Gonzo BMW riders

March 9, 2010
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It’s spring, so motorcycle season is upon us. There are about as many demographic profiles of riders as there are types of motorcycles, but business readers may find one variety of particular interest.

Look for BMWs with time clocks strapped to the gas tanks. The clocks aren’t standard equipment—for good reason. They’d probably get the company sued.

The clocks are aftermarket items used by riders who get their kicks out of hurtling between two points in the least time possible, usually on winding highways. They race the clock as well as each other, and you don't want to be caught in their flight path.

Make no mistake: They aren’t laid-back Harley-Davidson riders. And they aren’t the kids who dominate the motorcycles that look like they belong on race tracks. Rather, they’re Type A, middle-aged men who are wealthy enough to afford BMWs and who thrive on adrenalin. A few are surprisingly old guys who still like a good rush.

Understandably, they and their comparatively mellow peers are reluctant to talk on the record about the gonzo lifestyle. But some are well-known in Indianapolis business circles. Think investment bankers and others who crave pressure. They’re in suits during the week and helmets and leathers on weekends—leathers with special knee pads to prevent extremities from being ground away on curving pavement.

So the next time you’re meandering through the Brown County hills and a couple of motorcycles loom large in your windshield or mirrors, give them space and pray they don’t kill themselves.

After all, you might need them Monday morning.

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