Writer's Ramblings

I Love a Parade – Schenectady to Lake George

Written by  May 31, 2007

Riding a motorcycle is a lot like sex, if you’re not having fun and loving it every time then you must be doing something wrong. Of course riding in the rain is not as much fun as sex in the shower, but it’s still better than a sharp stick in the eye. If you think about it there is probably a story in every ride you take.

I ride with some very diverse groups: Two of them are The Country Boys from Schoharie and The City Boys from Schenectady. Kind of cracks me up that the Country Boys call Schenectady “The City.” Where I was born and raised, “The City” was New York City. To me Schenectady is like a side street surrounded by mountains and farmland, but it’s a good place to live with great rides in all directions.

One Sunday in August we “City Boys” were doing a ride up The Adirondack Northway to the crystal clear, 26-mile-long Lake George, nestled in The Adirondack Mountains in Northern New York. It’s a very cool and beautiful place, and every June they host what is billed as the largest motorcycle touring rally in the country. Used to be 90% Goldwings etc., but every year more and more Harleys started showing up. Now it’s about 75% Harleys, and I get the impression that the touring people with their trailers and teddy bears on their trunks don’t like it. I think we make too much noise for their taste. I know loud barking pipes can suck, but I also know that many people in cars can look right at a motorcycle on the road and not even see it. Brothers and sisters, if you want to ride to a ripe old age then you must understand that we are often invisible when we’re on the road and you should ride accordingly. People sitting on four wheels are looking for cars, and sometimes bikes just don’t even register. How many times has a car cut you off or turned right in front of you, or changed lanes when you were right along side? At least with loud pipes they can hopefully hear you and maybe hang up their cell phones and pay attention to driving. Whispering along on a bike that sounds like a sewing machine would just scare the crap out of me.

As fate would have it, that Sunday was in the middle of the thoroughbred racing season at Saratoga, which was on the way. We thought it might be fun to stop by and cruise down and back on the boulevard going past the race track. We wanted to see all the “rich beautiful people,” the women in their “Southern Bell/Queen Mum” hats and the men in their Izod shirts and wingtip shoes. The Boulevard is about two miles long and parked cars filled every available spot both sides and center, with full parking lots every couple of hundred yards. Saratoga is where the elite from around the world meet in August for the horse races and all of their expensive rides are fully protected by the most sensitive and exotic alarm systems money can buy. There was about 15–20 of us riding belching, back-firing, ear-splitting Harleys, and we proceeded to set off every car alarm in town. It was amazing to hear so many horns honking, alarms beeping, whooping, booping, whistling, shrieking, wailing, sirens going off and cars talking to each other…”GET BACK YOU’RE TOO CLOSE” “NO YOU GET BACK YOU’RE TOO CLOSE”!!! It was like a wave that fed upon itself, a chain reaction. What our bikes didn’t set off, the other alarms did. It sounded like some kind of bizarre alien invasion. I tell you it was a beautiful thing, man. Like Star Wars on a Harley. All the people walking from their parked cars to the track entrance were cracking up and cheering and waving to us….at least that’s what most of them were doing. Maybe some were making other gestures…who knows! But hell, I felt like we were the main attraction in a great obnoxious parade, and by golly we were having fun and that’s what it’s all about.

There was a time when we may have been stopped and run out of town, but I’ve noticed that bikers seem to be more popular and even “in” these days; probably because of all the biker build-off shows on TV. Now instead of grabbing up their children and fleeing in terror or blowing police whistles (I had an old lady do that to me in the grocery store one day when I got too close) citizens come up and ask if I’m a biker and what kind of bike I ride. I think we can, in part, thank that big lovable maniac, Paul Senior of Orange County Choppers for it. Oh by the way Paul, if you’re reading this, I blew past you doing 110 MPH a couple of years ago on I-90 about halfway between Devils Tower and Sturgis. I was followed closely by Bobby on his silver Dyna and Psycho John on his black Heritage. You were riding a big Harley, tsk, tsk. I think it was the one your son gave you. Hope we didn’t break your ear drums.

To make it up to you, I, being an ex Army Drill do hereby bestow upon you, Paul Teutul Senior, without fear of descent or veto from any of my brothers, the title of….
“Honorary D I”. You are indeed a kindred spirit.

Hopefully he won’t kill me now!

By Manfive Irish