LattéLand, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
In front of the coffeehouse's window, two men in clumpy boots sit at a small table, one with a neoprene jacket slung across the back of his chair. At the curbside, four motorcycles -- two cruisers, one Harley, and one sport bike -- are parked as though they're arranged on a showroom floor.
Each type of bike embodies a different form of primal male posturing. The Pitch's fashion expert, a straight guy named Bud, says sport bikes draw attention with their flashy appearance and accessories, while the Harley draws attention with noise.
The man with the neoprene jacket is Bill Rock, a platinum-haired, retired railroad worker in an orange long-sleeved collarless shirt and jeans, who rides a silver Triumph cruiser. He just got back from a four-day road tour that hit Castle Rock, Colorado, the Badlands and Sturgis, South Dakota. His friend, Richard Peel, a power-plant worker in shorts and a T-shirt, pilots the Concorde of sport bikes: a Suzuki GSXR 1300 Hayabusa.
Rock says the stereotypical KC rider is young and aggressive, popping wheelies on Interstate 35. In addition to the traditional type who rides a motorcycle for transportation, he says there are two other classifications for gearhead wannabes: (1) "Young Squids," brash, neon-decked biker boys; and (2) "RUBs" (rich urban bikers), Johnson County doctors who drop ducats to be weekend warriors.
A young guy with a shaved head pulls his crotch rocket, a Honda CBR 600, crookedly into the makeshift showcase area. Rock and Peel offer him a chair and engage him in shoptalk about engine power, torque, local showboaters. The newcomer's name is Avi Kohen. He says the highway has become a fashion runway.
"The guys in full body leathers won't say it's because they want to look cool, but I'll see some guys out on a 99-degree day in full leathers," he says. "Some are trying to avoid skin grafts, but most don't do tricks. Most just putt-putt around."
Kohen says two-wheelers in Kansas City are elitist. When cruising in plain clothes, he's spotted a pack of action-hero-suited riders and tried joining them, only to get "jocked" when the über-stylish riders flipped throttle and edged away from him.
"It's like yuppies dressed in Gap getting snubbed by yuppies wearing all Louis Vutton," Kohen says of the phenomenon.
Seeking further examples of the motorsexual, next week Bud heads to Johnny Dare's in Westport.
Notes from KC's blogosphere.
I know better than to leave my house without my camera. Yesterday's missed photo opportunity: A line of cars, eight in a row, parked at the Walgreen's on Wornall and 75th. A Lexus RX; a Lexus sedan; an Infiniti FX; a new Grand Am; a Jeep Grand Cherokee; an old, faded, beat-to-shit Dodge Neon with the back window bashed in; another Lexus RX; and a Cadillac CTS. Every one of the eight cars sported a political bumper sticker. Seven of the stickers showed support for John Kerry, one showed support for Shrub. Guess which car carried the Shrub sticker (hint: piece of crap Dodge hoopty).