Gary Gardner (grgardner) wrote,
Gary Gardner

A Misuderstood Bunch or a "Pile of Goo"

As a general rule of thumb, bikers are some of the nicest and most giving people in the whole world.  We will use any excuse to get together for a ride, and more often than not we are riding for a charity or to raise funds for someone in the community who has fallen on hard times or for a fellow biker who is injured, or to honor the passing of someone.  So why is it that so many people are afraid of bikers.  Is it the noise from the bike?  Is it the black leather which makes everyone look menacing?  The long hair? (or lack of it in my case).  Is it the "devil may care" attitude, or the often obnoxious and semi-obscene (or obscene) patches we sometimes sew on our leathers?  All of the above? 

I am honored to be able to write a monthly column for a local biker magazine called Quick Throttle.  They use a picture based on the one here on this LJ post as the one over my column.  It has stirred some reaction to say the least -- not for what I'd like to say is my provocative writing, but for the damn picture!  My mother sent an email yesterday that said:  "We don't recognize that tough-looking biker in the picture though. Who is that?"  My friend Madelon said "That picture is sure scary and if I didn't know you I'd be scared to death, but I know the real you..."  My friend CJ said "Loved reading your column.  I giggled at some of it... You're so butch, you look so rugged and burly.  But I won't tell anyone you're just a big pile of goo inside."  Goo?  A pile of goo inside?  Me?  Now my editor at Quick Throttle chose that picture based on his staff's reaction that it was the "perfect biker picture".  Judge for yourself:   Me, I think I look like the Wizard of Oz hovering over Dorothy and Toto, all that is lacking are the flames along the side of my head.  (Only a big tough ass gay biker can make a reference like that and get away with it.) Maybe I'm just a big softy.  Well every biker I know is like that!  And it's not a front!

Case in point.  Two days ago there was a tragic drive-by shooting where a Seattle Police Officer was shot and killed.  Late last night I got an email from someone in my Harley Owners Group chapter asking if we could put together a ride to the memorial where the officer was shot.  I was somewhat skeptical given the timing and weather, but I put together a ride and sent it out to the membership.  To my surprise we had 18 bikes show up.  One of our members is a chaplain and officer with the Seattle PD and he arranged to meet us there and give us a secure parking area.  Another member picked up some flowers and we rode in formation the 15 miles from the Dealership to the site.  When we got there, 18 leather clad, tough as nails, long in the teeth, mean-ass looking bikers all stood for a moment of silent prayer and reflection while our chaplain placed the flowers.  Many were wiping tears, and we all stood in reverence and personal thought for nearly a half-hour.
We also passed the boot around and set up a donation jar at the dealership and will make a contribution to the widow and her young children.  On Friday I expect a number of chapter members to line the funeral procession route in the rain, on their bikes, to salute the fallen officer and to honor all those who put themselves in harms way to protect us.  It's what bikers do.  Yeah, maybe I do look like the scary wizard the troop from Munchkinland first encounter in the Emerald City -- but you all remember how it turns out once Toto pulls back the curtain.  Today the curtain was pulled back again as we rode to the memorial.  We may look like tough bastards -- but as my friend CJ said, we are all just "a plie of goo inside."


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