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Travels With An Airhead

Ageless Motorcycling

— by Notch Miyake

Every ten years the government conducts a Census in which they ask embarrassing questions like, "What sex are you?" and "How old are you?" and "Do you have indoor plumbing?"

The answers are multiple-choice. For example, under sex, one can choose between "Male" and "Female". Unlike the Rally questionnaire, there is no "Other" category, although checking both boxes might convey the same idea.

Anyway, the results of the 2000 Census are in and the median age of the population is 35.3, the oldest ever. In other words, we are becoming a nation of old farts.

There are some important demographic implications to this trend. For example, there will be many more gray-haired men wearing suspenders sitting on park benches with their pants pulled up over their pot-bellies. (Stock market tip: The demand for clip-on suspenders is about to explode.)

We will soon see many more blue-haired ladies sitting in restaurants drinking tea with their friends. Blue hair, restaurants and tea will be big. Friends have always been in fashion.

So where do we fit into this demographic picture? Well, I checked with Norm and he said the median age of our club members is . . . Are you ready? . . . 53.5!

We are almost 20 years ahead of the rest of the country. The leading edge, so to speak. We already know what it is like to lose your glasses at least once a day. We have already given up flag football at the Annual Steak Roast in favor of a game of euchre. We have stopped doing wheelies in the parking lot.

We are old enough to have seen the demise of the kick-starter. We can remember easing the piston toward TDC and jumping on the lever. Several times. Until the engine coughed. Or backfired through the lever and sprained your ankle. Now that the arthritis is kicking in, we are thankful for electric starters.

We rode motorcycles that had a switch to turn on the headlights. We turned them on when we started and off when we got where we were going. Now, with the increasing frequency of our "senior moments", we are grateful we don't have to remember to turn the lights off when we park the bike.

Yes, we had to give up a lot of things as we got older. But you won't find us sitting on park benches or in restaurants sipping tea. Because the big difference in this club is that most of us still ride motorcycles, or at least care about motorcycles and motorcyclists. Just like any 35.3-year-old rider.

So who gives a shit if we are 53.5? Don't let the old obsessions fade. Ride safe.

— Copyright © 2001 by Notch Miyake.

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