I Must Be Getting Old!

Motorcycle.com Staff
by Motorcycle.com Staff
I guess I must be getting old, because until just recently, I never let the squids get to me and just laughed at their antics and stupidity, but now they are really starting to get to me. I have been riding street bikes without a crash for 35 years. My current ride is a 2002 Yamaha R1, which gets me a lot of looks from folks of all ages and of course comments from the squids, when they see the old guy taking his helmet off. I have competed in such races as the famed Blackwater 100 in West Virginia, and the Barstow to Vegas run in the "good old days" although I have never raced on a road course. I was just told by a superior squid after a ride of 100 miles or so thru the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania that "an old guy like you shouldn't be riding a bike like that" because "you don't ride it hard" he says. I used to laugh at the squids and got a kick out of their antics and comments, but I must be getting old because I don't look at them in the same way I used to anymore.

I guess if you don't spend the day riding wheelies, riding with no hands, stand up on the seat at 100mph etc. etc. you must not be riding hard enough. If you don't do this crap or refuse to due to lack of interest, you are labeled as someone who "can't ride" by the squids. It doesn't matter that the old man can out ride them in the twisties every time, even on a lesser bike than them. If you aren't crazy and don't go fast at all the wrong times and do stupid stuff, you can't ride.

I recently started riding for my amusement purposes (and also for hot young chicks) with my 18 year old daughters boyfriend and his squid buddies. During a recent trip, one of the kids girlfriends asked if she could "ride with the old guy" for a while. After a good chuckle, he agreed. I have always been one to try not to scare my passenger and always reach back and grab a hand and put it around my waist to indicate hold on tight for a pending high speed run or verbally tell the passenger to hang on. After some agressive riding with this chick, it was time to stop for ice cream and a butt break. I laughed under my breath when the little squid asked how riding with the "old man" was, and she told him "I had more fun riding with him than I have ever had with you" and she proceeded to tell one of the other little chicks that she should ride the next leg of the trip with me to see what it was like to ride with someone you could trust. It made my whole day when at the end of the ride the second girl told the squid boys that "he may be an old guy, but I'd sooner ride with him anyday" because even though he rides fast, he doesn't scare me like you guys do.

A little common sense goes a long way, and it seems a lot of people are sadly lacking in the common sense department these days. I am sure my getting older has a lot to do with it, but I think the new faster bikes and lack of respect for them that us old guys have is a lot of it too. You see so many new crotch-rockets laying in the salvage yards busted up, and read in the paper daily about a bad crash involving excessive speed and a crash. There was one particular group that did business at the local Kawasaki shop that called themselves the "full throttle posse" that was comprised of about six or seven members. I was in the shop this spring and overheard a conversation with the parts guy concerning the fact that the "posse" was disbanded because the guy at the counter I was overhearing was the only one still alive. The others had all been killed in crashes in a two year period. I was feeling bad for them till I hear him tell the guy "yea, so and so had some stupid old woman in a pickup pulled out in front of him when he was doing 150mph" and he hit her. "She should have seen him coming" it's a real shame he continues to tell the guy.

Once again, a case of not understanding how much ground you are covering at 150mph and riding too fast in the wrong place at the right time. It's a shame stuff like this happens, but it's even more of a shame that these guys don't see it as their mistakes as well. I would think the normal person would take a long hard look at their riding skills after just one friend got killed, let alone a whole group. Is it just me, or are the more baby boomers out there that don't get it either?

The Old Man
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