No mask, no helmet, no cages

Sons of unmanageability

The Facebook page for Wisconsin Motorcycle Riders is replete this day after Memorial Day (05-26-2020) with photos of motorcycles in sunshine and smiling riders. You can see their smiles because none are wearing COVID-19 face masks.

“Beautiful Saturday out and about in central Wisconsin.”

“It was a rustic road kind of day”

“There was an older gentlemen on a Honda Goldwing … helped me today when I tipped over in a pot hole at Crab ‘n Jacks right after the reservation on 55. Would like to thank him.”

Sunday in Eagle WI

Eagle WI this weekend

Big pig roast Saturday at the Dirty Hoe bar & grill outside of Burlington. Knucklehead’s in Eagle WI was full up, judging by the motorcycles pictured outside. A band called Crazy Frog provided the musical entertainment at the Vietnam War-themed Bunker in Waterford on Memorial Day. Poopy’s was open in Savanna, Illinois a few miles south of Galena. Despite governor’s orders. Held their fifth annual car show Memorial Day. This uneasy rider has ridden to the three last-named places.

They’re called ‘brain buckets’

The motorcycle world is not without controversy, however. Two posts showed “brothers” lying in hospital beds with more bruises and abrasions than the Bayonne Bleeder. Both were pitches for wearing a motorcycle helmet. Both posts got furious blowback from riders indignant that they were being told what to do.

If they won’t wear helmets, they sure as hell aren’t wearing COVID-19 face masks.

Part of the calculus of motorcycling is accepting the trade-off between living life to the fullest or the heightened possibility that you will operate your wheel chair with your tongue. NHTSA reports that motorcyclists have a risk of a fatal accident that is 29 times higher than automobile drivers. Only 20 states require all riders to wear helmets. (Wisconsin requires only riders under age 18 to do so. We do remember the protests against mandatory helmet laws at the Capitol in the late 1970s.) Nationally, one- third of motorcycles let their freak flags fly in the wind. 

(The Squire, on the other hand, has gone from a half-helmet to a full-face job. He wants to protect the intellectual property. Who else will hound Comrade Nichols to his grave! Second reason: Better to hear my tunes through the in-helmet bluetooth speakers.)

A recipe for rebellion

Harley Davidson, in particular, cultivated the weekend outlaw image for affluent (their machines are NOT cheap!) accountants and retired state employees. A satire website alleges the Milwaukee manufacturer is offering counseling to riders who thinking they’re in the Sons of Anarchy.

When we crossed over into Canada a few years back, our delegation had to wear helmets. Also made sure to leave our firearms at home. Canada is not the United States of America, for sure.


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: rebelling against a tyrannical government is un-American.


So you got three ingredients going here: 

1) Motorcyclists are risk takers, a bit rebellious and somewhat cantankerous. (We’re just so … unmanageable!) 

2) Suddenly, it is summer. Temperatures this just concluded Memorial Day weekend in the 80s. and 

3) Some of us are just tired of cowering. We’re ready to do our part for herd immunity.

Blaska’s Bottom Line: You can thank us later.

How do YOU ride?

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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4 Responses to No mask, no helmet, no cages

  1. Sprocket says:

    I spent 15 years in the motorcycle industry. I know a fair number of people who walked away from crashes that would have killed, crippled or maimed them, because they were wearing a helmet. The human skull was made for walking speed falls in the forest, not bouncing down highway.

    On the flip side, I had a customer, who was a superior court judge, come in with his daughter to return some items. He didn’t need them anymore, because he’d impacted a K rail with his head and couldn’t ride any more. She was with him because he couldn’t drive. He also couldn’t remember his phone number, or address and had nice dent in noggin. All this because he opted for a cool-guy fiberglass yarmulke (helmet law state) instead of a real helmet. Hell of a price to pay for lookin’ cool.

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  2. John Popanz says:

    And “Superman” spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair when his helmet dug in and broke his neck..

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    • Sprocket says:

      Aside from there being exactly zero data helmets contribute to spinal injuries and solid evidence they reduce them, good point.

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  3. georgessson says:

    After decades of starting my ’69 Bonnie “TT” w/ ONE kick (one w/ ignition off to prime), I’ve been happy to have a “new” 2003 Triumph Bonneville w/ that magic “start button”. But like many things these days, battery was flat, tho wintered and trickled. SO my summer beater, 327/365 HP ’64 ‘Vette started (seriously) after 10-12 revolutions. Not fuel injected like new cars, it needs some cranks whilst the foot dances on the throttle (accelerator pump squirts raw gas). It was ready, I was ready, and when I crested the hill on Whalen? Dark clouds and lightning coursin’ thru ’em. Back to the barn, but ready for tomorrow…. or the next day after that…. ad infinitum. High class problems after workin’ 43 years….

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