I pulled out from Clinton across Whipple on my way home today, and almost cut off a motorcycle, who slammed on his back brake and squealed a tire to slow down, and he was maybe six to ten feet away when I was out of his path and into my complex's parking lot. He actually turned around and pulled up next to me before I got to my spot. He was really shaken, and I apologized, but said he was going too fast. He pointed out he was going 32; the speed limit on Whipple is 35, but it's far too high, and the city is about to lower it to 25.

There were a couple of things going on. He was really nice, and after I explained that I ride too, he told me about how his Harley-Davidson weighs nearly a thousand pounds, and doesn't stop very well, unlike the more nimble sportbikes like mine (which, though it didn't come up, weighs 400lbs). He pointed to the rear brake and said that was all he had to stop with. Wide-eyed, I asked about his front brake, and he said the bike would endo (flip forward over the front wheel) if he used that to stop.

Let me enumerate the points here:

He also cited the risk that I could have gotten a Hell's Angel or someone without his nice temperament. Out of kindness for the fact he was really shaken up, I didn't point out that times have changed, and most Harley riders are middle-aged dentists and the like--the age of the violent, rebellious motorcyclist is long, long past. I did think it was a telling indication of his self-image as a Harley rider, of the kinds of people he thinks the bike represents.

It was a good talk, overall, though it took some time to process through my self-justifying internal narratives afterward. I probably should have nosed out a bit further, and when I saw him coming toward me, I paused for some reason, instead of darting across the road; on the flipside, if you're riding a giant motorcycle that doesn't stop well, slow the hell down and learn how to pilot the thing properly.

I bought a table and chairs tonight! It's an IKEA "Jokkmokk" table, with 4 decent chairs with seat cushions, for $70. It's cheap, but should serve my purposes. As a bonus, I got to hang out with the adorable doctor woman selling it while I took the legs off and impressed her by getting the table and 4 chairs into my small Saturn sedan. I think if she weren't moving to Chicago for her residency and her S.O., we might have been friends. Maybe we were, for twenty minutes. It's nice to be able to enjoy these things as they happen and then let them go.