David Biggs writes that discerning motorists have always liked a quiet vehicle while motorcyclists, on the other hand, seem to regard loud noise as an essential part of the experience. File picture:Nqobile Mbonambi/African News Agency(ANA)
David Biggs writes that discerning motorists have always liked a quiet vehicle while motorcyclists, on the other hand, seem to regard loud noise as an essential part of the experience. File picture:Nqobile Mbonambi/African News Agency(ANA)

Motorists vs Motorcyclists: When the vehicle maketh the man

By Opinion Time of article published Apr 20, 2021

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There’s a legendary story about the Rolls Royce car’s image.

Apparently, a British motoring journalist took the latest Rolls model for a test drive and in his write-up, he expressed his amazement at the dignified silence of the vehicle.

“At 50mph the only sound you can hear is the ticking of the dashboard clock,” he wrote. The story goes that the chairman of the RR company read the review and called his secretary into his office. “See what we can do about silencing that dashboard clock,” he ordered.

Discerning motorists have always liked a quiet vehicle. There’s something smugly satisfying about travelling in a car that hardly makes any noise — just a soft swoosh as it glides by.

Motorcyclists, on the other hand, seem to regard loud noise as an essential part of the experience. One famous bike brand brags: “Loud Pipes Save Lives.”

I think the theory is that if you make enough noise people will get out of your way. I disagree emphatically.

I’ve been a motorcyclist for most of my life and I’ve always preferred a quiet, deep-throated rumble to a loud roar. If there are pedestrians in the road ahead of you, you can avoid hitting them without having to scare them half to death. And bikes do have hooters.

We live in a materialistic world and our possessions are often a reliable indication of who we are. (Or maybe an indication of who we would like others to think we are) a house in a quiet, leafy suburb can be taken as a sign of a successful career.

The same goes for a comfortable, expensive car. It says you’ve arrived, in more ways than one. Motorcycles are more revealing than cars. They can say: “adventurous, loves outdoors, independent, thrifty, fun-loving”.

Or they can say: “pathetic loser, desperately want to be noticed, loud-mouthed windgat.”

There are several of the latter on the streets of my suburb, howling from place to place and creating enough racket to stop all conversation until they’ve moved on to irritate a fresh set of neighbours.

I’m not a particularly good lip-reader, but I often watch the faces of the people around me when one of the motorbike morons screams by.

It’s easy to see what’s on their lips. “Oh, eff off you silly idiot!” Is about average. Well, if that’s the image you want to project, go right ahead. It’s your choice.

Last Laugh

An attractive young woman called at the reception desk of a large business organisation and asked to see the managing director. “Certainly,” said the receptionist. And then added with a knowing wink,”The boss is never so busy that he can’t find time to see a pretty girl.”

“Good,” said the visitor. “Tell him his wife is here.”

* "Tavern of the Seas" is a column written in the Cape Argus by David Biggs. Biggs can be contacted at [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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