We motorcycle journalists are a special bunch. Or so we'd like to believe. As with any bunch of humanoids, we have our multi(ne)farious facets that single us out from 'normal' people, as we look at them from our obviously elevated state of mind. Here's a list of of unique qualities that endear us motorcycle hacks to each other and to the world at large. You know you're a motorcyclist journo when...
1. You're well-versed with Universal Motorcyclist Sign Language which comprises three eternal gestures:
a. The 'Thumbs Up' for indicating great pleasure and/or brotherly affection. This often happens as you fly past a fellow journo (usually on a Bullet) broken down by the side of the road.
b. The ASH - 'Arms Stretched towards Heaven' or 'Arms Stretched to the Horizon.' Usually applied for thanking God for the glorious views that are afforded only to a motorcyclist. Sometimes, both movements are combined to make a graceful oscillating movement, while making primate-like noises, to denote oneness with your machine and the road. This state of motorcycling nirvana is usually followed by the arms instantly returning to the 'bars and a handful of front brake accompanied by a comical wobbly moment before you can say 'oncoming traffic.'
c. The final gesture involves the prompt deployment of a certain digit of either hand. This gesture is usually hampered by ill-fitting gloves so the intended recipient seldom gets what you're trying to convey. Typically reserved for any vehicle that might happen to be bigger than yours and has just carried out what you think was a major invasion into your 'personal space' (Read as 'the road all the way to the horizon in all directions).
2. You're a racing suit-clad racer type with worn knee sliders who has an unexplained bias against tourers. Pottering fools are always getting in your way.
3. You're a saddlebag-hauling tourer with bugs in your teeth who regards racer types as a waste of fuel and scenery. Every time one passes you, you instinctively display Universal Sign Number 3.
4. You laugh hard when cars switch on their hazard lights in tunnels and make rude jokes about it at every available opportunity. Deep inside, you're actually jealous because your bikes don't have hazards which you think are among the coolest things in the world.
5. On a ride out with your buddies, you frequently hang back and on catching up, promptly regale them with tales of the rear stepping out in the middle of a tricky corner that you were taking at 100 kph and how you easily held it sideways through the turn. Conveniently, there was no one around for miles when this happened.
6. You ride well enough. On a good day, you'll even do a decent lap time and get your knee down a few times along the way. But you actually think you can do better than Sylvain Guintoli in MotoGP.
7. You think you can beat a superbike in the twisties on a 150. No, you can't.
8. You're actually scared of full-throttle runs on a Gixxer, but are too much of a twit to admit it. Instead, you resort to even more storytelling which involves 'tunnel vision,' 'flat out in sixth gear' and '300 kph.'
9. You think you're a superstar of Rajnikanth proportions because of your job. And it depresses you when no one has ever heard of you or your magazine.
10. You have one clean shirt and one clean pair of trousers reserved exclusively for press conferences. Otherwise, you're wearing unwashed jeans and a T-shirt wherever you go, content under the illusion that this automatically makes you cool.
11. You guzzle a certain liquid like an RD guzzles petrol. You guzzle this certain liquid even more in the company of fellow hacks because your mouth is revving even more than usual to outrun everyone around you. No, there is no finish line to this race.
12. At some point or the other, you will write a rant like this one.
Depending on the time and place, I indulge in all of these things. The joys of having the best job in the world, I tell you!