Do You Wave, Give Thumbs Up…or The Bird?

Do Choice of Mount and/or Clothing Determine Who’s Your Bro?

ou’re breezin’ along on your favorite moto route, riding your bike of choice, and you meet another rider coming toward you. As the two bikes close at warp speed you squint into the wind and the brilliant sun (we are in SoCal), and weigh your choices. Shall I wave? Salute? Left thumb UP? Flip him/her “The Bird”? Ignore the approaching moto? Wait for a sign? Personally, I’ve always been a counterpuncher. If the rider acknowledges me, I respond in kind. Problem solved. But the question remains, what dictates the salute, or the lack thereof. Does brotherhood have its limits?

More on the topic here… (an excellent satirical essay).

One More Category – One category the writer missed in the discussion of riding gear as a determining factor in recognizing a “brother”, is the opposite number of the ATGATT (AllTheGearAllTheTime) attired biker, The NOTGATT (NoneOfTheGearAllTheTime). Many of the people I have ridden with are “NOTs”, or at least semi NOTs. I do have a leather jacket, and an armored jacket, but given the usual weather I mostly get by with a full-face helmet, ankle protection, gloves, old jeans, a long sleeve shirt and a light jacket. And I ALWAYS wave at similarly attired folks when we meet in passing while I’m putting along at a safe and occasionally sub-limit speed. See you on the trail, Brothers! That’ll be my left thumb pointing toward the cloudless SoCal sky.

Mature Riders on Mature Dual Sports Tackle Baja

Pete Springer on his recent Baja Adventure with his stable of aging-but-reliable (mostly) motos. Pete Springer in Baja 4-15

Most off-road racers add wheels as they add years, but noted Baja competitor Pete Springer, Oceanside, reversed that trend. Pete dropped two wheels as he moved from his Baja-winning four-wheelers to motorcycles after ending his official racing career. Pete has logged hundreds of thousands of miles on bikes, on and off-road, x-country and locally… on his adventure travels. While he’s not officially racing, I’ve had the honor of riding with Pete a few times and can bear testimony that he prefers to scoot along at what cannot be accurately described as a leisurely pace.

Most recently Pete, and his riding pals Don and Dan Goldston and Mike Daugherty, tackled Baja on dual sport bikes for 1800 of dirt, great scenery, a bit of history, and an abundance of camaraderie.

Story and great photos photos on Pete’s blog Read it here…

More interesting stories from Pete at “My Walks in the Past”

Vested? Portly? Gray Beard? Ponytail? Hog Rider?

If you answered yes to any or all of the above, you may one day be the victim of class discrimination by law enforcement officers, businesses and citizens throughout our fair (and sometimes unfair) land. Thanks to the headlines and feature news about the Texas biker war between the Cossacks and the Bandidos we may all be tarred by the same brush media and law enforcement are using to paint a grim picture of the bikers (“criminals”) involved. Apparently closed mind plus open carry equaled “open fire!” at Twin Peaks.

Or did it? Bandidos blame Texas State Troopers and the Waco police for opening fire on them as they exited the Booby Bar. At this point no official word on just who shot whom has been issued, but police do admit to shooting one of the men who was fatally wounded. They also say they have recovered “more than 300 weapons” from the crime scene. Quoting a Waco official, “These were vicious criminals that knew that they were in trouble, and they were trying to dispose of evidence.”

Waco details are leaking out, but little from the city. Big questions remain: Who killed the other eight dead (one was shot by a Bandido)? Were weapons used handguns or semi-auto rifles? How were police armed? The only “assault rifle” found thus far among the weapons recovered was in a locked car. Have the Waco bikers found a way to conceal an assault rifle on a Harley? And when will we know?

So far, Waco officials are not sharing, and most of the eyewitnesses and participants who were arrested are being held incommunicado in the city jail. Waco essentially stiffed Yahoo news’ request for details, and word is that it could be weeks before source of the fatal gunshots is determined. My bet; some of the killing was done by law officers, armed with rifles, who were perhaps overzealous in their efforts to “protect and serve” the folks of Waco.

“But several witnesses — at least three of them veterans with weapons training — told The Associated Press that semi-automatic gunfire dominated the May 17 shootout that left nine dead and 18 wounded.

” ‘I heard, ‘pop, pop,’ small caliber, and then a rapid succession of shots from what sounded to me like an assault rifle,’ said William English, a former Marine and Iraq war veteran who was approaching the front door of the Twin Peaks restaurant for a meeting of biker clubs.”

Read more…

Spontaneous Conflict or Premeditated Murder?

An anonymous Cossack in hiding is quoted as saying “It was a setup (by the Bandidos) from start to finish.” Six Cossacks died from gunshot wounds, and departed for their final destination accompanied by three Bandido souls. Allegedly, the Bandidos lured the Cossacks to the multi-club meeting to discuss peace and other non-violent issues, and almost immediately upon arriving triggered a dispute and then, with no pause, exercised their trigger fingers.

Read the first detailed eyewitness description here…

More Bloodshed to Follow?

Now the Bandidos are said to be planning retaliatory strikes against Texas troopers and other LEOs who were involved. Quoting from a CNN story: “The gang has ordered a hit against Texas troopers and other officers, according to the bulletin. Among the threats are running over officers at traffic stops and the use of grenades and Molotov cocktails and firearms.” more…

Back in the day of the original Bikesville magazine, groups of bikers, regardless of appearance, length of rap sheet or choice of mount, were unwelcome in much of San Diego. It was difficult to find a restaurant or other venue to host the ride-ending gatherings of the riders participating in Bikesville’s events. Motos of choice were mostly small and Japanese, with a sprinkling of UK and other European brands, and, rarely, a Harley or two. But mention ‘MOTORCYCLE” and the civilian mind of that day conjured up images of Hells Angels rampaging through Hollister and settling disagreements with firearms and explosives. Of course, SoCal saw some bloody battles between Angels and Mongols and others back in that day.

That image has largely faded as motorcycling has become more mainstream and upscale. But it hasn’t completely been erased from the minds of our fellow citizens, and an event like Waco, and it’s possible aftermath of ongoing revenge violence, could bring back the bad old days, and signs like “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Bikers”. It’s a good time to be extra nice to our cage-driving friends…and to our local LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers) as well.

The Siege at Oso Flaco (circa 1965)

Hopefully, we won’t see the return of the kind of bust of bikers, without probable cause, as was visited upon a band of Angels and others at Oso Flaco Lake near the Pismo Dunes in the 60s. I was working in San Luis Obispo at the time and saw firsthand the enthusiastic response of much of the local citizenry to the SLO Sheriff barricading the only access road to the tiny lake and rousting every biker going in, or attempting to leave. To my knowledge, no local crimes had been perpetrated by the bikers, but the sheriff and his men did, I believe, confiscate a Harley or two. Basically, the problem was that the Sheriff Just. Didn’t. Like. Bikers. And, he assumed correctly that he’d have significant support from his constituents. Here are a couple pics of the event.

Oso Flaco 1 Oso Flaco 2

Not-So-Fast Forward

Chuck Surprise, Editor/Publisher of Bikesville

(Photo:  81st birthday ride up Palomar’s South Grade with ten riders from SDAMC.)  Living the good life in Spring Valley, a stone’s throw from SR 94 and the San Diego back country that drew him here. Kind of retired after a work life as a journalist, photographer, publisher, graphic arts entrepreneur, trade association director, software developer/marketer, Internet publisher (, online support for crafts software, and now, best of all, presiding over the rebirth of Bikesville San Diego County!

Who keeps my 30-year-old Honda Sabre running?