Thursday, July 23, 2009

Motorcycles in Scotland

Well, I did indeed look into hiring a bike in Scotland, but it would have been about $1000 for 2 people to rent for 1 day. Since I'm loathe to sell any organs before my actual death to raise that kind of money, and since we still can't remember to look for cars on the opposite sides of the street, never mind ride on them, perhaps it is for the best. (I have no desire to hasten the state in which it would be acceptable to sell my organs.) Though I am painfully reminded at every turn how much I would really like to ride my bike here.

Rather like Steve Carrell's character in '40 Year Old Virgin', haunted by sexual imagery at every turn and stalked by the large 'Eruption' advertisements, bikes are everywhere here. Yesterday, on a bus ride to Lock Ness and Glen Coe, there were swarms of two-wheeled travelers in their leathers at every tourist stop. I got to play 'Which Bike Do They Ride' game...all day.

Today, waiting for the bus to go to Cramond Island, two motorcycle officers passed a la 'CHiPs' in the same can't-miss-me-with-your-eyes-closed design that the police cars here in Scotland sport.

Once on the bus, the bikes were at every intersection. Taunting me from across the intersection, pulling up to my window seat at every stop light or, the nerve, leading the way back to Edinburgh, giving me a haughty exhaust pipe-view a good bit of the way. Rarely were they cruiser style, though there was one Harley Davidson spotted, a couple Hondas and a Suzuki. And we got to see the blatant "L" tags that learners here are required to display.

It's been interesting to note the differences here - more than the style of bike ridden is that no matter the style, protective gear is almost universally worn head to toe. Perhaps it's that most all of the riders I've seen off their bikes sans helmet have been 40+, but whether on the handful of cruisers, or the hundreds of cafe bikes and scooters, helmet, jacket, pants, gloves and boots are prominent. Perhaps this makes me stand out less in my Joe Rocket pants, sitting on the edge of Loch Ness eating my sandwich, not having jumped off my bike for a quick tourist stop and a stretch, but rather to keep warm during the colder-than-I-packed-for July in Scotland.

And not even a peek at the monster to distract me.

Maybe if it were this cold at home in the summer riders would have on full gear.

Somehow I doubt it.

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