I was just recalling to a friend a story that I think is worth repeating in this forum.
About two months ago on a Friday lunch hour, we were blessed with an exceptionally warm temperature. I had ridden my then new-to-me CBR600(complete with wasted rear tire, 12 yr. old rubber isn't fun!)to work. My boss rode his Shadow aero, and two co-workers had their bikes- a new ZRX 1100 and a Harley Super Glide. The invitation came as "Hey, we're gonna ride out to lunch- wanna come?" I thought that would be great on a boring Friday- so I said "Sure."
As the four of us were mounting up, I asked where we were headed. The plan was to take the scenic back twisties out to another nearby town about twenty minutes away. Only the guy on the ZRX was familiar with the roads so he led our motley crew out.
Almost immediately, the ZRX took off- I mean fast. Not to be put off by a "Jap" bike ( no offense intended) the Harley, which is heavily modified, tore off as well. As the first intersection was only like 100 yards away, it didn't seem to me that blitzing through the gears was appropriate. At that first stop, the ZRX was in front, the Harley and I were beside each other and the Shadow was behind us. Sure enough when the light changed, the ZRX screamed off and I could hear the Harley thumping hard. In a moment of stupid ego- I wrung the the throttle back and shot past the Harley, not realizing that the road past the intersection dropped off hard to the right. When I came over the crest of the hill I was already left of center- where a car was coming up the incline. I flicked my bike to the right and maybe stupidly, stood on the rear brake. My rear tire slid- a weird feeling to say the least- and I recovered. By now, the ZRX and the Harley are well on their way to blasting through the twisties- and I'm still trying to unclench my butt. The two guys up front are flat out flying, and I'm trying to keep up feeling certain my rear tire has warned me for the last time.
The Shadow stayed pretty far behind as I'm sure he was just enjoying the ride. We had to keep up though, as we had no clue where we were going. So I did my best to split the difference between the two leaders and the Shadow behind me. I could see the ZRX leaned way over through some bends, knee hovering over the asphalt. The Harley just got pitched over at every turn and hammered out as they disappeared from my view around the bends. We would catch up at stop signs and were heckled- "What's the matter? Don't you want to ride with us?" Of course, they acted like they were riding casually at best.
We finally reached the restaraunt with more of the same- "Guess you Honda riders are too nice for us, eh?" I tried to laugh it off, but it did honestly get to me. I felt like I was led into having my relatively novice skills exploited for mockery. Both the ZRX and Harley riders are almost twice my age and have tons more experience on all sorts of bikes.
On the way back the ride went pretty much the same way. I did find that by concentrating on my lines through corners, I could keep up better without grabbing lots of throttle as often. That afternoon was rough, as I got to hear the story of how the Honda riders were humiliated, repeated to any of our co-workers that would listen. Even now when it gets brought up- I get peeved.
I guess my point is this- ride for yourself and to the best of your own abilities. Don't allow any other bikers make you feel like your manliness or womanliness is up for scrutiny. Riding, and especially sport riding, is a potentially dangerous activity to begin with- no one needs the extra stress of someone atagonizing them.
What I thought was nothing more than a group ride to have lunch turned out to be a group race to have lunch. I also think that it was irresponsible for the more experienced riders to portray motorcycling in a competetive light on the streets. So now, I'm made fun of for having the bike that I do because my current abilities don't match it's potential.
Ride for your own gratification- not anyone else's. We've all got to start somewhere.