When someone tells you that prejudice is dead, stop right then and produce a copy of this editorial. (btw you should keep a copy of each one that I write…it’s sorta mandatory)
Not only is prejudice alive, it’s so pervasive that we almost don’t recognize it when it appears.
Before you get the wrong idea, I’m not referring to the kind of prejudice that attracts Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton wannabe’s…. I’m talking about the “it’s not a motorcycle” prejudice that is rampant in our lifestyle.
Just to be clear, I’m no genius, (despite having once outscored a member of Mensa at trivia night) but I’ve been around the block a time or two. OK..so I was lost and kept circling the block, but that’s not what’s important… let’s get back on the subject here ok?
Over the lifespan of this magazine, I’ve been on a bunch of rides and bike nights. You may ask….how many is a bunch?
Well, if you want to be technical….a “bunch” is more than “a few” but less than a “butt-load.” If you’re from the U.K., then it’s about as many as a “wank-load.”
So I am comfortable making the statement that in our lifestyle, if you’re riding a trike and don’t walk with a limp, or have a cane strapped to the side, you’re going to be looked at different by a lot of two wheel riders.
It’s a little like Miss America was a few years ago. It didn’t matter how pretty she was, Miss Puerto-Rico never stood a chance.
I remember when I was 10, my dad trying to explain.
Me: Hey, how come Miss Purty-Ree-Co ain’t in the top 10? She’s way prettier than Miss Utah! (and for the record, Miss New York was ALWAYS BUTT-UGLY but even at an early age I understand the power of the Mafia..so I never questioned why she always made the finals.)
Dad: (sigh) Son….this maybe hard for you to understand, but she (Miss Puerto-Rico) ain’t ‘Merican…..
Me: (Having learned this in American History class) That’s where you’re wrong old man! People from Puerto-Rico are American citizens…just like us…even though it’s not a state….(blah blah blah)
I could see my Dad’s eyes gloss over and I knew he wasn’t paying attention because I was blathering on….or he was fantasizing about trading places with Bob Barker on stage with those 10 beautiful creatures
Dad: Son…I don’t care what they teach you in that overpriced private school your mom insisted we send you to…if it don’t have a star on the flag, it ain’t in America!
Me: What?…. I’m in public school…?
Dad: Oh, wait.. that was your brother.. anyway, quit yer yapping….the swimsuit competition is starting.
And that was that. We never discussed it again. Back in those days, your parents would rather you cross-dressed than crossed certain ethnic lines. I learned early on that it wouldn’t be cool to date a Hispanic, Asian, or Presbyterian and bring her home to meet the folks.
Before he passed away, my dad mellowed a bit and became more open minded…but I never pushed it with the Presbyterian thing. I mean those chicks were hot, but c’mon…they believe in DINOSAURS! They ain’t like us!
So again, I’ve digressed.
As much as we like to think we don’t have that “It’s not a motorcycle” mentality, I’ll wager you have either made the statement or thought it at some point in your life.
I recently rode a trike for 3 days around upper Wisconsin, (the review is in this issue) and I could feel the sympthy coming from people at gas stations and restaurants. One guy even motioned me to park in the handicapped spot, obviously thinking if I was on a trike, I must be crippled!
WAKE UP PEOPLE! Trikers are bikers too! Sure, it’s three wheels, but dang it, when it rains, they get wet. When it’s cold, they’re cold. When it’s hot, they’re hot, just like you!
I don’t know when this will change, but its hard overcoming predjuice.
If you’re a triker, don’t despair. Just enjoy the wind, and accept the handicap spots when they’re offered. Just like Miss Puerto Rico, be proud of who you are.
If vfact, wear a t-shirt that says, “It’s more fun with 3!” That should get the stares! (available at www.bikernation.biz)
I know I’ll never look at trikers the same.
Until next month, ride safe, and always take the road less traveled.
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