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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ragin' Cagin'

Well, the Texas heat must be getting to everyone lately. We’ve had more trouble with the cagers (that’s folks in cars) in the last few months than ever before.

A few weeks back, we’re all heading home from a ride downtown. It was a night ride and traffic on the freeway was not too bad. CC and his lady, Mi, was riding tail gunner when a car came too close for comfort. Most of us at the front were not aware of the situation. CC decided to change lane and speed up to see if trouble would follow. Sure enough, as he passed us in the next lane, the car was right on his tail. He veered in an out of traffic and the cager would not let up. That’s when Mi lost her cool and communicated the international sign language with the car. By this time, most of us were on board with what’s up. Of course, Crazy Horse was right up alongside that car and Mountain Man was also riding wing man. Pops had the rear and CC was still in front of the guy but slowing down and forcing the cage to a stop. With everyone bunched up, I went on ahead with my eyes glued to the rear view mirror. Before you know it, the bikes had come to a stop “right on the freeway” and so was the cager. By the time I got off my bike and ran down towards the scene, the car had somehow maneuvered around the bikes and hauled off. Lil’ Sonny also pulled over and followed me towards the car ready for action though, somehow, he was unaware what was going on or why we’d pulled over. The boys informed me that the driver was drinking and actually was still holding his bottle in one hand with the other on the wheel. The passenger had freaked that we’d actually boxed in and stopped their car and had both his hands raised and shaking his head signaling they wanted no trouble. Funny thing is, neither did we. But when you’re in a two ton automobile and tailgating someone on two wheels, it’s not a joke. You’re playing with someone’s life and the car truly becomes a deadly weapon. Though it was all very serious, we did manage to laugh it off later at the cafĂ© when we learned that Mi reached down for her sandals and was going to throw it at the car when she remembered how much it had cost her. That’s when she changed her mind and threw them the “bird” instead….women, the things they think about in times as such truly amazes me.

Not but a few nights later, we’re heading to the Southside when an SUV pulls the same stunt with Lil’ Sonny. This time, Louie took the lead and we once again boxed in the cager. However, rather than pull him to a stop, we all just slowed down to about 58 miles per hour and escorted the SUV that way for a good 5 miles. This royally pissed the guy off being that it was a 70 mile per hour speed limit highway. We’d have probably paced him that way for many more miles but we eventually passed five-O parked on the shoulder and shook the SUV loose before the law had a chance to figure out what was going on.

With all this talk about boxing in a cager, I don’t wish it misconstrued that this is a smart or proper thing to do. Using your motorcycle to hold down a car is no different than using your body to stop a raging bull at high speed and if push comes to shove, it’s a no win situation for the rider, that’s for sure. Other than balls and skills, you “must” know how to assess the situation and leave yourself an out should the cager go “off” and decide to ram you off the road. Regardless though, though it’s happened from time to time, it’s not something I’d ever suggest riders do. The smartest thing to do when a car tailgates you or cuts you off is to just steer away and keep as far from it as possible. This is exactly what we do most of the time. The two scenarios above only occurred because the rider’s attempt to move out of the auto’s way did not deter the car from continuing the too close for comfort tailgating…..in which case, if you’re going to go down, you may as well go out swinging.