A recent column written by the highly respected James May of former Top Gear fame got me thinking. An avid motorcycle rider, May called for that sub-human race who stride among us—the motorcycle thief—to be eradicated from society by means of swift and unabashed annihilation.
“We must deal with the problem of bike thieves at its source, by killing them,” May says in his column on Drivetribe.com (you can check out the full column by clicking here).
May’s assertion these beasts should be denied the right to breathe might be on the harsh side, yet my opinion on the matter is not that different. Like May, I do not condone state-sponsored murder, except in cases so severe no other punishment will suffice. Pedophilia being one.
However, the thought someone can, at any opportunity, liberate me from my pride and joy makes me violently angry. Who do these jack-offs think they are? I have worked hard for my stuff—if you are not in a position to benefit from your life’s work, maybe you should try harder and leave me and my bike the hell alone.
My mates back in Australia and I are a tight bunch of blokes. Bound for life by bikes, we’ve all had them stolen right from under us. Richie had his Ducati 1098 S flogged after the dickless wonders broke three separate locks to get to his bike in a “secure” basement in his apartment building, one that was patrolled by an armed security guard.
Dom had his Honda CBR600RR stolen while upstairs changing his newborn son’s diaper.
Rob had his brand-new Kawasaki ZX-9R stolen merely two weeks after picking it up from the dealer—it was his first present to himself after years of slogging away as a single father, getting his head above water to the point where he could enjoy life a little. Simon had his Honda CRF50 pit bike stolen from the campsite after the perpetrators stayed up with us late into the night drinking our beers, laughing and having a good time around the fire. That one angered me (not to mention Simon) especially hard because once you share a beer and chat about motorcycles as mates, you have a bond together. Any low-ball act like turning around and stealing the other person’s bike should be met with the appropriate castration device, one suitably rusty and blunt.
My experience with the bike thief stems back to when I was so broke I didn’t have a pot to piss in. At 24 I’d decided to go back to school full time and was making do on a couple hundred bucks a week when everyone around me was earning much more than that.
My mode of transport back then was a 2002 Honda XR400—that beautiful, red beast of a dirt bike you couldn’t kill with a hammer. Reliable, strong, good looking, cheap. It was everything I needed.
That year of 2007 coincided with a strange point in my life. I’d broken up with my long-term girlfriend, moved into a crazy share house and was trying to figure out my lot in life. At the same time, my roommate Hannah’s uncle was doing the same. Andrew had recently come out of the closet after 16 years of marriage and three children (when I say come out of the closet, what he did was aim the proverbial ballistic missile at it and blow it to smithereens).
To celebrate, Andrew decided to take part in Sydney’s biggest party—the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras—so Hannah, myself, and our whole posse were off to support him as he began to relish his new life.
Knowing full well we’d be getting wasted drunk that night, we started walking to the train station when I saw a punk kid on what looked to be my BMX bike I used to occasionally ride to college. Sure enough, it was my bike, so I sprinted over to him, cornered the little bugger and asked his just what the hell he was doing with my bike. He told me some older guys gave it to him, so I politely informed him it was not theirs to give away and swiftly booted him off it.
Walking back to the garage we shared with several other residents, I saw my car in its usual spot. I normally parked my XR in front of the car to give it a bit of cover, securing it with a big ass chain and padlock that was apparently made to stop motorcycle thieves.
Dropping the BMX back to the garage, the bright red XR was nowhere to be seen, nor was the chain and lock. Strangely enough, I didn’t initially panic. I must have left it at a friend’s place. Or school. Or the pub. It wasn’t stolen, I kept telling myself. I just had to remember where I left it.
After two agonizing minutes of denial, it hit home. Some shit stain had stolen my motorcycle.
I’ve lost money, jobs, friends and girlfriends, all of which have caused me varying levels of distress, but I’ve never, ever felt such fury the day I was supposed to be celebrating a man’s new life. That rip-off of my ride left me without a motorcycle for the next 12 months—the longest break I’d had from riding since I was four-years-old—simply because I didn’t have the funds to get a new one.
The sad twist in this tale is that XR was a replacement for our family’s 1998 XR400, another machine removed from our possession when two loads that should have been flushed ransacked my parent’s farm in 2003.
Anyone that’s suffered a break-and-enter knows the feeling of violation that courses through your veins. Someone’s invaded your space, dug through your life and left you feeling less secure in the very place that should bring you peace. Stealing a motorcycle brings that exact same feeling to the rightful owner.
So, you can see why I have no real problem with what James May said. If you steal motorcycles for a laugh, for your own use, or are part of the rebirthing ring that’s the bane of the international motorcycle community, you deserve the worst punishment the universe can dish your way.
There are 7.3 billion humans in the world, meaning there’s plenty of good people who will take your place. CN