In the latest issue of American Iron Magazine, columnist Genevieve Schmitt has a piece entitled Packing Protection in which she talks about carrying a weapon of some sort while riding. Recently, a fellow blogger described a day trip for which his riding gear included two handguns and a knife. And as anyone who’s been to Sturgis can attest sheath knives, the longer (i.e. more bad-assed) the better, are a common fashion accessory.
Has riding really become a blood sport?
Over many, many thousands of miles I have mingled freely with bikers of all sorts, and with strangers in campgrounds, some of whom were heavily armed. I have ridden most Canadian provinces and many of the more northern states. I have ridden major cities and rural byways. I have ridden alone and with others. And through all of that I have never felt threatened or otherwise unsafe while on the road (aside from traffic hazards) or even while camping in some pretty remote locations.
Now I will state that I don’t go looking for trouble – never have and never will – so that has a lot to do with it. But I also firmly believe that carrying a weapon – especially one that’s exposed – can just as easily invite trouble as defuse it. It seems to me that wearing a 10-inch Bowie knife on your belt is an open invitation to the guy with a 12-inch model to prove how those extra 2 inches make him tougher than you. No thanks. And let’s be honest, carrying a knife does not make you a knife-fighter any more than wearing a black belt makes you a karate expert.
Perhaps I’m just a simple, naive Canadian, but if I had to arm myself to the teeth to enjoy my sport, I’d take up fishing.