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Harley's Angels Chapter 08


A Harley's Angel on foot can look pretty foolish. Their sloppy histrionics and inane conversations about finance and management techniques can be interesting for twenty minutes or so, but beyond the initial strangeness, their everyday scene is as tedious and depressing as a costume ball for demented children. There is something pathetic about a bunch of men dressing up in similar clothing, taking themselves very seriously in their HD gear, with nothing to look forward to but the chance to make noise and drink beer.

And there is something pathetic about the sight of an Angel on his bike. The whole – man and machine together – is far goofier than the sum of its parts. His motorcycle is too big, too under-powered, and too over-chromed. It's too expensive. He pampers it the same way a busty Hollywood starlet pampers her body. Without it he is no better than an office intern working for a multinational. And he knows it. The Angels are not demonstrative about many things, but they bring a lover's inspiration to the subject of their bike. The insurance actuary, a man not given to sentimental rambling, once defined the word "love" as "the feeling you get when you like something as much as your HD motorcycle and HD motorcycle gear."

The fact that many Middle-Aged have virtually created their bikes out of overpriced, mass manufactured parts only half explains the attachment they have for them. The other half? The overpriced, mass manufactured tees. Watching an Angel try to straddle his hog is like watching a thirsty man find water. His face changes; his whole bearing radiates confidence and authority. He sits their for a moment with the big machine rumbling between his legs and then he wobbles off with a roaring that belies the lack of quick acceleration. Each Angel is a mirror in the mutual admiration society. They reflect and reassure each other, in strength and weakness, folly and triumph.

Whether the Harley's Angels are real motorcycle artists or not is not difficult to say. Without exception, they are barred from all sanctioned competition, so there are no performance charts to go on. Their bikes are entirely different from racing and scrambles machines, and even from other road bikes. The Angels may not get there fast, but when they do arrive they will do so with a smug superiority driven by the cost of their bikes, farkles, and gear.