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Motorcycle Musings

Curtis Langston
President Emeritus, LWW Motorcycle Club
Updates by: Paul Piper Acting President, LWW Motorcycle Club

Last year a lady wrote in TWI, “Don’t you get it? We don’t want your type living here.” And just what type would that be, I wondered?

Like everyone, we are a cross section of American culture and society. We are men and women, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, parents and grandparents, employees and retirees, military and civilian.

We are laborer, plumber, mechanic, secretary, nurse, fireman, policeman, business owner, contractor, military personnel, engineer, pilot, COO, restaurant owner, investment banker, author and even a sea captain commandeering a 275-foot, privately owned mega-yacht for the very rich and famous.

Some of us are even outlaws, not unlike the rest of you but who don’t ride motorcycles.

As a community of cyclists, what each of us has in common is that we are allowed to ride our motorcycles everywhere except where we live and play.

To some, we look like gangsters with the garb we wear: leather chaps and boots, along with helmets and jackets with patches on the back.

What they don’t understand is that leather is the most protective garment against wind and weather, and it provides the best protection, should we take a fall. Wearing leather should be judged no different than that of a football player wearing pads and helmet, a bicyclist wearing brightly colored Spandex, a fisherman wearing a custom jacket made for hooks and flies or a golfer wearing colorful polo shirts, sun-visor hats and shoes with rubber cleats. It’s simply the garb worn for the sport and not meant to be a political or social statement.

The patches, if you take the time to look at them, are not Hell’s Angels, Mongols or Banditos. My patch, for example, is a Harley patch signifying my membership in the Harley Owners Group, or HOG, Chapter of South Korea, where I purchased my bike. I wear it with pride.

If we wore tennis shoes, Levi’s and windbreakers, would we still be perceived as gangsters?

Soon after I arrived in the Sierras, I rode my Harley into the high country of Lake Tahoe for the first time. It was a beautiful spring day and I was in awe as I rode over the majestic mountains. Motoring along I-80 toward Truckee, I pulled off at the vista view overlooking Donner Lake.

No sooner did I get off my bike when a car pulled in behind me filled with a family of East Indians on vacation — mother, father, their three children and his parents, grandparents to the children. Soon the father, a young man in his thirties, approached me with a camera in his hands, asking if he could take my picture.

“Why would you want to take my picture” I asked.

“It is because you are a real American” he said.

I’m sure his attraction had much more to do with the Harley than the man. Had I been driving a sedan or pickup truck it’s unlikely he would have asked. For many, a man on a Harley represents all that is unique to the American culture and he wanted to preserve that moment for his scrapbook back in Mumbai.

A true story.

That’s the type we are. We are Americans — free spirited, proud and adventurous.

Please vote “Yes” on Motorcycle Access.

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