Boot Influencing on the Final Ride

I remarked in my previous blog post that I led the last ride for my motorcycle club as a Road Captain this past Saturday. I also mentioned that I wore my favorite Chippewa Firefighter Boots. What was interesting to me was my “boot influencing” of the…

…15 men who rode with me.

Two of them were also wearing Chippewa Firefighters. While they complained about how difficult it was to lace the boot zipper into these boots the first time, they raved, as I have often said, about the comfort, durability, and good-looks of the boots.

Five of the men wore classic black harness boots, including my cousin. I’m not sure all the harness boots were USA-made; nonetheless, they were motorcycle boots.

Three of the men wore Harley-Davidson made-in-China-crap boots (See previous blog post that explains why this is stated this way). Alas, they love to pay the price to be billboards for the brand.

Five of the remaining men also wore boots of some sort — they looked like work boots to me. All boots were short and had laces.

I “excused” one guy — that is, I asked a guy who showed up in shorts and sneakers if he happened to have long pants and boots. His reply was amusing, “what, is it going to get cold?” When he said that he didn’t have the appropriate riding gear, I asked him not to ride with us.

He wasn’t happy and said, “other road captains have let me ride.” I calmly explained that I have safety standards that I enforce, even if some others do not. Riding in shorts and sneakers is not allowed on my rides. Then it turned out that he was not a member in good standing because he allowed his membership to expire. He mounted his bike and took off, revving the throttle and leaving at a high speed. That’s okay; children will be children sometimes.

At the lunch break, someone raised a glass (soft drink) to me in a toast to thank me for two things:

* Leading well-planned and fun rides

* Setting the example for safety

Then he pointed at his feet and said, “I am wearing these boots because of his influence.”

What boots did he have on? Chip Firefighters! (Yay!)

I thanked my friends for their support and said that I will continue riding, but now it’s time for the younger generation to take the mantle of leadership — to plan rides, pre-ride them, and demonstrate a “safety culture” by wearing the right gear, setting standards, and maintaining those standards.

Life is short: wear boots, long pants, and appropriate protective gear (including a DOT-listed helmet) every time you ride.