I’ve you’ve ever been in the passenger seat of a Volkswagen Kombi when its driver passes another Kombi on the highway, you would have probably witnessed both owners giving each other a polite wave as they pass. It’s a simple acknowledgement that they share a common interest, often compounded by sharing the lifestyle that you would often associate with the vehicle, (camping, surfing etc.)

I’ve experienced the same sort of acknowledgement on the back of a motorcycle. As you rocket past another rider on an isolated stretch of Tasmanian road, you’ll get it in the form of a subtle (yet obvious) nod of the head that’s accentuated by the size of the riders’ helmet. They’re out there doing the same thing you’re doing and the nod is just the recognition that you’re part of the same group.

There is one group of riders, however, that don’t give the subtle nod. They’re too busy being ‘rebels without a cause’ on their ridiculous Harley Davidson motorcycles to worry about other road users, let alone stop to acknowledge them. What a bunch of fuckheads. Wearing leathers that look like they’ve been stripped directly from a big old hairy, sweaty bear at an all-night gay rave and sporting some ridiculously unfashionable black-tinted sunglasses slipped under an open-faced WWII-style German Nazi helmet, they truly are the antithesis of my idea of cool.

A monument to my misanthropy.

The worst Harley riders are the guys that get into their 50s and decide that they’d like to buy one in a vain attempt to escape the mind-numbing boredom that has been, is & will forever be their banal inner-suburban existence. These chumps buy into the whole image of the liberated biker riding into the sunset, leaving his cares behind him (and potentially three children from two failed marriages). They buy all the ‘kit’ that people associate with outlaw bikers, thinking that it’ll make them look ‘hard’.

The opposite is true; you can tell the 50 year-old family-man who’s just bought a Harley coming down the road from about a mile away. Although the idea is attractive in theory, the reality of wrapping an overweight, hairy, wheezing human equivalent of a pork-scratching into about 3 cows’ worth of leather, the underside of his sweating, heaving gut chafing viciously on his one-size too small pants is far less attractive. You can tell from their bike control that they’re no experts when it comes to riding too.

This brings me to my next point… Harleys are a truly ridiculous proposition in terms of performance, handling & reliability. They’re just a bunch of slow, hard to stop, chrome-laden, 1920s engineered, poorly designed pieces of shit. They’ve all got turning circles like the fucking Titanic and weigh more than Kim Kardashian does after a visit to all-you-can-eat Sizzler. Fuck, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve driven past overheated Harleys on the yearly Tasmanian ‘Toy Run’ during drives from Devonport to Hobart (simply from riding them, no less), I’d have enough money to buy the child of a heroin addict a fucking pony for Christmas.

They’re obnoxiously loud as well, for absolutely no reason whatsoever. “Look at me, look at me, I’m riding a motorcycle at 20kms an hour in the middle of peak hour traffic, oh well, at least my motorcycle SOUNDS LIKE A FUCKING JET AIRCRAFT TAKING OFF”. What is the point of that?

I remember last summer I was in Salamanca Square when a Harley Rider turned onto the cobblestones too early and far too slow, dropping the bike and making an awful noise, chrome scraping cobblestones as the bike slid down the remainder of the slope, the rider appearing pinned at least partially under the bike.

I’d normally go and help out the rider to right the bike (as they’re fucking heavy and need a few hands in some cases). I turned around and saw that it was a Harley and that the rider had been clearly trying to show off in the middle of a packed intersection littered with al-fresco dinner patrons.

I turned back around and kept on walking.

Fuck ‘em.

/end communication