You don't always have a say in who you hang out with. I had to make a quick stop because my leg had become quite greasy. Luckily I was riding in shorts, so I discovered the phenomenon before the oil ran out. There was already a group of motorcyclists in the parking lot where I had to do some tinkering. Modern motorcyclists. On All Road or Adventurebikes. Impressive! And dressed hyper-safely despite the fact that the thermometer was touching 30 degrees.
We looked disapprovingly from a distance until one of the GS pilots dressed in CE protectors (do you know how much those things cost?) pilot came up to me together with one of his companions. Not to express his admiration for my well-worn tricycle, but to criticize my clothing. If one adventure rider is over the dam, more will follow. While I was fixing my oil leak, I was looked at as if I were some strange animal. Because those clothes…. Shorts, a T-shirt and sandals… Someone gathered his courage and reprimanded that bikers like me were making health care costs unaffordable. I looked at him mildly and said, “It's just a matter of not falling. That's not that difficult if you can ride a motorcycle. But when I see your clothes, you have little faith in your own abilities.”
The conversation remained friendly. One man went on to explain in detail that he was safe, yet cool because his outfit offered a range of ventilation options. And he wore a special Australian type of wet shawl that prevented him from getting sunstroke in his neck. We didn't really understand each other, but there was a certain tolerance. Nothing wrong with real motorcycle clothing, but everything in its time and place.
That danger and the health and care costs became clear a few days later. A herd of Mamils (middle aged men in lycra, somewhat mature cyclists) had set out in their typical compact herd. Drunk by old testosterone, two of them had gone off track or something. Racing cycling should not be underestimated. They were seriously injured. The newspaper reported that six ambulances and an air ambulance had been sent to the scene. Plus a few police cars. That costs serious money!
They never had to make such a turnout for me, not even the time my CB750 crashed on a diesel track. I could have been better dressed, but with fresh asphalt eczema I just trudged home and put myself in the disinfectant bandage spray. That hurt and made me anticipate even more in traffic after the worst of the stiffness from the abrasions had disappeared. For the rest, there have been some scratches in the paint in just 50 years of motorcycling. But when I look at my body now, I file it under 'patina'. A lady once looked at my divine body in the sauna. She noticed some old scratches in the paint. And her friend reported: “Look, you now also have them as a kit.”
Not much damage has occurred over the past thirty years. Because I once read an interview with a German motorcycle legend (Klacks) in which this motorcycle guru made his statement: “Every fall is a shame”. As in: “Your own fault, big lump”. I almost agree. Because we are vulnerable and should not rely on our 'rights' in traffic, but we must be as careful as a mouse under the kitchen sink in a house where three cats also live.
In terms of vulnerability, each example naturally weakens the argument. With my previous classic sidecar combination I totally lost a Deawoetje or some kind of Korean pastry. I was only left with some muscle pain. But we are vulnerable. And things go wrong.
There must be something to it somewhere, because the statistics prove – or at least show – that the number of motorcycle accidents is increasing. And that is due to 'single-sided accidents'. Accidents in which no other parties were involved other than the crasher. And that is - I think - because motorcycles have become so fast and because many motorcyclists have their motorcycle as a 'lifestyle' toy in addition to the convertible, the camper and - there it is again - the racing bike. I heard that a racing bike with which you can show your friends that you are not just someone on a bicycle can easily cost € 10.000. Those motorcyclists would benefit from a VRO and a little more than the 2D km they apparently drive on average on an annual basis.
But I agree with them, those safety clothing wearers. Despite the long product development time, such a human body is sensitive to damage. So now I have a burn on my leg. And I got that because I was stoking the bar BQ in my shorts. It's always something.