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Good Guys and Gals

Rider Magazine
September 29, 2010
Filed under Rider Magazine Blog

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This morning’s freeway commute was interesting. First, someone waved me ahead when I signaled that the Yamaha FJR1300 and I wanted to change lanes. This is highly unusual since the unwritten rule—at least on the roads I commute on in Southern California—is to speed up and get ahead of the person trying to change lanes. Fifteen miles later down the freeway, traffic came to a screeching stop because of an accident up ahead. At this point I started splitting lanes (legal in California) and slowly picked my way between cars in the numbers 1 and 2 lanes. A driver in a big Chevy truck signaled his intention to move out of the number 1 lane—again, unusual, because many people just dart into the next lane. He saw me in his rearview mirror, I stopped to let him get over, and he signaled for me to go ahead! Wow, what’s with all this politeness?

Just as the cause of all this backup was in view and people were moving over into other lanes and I was sandwiched between two vehicles, another driver who spotted me in his rearview mirror moved abruptly to the left to give me space. What he didn’t remember was that he had a surfboard hanging out the back of his pickup at an angle, so when he moved, this surfboard came at me at head level. I ducked under the surfboard and made it to freedom. This guy actually caught up with me down the road to wave an apology. (At least, I’m presuming that’s what it was since he was all smiles!)

All this is to say that while we spend time whining about how car drivers and nonmotorcyclists don’t see us, are afraid of us, etc., etc., I wanted to point out some nice things that have happened to me aboard a motorcycle within the last week besides the above (let’s not count the surfboard swinging toward my head).

1. While I was waiting at a red light aboard the FJR, a mom and her two kids were in the crosswalk. The girl, about three years old, suddenly stopped in front of me and gave me an exuberant wave, a smile and “Hi!” The mom had to backtrack a few steps to retrieve her child!

2. A woman working the register at a store had just gotten her motorcycle license and was thrilled to see me come through her line with my helmet and riding gear. She’d been dreaming about getting her license for years and was in search of a first-time bike and asking me all kinds of questions about what kind of bike I learned on. Her enthusiasm was fantastic! And the lady waiting behind me got involved in the conversation and wasn’t put out with the fact that me checking out was taking longer than it should.

3. A mini van full of middle-school-aged kids waved and smiled to me as I rode on by.

Just thought I’d share these recent niceties.

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