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Trail Topics

   Love thy Neighbour - And his Bike

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Author: Melanie Andrew

It’s 6am Sunday morning the kids are asleep and the house is quiet.  The roar of a YZ pierces the silence as the Twenty Something’s across the road tune their bikes up for what I am sure will be a day of hard riding and play.

The baby is awake and the chance of settling her is basically nil with the windows all but vibrating and the smell of petrol filling the air.  The roar continues for the next 3 hours as they tweak and tune their bikes riding up and down the street.

As I sit, coffee in hand peering through the window remembering a day that we too were so keen to ride it got me thinking. There is a reason so many do not understand trail bike riders  - and there it is.

Perhaps I am a little out of touch with the rider within, having been some 9 years since I last gripped those handlebars. Or perhaps I have learnt that it is the few that spoil it for the many.  

Let me paint the picture. We live North of Perth surrounded by sand dunes and new developments; a natural terrain of jumps and trails.  The temptation for riding enthusiasts in our area is too much and so at any given time several can be seen cutting it up.

With the family awake we decided to take a drive up to the Lagoon for the day.  I found myself holding my breath for most of the way.  

For a large stretch of the way, two young guys darted across the road in front of us wearing short sleeved shirts and boardies, at least they had helmets on I suppose.  Another youngster had been fishtailing alongside us in the gravel for a small stretch, no helmet.  

I don’t know if it’s the mother in me but for the first time in my life I got a glimpse of what the other side sees. Recklessness.  I saw a sheer disrespect for the power they have in their control and realised something:  just like its not a gun that kills, its not a bike either - its the rider.  

I love riding, the freedom it gives you, parking up under a tree for lunch, the fresh air and that time stands still until you see the sun starting to fade. I get it, I really do, but another fire burns in my belly just a bright.  With two small children sleep and silence are rare commodities in this household.  So I’ve crossed over to the dark side and become the cranky lady next door.

I actually couldn’t believe that the words “Can’t they just shut those bloody bikes up for one day” rolled out of my mouth. Where was she, the twenty something girl that would have embraced the un-welcomed alarm clock, surely she was still in there somewhere?

I’m not at the point of frustration that I would walk across the road and say something to the guys that show such a lack of consideration but I can sympathise with others who face similar issues on a regular basis and I can see how these situations get out of hand.  I hate the word ‘hoon’ because I like to believe that for the most part whilst the behaviours are annoying (sometimes even destructive) that they are not consciously malicious.  

So I’m not a hoon and I’m not really the cranky lady next door. I’m just someone who both loves a good ride and would like to get a sleep in once in a while.

People are as passionate about bikes as others are against them. A non rider will never understand the allure of kicking your bike over and taking off for the day.  They don’t understand revs and they wouldn’t have a clue what knobby’s are so let’s start try understanding their language so we can avoid turning otherwise reasonable people into the ‘cranky lady next door’.