Monday, June 1, 2009

The Balance Between Fraternity and Peace

One of the harder things for me to decide these days is whether I want to share the names and locations of the roads I ride with other riders.

On one hand, I want to share the joy I feel accelerating out of a nice sweeping corner with some of the other riders around here. I would like to see more sportbikers especially be less squiddish, less inclined to wheelie down I-95 at 150MPH. I want them to learn how much more fun it is and how much more skill it takes to corner the machine well, to discover the character of a particular set of corners or switchbacks and to become more intimately acquainted with the road.

On the other hand, I know that the more press that a stretch of road gets, the more riders want to try it out for themselves. Two or three screwballs dragging knees on an out-of-the-way road tends to go unnoticed. Twenty or thirty, on the other hand, start to draw unwanted attention from casual drivers and area residents.

There's also the stigma around motorcycling that draws a lot of less-than-responsible individuals to it. If word gets out that road X is a "good bike road", you end up drawing a lot of hooligans. Unsafe or sloppy riding, accidents, and in some extreme cases, criminal activity can sometimes end up putting a damper on a good riding spot, either directly or by drawing the attention of law enforcement. The perfect example would be US 129 on the NC/TN border. Several riding groups have been campaigning the road as a tourist attraction. Now it's almost impossible to ride down that stretch of road without being hassled by the police or run off the road by irresponsible drivers/riders.

These days...I err on the side of keeping my mouth shut. The last thing any canyon-carving backroad rider wants is publicity. I'd rather no one know where or how I ride.

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