Where are all the American Bikers?

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By Molan on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 06:08 am:  View Molan's Profile Search for other posts by Molan Edit this post

ust got back from a week in the Windy City & was amazed to see the total lack of bikes out there.

Don't any of you Americans ride your bikes in cities?

In 8 days all I saw was a couple of trail bikes, a parked BMW & a few scooters!

Not a hint of Italian bikes anywhere & the closest thing to a Harley was a store selling merchandise.

I'm in London & can see more than this in my compnay parking lot.....  

By Racerxlilbro on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 07:41 am:  View Racerxlilbro's Profile Search for other posts by Racerxlilbro Edit this post

Uh, it's this funny phenomenon called "winter." Most US bikers don't ride in the winter... 

By Andyjfalco on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 08:01 am:  View Andyjfalco's Profile Search for other posts by Andyjfalco Edit this post

The guys who ride all year in our "interesting" climate have a very English word to describe them. I think it's eccentric.
Braver than me! I did it for about ten years, which is about nine and a half years too much. How I didn't have a major accident is beyond me.(half asleep at 0730 riding in snow is best avoided)
 

By Cplus on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 05:43 pm:  View Cplus's Profile Search for other posts by Cplus Edit this post

It was 19f when I went to work this morning. So, at least in the northeast, the American riders are hibernating. 

By Fullstate on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 06:06 pm:  View Fullstate's Profile Search for other posts by Fullstate Edit this post

I think there are several factors invovled.

For starters, the American govt. has never promoted motorcycle riding as a form of transportation. And our gas doesn't cost NEAR as much so it's more convinient to drive our cages.

While Europe may have a cooler climate, they don't tend to experience the extremes that a lot of our country goes through (115+ to -40+).

Europe also doesn't have morons driving 6-ton vehicles like the Excursion down the highway and city streets. Not to mention the fact that there are some very aggressive drivers around here.

However, all that aside, if you go to some of the cities like San Jose or San Francisco you will notice a lot of people commuting on motorcycles.

There are definitely not a lot of commuters here in Texas. Most of us are fair-weather riders.  

By Crmc33 on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 01:43 am:  View Crmc33's Profile Search for other posts by Crmc33 Edit this post


Quote:

While Europe may have a cooler climate, they don't tend to experience the extremes that a lot of our country goes through (115+ to -40+).

Europe also doesn't have morons driving 6-ton vehicles like the Excursion down the highway and city streets. Not to mention the fact that there are some very aggressive drivers around here.




Fullstate,

Youve obviously never been to Eastern Germany 

By Scotty on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 04:31 am:  View Scotty's Profile Search for other posts by Scotty Edit this post

Riding in extemes of hot/cold temp is not pleasant at all... 2 weeks in Florida in Sept was too damm hot most of the day to ride a bike.. Air Con in the car is the only way to do it!

I wouldn't commute to work on a bike in the states.. I'd use it purely for fun..
You guys in the US don't have traffic issues anywhere close to what we have in some of the UK... if you've seen London traffic on a weekday you will appreciate this! A bike is the quickest (but definately not the safetest) way around.
Also your fuel is so cheap that I'd have the biggest f*ck off engine in my car/truck that I could get... Dodge Ram V10 (the engine from the viper car) truck springs to mind... it don't need to go round bends either!
The Mustang I hired in Florida cost the same amount in Pounds to fill up that my Falco does in the UK!!! I can usually get about £12 max in the Falcos tank. Think the Mustang holds a little more fuel than the falco somehow.

One other thing I spotted in florida (don't know if this is the case in the rest of the US) the artic/semi trucks don't have any sort of speed limit or obvious way of limiting their speed.
A huge semi doing 70+ on the freeway just ain't safe, they all do that sort of speed with trailers.. You could literally count the blowouts every half mile down the road!!!!!!!!
The main issue I have with this is that their wheels are pretty much open i.e. no guards... I wouldn't fancy an encounter with one of these unguarded wheels while I was on the bike!
These type of trucks in the UK can do a max of 60mph on our motorways.. they have a method of recording speed over time as well which the police can pull the truck over and check!

Just some of my observations and thoughts...  

By Cplus on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 03:23 pm:  View Cplus's Profile Search for other posts by Cplus Edit this post

Nah, the big reason not to ride in Florida isn't the weather, and it isn't the trucks, it's the OLD PEOPLE!!! They are 'kin horrible!  

By Klyph on Thursday, December 05, 2002 - 07:38 am:  View Klyph's Profile Search for other posts by Klyph Edit this post

I commute year round down here in southern California. It is the only way to get around in traffic. Wouldn't have it any other way, or want to be any where else.

Cliff  

By Racerxlilbro on Thursday, December 05, 2002 - 09:17 am:  View Racerxlilbro's Profile Search for other posts by Racerxlilbro Edit this post

So CA!?!?!?!

You in my hood, holmes! 

By Molan on Thursday, December 05, 2002 - 11:00 am:  View Molan's Profile Search for other posts by Molan Edit this post

I'm with Klyph - commuting on a bike is sooo much more fun than in a tin box. Especially if you're on a nice shiny Aprilia

I think that's why I was so surprised there weren't more bikes in Chicago. On some days the traffic was pretty bad whilst the weather was fine. 

By Fullstate on Thursday, December 05, 2002 - 04:50 pm:  View Fullstate's Profile Search for other posts by Fullstate Edit this post

I guess because I live in the DFW area and traffic can be bad I don't particularly enjoy commuting on my bike. Of course, I work from home, now. Commuting would mean I was REALLY dedicated to my machine - riding it from the bedrom to the office and all.

In all seriousness, I've never enjoyed riding in heavy traffic when there are a bunch of people trying to kill you just so they can jockey for position.

and no, CRMC33, I've never been there....but c'mon over sometime and we'll go riding when it's hot enough to melt the tar on the pavement to your boot!

Not sure which is worse? 

By Rottyidaho on Thursday, December 05, 2002 - 07:04 pm:  View Rottyidaho's Profile Search for other posts by Rottyidaho Edit this post

In southwest Idaho, it was around 26'F when I left my house this morning and my truck's windows were covered with ice. The sun doesn't come up until 8:15 am and sets around 5:00 pm. I pretty much put the bikes to bed in late October. They're partially hibernating, a little fuel stabilizer in the tank and a battery tender on full time. One or two weekends a month through winter and we'll have a clear, ice free Sunday. I've been known to fire the beast up for a few hours of riding.

In the middle of summer, the sun's up around 05:30 am and sets aroun 10:00 pm. Early in the morning it can get down to the low 40's and late in the day it can get above 100. It's hard to dress for that kind of temperature change. I'm pretty much a sweaty mess in the summer after my 1 hour commute home from work. Riding in a air conditioned car is much more comfortable for sure.

For me and almost all the folks I ride with, our bikes are recreation and entertainment. We use them to unwind, not to really get anywhere. Because they're not incredibly common in many parts of the country, car/truck drivers don't look for us. Because they don't look for us, we tend to stay off our bikes for commutes. Thus starts the death spiral. When I do ride into work, I start an hour early and leave an hour later to avoid 4 wheeled traffic as much as possible.

Scotty, out here in Idaho, we allow triple rigs (semi's pulling 3 trailers). They cruise along at 70+ mph, weaving around like a sidewinder. I don't like getting near them even in my car. The other thing to watch out for are re-treaded tires on semi's coming loose at full speed. If you cruise around our interstates long enough, you'll start to notice large chunks of tire tread on the roads. Those are a real laugh when a semi unleashes one at speed.

Motorcycling is a different ball game out here for sure.

Rob. 

By Litre1 on Friday, December 06, 2002 - 06:43 am:  View Litre1's Profile Search for other posts by Litre1 Edit this post

Very well said, Rob.

 

By Crmc33 on Friday, December 06, 2002 - 07:12 am:  View Crmc33's Profile Search for other posts by Crmc33 Edit this post

Weve had fairly long winter spells of -20C here in Berlin in the past, whilst the summers are hot too, upto the high 30's.

Mix that with demeted drivers in E-class Mercs and youre right, its not nice
I take the push-bike instead

Fullstate, would you pay for my flight? 

By Fullstate on Friday, December 06, 2002 - 07:41 am:  View Fullstate's Profile Search for other posts by Fullstate Edit this post

The nice thing about living here is that we can pretty much ride all year long. We get some cold snaps and the occasional day or two of freezing temps and ice, but for the most part all you have to do is dress appropriately and you can ride. Our bikes might stay in the garage for up to a week at a time, but that is it.

I had seen those tripple rigs a few times, but am glad they don't have them here. WAY too dangerous in my opinion.


what does a flight from Germany cost nowdays, anyway? I might even be able to round you up a moped or something to ride whilest you are here.  

By Crmc33 on Friday, December 06, 2002 - 07:56 am:  View Crmc33's Profile Search for other posts by Crmc33 Edit this post

bout 500euro I think, which equates to roughly the same in dollaz

I'll get packing. There maybe a small delay whilst my chaps are at the dry-cleaners 

By Twowheels78 on Friday, December 06, 2002 - 08:21 am:  View Twowheels78's Profile Search for other posts by Twowheels78 Edit this post

Fullstate, must be nice! It was all of 6 degrees when I left this morning, with frost on the windshield and about 6 inches of snow on the ground. I haven't ridden in about two weeks I think it's time to put it away, probably going to winterize it this weekend.

I know what you mean about the retreads, coming home on the interstate about three weeks ago I had a semi loose a retread about 200 yards in front of me Pieces of rubber and tire casing all over the road. Several actually hit my c*r and one actually put a ding in my hood. That would not be fun on the bike!

The weather in Wisconsin, don't even get me started, IT SUCKS! I've seen 100 plus with near 100 percent humidity during the summer and -35 with three feet of snow during the winter 

By Andyjfalco on Friday, December 06, 2002 - 10:05 am:  View Andyjfalco's Profile Search for other posts by Andyjfalco Edit this post

I have driven/riden in a dozen countrys and have yet to find one as shite to drive in as ours. A lot of Euroland are bike friendly due,in part, to the 14yr old first bike laws some have. Their roads are very good on the whole, especially France, where I noticed a lack of drain covers in the road. Unlike the death traps we have to avoid, and the potholes, mental overbanding and of corse, Mr plod complete with cameras.
"I hate this weather"
 

By Befbever on Friday, December 06, 2002 - 12:08 pm:  View Befbever's Profile Search for other posts by Befbever Edit this post



Quote:

Not to mention the fact that there are some very aggressive drivers around here.



I think you're under-estimating European car drivers. Because we don't have an NRA, they tend to use cars as murder weapons.

Newly bought tyres for trucks don't blow from the heat. Only re-treaded ones do.  

By Aviator� on Friday, December 06, 2002 - 09:09 pm:  View Aviator�'s Profile Search for other posts by Aviator� Edit this post

I can't imagine you have cell phone chatting, makup applying, kid screaming, barely paying attention soccer moms rolling around in expeditions, excursions, suburbans, and any other boxy monstrousity that gets 10mpg though. Sometimes I wonder if they're aware that they are indeed operating a motor vehicle at the time, and not sunbathing on the beach or something?
anyway, it was -10F the other morning and snowing, the bike has long since been put up.  

By Hydropnik on Saturday, December 07, 2002 - 06:12 am:  View Hydropnik's Profile Search for other posts by Hydropnik Edit this post

I think that no matter where you drive these days you will find that, in general, people couldn't give two-shits less about anyone but themselves. I was reminded yesterday why I choose not to ride into work. I was trying to merge onto the expressway and some old d$%khead didn't want me to merge and tried to remove my sideview mirror with the front corner of his Suburban. So if your driving/riding in Minnesota and see a green Suburban with license plate KJH 397 show him how much we cyclists love him.

Two years ago I had my 900SSSP fully loaded to go for a long camping weekend and passed a guy driving a BMW 540I. He didn't like that I had gotten in front of him so he came up on the side of me, on the shoulder, and tried to push me into the other lane of traffic, and a car, going 55 MPH. It's actually really sad that people forget that those 4000-6000 pound vehicles that they are driving could end someone elses life. Common courtesy for others is a thing of the past for many people, unfortunately. 

By Dave on Saturday, December 07, 2002 - 06:19 am:  View Dave's Profile Search for other posts by Dave Edit this post

Sounds too familiar Aviator, only over here in London they get 18 to the gallon. Combine them with aggressive sales reps/other suits, white van drivers that just don't give a fuc!, busses, trucks and artic's a plenty, crap road surfaces, an hour to cover a mile, and when its wet add slippy metal man-hole covers, painted lines, chevrons etc and of course the old favorite - diesle spills

Makes for very interesting journies! Oh with relish then am I contemplating a return to the dispatchers saddle! Due to the end of a contract and a shit IT market! no more goodies for the falco for a while  

By Dave on Saturday, December 07, 2002 - 06:38 am:  View Dave's Profile Search for other posts by Dave Edit this post


Quote:

Common courtesy for others is a thing of the past for many people, unfortunately.




Too bloody true - even tho it doesn't cost anything! 

By Fullstate on Saturday, December 07, 2002 - 08:31 am:  View Fullstate's Profile Search for other posts by Fullstate Edit this post

Seems I see a lot of the same complaints no matter where we are from. At least we (Texas) get to ride most of the time as I already stated. Going to be almost 60 today, which is just fine if you bundle up.

The whole issue with the cages trying to run us over is two-fold: first, at least here in the US, noboby is taught ANYTHING about motorcycles in relation to driving. You aren't taught to look for them when you cross the street as a kid (how many times were you told to look both ways for cars but NOT bikes?). You aren't taught about them in gradeschool, and there is no mention of them what-so-ever during drivers education courses, defensive driving (OK, so I have been a few times ), or at any other time. So, basicaly, people in cages aren't looking for us, nor are they educated about our machines and how the road works or doesn't work for us.

The second problem is the whole aggression thing. I've literaly seen two people trying to kill each other in their cars on the way to work. It was like something out of a movie. I admit that sometimes I get pretty ticked off if I have the right of way and someone infringes upon that...and while I might not be so nice as to yield (I have a Big Ass Truck), I'm not going to try to run someone over just because they pissed me off. Unfortunately, too many people are willing to run someone over just so that they can get to the next red-light and stop a few moments before you get there.

Sorry to ramble.... 

By Redhawk on Saturday, December 07, 2002 - 09:27 am:  View Redhawk's Profile Search for other posts by Redhawk Edit this post

Born in Italy and moved to U.S. as a child. Have been back to central Italy a few times in my life. Lived in New Jersey, Florida, Nevada, Illinois, and now southern California. IMO...the biggest difference between Yankee and Euro cage driver mentality is the pass-left, stay-right etiquette (reversed for Brits). Also, in general, majority of Euro bikers commute on their machine�in the States, the majority of bikers ride for pleasure. BTW�the words �Detroit� and �pleasure� are rarely found in the same sentence.  

By Befbever on Saturday, December 07, 2002 - 12:33 pm:  View Befbever's Profile Search for other posts by Befbever Edit this post


Ahem, some major stereotypical observations here.

1. Italy has people obeying traffic rules now?

2. The Euro bikers commute? Think again. Europe is a lot of countries. Out here, I would think 5% of the bikers commute. And btw, I don't really consider a car driver who gets on a shiny cruiser twice a year a biker...but that's just me.

3. The pass left, stay right isn't an etiquette. It's the law in this particular European country. My dad's been fined for not staying right. And maybe half of the driver nitwits think they're alone on the road and don't have to follow these rules. I've seen the same thing in the UK btw.
Hence my "pass right, pass left, keep throttle open as wide as possible" riding style.

Just my 2 �cents
 

By Richandall on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 06:02 am:  View Richandall's Profile Search for other posts by Richandall Edit this post

Riding in to the office today, long way round as usual (when dry!) stuck behind commuters with no-go centre hatching (well, I observe it!) waiting for a long bend to open up and notice the entire queue is running with its wheels along the run-off, leaving me a nice clear strip to pass by on.

That's everyday commuting in Suffolk, England folks!

 

By Dave on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 06:27 am:  View Dave's Profile Search for other posts by Dave Edit this post


Quote:

pass right, pass left, keep throttle open as wide as possible




only way to travel  

By Redhawk on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 - 08:14 pm:  View Redhawk's Profile Search for other posts by Redhawk Edit this post

"Just my 2 �cents"

5% is a big percentage. I'd have to count a couple hundred auto/trucks to see 5 commuting bikers. However, on a clear weekend day there are a crapload of posers...
 

By Fullstate on Wednesday, December 18, 2002 - 08:56 am:  View Fullstate's Profile Search for other posts by Fullstate Edit this post

Well, this last weekend for us was in the 70's all weekend. Beautfful riding weather. Stayed on the bike for most of it. The joys of living in Texas!!

BTW - I recall somewhere back in the thread someone mentioned kicking off the mirror of the offending vehicle. I don't know about you guys, but here when all the vehicles are trucks and are jacked up in the air.... I'm not that flexible!!  

By Befbever on Wednesday, December 18, 2002 - 12:05 pm:  View Befbever's Profile Search for other posts by Befbever Edit this post


And the doors aren't as easy to dent either on those Dodge Rams, Blazers, Bronco's, etc.
That's why we love French cars here, they dent easily and the mirrors are crap and low enough to reach!  


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