NOT YOUR AVERAGE BIKE
Harry Richardson is a long-time student of Islam and author of best seller, "the Story Of Mohammed - Islam Unveiled', http://thestoryofmohammed.blogspot.com.au
I don’t know how it happened. Maybe it was a glitch in the booking system. Maybe the Gods of Air travel decided to finally give me a break. Whatever it was, something totally unexpected happened on a flight back to Brisbane last Tuesday evening.
Invariably, if a passenger is morbidly obese, has a personal hygiene issue, uncontrollable flatulence or a combination of all three, the airline books them into the seat next to mine. If there are two of them, you can guarantee that I’ll be the poor sod in the middle.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I found myself making way for a slim, attractive blonde who had the window seat next to me. What cruel joke are Qantas playing on me this time, I wondered nervously? Is she prone to violent airsickness? Perhaps she has Tourette syndrome. What if she has both?
But my fears were unfounded. Not only was she surprisingly normal, but after a horror weekend in Canberra (is there any other kind?) she had done a dash to the bar before the flight. Having downed a couple of chardonnays she was giggly, talkative and mercifully devoid of any anti-social physical or psychological aberrations.
So after furtively checking my boarding pass for a second time, I finally buckled up and said a silent thank you to whatever higher power had finally decided to cut me some slack.
We struck up a pleasant conversation and even the steaming green thing in tin foil failed to dampen our enthusiasm. The hostesses were pouring drinks when I happened to mention something about riding motorbikes. At this point, her eyes lit up and she started questioning me about what bikes I had owned.
“I used to ride a motorbike” she declared proudly.
"Oh Gawd", I thought with a rapidly sinking heart.
I know I’ll cop it here for being a sexist pig, but I’ve had some bad experiences with girls who ride motorbikes. For some reason, they are always madder than cut snakes and generally to be avoided at all costs.
At best, girls are a pain in the butt when going for a ride. I used to like to go pretty hard and none of the girls I’ve ridden with had the ability or the hardware to keep up. It gets to be a real drag having to constantly wait for them.
But then, she dropped her bombshell. “I used to have an R1,” she declared.
“Really” I said, struggling to appear nonchalant as I wiped a mouthful of coffee off the I-pad holder on the seat back in front of me.
Now I know many Pickering Posters won’t be familiar with the Yamaha R1 so I’ll try to explain the concept. Imagine getting your granny’s mobility scooter and duct taping it onto an Exocet missile. That pretty much sums up what these machines are all about (don’t actually try doing that by the way – unless the poor dear’s dentures are very firmly glued in place).
Not only had this girl owned an R1, she had actually raced the thing and apparently, had been on the verge of a sponsorship deal. Unfortunately for her, the combination of a sudden rush of fertility and the fact that one-piece racing leathers don’t come in maternity sizes, put an end to what might have been a long and glorious (or sickeningly short) career racing motorbikes.
Girls race each other where boys aren't allowed
Now, assuming she was telling the truth (and she wasn’t wearing a niqab or anything), she clearly had a talent for riding which far outweighed my own. To be honest, I’m not especially quick on a bike. My ability is far lower than my enthusiasm. Also, my sense of self preservation dwarfs my testosterone output, which in hindsight, is probably a good thing.
Put simply, I’m pretty sure that this girl would blow me into the weeds if we ever went head to head racing similar motorbikes.
Leaving aside the possibly lasting damage this realisation did to my self-esteem (I was starting to think Tourette’s might have been preferable after all), the situation got me thinking.
Strangely enough (weirdly might be a more appropriate adjective), it got me thinking about bell curves.
Bell curves are simple things. Kids learn to plot them on graphs in school around year six or seven.
Take a thousand blokes and measure the height of each of them. Then plot the numbers on a simple graph and you get a shape like a bell curve.
Few men are less than five feet tall. By the time you get to five-two to five-four, there will be more. The vast majority of men are five-six through to five-ten. Then, as you get past six foot tall, the numbers quickly taper off until after six foot seven, you are left with a couple of freakish NBL players.
Do the same thing with 1,000 women and you will have a near identical bell curve. The only difference being, that it will be slightly further down the axis from the men’s graph.
So, looking at these bell curves, you can see that men are generally taller than women. That doesn’t mean that all men are taller than all women. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t some very tall women who are taller than most men. However, the shortest people are mostly women and the tallest people are almost entirely male.
Practically everyone understands this concept. The only ones who don’t are the educationally sub normal and those academics who happen to be left wing (which is pretty much all of them).
There are good reasons for these bell curves. Mother Nature (am I even allowed to say that anymore?) quite sensibly, divided men and women up to carry out different tasks. She gave us different attributes to carry out these tasks. Men are mostly stronger than women. Women tend to be more flexible. Men are more analytical. Women can multi task. Men have more brute force. Women have more dexterity.
Sometimes the guy holds the umbrella
Mother/Father nature isn’t stupid of course. There is a lot of overlap and for the most part we can still function in each other’s areas if we must.
When my wife goes out, I can still find the sauce bottle in the cupboard eventually, even if it isn’t at the very front (hunger is a cruel taskmaster).
One area where men excel, is judging speed and distance. Traditionally, it was those men who could chuck a spear accurately or jump a ditch whilst running away from a sabre tooth tiger, who did well in evolutionary terms.
Today, that talent translates into an ability to ride quickly on a motorcycle. It is something that men generally do better than women. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t women who can ride quickly on a motorcycle. My friend on the plane however, was a freakish outlier on the far edge of the female bell curve.
The fact that she could outride most men, does not disprove the fact that men are usually quicker. Not surprisingly then, the top echelons of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, as well as Formula One or Indy car racing, are entirely devoid of women. Instead, we have men who are freakishly talented. These guys sit at the far extreme of the male bell curve, which sits to the right of the female one.
The lack of women on the podium isn’t an evil conspiracy by the patriarchy. There may be some barriers to women that don’t burden men to the same extent, but it isn’t hidden prejudice. Most race team managers would pleasure their own grandmother if they thought it would net them the trophy.
To win a competition with a female rider would be the greatest F U to the other teams. Team owners also know that a winning female rider would attract a deluge of sponsorship.
Yet talented as some women undoubtedly are, the top echelons of GP motorcycling will always be dominated by men. For the most part, men are better at motor racing than women. The fact that some women can ride or drive faster than most men, doesn’t change that fact. One swallow doesn’t make a summer.
It’s in the bell curve, stupid.
To be continued at a later date…………………
My next article is related to a recent discovery which blows the lid off a particularly ugly can of worms. It should have been finished already……I got distracted, okay?