Born to Suck

You know, there are a lot of ways to look lame on a wheeled vehicle. For example, if you’re a guy and you have to sit behind another guy on a motorcycle, it’s not humanly possible to avoid looking lame. Ditto if you have to ride a bike where the seat’s too low and you look like Ichabod Crane on a tricycle. Anyone who rides my friend Lonnie’s bike except him looks lame because he’s got the seat set so high atop an already high frame that when he pedals, his legs completely extend so that it looks like he’s standing up. I rode it once and kept waiting for a circus calliope to start up behind me. And what about the chopper bicycles they sell here? Cruising around on a Harley-Davidson with ape-hangers is fairly cool, if only in a “screw Altamont” kind of way, but a leaned-back bicycle with ape-hangers is like something lame designed in its workshop after taking time off from teaching AP Lameness at Lame T. Lame High School.

You could also start a moped gang.

In the Hall of Lameness, the group of guys (and one girl) who passed Daniel and me last weekend have a special wing all to themselves. We were biking along when suddenly a moped, its 2-cc engine (or weaker, perhaps; I’m not ruling out the possibility that it was being powered by a jar full of bumblebees) strained to the breaking point, flew past us, its rider clearly striving for a form of cool we mere mortals could only dream of. His cigarette was clenched between his lips and angled up at a careless 45-degree angle; he was leaning back on his seat (hard to do on a vehicle that’s roughly the size and heft of a Barbie Ferrari) with his head tilted back, hair blowing in the wind; his moped featured decals of some kind, obviously meant to indicate super-duper-coolness, though to me they looked a bit like what we used to stick to our lunch boxes in fifth grade. Daniel and I, thinking this particular greaser was flying solo, had already started laughing when another moped shot past us on the left side, its rider looking just as low-key and slick as the first. Then a third passed us on the right. Then behind him came an actual motorcycle, complete with a girl wearing super-short shorts riding behind the guy at the helm, who was clearly the leader of this dangerous little band. Flying right behind him, for all the world like a pair of lame quotation marks finishing off the lamest joke you’ve ever heard, came two more mopeds. Every rider in the band looked something like the first guy, and they cruised through the bike lane (yes, the bike lane) like they were in The Road Warrior or Easy Rider. Only they weren’t in The Road Warrior or Easy Rider. If they’d been in The Road Warrior, they wouldn’t have made it past the opening credits before cannibal mutants ate them. And they weren’t in Easy Rider, either. They weren’t even in the bike chase scene from E.T. I think if you pressed me I’d give them a few minutes in The Muppets Take Manhattan or Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. They could look tough there, for a few minutes at least.

You can say what you want about cultural differences. I maintain there are some things which are universally true. One of those things is that a moped gang is lame. Ride a chopper bike first. At least that will give lame something to do in its spare time.

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