Rides and Tales

Observations From Behind Bars


with one comment

One Saturday, I had a bad case of ennui (that’s French for, the funk). The sun was out in my neck of the woods, even though there was some flooding rain a few miles inland, but then, I was stricken with the ennui and didn’t much give a flip.
My road bike was on the lift so I snagged a few small parts to clean and paint. While they were safely baking in the toaster oven, the cigar box caught my eye.

It’s a small cigar box, but then, it only contains hat pins (“vest pins”, for you non-shit kickers). I’ve always like obtaining the pins more than wearing them.
A few years ago, one of the ladies in my owners association had a mastectomy. Because the prosthesis (“my fake boob”) was so expensive, she and her husband quit wearing rally pins on their vests, so as not to damage it. Because I like hugging her, I did the same. With the exception of a few on a vest not worn to the association meetings, the pins ended up in the box.

These first pins are rally pins. I paid my five-to-fifty US dollars at registration and I, along with hundreds-to-thousands of other participants, received a beautiful and unique commemorative souvenir. Well, the ROT Rally pin is pretty generic, you can order them, on-line, going back to the first year but I actually like the others. Some thought was put into their designs. I like the ‘Dawg Days’ pin because it’s understated. More on that.

Now, the next bunch I think of as “ride pins”. You can’t order them on-line; you have to ride out and get them yourself, like pins for club rallies, only someone else is not responsible for the success of the ride. Some, like the Grand Canyon pin, are eye catchers. I looked into the canyon and knew I couldn’t bring it back in a camera. The pin reflects the awe I felt, there.

I like the simplicity of these two. The Grand Teton pin says,
“I was at this park”. If you’ve looked up at those mountains, no other explanation is necessary, if not, then the only explanation is one you have to find yourself. The same is true of the Stone Mountain carving.

Ride pins are ones that speak for themselves, ones that another rider can look at and say, “I was on that ride”, or “Ah been’ere”. I wear a small one that says simply, “Jackson Hole”. It causes more conversations with long riders who want to know when, what route, what time of year and “did you see…”?

“Gimme pins”, I call this last bunch, pins given to me by friends and associates. They are my favorites and some of them live in the box for safekeeping.

My great aunt gave the lapel pin on the left to me. Her husband donated to the fledgling ASCAP music association and Minnie Pearl sent it and a thank you note. It has seen the band stands of some honky tonks.

A Canadian rider sent the custom made pin in middle as a gesture of solidarity after I’d outraged the tight ass faction on a cruiser club’s message board. It identifies me as a “Fingerteer”, one who engages in the insensitive practice of flipping off riders who won’t return a wave. A photograph cannot capture the beautiful detail of the piece. Its twin is on that vest I mentioned.

The round pin on the right is, obviously, a Narcotics Anonymous pin and was given to me by someone who will remain anonymous. I know how much that fellowship means to him, so the pin has beauty beyond its elegant simplicity, for me.

These little chingaderas are like that; they can become more important than themselves.
A few years ago, I was riding with a friend and we stopped in a tiny adult store, in Austin (A “tiny adult” store? No. A small, sexually oriented, place of business.). Oddly enough, they had hatpins at the sales counter. I suggested we get a couple as mementos of our jaunt and she picked this little skeleton on a chopper, the only one left and the only one she’d have.
I checked out the others and came up with an obscene little pin that looked like a woman with her knees in the air and her ankles apart. It also looked like a variation of Kawasaki’s
“Vulcan ” logo, and it passed as such until folks got to wondering why a Honda rider would wear it.

Five years later, more or less:
I’d become friendly with one of the younger men in the neighborhood, so when he bought a new motorcycle he brought her down to my house to show her off. She was a beauty, too, an 800 cc Kawasaki Vulcan. The pin in my little cigar box leapt to mind and I passed it, and its tale, on to him. Both our grins got bigger when he told me his wife, “hates biker shit”.  If she ever figures it out she’s going to flip.
I filled her sister-in-law in on it, too, so now there are two riders and a pedestrian who have their lives enriched (granted, in a small way) by an, otherwise, worthless bit of pot metal.

I guess I’ve been preaching to the choir. I should find something productive to do.

Maybe later I’ll tell you how I became a Grope Leader ( Gropin’ Führer).


Written by fiddle mike

January 26, 2008 at 11:22 am

One Response

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  1. Fiddle Mike,

    I really loved the article.
    various types of chingaderas are teh best way to remember various adventures and misadventures. The best I’ve ever seen is two armadillos engaging in a private act. My brother had it, but wouldn’t tell me where it came from. He wouldn’t give it to me either.



    January 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm

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