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