The Unwritten Contract
If you drive a truck, society expects certain things from you, like help moving furniture. This is part of the code of the truck society lives by: Truck owners help the truckless move, and society doesn't steal stuff out of the bed when you are parked, even though they totally could. If you're a motorcycle rider and drive a truck, it goes even deeper than that and becomes an ad hoc, unorganized, mutual assistance league.
If you ride a motorcycle most of you will eventually end up with the largest of all biker accessories: the pick-up truck (or if you are real hardcore, a full size van). Sure, many people swear by daily driving a economical and sporty compact with a trailer hitch for hauling dirt bikes to the boondocks or sport bikes to track days, but there is something wrong with those folks (except for this guy).
Absolutely nothing wrong with this approach.
A Communal Commitment
When your non-motorcycle transportation is a regular car you are signaling that there are two distinct aspects of yourself: I'm a rider on my bike; I'm a driver in my car. Motorcycle riders are a community, bonding over the shared risk of death and injury the same way veterans do. Riders who drive a truck or van daily are signaling their commitment to the motorcycle lifestyle.
Even Wyatt and Billy drive a truck before riding off on their choppers, but you can bet the rednecks in the truck at the end don't ride bikes.
Part of that biker commitment is a willingness to stop and help a fellow rider in distress by offering them and their bike a ride. I've done this 3 or more times over the years, and never come away from it wishing I had just kept on driving.
The latest time was this past Friday night. Crawling over Laurel Canyon in LA rush hour traffic I saw/heard a rider on a Kawasaki Drifter splitting lanes and noticed his headlight wasn't on. Seeing no headlight lit on a modern bike indicated an issue with the charging system, especially when the sun is already on its way down. I thought to myself, "Wherever he is going, he's not going to make it."
Chris Roldan and his Drifter.
Sure enough, when I got to the valley side of the hill, he was pushing the bike along the side of the road. I turned into the first side street. I always have tie downs in the truck, but did not have a ramp handy and a Drifter is no lightweight. Luckily, my Chevy Colorado ZQ8 is one of the lowest pickups made right from the factory. Here's the trick for loading a bike without a ramp: Back up till the rear wheels are in the gutter and the bumper overhangs the curb, the crown of the road and the tailgate are often all the ramp you need.
So I drove Chris home to Pasadena and we talked about bikes a little. Turns out he is a welder and fabricator with several bikes and a fully equipped shop for just about any metal work you'd need. He's also got a truck of his own, because of course he does, he's a real biker. Not only did I make a new friend, but he insisted on paying me for my time and the ride, and now I have a go to guy on my next project.
This is his Honda CB450 Bobber.
Riders Helping Riders
There are several different organized mutual assistance groups for riders who aren't lucky enough to be saved by the Code of the Truck. I actual met my friends Danielle and Dakota through one that Russ Brown, the motorcycle attorney, setup and sponsors, called BAM. Dani had misplaced the key to her GSXR right around the corner from my place and needed to get to Hollywood. The BAM service, contacts nearby, participating motorcyclists so I heeded the call. As we were about to load the bike into the truck, (almost like magic) we spotted the key in the grass.
Dani GSXR600 (Editor: Hopefully Dani wears something more appropriate for actual motorcycle rides. An optional subcode of the truck, allows you to kindly make such a suggestion.)
Dakota was dating her at the time and had a barely functional XR650. After helping him with the XR and a few other horrible bikes he has now become a regular helper on my projects. We've even raced together at the Hell on Wheels dirt bike events.
Dakota holding up the fairing as we were building the Dues Bike Build Off Bosozoku bike.
I highly recommend signing up with Russ Brown and BAM, because I just can't be everywhere at once to help every stranded biker. And if you didn't know the great responsibility that comes with driving a truck or van, now you do. You pretty much have to stop and help your fellow riders because if and when the tables are turned you're going to want the truck to stop for you. That is the code of the truck.