2004 VTX 1300C - Rumblings

Duel Thinking

Duel Thinking
I've pretty much lived on the road the last three years, and I've seen all too many of these acts. Unlike you, I can't outrun most of these people. My 20-year-old Beemer's getting a bit long in the tooth, even if I wasn't pulling a camper. And so I have to bite my tongue and show more restraint than normal.There's no excuse for the way the people in your article behaved on the road, but they outweigh any motorcycle. Ultimately, no matter how right or wrong-or idiotic-these people are, there's always someone bigger than us. We lose no matter what. So it's better to be safe than sorry.Stan HowesVia e-mail

Jamie, Jamie, Jamie, [What are you doing] mix'n it up with a minivan driver?

What's next, a Buick? Road rage is rampant. It's a given this stuff will be out there each time you ride or drive. I'm a big strong guy, but I refuse to let some idiot suck me into his or her problems of the day. I hereby sentence you to five episodes of Kung Fu.P.S. Enough Harley stuff, ok? Jeff MinnesotaVia e-mail

Sorry to hear about your rotten experiences. Some thoughts on the subject:

-People are getting crazier and there are more of them on the road-the most common variety being the "rageaholic" who is so out of control he puts his own life in jeopardy so he can stick it to you.

-At night the cover of darkness (especially for someone whose judgment is already impaired by booze or drugs) can make them feel invulnerable so they are more likely to go postal on you.

-There are people (I call them passive-aggressive with underlying rage) who set out in their cars and trucks with the intention of sticking it to other drivers by hogging a lane at low speeds, especially the passing lane, and refusing to move no matter what signal you give them (flashing lights, polite toot on the horn, sustained blasting of the horn, etc.).

-Good strategy if you are being pursued by a maniac is, if possible, head toward the center of town and pull into the nearest police station (or fire station if it is open and staffed).

-And my favorite fantasy option involves the deployment of a short-barreled Mossberg 12 gauge. (Oh, I forgot, we are trying to be more civilized here.)
Paul Wasserman
Rockport, MA

I'm afraid to say that because you indirectly caused two of those three instances, I've no pity for you. The drunk, well, there's nothing we can do about him. The other two, however, you could've avoided. As for the confrontation, if you keep that up there's going to come a time where neither your sex, your good looks, nor the fact that you're someone's mother, will keep someone from putting his foot up your ass.
Sam Fuentes
Via e-mail

I read your article "Duel" in the December issue with great interest. You have given us three options in this article, but you have ignored (if you'll pardon the pun) a fourth option, and that is to ignore. I'm not sure how you define passive in your article when you state that we should "Be slightly defensive and never, ever passive." I agree that we must be defensive, but I think that being a bit passive is one of the most effective methods of avoiding violent situations in traffic.

I have ridden motorcycles since my dirttracking days in the 1960s and I have never tangled with a four-wheeler in spite of the hundreds of thousands of miles that I have logged on public roads.

First I would like you to know that I don't believe that the incidents you have experienced recently are a coincidence. I fear it is a trend and that, particularly as motorcyclists, we need to be cautious on the public roads since we are very vulnerable in traffic. I feel these days there is a growing segment of society that feels that they need to be catered to and everyone else owes them something, simply because they have been handed too much while growing up and they're spoiled rotten. These people tend to be very impatient and expect everyone else to get the hell out of their way while they go about their self-centered routine. This can lead to very dangerous situations on the public roads.

You are correct in summarizing that confrontation is rarely the best answer and that there are more people packing iron these days. Whether it be a gun, a tire iron or some maniacal imbecile doing his best impression of Jack Nicholson while pulling a double-blade axe from beneath his truck seat, these people can be very dangerous. I feel the best defense is to not bring attention to ourselves.

If something does happen which causes a minor (or major) confrontation in traffic, it is my belief that the best defense can often be to act as though you haven't noticed there was a problem, although if someone is trying to jam his three-quarter-ton grill up the tailpipes on your Road Star, it is possible that one of your three solutions would be the best option. However I don't think this situation is the norm. In most cases it is better to proceed nonchalantly on your way and let the aggressive driver find someone else to antagonize. I know it is sometimes difficult not to let ego take over, but if our antagonist finds we are not fazed by his actions he will often try to find someone else to anger so he can boost his own ego.

I agree with you that the scenario of the confrontation should be a last resort at all times, but I feel that the ignore solution should be our first attempt at trying to end a potentially dangerous situation.
Frank Stone
Benson, AZDueling and Then Some
The Vulcan 2000 Project (December 2005 cover story) is the way Kawasaki should build the machine. The seat is not practical, but the overall idea is great. After reading that Motorcycle Cruiser is 10 years old, don't you think [it] should expand, offer more advertisements and more pages? I say this because as I was reading this latest copy, the cheap-assed pages were falling away from their staples.

After reading Elvidge's article "The Duel" I don't think much of her as an example for cruiser queen. Chasing drunken punks in pickups, flipping the bird at minivan weeners and showing off her golden mane to "get out of a bad situation" and then to brag about all this sh-t in the magazine is preposterous. Smell the roses. Slap your own face and wake up, 'cause life as we know it can be over in a fraction-repeat-a fraction of a second, and you'll end up on the mortician's stainless steel slab with some ghoul grinning perversely down at you. Slow Down God Damnit. Enjoy life on your cruiser and cruise...and give the drunks/druggies/weenies more than enough room. Call me an a'hole, or what have you, but at least I'm writing because I care.
Chuck N.
Richmond, VA

Thanks for the education Chuck. It's great to have someone who cares, and don't worry, we'd never call you "an a'hole, or what have you." -JE