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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Don't hate the hipster--well I tried, anyway

Had to go check on a brother-in-law's pets last night in Irvine. I'm in Laguna Niguel so it is not that far, not a big deal. It was about 630 when I left the house, so I figured I could check on the animals, feed them and then head out to PCH for a nice sunset ride home on the beach--a perfect way to spend Friday night.
It was a wonderful night, perfect temperature, and clear as it could be in the skies. Leaving the animals behind I hopped onto Jamboree to blast the beach. Jamboree to those of you who do not live in Southern California, is a long, winding ribbon of what would be perfect road--if it were not for all the traffic lights, mini-malls, car dealerships and the Irvine Police Department. It winds, crests and straightens out all in an effort to tempt your throttle hand into misbehaving. Veteran of the road, I resisted its call--OK, well I might have left one traffic light slightly quicker than necessary to remind the guy in the Audi A8 that, well he is still in a car--not a supercar--and I was on a 1400cc Kawasaki Concours. Mid second gear, I slowed enough to let him catch up and smiled at him through my helmet, I am sure he understood.
I cut through traffic down PCH--Pacific Coast Highway--through Newport Beach and towards Laguna Beach. The sun was just starting to soften and set, the light was amazing. I felt that a picture of my bike and the coastline was in order--I just sort of forgot there is nowhere between Newport and Dana Point (where I would turn to go home) that is both undeveloped and coast accessible. Photo effort was destroyed, but the visuals were still amazing. The Pacific in its glory, beautiful homes, nice cars, bikini-clad girls walking the sidewalks, yes it was a great commute home.....
Anyway, to my point here. I needed fuel on the way and I stopped into a gas station on Crown Valley Parkway in my home town of Laguna Niguel. As I pulled in I immediately saw another bike so my spirits jumped. You know, gas station camaraderie. Talk about bikes, roads, where the cops are, the things you do when you see a kindred spirit. My hopes were dashed instantly as I got closer. He was a hipster with an attitude. He looked at me as I rode in on the Concours and did a very minor disgust head shake. Like he was the pure biker at heart and I was on a big, useless machine. I may have been wrong, but 44 years of being around riders tells me otherwise. I immediately had an attitude as well as I sized up the wannabe resplendent in his official hipster garb. He had, and I kid you not, skinny jeans, high top Vans, a faded red tshirt with a largely oversized zippered hood and a '70s fullface helmet with no face shield. His bike? A Honda 450 with the side covers removed, the tail section stripped to a bare minimum with the taillight hung from the subframe so the fender could be removed and the seat redone to look like a '60s Triumph, clip ons and the crowning hipster touch? A black "X" made with electrical tape on the headlight.
There was nothing I could talk to this guy about and I knew it. We were two very opposite ends of the motorcycling spectrum. I took another glance at his bike and was assured of my suspicion--huge, giant, glaring chicken strips on his tires. Sure, some people have to use their bikes to commute, I get that and leaning to the edges can't happen in town, but--this was a half worn tire and just 4 freeway exits south of this gas station is Ortega Highway, pretty sure with a decent canyon that close a few corners can be negotiated.
He finished gassing up before me, and started his unbaffled two-into-one megaphone pipe equipped machine. A quick blip of the throttle to about 5-6000rpm assured the owners of the SUVs and MBZs at the station he was ready to leave. Out of the gas station he bleated and blasted to the..... traffic light 40 yards from the driveway. It reminded me of Thursday night at the Kawasaki Koffee Break as I was standing outside with a Kawasaki employee/friend. We were looking over the bikes in the parking lot show when a guy on a Ducati Panigale equipped with super loud pipes made the turn in front of the building winding out first gear so he could do the super loud, look at me deceleration ride into the parking lot. It inspired me to drag an old line out of my book when I said "Oh look, they must have been out of Harleys with straight pipes, so he bought the Ducati". We laughed and laughed and laughed.
So, I didn't want to hate the hipster, but I did. Not because he was different from me, remember I used to own a Harley and a GSXR at the same time, but because he had a crappy attitude and wanted me to think he was cool because of it. You ride. I ride. That should be all that matters, not the bike, style, brand--OK, well scooters, you can ignore scooters--just that you ride. I'm going to try not hating again when I ride today, but please don't give me attitude, or as Chopper Dave and his shirts and key chains say "They Forced me to Hate"
You can find Chopper Dave's stuff at http://www.chopperdaves.com/

Also if you want other cool shirts and stuff that says you ride to people that also ride check out Church of Choppers store at http://www.churchofchoppers.bigcartel.com/