Quiet the "hogs" on mountain roads

Kudos to Grant Millin for daring to step up to the curb regarding noise pollution in WNC [in last week's commentary, "The Motorcycle Community Needs a Tuneup"]. When I was 16, it was a thrill to roar through London on vintage British motorcycles with an intimidating band of leather-clad "rockers." That was 30 years ago and in a metropolitan city. The trend of mid-life-crisis bikers on noisy Harleys defending their need for noise as a safety issue is laughable. People have no business riding bikes if they need noise to protect them from the inherent dangers of motorcycle riding, and that's a poor excuse for childishly imposing on others. The need for noise protection on the Parkway, where driving is a benign affair at 30 miles per hour while sightseeing, is absurd.

On Highway 9 South, the peace and tranquility is lost on the weekends when scores of Harley riders invade in a constant parade of "rolling thunder." Deciding to investigate, I went to [a Harley dealership]. A sales associate explained that Harleys were customized for the majority of their clients who wanted their "hogs" to be as loud as possible. He suggested the Honda or Yamaha dealership for a quieter ride. Back in my biker days, we called them "Jap crap" or "rice burners," but they are a quieter and superior ride on mountain roads.

I've driven behind countless "hogs" mounted by novice middle-aged riders who weave up the road with oversized pillions at 30 miles an hour, wondering what charity event they support while destroying the peace of the mountain. A year ago, I was at a road-fund meeting located on the north side of our mountain overlooking Highway 9. [The meeting proceedings were] inaudible due to the constant traffic of motorcycles. Negating property values are apparent, and I am thankful that my home is located on the opposite side of the mountain. It's a wonder how anyone within earshot of the constant barrage of noise throughout the entire weekend can stand it.

I know I may piss a lot of people off, but what do real bikers do? Fact is, I find the Harley trend of riding through these mountains obnoxious, arrogant and thoughtless.

— Julia Brooke
Black Mountain

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6 thoughts on “Quiet the "hogs" on mountain roads

  1. bobaloo


    “Back in my day in “metropolitan” areas it was ok for me to do it, but now that I’ve moved to the mountains I don’t want anyone else to have the right.”

    Also, there are so many stereotypes and generalizations in this letter it’s embarrassing.

  2. Viking

    So what, bobaloo?

    The noise bullies presume they are okay, all the time generalizing justifications and stereotyping the rest of us who expect some privacy and protection from unnecessary noise as pussies who can’t do anything about it; or as simply being on board with noise pollution, which is most politicians and all the top people in local law enforcement.

  3. Freedom Fighter

    Yeah another transplant trying to tell us how to run things here in the mountains. Prejudice is evident from far away. If you do not know what you are talking about don’t act like you do. Loud Pipes Save Livesw is viable safety phrase and I am living proof.

  4. Cheshire

    As a motorcyclist, I can safely say I do not, repeat, not subscribe to the creed of “loud pipes save lives.” I do have to ask, though: where is these mythical stretches where you can safely go 30 mph? We’re talking about the same route 9 and BRP…right? The few times I’ve dared to go anywhere near those speeds on those roads it’s ASKING to get run over and triggers road rage immediately.

    No, really. I’m not being sarcastic. Where are these stretches? I’d love to travel them on my way through sometime.

  5. bobaloo

    viking, I don’t think you’re being a pussy, you have every right not to like how some motorcycles sound.
    You’re just being ridiculous about wanting to live in a city where motorcycles are pretty damn low on the totem pole of noise pollution.

    So tell me what stereotype you’ve been labeled with.

  6. entopticon

    I have a motorcycle license, but I am not a very experienced rider. It seems to me that loud pipes do indeed alert cars to the presence of a motorcycle. As a car driver, I have certainly found it hard to spot motorcycles at times, particularly when they are irresponsibly weaving through traffic. That said, I think there has to be a reasonable balance. Nothing can justify the deafening decibel of some bikes.

    There are some that induce the sensation of walking up to the loudspeaker at a rock concert and putting your ear up to it. Rattling windows and a deafening roar are certainly not appreciated by many families with infants and young children in the middle of the night. Leafblowers are very annoying too, but I have never heard a leafblower even remotely as loud as some bikes, and I have never heard someone using a leafblower at 3am.

    I can remember at my aunt’s wedding, the event virtually came to a standstill for a minute while a group of motorcycles rode by because it was impossible to hear the person next to you over the deafening roar. Offhand, I can’t think of any other form of noise pollution that can get so loud that you can’t even hear a person who is standing right next to you yelling. The closest thing would be when I lived near an airforce base and would hear the fighter jets practicing overhead, but even that was nothing compared to some motorcycles. The sonic boom of a space shuttle reentering the atmosphere is very loud, but only lasts a moment.

    Now I live about a mile from the nearest road, and motorcycles and gunshots are about the only loud noises that I ever hear. I can live with it. I can also see how the deafening roar might get pretty unbearable for a family with young children living near a busy road. It seems a balance must be struck.

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