Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why motorcycles blow

I've been paying only minimal attention to this blog lately, since I've been a little preoccupied with the launch of a new book (very boring, nothing to do with motorcycles.)
OK, motorcyclists. Prove all those acquisition editors who told me, "Motorcyclists won't buy a book; they don't even read" wrong, and push Riding Man sales up to this level for a day!
Anyway, the reality of the daily grind of author PR is that very little of it involves sexy librarians pulling off their glasses and shaking out their hair. Most of it involves sitting at a computer, alone, sending emails and checking your Amazon sales report, like, every seven seconds.

That means I've been home a lot. Ironically, I live next door to a fly-by-night motorcycle repair shop. I mean that literally, they're flying up and down the street late into the night. What is massively irritating about this is, the guy basically uses the street outside my building as a dyno, checking his jetting by revving the shit out of whatever heap he's working on, and doing about a two-block drag run.

It would be bad enough if the shop worked on good bikes, but it seems to specialize in two diametrically opposed genres: Harleys and mopeds.

The only thing both of these types of bikes have in common is that they're paradoxically ear-splittingly loud and slow. I mean, a guy generating 120db on Gixxer 1000 is going 100 miles an hour even if he's just in first gear. So he's only exposing you to the sound, as he passes, for a second or two and then he's gone. Also, hopefully, if he's doing that in an uncontrolled urban setting, he'll soon kill himself.

Harleys and mopeds are both basically machines designed to convert fossil fuel into sound without the dangerous side effects power and speed, and their attendant risks. The fucking bikes these idiots work on are deafening, and I can hear them for what seems like minutes at a time. If a proper bike passed under my office window making that much sound, it would be in Lawrence, Kansas in the amount of time it takes the troglodytes to get to the end of the next block.

Besides that, at least 20 to 40 of the "dyno runs" done each day seem to be on one of the mechanics' own bikes. Seriously, if you haven't got the jetting right in 400 tries, you gotta' go to some shop where they actually have a dyno and, maybe, knowledge. The fucking Harley has yard-high ape hangers; the moron could put a quiet muffler on it, and drag bars, and it would actually go faster. Plus, to the extent allowed by his 'custom' frame, he'd actually have rudimentary control of his steering.

But seriously, folks... Even though I live, basically, in a slum -- there have been four shoot-outs on my block in the last year -- it's still a residential area. If this shit is making me crazy, as motorcycle-friendly as I am, imagine what it's doing to the neighbors. And motorcyclists wonder why people hate them.

OK, gotta' go check my sales...


  1. "Harleys and mopeds are both basically machines designed convert fossil fuel into sound without the dangerous side effects power and speed"

    ok, that was good ;)

    1. That was a good sentence. It would be a GREAT sentence if only Mark had put a "to" between "designed" and "convert" and an "of" between "effects" and "power." If only he had a decent editor... :)

    2. Harry, good editors are hard to find! But in my limited defense, if *anyone* knows that I've got an excuse for being distracted today, it's you...

  2. No love for those sweet, sweet ape hangers?

    Mark, you are hard, my friend. :-]