Q: Why do you wear
those goofy clothes?
A: The jacket and pants I wear are designed to provide abrasion and impact resistance in case of an "unscheduled get-off", as we call them. No, it does not make me a hooligan. There's also armor and padding at the critical impact areas. I wear gloves because falling off a motorcycle even at parking lot speeds can, and usually does, remove most of the skin from your hands. The leathers also protect me from the elements out there, including cold, rain, sun exposure, and flying debris.
Q: Why do you wear
a helmet? There's no helmet law here, you know.
A: I wear a helmet for obvious (to me, at least) reasons. In addition to impact protection, my helmet/visor protects me from the elements and also from the various things you get pelted with while riding on the freeway, such as rocks and bugs. Getting hit by a 60mph bee feels like you were shot with a pellet gun, to say nothing of rocks, cigarette butts, birds, etc.
Q: Aren't you hot/cold?
A: Somtimes, I'm hot in the summer, as you might expect, but only when I'm sitting still. At speed, I'm pretty comfortable. I can ride comfortably down into the low 30's, and even lower for short periods (< 1 hour or so), with the addition of an electric vest worn under the jacket, which plugs into the motorcycle's electrical system and provides heat. Donations welcome for future accessory purchases.
Q: Is all that crap
A: Very. That's why they don't match - I bought the pants used.
Q: Why are you so
preoccupied with what can happen if you fall off? I'm not/none
of my friends are. Are you a lousy driver?
A: Actually, I'm a pretty good rider, and constantly work on improving my skills, through practice and various training courses/schools. However, many of YOU aren't so hot, and this is usually what kills motorcyclists.
Q: Are motorcycles
A: Yes and no. Most mid-80's motorcycles can be purchased for between $1000 and $3000. New motorcycles can go from $6,000 to $20,000, and even higher, depending on what you want.
Q: What do you ride?
How fast does it go?
A: I ride an 98 Honda VFR800FI. It's a fuel injected, V-four cylinder, water-cooled, 800cc sport-touring bike, meaning it was designed to go very fast and carve through corners (sport) but also be comfortable enough to ride for long distances (touring). Basically, it's a two-wheeled Porsche. How fast? I've been as fast as 152 mph. Does it really matter after 120?
Q: Why don't you ride
A: Harleys are, for the most part, 90% marketing/merchandising and 10% performance/functionality. If they spent 1/10th what they spend on designing Tshirts on actual mechanical research and development, I'd consider buying one. Since my motorcycling habit often takes me considerably farther than the closest neighborhood bar, it's important that my choice of motorcycle be reliable and performance-oriented. Since motorcycles are expensive, it's also crucial that my bang to buck ratio be considerably higher than what any Harley can offer. To illustrate this, consider that the average Harley costs more than twice what the average Japanese bike costs, while offering typically less than half the horsepower.
Q: Can I have a ride?
A: Sure, but give me a day's notice, and I'll bring in a helmet for you!