How Motorcycles Can Make The World A Better Place
by Garen Jemian
Like most everyone glued to their devices, every day I scroll through my Facebook page for my daily news. And like most, I constantly see, read or hear stories about humans being disrespectful towards one another.
Recently, I was pummelled over by an angry thug while playing a friendly game of hockey in our beer league. Though not nearly as significant as other acts of violence in the world today, nevertheless I couldn't for the life of me understand how people living in such a prosperous country could harbour such anger and hatred towards another fellow man. Did he not like my Jaromir Jagr style hair-do flowing out of my helmet? Was he abused by his father? Was he going through a divorce and losing custody of his children? Did he have a job he hated and/or a boss that treated him like dirt? Who knows. As I sat there on the ice wondering how I'd react, one of his teammates skated over and told me not to take it personally and that he was a hot-head with a chip on his shoulder. My heart forgave him but my mild concussion and sore bum made me want to take my stick and whack it across his head to teach him a lesson.
What does this have to do with motorcycles you may ask? You see, this morning, I got on my bike and rode out into the woods of our beautiful Laurentians north of Montreal and thought I'd share the hidden truth about riders, our culture, our ethics and how society can learn a thing or two about the way we operate.
Unless you own a set of two-wheels, you probably have a set belief about those who do. You may think they're gangsters, reckless, show offs or downright insane to be risking their lives on a daily basis. You may be right. There is however a deeper truth about us. One that connects every single rider regardless of what category they may fall into.
Courtesy, respect and community are the cornerstones weaved into the fabric of every rider. Most every one you come across salutes you, respects your passion for the road and if you're in need, will go above and beyond to come to your rescue. Race, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and social status all go out the window when you jump on a saddle. We don't care if you're black, white, yellow or green. We don't care if you're a man or a woman or pray to God, Allah or Vishnu. This sense of community and brotherhood/sisterhood transcends all societal norms and this is what every citizen can learn from us.
This concept can be summarized by one experience I recently had. I was riding northbound on Highway 13 when I saw two-dozen riders stopped in the right lane surrounding a pick-up truck. I didn't know who they were or why there were pulled-over but I stopped nonetheless. As I slowed down to join the herd, I noticed that a man was shaken up on his sport bike. He had been cut off by the driver and nearly lost control when the truck snagged his side view mirror. Usually, I wouldn't think twice about the situation but what was truly beautiful was the people surrounding him. Sure he had his little clic of Haitian speed bikers on crotch rockets backing him up but the rest of the guys were an array of characters with no apparent connection to the victim. Four guys on massive Harleys with ZZ Top beards, a crew of three retirees on their sport-touring bikes (the equivalent of Cadillacs on two wheels), three or four guys on dirt bikes that looked like they'd been riding in the mud all afternoon, some eccentric guy with an overpowered scooter and a helmet that would make Weird Al cringe, and of course me, an Armenian on his tricked out café racer that stuck out like a sore thumb. We were all standing around and supporting this one individual who had been almost run off the road. As we all stood there and looked at each other, we didn't say a word. We spoke with our eyes and acknowledged the truth about riders. That regardless of who we are, what we look like or who we pray to, we've got each other's back. No matter what.
And that's how it should be.