Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Badass is the new Green

There are motorcycle guys, and then there are motorcycle guys. And then there's Van Asher, who hunted snakes at summer arts camp, and who is an excellent example of why "oner" shows up in the The New York Times  crossword puzzle. Ain't no one like Van Van, the Snake Man.

I met Van in the summer of '81 during my second summer at Camp Ballibay. Here are two memories: One of him wearing a knotted necktie as a headband ("My mother told me to wear a tie on Sundays!") Another cheerful comment when I got back from an off-campus trip without telling some of my couselors I'd be missing rehearsal: "Hey Blais! Everyone wants to kill you!"...perhaps the first time someone my age had called me by my last name. And the guy's name was Van! Exotic stuff for a kid from a one-stoplight town.

Fast forward to our adult lives. Van is all about helping the other guy: Van worked several years for the Needle-Exchange Program; is a motorcycle safety instructor; is training for EMT certification. Despite his Facebook manifesto (if you have fewer than four wheels, Van will race and--quite possibly--crash you), there's no one I'd rather have drive my bus, in the aftermath of calling 9-1-1.

So lend a hand to Wingnut Cycles --an organization for which Van is both a principal and test pilot, and a group of fellas who mean to fight the good fight from behind the bars of a tricked-out bio-diesel chopper. No matter what your culture, they will counter it. Cue Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion," as the shot pans across a solo motorcycle tearing up the Brookyn Bridge, and our boat sinks slowly in the West.

All images in this post courtesy of Wingnut Cycles. Except the one of the cheeky 6th-grader flipping you off.... I took that one.

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