A funny thing happened to me the other day. I was sitting on my couch, waiting for an unusually long test run to complete and looking for something to keep me out of trouble when I glanced over at Jolie’s motorcycle magazine.
Jolie doesn’t normally read motorcycle magazines, or magazines in general really, but she got this particular magazine for a special purpose. You see, she took her bike into the dealer for its MOT the other day and it turns out that everything is wrong with it except the engine. The mechanics say that it’ll cost so many pounds to replace the parts and the bike only cost a little more than that, so now she’s in the market for a new bike, and she’s looking at bike magazines to see what she can get.
Anyway, the magazine was open (ever heard that excuse before?), and the page it happens to be open on is an opinion piece called “Women and the art of riding … fast”. There’s some big text in the middle saying “Jane Austen couldn’t have won MotoGP. But maybe soon a woman will come along who can compete at the top.” I’m quite a fan of Jane Austen and hate to see her put down like that. Also, I am intrigued, because everything about bikes that I didn’t already learn from Zen and the art of same I learned from my wife.
Turns out the guy has a claim, that women bikers are fundamentally different to men bikers. He has a lot of stories to back it up, too. Like when he was a kid, other kids said “chicks dig bikes” but actually they—the chicks, not the kids—dug cars instead. Or how he asked his wife if she’d still ride when he died and she said no, it would be too much fuss. Or how some woman win some bike competitions sometimes. Cool stories, no?
He goes on to quote his wife saying that women aren’t evolved to respond to stress with increased vigilance and a readiness to fight, the way that men are. Which kind of clinches it really.
The poor guy has to fill a page with text once a month—I feel for him, I really do. I still can’t help but wish that he’d have given a local boffin a ring or something. It’s never going to be Pulitzer material, but at least you could make it look like you’ve put some effort in. It’s a rare day that a bit of a think and a quick chat with your spouse is going to challenge your fundamental assumptions about anything, so if you’re going to write about gender equality as
pertaining to competitive motorcycle racing you might as well do a quick search on Wikipedia. You might learn something.
Still, it’s the nature of the genre, isn’t it? You’re never going to get cutting edge scientific journalism in the pages of Bike, and even if you did it would still be glued together with warm stories of human interest, as per the standard formula.
And then I found a fiver.
Next week’s word: Bargain.