Figured I'd chime in on this one as I had a close encounter with a rider this weekend that set off my "squid alert".
I was out riding along the lake and decided to stop in to a local park where there are generally a few bikes parked. I roll in and spot a guy on a '00 ZX9R. So I park next to him. The conversation went something like this:
Him: Hey- nice choice of bike, man. (Kawasaki)
Me: Thanks- you too. So how do you like that 9R?
Him: It's fast.
Me: Yeah, I bet.
Him: (eyeballing my leather and helmet) Can I ask you something?
Him: You always ride with a helmet and all that gear?
Me: Yep. (eyeballing his shorts, t-shirt, sandals, and distinct lack of helmet) I guess I just feel naked without it...
Him: Well, I'll tell you what- last year I fell off the bike onto my head. And if I would have been wearing a helmet, my neck would have broken. The paramedics said so.
Me: Oh yeah? That's something.
Him: What year is that thing?
Me: Oh, it's a 2000.
Him: What? I didn't know Kawi was making anything like that anymore. How many miles you got on her?
Me: Only like 150 or so, I'm just trying to get some break in miles on it.
Him: Oh man, don't pay attention to those break in cautions- I'll tell you what- the minute I pulled this 9R off the dealer's lot I was running the motor as hard as I could. Pulling wheelies off of every light. Burnouts in this parking lot every day. If you keep riding like you are you're actually going to hurt it- don't baby it!. I'm telling you, dude...
Me: Well, I'll keep that in mind. Are there any other riders around here on the weekends?
Him: Sure, sometimes. You wanna come on a balls to the wall run next weekend?
Me: What's that?
Him: A bunch of us "rough riders" (yes he actually said that) get together and see who can make it down to the Flats the quickest. Loser buys drinks. Then we race back.
Me: Oh yeah, sounds great- next weekend huh? Oh crap, look at the time, gotta get going...
Him: Alright- see ya dude.
Now, I'm not saying I'm a great rider or better than any one else, but c'mon- racing AND drinking? Bad idea. Especially with the kind of safety gear he's packing. I got the distinct impression he walked into the dealership one day- handed the salesman a wad of cash- and said "gimme the fastest bike you can for this much". His mentality about riding seemed so foreign to me, I couldn't even really converse with him. I just felt uncomfortable knowing some of the non-riding public bases their opinion of motorcyclists on this guy. Uggghhh.
It did make me smile though, to think what he'd thought of me and my bike. I'm sure he figured I don't have a clue what a 'real' bike is.
Oh, well- there but for the grace of God go the rest of us.