’re jam.


On the Sportster and the Guzzi the screw was just right there at me right knee, begging for me to fiddle with it. And the AMF 1200 motors really can be shitty with like a 1k ft elevation change.

I’ve never seen solo riders pull that kind of shit. I’ve only ever seen it with a group of a half dozen of more ricers who probably watched the DVD of Biker Boyz earlier that day.

Fortunately I live somewhere traditionally wet 2/3 of the year. The roads here take all that kid stuff out of most riders who last the first couple of years if they daily it.


I don’t know if the estimate that one noisy motorcycle in Paris at night can wake 200,000 people is correct, but I do think that the loudest motorcycles are loud for loudness sake, not for “safety”. I find the revving in populated areas to be anti-social, no different than if I were to constantly lean on my car horn.

However, I admit that I don’t have stats on noise vs. safety. Perhaps some cyclists can point to stats, adjusted for confounding factors, that show the noisiest motorcycles have the least accidents?


I like the smell of petrol. Don’t like being sandblasted, but the helmet takes care of that when I’m on the freeway (ditto bugs, but I accept I’m getting a little unexpected protein in my diet when my face shield’s up). My issue with carbs is that some of the less well maintained vintage bikes I’ve ridden liked to die on me and I don’t care to sit there trying to cold start them while bimbo boxes barrel around me.

To each their own.

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this type of article underlines the disconnect felt by anybody who must interact with a norm in a way that is not that norm. as a left-handed bicyclist who is fairly non-neurotypical, I can relate.

Bicycles and motorcycles are in many ways different in their tactics, but there is a fair amount of overlap, and we’re both perceived as annoying scum by cagers. Yes, we’re doing all this “annoying” stuff for a reason. Usually that reason is to safeguard our lives from a bunch of people plowing into us because they’re looking at their damned phone.


I was going to make a penis joke, but you scary biker guys might murder me, or cut off my cheap meth supply :wink:


If I am revving my engine at an intersection, it is because my bike is 70 years old and I am trying to keep it from stalling.