Aren’t You Scared? The New Haven Edition

I’ve been asked if I’m scared at varying angles and degrees with regard to riding motorcycles many times over the years. As a matter of fact, I was just asked last weekend. While I was sitting on my bike.

Generally speaking, when I pull over to do something where I will come in contact with people or I am going to get off of my bike, I will stop my music from playing if it’s on. I wear earplugs that do a good job of sealing out noise, so I’m sensitive about having my ability to hear diminished. When I pulled in to a parking lot in New Haven, Connecticut based on a quick scan as I entered, I didn’t think there was anyone else around. I planned to snap a quick photo of a mural and would be back on my way so I didn’t stop the radio.

triumph bonneville closer to free

With my picture done, I swung my leg over the seat and went to roll backwards when UGH! There was a guy standing right next to me. I pressed the button on my Sena headset, stopping the music and said, “Whoa, you scared me!” He seemingly came out of nowhere. I guess I really need to be more aware of my surroundings and diligent about shutting the music off. I’m liable to get lunked over the head one day.

He made some small talk about the Bonneville being pretty and the chilly weather. In return, I gave short but polite answers because I didn’t really feel like having a conversation. Then he hit me with “aren’t you scared? Riding that motorcycle?”

This is the part of our program where I show my true asshole-ish nature.

Inner Monologue:

Aren’t I scared? To ride a motorcycle? Really, dude? Well, considering I’m here on it right now… uhhhh, no, not really. But I do get scared when people sneak up on me, creeper! 

Actual Response:

Nope. I love riding. Take care.

Sometimes it’s hard to hold back the snark. I know people are just being friendly but sometimes I just don’t feel like talking. To anyone. Especially when they ask a question that they could probably answer for themselves if they just thought about it. Maybe they wouldn’t even ask it. But, what’s the point in being mean? It doesn’t change anything that’s already been said and only makes things worse.

Not everyone knows what you know or knows enough about a topic to understand that their question is absurd. It stinks that I have to try to remember to be kind, that it isn’t always a natural response. But… that’s my truth for today.


Rachael is the whimsical writer behind the 20+ year old Girlie Motorcycle Blog. As a freelance blogger, she is on a mission to inspire laughter, self-examination, curiosity, and human connection. Girlie Motorcycle Blog can be found on several Best Motorcycle Blog lists.

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7 Responses

  1. Lesle says:

    oh I so understand that question and your inner voice.

  2. Most of the people who ask that aren’t riders, and I think they ask it because they feel they might be scared to ride. I was that way before I started riding. I don’t think it’s usually meant to be personal or sexist. Now when somebody asks me that, I ask them if they ride. Then I say, “You should try it. It’s fun. Take a class. Learn about it.” 🙂

  3. Meaghan says:

    Seems that people aren’t so much different, no matter where you are. I get that all the time (I’m in Aus). Another chestnut that I”m really fond of is “You’ll kill yourself on that thing”. I call the type of person you ran into as the ‘hoverers’. They hover around trying to think of something to say and usually come up with something really inane. Admittedly I only get it when I”m on my own. Cheers.

  4. RichardM says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever got that question with the Ural but have on the BMW w/o the sidecar. I’d like to think that Brian Johnson is on the right track…

  5. Alan says:

    I hear you. The question I get asked is whether I realise how dangerous riding is. Or as Meaghan says, I could get killed. The same question really, without the patronising sexism.

    I have been riding now for 49 years, and I tell them so. Sure it is a risk, but so is life in general. We do what we can to shift the odds. Gain skills and take care.

    Stay safe!

  6. Ryan says:

    I usually just respond, “I don’t understand your question, can you explain what you mean?” or some iteration to get to the true reason they ask such a question.

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