Motorcycling Through the Great State of New York

It was my first visit to New York. I’d arrived at the state line, alone, expecting to meet up with my brother and sister-in-law at some point in the next couple of days as they rode down from Maine, but for the time being, I was a lone wolf on the country roads, sheltered by a canopy of red, orange, and yellow leaves. We’d chosen October specifically for this reason, for the changing New England leaves, and for the cooler riding conditions. I wanted to get some good riding in before we needed to switch over to heated riding gear.

New York Motorcycle Trip

But, frankly, as excited as I was, I was also a little nervous. A single woman riding around the back roads all alone? The bike usually scared off most rabble rousers, but it could attract a totally different set. I was only interested in twisty, well-kept roads. Not in deflecting unwanted advances—or worse. Not that I had ever really had a problem before.

 

I decided to take the Sunrise Bypass to Montauk route and then double back and head north to meet up with my family after a couple of days of exploring. Equipped with just my map and a sandwich, I started off early in the morning, enjoying the crisp breeze in my hair, loving the sound of the air whipping past my face and the blur of the leaves as I raced along the twisty road. It was largely deserted, except for a group of three other motorcycle enthusiasts, who were taking their time, looking at the foliage. I gave them a wave as I went past and exchanged a peace sign with a portly gentleman who had the same make and model motorcycle as the mine.

 

There was also a tanker truck, jackknifed in the middle of the road, just as I came around a particularly thrilling twist. I slammed on the brakes without shifting down and heard something give inside the gearbox as I shuttered to a stop, almost losing stability and spinning out, just like this guy had obviously done.

 

He was alright, and so was the funky little sedan that hit him, but when I tried to get my bike going again, it was shot. Splendid. I’d be stuck on the side of the road for hours waiting for my brother to drive down here, and then it would take hours again for us to figure out the problem and somehow get the bike to a shop. That was the plan—until that gang of three other motorcyclists caught up with me.

 

They stopped and asked what was wrong and I sheepishly said that I didn’t know, embarrassed that though I’d been on this monster of a bike for six years, I wasn’t certain about what had happened. Luckily, the portly gentleman had been riding a lot longer and was far better equipped than I was. He scolded me for running down my gears, pulled a few from his extensive supply of extra parts, and I was on my way again, this time with three new companions. I am ever so thankful for the kindness of New York bikers.

Cast Stone Motorcycle Sculpture Art by Randall Zadar

Original cast stone motorcycle sculptures by Sculptor Randall Zadar. Display indoors or out. Hand-cast and hand-finished. Made in USA. Display in your yard, garden, home, garage or office using a built-in hook. Makes a great gift for anyone who loves motorcycles. The dimensions are: 8” x 5” x ¾”, weighs 2.5 pounds. Commissions are available to clubs or businesses.

cast stone motorcycle sculptures$28.00 plus $6.50 shipping

Order on-line at www.motorcyclesculpture.com or by calling 440-878-1474.
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Meanings Behind Motorcycle Vest Patches

Like most things in the motorcycle riding world, there are rules and regulations when it comes to motorcycle vest patches. Each patch has its own meaning, either for the individual or to the club or association he belongs to. Aside from these patches, which can be designed however the club or association sees fit and with whatever materials are handy, there are also a number of widely used vest patches that symbolized a biker’s ethnicity, home state, etc.

 Motorcycle Vest Patches

These patches are used not only for self-expression, but also, in the small community of outlaw bikers, to distinguish different groups. While law-abiding bikers and outlaw bikers might use the same patches, those who live outside the law will normally cut their patches into three pieces before affixing them to their vest, as an indication that they do not abide by the rules of society. In addition, most outlaw biker clubs will wear a patch with the 1% on it, to represent that they are part of the one-percent of bikers who consider themselves outlaws, rather than hobbyist riders.

 

A crescent, either above or below another patch indicates a lover of rock and roll music or a biker who is also a musician. In some situations, this patch can be taken out of context, to indicate an outlaw biker, but in its essence, it simply means that the wearer loves music.

 

The other 99% of riders wear patches simply to show their affiliation with the American Motorcycle Association, among a number of other distinctions. For example, a 9 or 934 patch shows that the biker is at least part American Indian. Flags are used to show either the state or country the club originates from, also an indication of nationality or ethnicity.

 

One of the most common symbols on a biker’s vest will be the ace of spades. This patch represents the biker’s willingness to fight for their club or their country. Because many legitimate biker clubs are involved in community issues, it could also stand for a willingness to fight to the death to protect those affected by domestic violence or abuse.

 

A wing patch is also common, and can have many different meanings. Among biker groups that abide by the law, a wing patch will usually denote some sort of special achievement, though what that achievement could be varies from person to person and club to club. In some of the more extreme associations, wings denote a criminal or sexual achievement, with different colors indicating different kinds of acts.

 

The skull and crossbones can also have varying meanings, depending on the club itself. In that 99% of legitimate clubs, it shows that the wearer has escaped a near-death situation.