OCTOBER 31, 2014: THINKING HARLEY FOR YOUR MID-LIFE CRISIS? IT MAY BE TIME FOR SOMETHING MUCH BETTER

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We have all seen them.

 

Middle-aged warriors on hogs who may be looking for adventure in that Born To Be Wild/Easy Rider kind of way.

 

After all, nothing says menace to society like a 55-year-old accountant on a Harley.

 

The basic problem with the weekend outlaw image is every other middle-aged guy in crisis has followed that same path.

 

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The result is a generic bunch of old guys riding big bikes on weekends, complete with the trendy accessory neo-WW II German soldier helmet and well-rehearsed grim look while riding their hogs.

 

They are getting down to their bad self and apparently quelling the fires of middle age with a well-cultivated look worn by every other aging male with an identity crisis. The rest of us old guys notice them on the road because the annoying cacophony of noise from their sawed-off mufflers will even wake the dead.

 

The alpha male in the pack of biker wannabes runs dangerously close to the center line on highways, presumably to show that his testosterone levels are just fine, thank you very much.

 

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Smart alpha males on big bikes should take note of the large mirror systems found on modern diesel trucks pulling holiday trailers if they want to avoid becoming a footnote in highway fatality stories on the weekend news reports.

 

I am acquainted with enough long time riders who have ridden bikes since they were teenagers to understand their position on nouveau Harley riders and they are not impressed with the new “kids” on the bikes. Bikes are a tricky form of transportation and the ability to handle them is built from decades of experience-not months.

 

Think about the negatives when it comes to bikes: horrible weather, plus road hazards like wild animals, gravel, slippery-when-wet pavement and, most of all, other four-wheeled drivers await the biker.

 

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Motorcycle riders are as vulnerable as newborn fawns in heavy traffic and can only rely upon their limited experience and middle-aged reflexes to save themselves from these hazards.

 

It is difficult to see the upside to the mid-life crisis-fuelled choice to buy a Harley so you can try and prove you were indeed born to be wild- if not for the rational choice to pursue a productive lifestyle earlier in your life. You will spend hours on a dangerous machine with no roof, no heater and no shelter from the storm.

 

The solution to mid-life crisis is easier than a brash decision to buy a Harley and join tens of thousands of other guys doing the same thing: buy a classic old ride. The old car hobby offers many choices that range from bone stock to barely legal street monsters to satisfy your need to stand out in mid-life as somebody different from the rest.

 

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A big bike has fewer features that make it stand out from the rest of the two-wheeled crowd. Sure you can add ape-hangers, extended forks and a stylish airbrush paint job to your custom gas tank, but the lack of sheet metal on a bike makes it pretty generic to the unconverted masses.

 

Think about the rebel hidden inside your middle-aged soul and ask whether a Harley will really make you stand out in a crowd of other nouveau bikers your age compared to a four-wheeled classic. Is yet another Harley more of a statement than a 50s finned car, a 60s muscle car, or a 30s hot rod?

 

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The answer my middle-aged friend, is blowing in the cold wind around your hog every time you choose to jump on it and try to become Captain America or Billy.

 

Buy something classic with four wheels if you really want to make a statement late in life.

 

Jim Sutherland

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