Monday, April 22, 2013

Moto Attitude

Scoot or motorcycle does it matter?

I have been thinking about this post for quite awhile now and have been trying to figure out a way to delicately broach this subject.  I started riding about two years ago on a little Yamaha Vino 50cc scooter and was looking for scooting buds and stumbled across a  local group or two and when I enquired if I could ride with them, I was told flat out "No" because I didn't have a particular brand of scooter.  I get that there may be  moto specific clubs, but honestly to not let someone ride or to give attitude over the type of ride they have in my estimation is a little extreme and ridiculous.  So I had a strike against me and rode solo for the first year. 

I did however go to a local rally where I was barely tolerated and at one point left the rally because no one would chat with me and it was quite disappointing to encounter this type of attitude.  I did meet a few very cool peeps, ironically though they didn't live in Victoria, they lived across the pond and these fellas didn't care what you rode as long as you wanted to ride and have fun.  *You know who you are :) At a rally a year later I was called a "Shifter" and was told "You don't belong here, go home" - my reply to that was -  I am hanging with my friends - get over yourself - I don't tolerate foolish people very easily and if you have ever been on the other end of my Moto Mama death look it can be pretty withering. 

It seems to me the moto riding culture can be a little bit harsh  at times and there is a lot of attitude across the moto spectrum and sometimes it is not very pleasant.  You get those who are brand specific riders and who buy into the whole identity of the brand and then you have those who don't like scooters and then you have those who don't like it that women ride and then you have those that are in a group of their own and have their own rules and usually don't have anything to do with anyone. 

Then you have a person like me who is an equal opportunity rider who doesn't care what brand/make/model you ride and I am pretty welcoming.  What is more important to me is how you ride your bike or scoot, the bike doesn't make the rider, its the other way around.   

I ride a Honda, I choose to ride one, and I love my bike, but that being said given the opportunity to try other bikes I embrace it and I love the diversity of bikes out there.   I have faced some  negative attitude from others who don't wear gear, I am a confirmed ATGATT-er and wear full gear and a full face helmet, because I have had a close encounter of the pavement kind and learned early on in my riding journey that I prefer to keep my skin intact, so it is a choice that is right for me.

I still love my scooter and think that scooters whether mini (50cc) or maxi are awesome bikes and offer so many advantages over motorcycles when it comes particularly to urban commuting and the maxi scoots can go long distances.  Its funny because once I got my motorcycle license I never judged people for what they rode and I still offer camraderie to those riders.  You have to start somewhere and if it is a small scooter - AWESOME!  I think my attitude comes from the perspective that we all ride two wheels, face the same challenges and road rules and I started later in life, which may give me a little different perspective perhaps.

About a year ago I started up a women's riding group and we are a very diverse eclectic group of female riders and our ages span the decades and the rides are varied from large motorcycles, vintage, sportbikes, cruisers, dual sports, maxi scoots and scooters.  For me it isn't about the type of ride someone has, its more about the rider and the sense of community we have when we get together and we support each other through the highs and lows.  We come together for social events, regular rides, encouraging new riders and charity events and to me that is what it should be about. 

Riding season is upon us here on the Island and is starting up in other parts of the country and everyone is thrilled to be getting back out their on their bikes or scoots.  Most of us get a thrill when we get the 'wave' and I must admit to feeling a little miffed when someone doesn't wave.  I always think you just never know who is under that helmet that you are snubbing, and  they may be on a scooter and have another bike or vice versa, something to think about. 

So if you come rolling my way I will wave at ya and I am happy that you are out and about on your gorgeous ride enjoying the asphalt ribbon.  Ride safe!


BeemerGirl said...

I'm like you. I just want to be out riding and for us all to get along. Luckily I haven't encountered some of the snubbing that you have. It might have given me pause. But I do find it humorous when I wave to a scooter, and he doesn't wave back. :) I'm being snubbed by the scoot crowd!

Dar said...

BeemerGirl - I think most scooterists are shocked when a motorcyclist waves at them because they are used to being snubbed, which is such a pity.

I have on occasion had a few big cruiser bike riders start to wave and then only to pull back their hand when they realize I am riding a Honda and then there are a few who ride other bikes who never wave or even offer you the time of day at a stop. But for the most part I have had many really great experiences when I broke down once a dude in an SUV stopped on the opposite side of a busy road and loped across to help me, I knew he rode and he told me he did, and he was the only one to stop.

Like you I wish everyone could just stop the bull crap and give respect that is due to their two wheeled compatriots.

Shybiker said...

I've faced (and suffered from) the same kind of mindless discrimination you describe and, honestly, I just don't understand how those people think. In my short riding career (15 years), I've owned a variety of bikes, from sport to touring to cruiser, from a variety of manufacturers. What I'm sitting on today does not mean I couldn't be on a different bike tomorrow. Judging me this way is illogical -- and mean.

I remember during my first year of riding, when I was super-eager and enthusiastic, some old grouch crushed my feelings by insulting the cruiser I was riding 'cause it wasn't a Harley. I felt really hurt by his unfriendly attitude.

I respect everyone on two wheels, motorcycle or scooter. There are open-minded people like us around; I hope you find some.

Dar said...

Thanks Ally I just find it irritating and my tolerance level for this kind of stuff is very low. If people truly lived riding they would embrace the diversity and encourage new riders to learn and be part of the community. Just as I have been judged by riders I have also felt the sting of non-riders who rely on old cliches and don't get it. I choose now to hang with the positive peeps and the others don't matter much now.

Trobairitz said...

Heck we don't care what you ride and we wave at everyone even those on bicycles.

I don't understand why people have to be so judgmental about brand or model that others ride. We are all out there on two wheels facing the same dangers and issues on the road.

I may shake my head at people who don't wear ATGATT but I wouldn't presume to tell them what to wear. I'll let the ER doctors and nurses do that as they are scrubbing out the road rash.

Dar said...

Brandi my feelings exactly.

The City Mouse in the Country said...

Your a girl??? All this time I thought you were just a rider on a motorcycle.

Actually I think a lot of that "snobbery" is brought on my the media's picture of us. We are either speeding idiots, crazy daredevils or drug dealers. So we tend to paint a picture of "who we are."

I'm guilty of it myself, I have little respect for the fair weather weekend rider who has a chromed out ride that only goes from tavern to tavern. Why? Because my bike is my main means of transport and I ride it nearly every day in all types of weather. That does not make me any more special than the weekender.

As far as the biker wave goes, I wave at everyone and normally get the wave back in return. Scooters, Harleys and sport bikes.

WooleyBugger said...

Maybe they all hold grudges because when a kid they rode a Huffy when everyone else was riding a Schwinn. I get snubbed by other Harley riders now because, drum roll please...I decided to start wearing a full face helmet again after taking the rider safety coarse and viewing pics of riders faces after a crash wearing an open face helmet. Hmm, perhaps there is a reason those are called open face helmets.

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

This always makes for an interesting discussion. I too am an equal opportunity rider; bi, tri, qui?? I'm at the point now where I can smile when I'm on one machine and get snubbed by one of the other groups. I do find great fun in riding the wrong machine to the right rally. I'm not willing to give up or lose faith....yet.

There was an article long ago in the Mpls paper by a local columnist, his tale commenting on the often common trait of our desire to be unique and seen as standing apart (above?) from the crowd. I'll butcher his analogy but it went something like this....

We decide to take up skiing and quickly discover that there are those with long skis and some with short skis; we go with the long ones. Before long, we learn of wide bindings or narrow, the narrow ones fit our personality better so we head off in that direction.

Suddenly we're aware of red boots or blue, the cool people we know are "blue" wearers and then someone we admire discovers pink gloves, but we decide to go with the less common white ones.

The following weekend we put out the word we're going skiing but there's only one person we know of that has long skis, narrow bindings, blue boots and white gloves. Skiing has become lonely and is no longer as much fun as it once was, so we give it up for a new hobby.

Unknown said...


As you realize that there is lots of 2-wheeled discrimination here in Vancouver. It just upsets me that people can't learn to be friends. Even though I used to belong to the Vespa Club of Canada and I had been to numerous rallies we were finally told that we were not welcomed anymore as we didn't ride a Vespa. Even the vintage vespas riders don't accept the TnG vespa riders. It's a shame.

Riding the Wet Coast

Andrew Thomson said...

Unfortunately just because motorcycling is the coolest thing out there, it doesn't mean that it only attracts cool people - there are plenty of dickheads who put on helmets.

I'm generally an equal opportunity waver although I tend to be a bit more hesitant to wave first when a rider of one particular fraternity (where a lot of riders think you need to slip on a certain attitude along with the branded riding gear) goes by...

David Masse said...

Dar, must be something in the water out there :)

I've never experienced what you describe. Then again, I've only done one group ride with the on again off again Montreal scooter club.

We did a ride that lasted the better part of the day. The bikes ranged from a bunch of 50cc two-strokes, to a couple of Maxis (Burgman and Majesty), various small-frame and large-frame Vespas, some vintage Vespa and Lambretta shifties, and... believe it or not, a mother and her two teenage sons on mopeds. Everybody mingled at the lunch stop and we all had a good time.

My only beef: riding with the two-stroke crowd made my clothes smell like I had mowed 50 yards in a row.

I know others have had similar experiences in your neck of the woods. Maybe it's sunlight deprivation that makes people insular and grumpy.

Brenda said...

At first I couldn't believe that you got that kind of attitude about your scooter, then it changed to I couldn't believe you got attitude from any bike rider! I mean we are doing the same thing ... Riding, for much the same reasons, who cares what brand you ride. Then I realised that I've seen a bit of that too, I just don't take much notice of it. There is prejudice out there about all sorts of things it's a sad fact. How do I cope with it, I just ignore it, give that bloke on the Harley a wave and they either wave back or don't, either way their attitude doesn't hurt me as much as it hurts them. If I was in a group that were treating me the way those scooterists did to you I don't know what I would have done, gone home and cried most likely but I wouldn't have given up riding.

Good on you Dar for moving on and finding you niche with a fantastic group of MOTO mamas!

SonjaM said...

Too bad, Dar, that you don't live in the lower mainland. The ladies' motorcycle club I belong to doesn't make a difference between make or model. We even cater to co-ed rides, so that hubbies can tag along on a trip. I am sure you would like it.

Keith - Circle Blue said...

Since I tend to ride alone, I've not run into the kind of thing you're mentioning. The group I do occasionally ride with has the slogan, "We don't care what you ride, just that you ride."

The other day I past by a man walking with a walker and he waved, a nice low cruiser way, I laughed and waved back. Made my day totally.

Dar said...

Here's my take on you folks who replied here to this post, you are all COOL and the only thing that matters to you is that we all ride and it doesn't matter what you ride. I love blogging with you and wish we could ride together!

For the most part I float by all the attitude. However, I have engaged on a forum or two when I felt the commentary to be way out of line and/or what I have felt to be unreasonable, sometimes I fare ok, others times I just don't engage.

Sonja - I started my own ladies riding group on Facebook and there are 69 of us now, we have a 50cc and a 400cc scooter and we invite the significant others along on our rides. We are pretty low key and our only rule is respect each other.

Martha said...

Once again proves my point that humans are and always will be tribal. People always have to find a way to exclude from their group in order to stay "their" group. It's that way with fashion, music, cars, food, religion, on and on.

Yes, the little 49ers (or 50) do get the snub a lot. But a lot of riders ride what they ride to be in a club or clique or tribe.