“Join the Boxer rebellion with the non-profit Airheads Beemer Club”
If you’ve ever checked out my essay on Snuffy Smith’s Thanksgiving motorcycle rally, you know that picking your motorcycle clique is a serious business — like choosing which area of the cafeteria you’re going to sit in throughout college. As the Salvation Army worker sang to the drunk, lying next to a pig in the gutter, “You’re measured in life by the company you keep,”* and so it’s important to choose your alliances carefully.
Actually, I discovered this morning, it’s much easier than that: the motorcycle clique picks you. For one thing, you have to pick a motorcycle that looks like you. My friend and colleague Kieran Downes will look fine crouched on top of a wasp-shaped Ducati. For my part, I don’t aspire to the ZZ Top vibe that you need to ride a bright red Indian. I’ve always thought that the boxy, black BMWs of the 1970s were the sharpest bikes ever — from the Tonka-toy rubber boots on the forks to the Messerschmidt biscuit logo on the back of the seat. What’s more, airhead BMWs are great long-distance touring bikes, and they’re reliable as dirt.
The only problem with owning a BMW is that people are always asking you where the cappucino maker plugs in. If the stereotype of the Harley rider is a beer-bellied bruiser who works down at the stamping factory (or a proctologist with a shiny Sportster trailer queen in the garage), the stereotype of the Beemer rider is of the guy who goes camping with a satellite phone and an Ortlieb dry bag full of self-heating meals.
Since I am that guy, I accept the stereotype. Also, I found a really cool BMW club on the internet, at www.airheads.org. Things in favor of it:
- It’s got a hip URL in the .org domain.
- It’s written in PHP. Ergo, there are geeks on the staff.
- It uses text breadcrumb navigation (“Home > Join“) Ergo, there are enlightened geeks on the staff.
- It’s packed with FAQ information for the newbie.
- The logo has a kind of skull-and-crossbones thing going on, which I’m a a huge sucker for.
The club’s Canons include the tenet “Airheads believe that the simplest engineering solutions are best”, which is going to be a challenge for me, but it’s something to aspire to. Also, I don’t fulfill one of the most important prerequisites for membership, as I don’t yet actually own an airhead Boxer. But I soon will, and you can follow my progress in the thermometer to the right. Until I reach my goal, I’ve asked them if I can join on spec, so that I can commute to work on my starter bike wearing an Airheads sticker on my helmet. I’ll let you know what they say.
* From (once again) a song my mom used to sing me as a kid. The last line goes “…and the pig got up and slow-ly walked away!”