Thursday, May 29, 2008

H.O.G. Goes Wild!

I received my copy of Hog Tales in the mail the other day. It’s the periodic publication of the “Harley Owners Group”.

The Editor announced the inaugural H.O.G. "Million Mile Monday" coming up on June 30th.

I understand that The Motor Company and any manufacturing company for that matter benefit by maximum use of their product. The more use, the more sales, bottom line.

So It’s understandable that promoting a Million Mile Monday makes good business sense. The idea being that members will hit the road on that day, log on to the official website and record their miles. The goal being one million miles in one day.

However, if I take my business hat off and put on the hat of humanity, this Million Mile Monday looks like insanity.

The days of thoughtless gas guzzling are over, forever. Clinging to the image of leather jacketed rebels without a cause is not helpful to anyone. This is no time for nostalgia en mass. We motorcyclists should not thumb our noses at the world and ride on, business as usual.

The world is in the midst of a food crisis. Children in Haiti are eating mud cakes flavored with butter. Not so much because of a lack of food but because of the affordability of food. Most of the food shortage for the disadvantaged millions of the world can be traced to fuel and the corporate greed that goes along with it.

Gas companies are making record profits, oil is selling for record prices, food crops have been diverted to growing corn to make ethanol. Why? The simple answer is demand.

Don’t get me wrong, I'm all for riding motorcycles. For transportation in lieu of a car or truck and for the occasional recreational ride.

But thoughtless riding just to please The Motor Company and to help H.O.G. log a million miles in one day, now that’s just plain wrong.

I wonder what the reaction would be if Chevrolet or Toyota promoted an event to have it’s owners log a million miles in one day. Has H.O.G. gone morally bankrupt? I hope not, maybe their timing is just bad.

Will I be helping H.O.G. ride their million miles in one day, increasing the demand for fuel and helping gas companies make record profits while they keep raising prices? Will my carbon emmisions be going out my exhaust pipe adding to global warming? Will I help fund middle eastern terrorists and contribute to starving children on that day, just for the heck of it?

No thank you.

I think on June 30th I’ll forgo my usual motorcycle commute to work and ride public transportation, walk or ride my bicycle.

If a million miles in one day were logged that way, imagine the positive difference that would make.

Or how about this alternative: Have H.O.G. members log their miles for one day using their "Hogs" instead of cars and trucks for commuting, errands and recreational rides.

They could promote the project as a way to show how much fuel can be saved by using motorcycles instead of cars by calculating the miles rode, the average vehicle gas mileage compared to the average HD gas mileage and show the difference.

Advertising, product promotion and planning events need not be oblivious to what's going on in the world around us. Being a little more thoughtful and responsible about how the otherwise excellent Harley Owners Group handles itself would go a long way.