Just wanted to cruise with a bike cop
Yesterday my lady-friend and I decided we were going to celebrate two years of being together with a hike up in the North Cascades, about an hour from where we live. Even though it’s still a little chilly here we chose the bike over my rickety 94’ Civic.
Just as we got onto the Mountain Loop Highway I spotted a police officer on a Kawasaki Concours or something similar. I’ve admired motorcycle cops for a long time—from what I’ve seen they’re required to be amazingly skilled riders. Videos like this make my jaw drop:
It’s incredible to see someone throwing that huge hog around with so much precision, and I would consider it an honor to be able to ride along with someone of that skill level.
So I see this motorcycle cop, it’s a gorgeous day out on the mountain loop highway, and out of admiration I decide it would be really cool to just cruise along behind him for a while. We pass a 35mph sign, which the officer is clearly exceeding. Now I’m generally a speed limit +5mph kind of person, but I speed up to about 45 just to close some of the distance between us while still staying safe. But just as I get to a comfortable following distance the officer pulls over to the side of the road, slows down and let’s me pass.
I’m a little bit confused at this point, but I give him a friendly wave and continue on past him. He pulls out behind me and is now following me fairly closely. Trying to stay optimistic, I think to myself that perhaps he is just more comfortable following than being followed. Nope—I glance into my left mirror and see the lights flashing behind me. I pull over and open up my visor. Ever-still optimistic I hope that he’s just pulling me over to warn me that the road ahead has some hazards, or something like that.
"Let me see your I.D."
I hand him my I.D. He looks it over.
"You’re being pulled over because the speed limit back there was 35. I was going 45 so when you caught up me you were probably going 50."
I am flabbergasted. I had sped up briefly so that I could join a fellow rider. The man who has just pulled me over. I start to explain myself, and then remember that anything I say is likely to show up in an incident report that could be used against me in court. All I manage to get out is “I saw that the speed limit was 35…” and then I trail off.
He looks at me for a second, and then says “I just wanted to make sure you had your endorsement. I can see that you’re from Edmonds, so you might not be familiar with this area. There are a lot of trucks around here. You should obey the speed limit and be safe, especially when you’ve got a passenger.”
"Alright," I say, "thanks, I appreciate it." (Do I appreciate it?)
He gets on his bike and shouts to me “But the speed limit is 45 now!”
I pull away and we continue on to a great hike. I’ve been a little indignant about the encounter though…
On one hand, I understand that I broke the law by exceeding the speed limit. Perhaps there’s no excuse for that… perhaps it’s even contradictory to my admiration for these law enforcement officers with incredible riding skill.
On the other hand, I can’t help but feel that my admiration was a little bit misplaced. It’s difficult to find common ground with police officers for a lot of people. I was someone who, at one point, was excited to see a motorcycle cop, was eager to relate with them and give them friendly waves on the road—but now I just feel (as many people do about cops)—more afraid. Afraid that any small misstep, even well-intentioned, could result in a fine and an insurance rate hike.
Bought these one year ago, just before learning how to ride. They’ve stepped in a lot of different dirts. Old beyond their years.
I just ordered some new boots and now I’m second guessing the decision, wondering why should I let these ones go? At one time they were what I lived in through thick and thin. They were with me through such a seminal period of my life.
And I’m replacing them because the soles are worn down?