Want real companions? Look no further than bikers.
Motorcyclists constitute a separate species of human unto themselves, if my experience is any indication. Judging from what I’ve seen, strangers become friends faster if they both ride motorcycles; they immediately bond over stories of their most recent brushes with death at the hands and wheels of oblivious or even hostile automobile drivers. Women bikers form even tighter bonds (again, based solely upon my experience) because they not only have to deal with oblivious or even hostile automobile drivers, they sometimes have to deal with macho, even chauvinistic attitudes of male bikers. My ex-half-sister-in-law (her brother had been married to my sister) will always represent to me the ultimate biker. A towering giant at 4′ 10″ tall (at most), one day she was riding home on Polk Street when a limousine ran a red light at 30 mph and broadsided her, sending my EHSIL flying 30 feet through the air and bouncing along the street for another 20. She told me the next day that only one thought ran through her mind: “My poor bike is hurt.” Yeah, hardcore. But since she always wore a helmet and “full leather,” she suffered only minor bumps and bruises and was treated and released from SF General after only a few hours. When I visited her the next day, I found her resting in bed and thumbing through a motorcycle catalog. Fully insured, she had already selected her next bike.
Yep. Bikers are different.
And then there are the Dykes on Bikes.
The Dykes on Bikes (alternate spelling: Dykes on Bykes) traditionally lead the LGBT Pride Parade each year. In the Seventies, they numbered roughly 25 official members. Nowadays, they number over 400 official members.
Note the emphasis on the word “official.” The real number of women bikers in the D.O.B. contingent traditionally exceeds the official number. A very large number of women who will ride on Sunday morning with the official D.O.B. will in fact be heterosexuals. I’ve known a lot of them. One, an Irish waitress who became the last subject of the last item in the last column Herb Caen ever wrote, told me that she and her buddies would until the D.O.B. had begun and then sneak in at the back. Others have told me that they simply pretend to be gay for a day so they can join. My own EHSIL has ridden a few times at the back of the pack. None have ever reported to me that anyone has ever hassled them for not belonging.
All women bikers are sisters. In fact, I observed this one group that seemed to be practicing for the day when they can become members of the D.O.B., even for just one day: