Our Public Image, Good or Bad?

Saddletramp1200

Custom MB Buiilder
May 7, 2008
1,439
40
48
Houston, Texas
Every member shows up here at some time or another. No one has mentioned
this, so I will. Every state has laws. Some good, some not so good. What we need to focus on is how other people see us. If I see a person young or old walking or bicycling on a public street wearing a "kill everybody" T-shirt I am more likely to keep a very close eye on him/her than someone that is just wearing say an AC/DC shirt. I am NOT playing the how I choose to dress card. I am just saying how we appear to others is important. I will wave at some one watering there lawn and keep going. I stop at stop lights because I don't want to become someones "hood Ornament". I don't give Cops a reason
to pay un due attention to me. I haul "donkey" down back roads knowing if I loose it it's going to hurt bigtime. Some of our bikes will clear 50mph easy. A wave or a nod goes a long way with most people. People are afraid of things they are not familer with. If you go flying down the street making everyone Number One it's not a good image. We all have the right to exist. Some of us use the bikes for fun, some for transportation, some both. In the publics eye just one careless rider can make it really hard for the rest. The only people that will look after us. IS us. Ride safe and with a little class. WE make the difference! Later Tramp (c)
 

azbill

Active Member
May 18, 2008
3,365
0
36
60
Fountain Hills, Arizona
if you are the first motor-assisted bike they see,
yours is the impression they will remember
I follow the rules of the road... as I should
and I try to send out 'good vibes' to all that ask me about my bike (or even look in my direction) :)
 

Spunout

MB Builder Extraordinaire
Jul 21, 2008
475
1
0
coventry, RI
blog.360.yahoo.com
first impressions mean alot, and can never be reversed.
i,too, "haul donkey" late at night on a dark lonely road, when i know nobody's gonna see me.
the rest of the time, i obey the laws. even though it kills me.

i got hassled by a cop a month ago, who didnt know the law.
i was polite and respectful, even though he was on a power-trip.
i got tired of waiting for him to finish his call, so i left my copy of the law under his windshield. next time he encounters a mb'r, he'll remember me.
 

Easy Rider

Santa Cruz Scooter Works
Jan 15, 2008
2,144
4
38
Nor*Cal
For me, I obey the law most of the time except when I'm on the back roads. On the city streets, I stop at lights or stop signs and usually ride with the flow of traffic...just so I won't get mowed down by a car or truck.
I think the P.D. doesn't mess with me b/c I'm always wearing a full face helmet and where I live there is always a cop lurking around with a radar gun.
 

eDJ

Member
Jul 8, 2008
530
0
16
Wayne National Forest
I agree the first impressions are lasting.

I think many people will react with a cocked eye questioning why a grown man wants to be seen on a "Kids Toy". (as though it isn't proper) They may have a dismissive view.

Let them realize the "Kids Toy" is cabable of 200+ mpg their impression will shift quickly to envy or perhaps jealousy.

When HONDA came to the USA in the early sixties they labored hard to create an image for their machines. They didn't want the black leather cult of "bikers" with their BDSM/Tatoo's motif, but rather a clean wholesum fun image. The Ad Agencies came up with a little Granny-Lady riding a HONDA 50 step thru with long dress and large sun bonnet. (think of Tweetie the cannary bird and the little ol' lady he lived with) The slogan was "You meet the nicest people on a HONDA". This was at a time when the public perception of Harley and Indian owners was less than stellar not to mention HONDA was brought to
us by the same people who brough Pearl Harbor. So they had to deal with some major image modification. (obviously they did well)

I once read one of Gordon Jennings articles in an old Cycle magazine where he addressed the "anti social" nature of motorcycles by design. He examined carburation and jetting of an air cooled engine and it's inherant noise by virtue of it's primative design. He explored gearing in the transmission which led to
rapid acceleration, and concluded with exhaust systems on bikes to draw parallels to young people, noise, and a menacing presence to older people.
Most riders were younger people who made a good match for the characteristics of a motor bike with their youthful daring do and the qualities
many find offensive of motorized bikes.

The bike I'll operate will be clean and attractive and I'll operate it in a sane level headed manner. (Ohio dictates 20 mph and 3 ft from the edge of the road) If anyone ask I'll make it clear it is for the sake of fuel milage and was built expressly for running errands to the store to combine business and pleasure.

I know these will be great fascination to young boys but I won't encourage
their interest as their parents likely won't want to listen to them asking for one. Nor do I want their folks thinking I'm a bad influance on their boy.....and wish I and my motor bike weren't seen in public by their kids. I can understand how it would wear on their nerves. It will be difficult enough riding around in my area on a kid magnet to run my errands while school is out during the summer.

So that's the image situation I know I'll have here. Then there's the kids in their first cars thinking a bicycle (motorized or not) shouldn't be on "their" highway. So I figure the early morning riding and errand running will be the best use of it during the time kids are out of school during the summer.
So I'll have the "grouchy old man" image issue to contend with with them.
 

deacon

minor bike philosopher
Jan 15, 2008
8,117
3
0
north carolina
If I can weigh in on this. I try to be courteous and behave like an adult. I do rolling stops through stop signs if possible, but I always look very very carefully because I'm the one who is really going to be hurt in an accident with a car.

I try to speak to those I pass cause I am going slow enough to do so. You are not really well insulated from your environment on a bike as you would be in a car. You are IN a car but ON a bike, big difference.

I am also old and dress in greasy clothes or rags most of the time so except for the loud engine, I could be a homeless guy. I pretty much get ignore or asked about the bike, depending on the type people around at the time That suits me just fine.

I do get asked a lot about the bike because I look pretty harmless. I could never pass for a bad butted biker. Those days are long gone my friends. Getting to be old is not it's own reward so prepare for it.
 

Jstude

New Member
Jul 3, 2008
28
0
0
South Carolina
I’ll have to admit that here in South Carolina, when you see a grown man on a moped, the first thought that comes to mind is that the rider is probably someone who has lost his license due to drunk driving convictions. The only way they can legally get on the street is to operate a vehicle that does not require registration and insurance. So, when I started my motorized bike project, (my wife see's it as just another way to embarrass her!), I did not want it to look like the average "drunk scooter". I usually wear a helmet when I am on my big v twin motorcycle. I think I will wear a bike helmet on my motorized bike, but not the "spandex tour de butt" shorts!
 
Jul 22, 2008
656
0
16
Northglenn,Colorado
It's all about YOU here.
Why is it I can get on NATIONAL TV riding my bike on the BIKE TRAIL where the law states no motorized vehicles and it's okay?
Why is it that when I'm riding on the bike trail and I see a cop they just wave at me?
Because I shut my engine off when I pass roadies and people with dogs on their leashes and guys on horses.
And I keep my cruising speeds below 20 and keep it under 12 when the trail has a lot of traffic.
AND I keep roadies ego's in check by allowing them to pass me.
And anywhere on the streets when I travel with the other bikers I pedal along with them so it looks like the engine is simply helping me along.
Because when people see me and my wonderful bike,they see a BICYCLE with a HELPER ENGINE!
They DON'T see a motorcycle.
And also because COLORADO RULES HUGE!!!
 

capturedbyrobots

New Member
Jul 24, 2008
26
0
0
If I can chime in....
I am an avid stand up scooter rider (Gopeds)
and they are an excellent way to get around, and can be muffled quite well,
at least as well as any MB.

It's the image that gets you into trouble.
Stupid kids rode Gopeds when they came out,
taking off the mufflers, riding crazy, getting hurt, getting them banned.
That's what people think when they see my putt putting down the street,
though I am doing none of these things.
Now a lot of folks have a very negative feeling about my chosen ride.
It's legal in CA, and I'm so glad. (at least 16y/o , helmet, no gutting of muffler, etc...)

I do my part to keep them legal by riding responsible
and keeping them quiet.

I do get negative comments when I'm on my scooter,
but on my motorized BMX bike, no complaints ever. Just thumbs up and
excitement. So what's the deal...?

It's the preconceived notion people have about your ride thru their own experience that will shape their initial view of you.
My motorized BMX they have no experience with, so most folks are open to it.
Then with my scooter, it's "Loud" and "annoying" etc, when it is
exactly the same volume while riding both vehicles.

Just consider what you might be thinking about stand up scooters right now.
Are you thinking, "That GOPED must be really annoying"
without taking the time to consider that they can be muffled well
and it could be ridden responsibly?
I have to admit, even I sometimes just think about annoying kids with a
non muffled end bleed pipe weaving in and out of traffic when thinking about Gopeds.

My point in all this is that the past irresponsible goped riders can show the MB community how NOT to be received.
If you follow all the laws, and be stealthy and nice to folks, how could anyone be against them as a whole?
 

Saddletramp1200

Custom MB Buiilder
May 7, 2008
1,439
40
48
Houston, Texas
First hand info. I had a Goped that I found in a dumpster and thought it was neat and took it home. After a lot of work and some research I got it to run.
A Goped rider HAS to have very good balance. They are not a toy. They cost a lot! Some over $1000.00 As the one I found was old beat up and rusted, It
was beyond my wifes understanding why I messed with it. They are a BALL to ride. No more No less. I had it about a month before I smoked the engine. My fault. Not enough oil in the gas. I did "the right thing" and sat it out in front of the house in front of the trash. Later that day it was gone. I like to think some one some where is riding it. There a great form of fun as well as transportation. My neighbors just thought I was nuts but they already thought that.:ride: Let those who ride deside! Later Tramp (c)
 

UncleKudzu

New Member
May 26, 2008
353
0
0
Deep in the American South
darn, i was thinking about starting a scary gang of 49CC BICYCLISTS. maybe smoke some cigarettes and do some littering. i didn't name my project Molotov (homemade incendiary device) for nothing, you know.
 

Jstude

New Member
Jul 3, 2008
28
0
0
South Carolina
First hand info. I had a Goped that I found in a dumpster and thought it was neat and took it home. After a lot of work and some research I got it to run.
A Goped rider HAS to have very good balance. They are not a toy. They cost a lot! Some over $1000.00 As the one I found was old beat up and rusted, It
was beyond my wifes understanding why I messed with it. They are a BALL to ride. No more No less. I had it about a month before I smoked the engine. My fault. Not enough oil in the gas. I did "the right thing" and sat it out in front of the house in front of the trash. Later that day it was gone. I like to think some one some where is riding it. There a great form of fun as well as transportation. My neighbors just thought I was nuts but they already thought that.:ride: Let those who ride deside! Later Tramp (c)
A couple of weeks ago, when I started thinking of building a motorized bike, a friend of mine gave me 10 or so bikes of various styles and sizes. Mostly junk. After loading the bikes on my trailer, he said, “I have one more thing to give you.” He stepped into his shed and came out with a GoPed. It was missing the rear axle and wheel. Also the brake caliper was missing and the engine had no spark plug. Otherwise, it looked nearly new. I had no experience with these things but a little Internet research and voila! For less than $40 bucks I was circling the house at a blazing 5 mph! I think I might be able to sell it for enough to offset most of the cost of my bike build.
 

srdavo

New Member
Jan 18, 2008
10
0
0
Pittsburg, Kansas
Every member shows up here at some time or another. No one has mentioned
this, so I will. Every state has laws. Some good, some not so good. What we need to focus on is how other people see us. If I see a person young or old walking or bicycling on a public street wearing a "kill everybody" T-shirt I am more likely to keep a very close eye on him/her than someone that is just wearing say an AC/DC shirt. I am NOT playing the how I choose to dress card. I am just saying how we appear to others is important. I will wave at some one watering there lawn and keep going. I stop at stop lights because I don't want to become someones "hood Ornament". I don't give Cops a reason
to pay un due attention to me. I haul "donkey" down back roads knowing if I loose it it's going to hurt bigtime. Some of our bikes will clear 50mph easy. A wave or a nod goes a long way with most people. People are afraid of things they are not familer with. If you go flying down the street making everyone Number One it's not a good image. We all have the right to exist. Some of us use the bikes for fun, some for transportation, some both. In the publics eye just one careless rider can make it really hard for the rest. The only people that will look after us. IS us. Ride safe and with a little class. WE make the difference! Later Tramp (c)
Well said!

Great thread!!! (^)
 

jasonh

New Member
Jun 23, 2008
1,590
0
0
36
Longmont, CO
I've found that while just about everybody will look at me as I pass by, the ones with the most excitement in their eyes are the older people that have seen these before in the post-WWII era. I find I get the odd looks from people just a bit younger than me (the ones in their late teens/early twenties)

I follow all road rules when riding the mb. I don't have a speedo, but the roadside things have only clocked me at 25, so that's no big deal, since most of my commute is 30-35 zones. There is one short bike path area crossing a bridge that I go over. If no one's around, I'll keep the motor on, but just past the bridge I'll pull in the clutch and coast because there are houses right there.

I'll agree, our image is very important right now. With these gaining popularity, if we start getting reckless riders weaving in and out of traffic and running stop signs, etc, our image is going to go downhill and they are more likely to be banned. I for one don't want that.

So I guess in other words, don't be a jerk with your bike :)
 

eDJ

Member
Jul 8, 2008
530
0
16
Wayne National Forest
I've been thinking about setting up a "generic info web site" that would showcase most of the basic FAQ's the passers by would ask any of us with a motorized bicycle. I could post the link here for everyone to look at and they could then set their printer up to make business cards with the URL of the site printed on it so they could go look at some photos and info with links. It would be a good will gesture and time saver for us when riding to offer a card and then go on our way. I would see including UTube links etc in the site so those eager for knowledge of this growing trend could see videos any time of day.

I'm guessing a link to the 50 states rules and regs, and explanation of friction drives, chain or belt drives, and electric battery bikes would cover it and using
video's from UTube that demo each type would satisfy their curiosity. Then
links could show them what's available for them to purchase and install on their bicycle.

Then all any of us would need do is print the business cards with the site's (that is only info and not commercial) URL to distribute to curious onlookers.
This would first cover what's legal, the types of propulsion systems, then what's being all home built, installed as a kit, and so forth. Most bystanders will want information and offering it this way would be a statement of good will and friendship as we enjoy on this board. In the real world there are no
hyperlinks so business cards are the next best thing. :)