A reader’s perspective of the motorcycle character
I live in Southern California, land of sunshine, Hollywood and traffic so bad it can make you cry. Well at least it can make me cry. Cry with fear for the driver who thinks that the 6 inches between my front bumper and the rear bumper of the car in front of me is definitely enough room to merge into. Cry with stress for driving 70mph with four cars within feet around me within feet of you and hoping no one’s going to start slamming on brakes. Cry with adrenaline as I am cruising comfortably by the stack of cars to my right and having to make that quick transition to the brake when some driver thinks now is the time to check how fast their vehicle can go from 0-60 as they jump across the barrier to join the moving lane. And cry with surprise as a motorcycle blasts between me and the car next to me barely missing taking out or mirrors.
For those who aren’t from California, this last little bit happens a lot. I think its called lane splitting and it is legal (at least I’m making that assumption after seeing Highway Patrol officers doing it). Imagine if you will, being packed onto a road that has eight (yes 8!) lanes just on your side. Cars really are bumper to bumper and for some reason the speed ranges in spurts of 0 mph to 50 mph before slamming back to 0 mph. During those moments of revving the little engine up, there are some pretty spectacular lane changes with cars trying to shift in and out of one of those eight lanes trying to subtract a second from their estimated arrival time. The driving practices are seriously insane! So when these motorcycles come zooming out of nowhere splitting lanes and zipping by all these cars I’m both jealous and scared to death. Jealous because I would love to not have to have my reflexes of accelerator-brake-accelerator-brake checked so quickly and frequently and zoom away. But scared to death that if I had just edged my car out of my lane a moment earlier or slightly more than I just did, I would be taking that motorcycle out!
Who are these jealous-provoking taking-life-by-the-balls drivers? I have no idea since they all have helmets on, but it makes you think about all those people you know who ride. Or in my case, all those amazing lesfic characters who ride. Motorcycles definitely give characters an edge to them. I mean think about Tyler Jackson from Isabella’s Broken Shield when she first encounters Ashley Henderson. Tyler’s motorcycle is pulled over and she is kicking back being all sexy in that laid back sort of way- lounging on her bike like she doesn’t care that she probably just got saddled with a $300 traffic fine. Kind of says something about the character don’t you think?
Or the statement Skye Keaton from Carsen Taite’s The Best Defense makes with her motorcycle. Sort of that bad girl that your mom warned you about type of character. I think Taite has the best line ever in regards to motorcycles and the implications of owning one and no other form of transportation. And it fits the character of Skye perfectly. With a simple comparison about not being able to maintain a long term relationship because there is no way your partner is ALWAYS going to want to be riding on the back of a bike, I wasn’t only laughing at how perfectly that summed up one perception of motorcycle owners but also how cleverly Taite made Skye’s character more distinct and unforgettable.
And riding bikes I would think you get labeled. I wouldn’t know for sure, but when I meet someone and they ride, I kind of squash them into my idea of “bad-ass!” That was why I enjoyed Lynette Mae’s approach between Devon James and Jessica Kilbride in Tactile Pursuit. Another great example of one of our lesfic authors using an interaction regarding a motorcycle to add another layer to their characters. Here I was reading along thinking that Jessica was pretty cool but was still missing a few levels compared to Devon and then Devon shows up on her motorcycle to pick her up for their first date. Jessica’s response to Devon rolling up all cool and ready to control this first romantic encounter, in my opinion, makes Jessica’s character soar. All those points she was missing to that point were filled and then some!
There are stereotypes though, huh? I mean think about your own impressions of motorcycle riders. I mean one of the many awesome things about gay pride parades is the Dykes on Bikes portion right? I’m sure there is a little bit in each of us who is jealous (and they aren’t even zooming between lanes weaving in and out of traffic!) of all those women and their motorcycles. That “bad-ass!” aura and how women in general are pretty bad-ass especially when they have a huge vehicle between their legs that takes strength and confidence to control. It just says something, doesn’t it? So what are some of your favorite motorcycle-riding characters in our lesfic genre? I know you have some and I want to hear about what character is zooming her motorcycle around in your head! Throw me some characters so the next time I am stuck in this crazy California traffic I’ll have some ideas on who might be zooming by me!