I’m as good as dead. Just ask Randall Dale Chipkar. He’s the author of a new book with the somewhat breathless title of, “Motorcycle Cancer? Are Motorcycles Killing Us with Cancers of the Prostate, Colon, Kidney, Bone, Etc.?” in which the author answers his own question with an unqualified yes, and since I’ve been riding for a real long time I figure I’m pretty much a goner. I just hope that when the time comes, it’s not from cancer of my Etc., since I’m not exactly sure where in my body that is, and, in truth, I didn’t even know I had one until now.
This piece of bad news came to me in the form of a press release for the book, and while I didn’t actually order the volume—figuring my days were too numbered to start adding to my reading list—I got the gist of the matter from the press release, and the gist can be summed up in one terrifying quote, to wit: “‘Motorcycle Cancer’ is a must read for all riders. Undetected for so many years, motorcycle engine electromagnetic radiation is now exposed for its danger right between our legs!” This is compelling marketing. It resonates with me, as well as bikers in general who, it’s well known, spend a disproportionate amount of time reflecting on what’s between their legs, and the legs of others as well. What we’re being told here is that every time we ride a motorcycle we’re basically no different than Slim Pickens in “Doctor Strangelove” straddling a hot box of lethal radiation while riding an A-bomb to the ground. Yahoo.
The culprit exposed in the book is “extremely low frequency” radiation (ELF) emanating from the “electromagnetic field” (EMF) created by electrical current in a motorcycle’s charging and ignition system—a phenomenon Chipkar refers to without a hint of hysteria as a “Death Stream.” And EMF is certainly no laughing matter. It’s so powerful, in fact, that it can force the needle of a compass to point north. Spooky. But even so, modern science has apparently been engaged in some kind of conspiratorial cover-up of the lethal perils involved, and thank God we have a man like Chipkar who’s willing to look beyond the science and get to the diseased meat of the matter, pointing out quite rightly that despite the fact that even though some patsy organization like the National Research Council spent three years poring over 500 research studies on the subject spanning 20 years and concluded that there was no plausible connection between ELF/EMF and any kind of health effect, that doesn’t mean there couldn’t be a connection. Let’s face it, just because you haven’t actually seen a leprechaun doesn’t mean they don’t exist and that before you go wandering around Ireland you shouldn’t take some prudent protective measures like hiding your Lucky Charms.
It’s not quite so easy to hide your Lucky Charms on a motorcycle, though, since they’re sitting there on the seat right above the engine’s Death Stream. And if that situation isn’t harrowing enough, Chipkar shares with us the horrors of his own scientific research, telling us that he’s “met countless avid motorcyclists diagnosed with similar forms of cancers and disorders.”
This bit of information comes as something of a surprise since Chipkar doesn’t strike me as the type of guy who gets out much, but what do I know? Is it so much of a stretch to imagine that a guy so absorbed in important lifesaving research wouldn’t just naturally lose count of all his cancer-afflicted acquaintances? This is, after all, a man on a lonely crusade to save us all from our machines, and it’s a crusade he’s selflessly taking to the industry at large. He’s designed and patented a magic shield (it has to be magic, since he points out that neither steel nor lead is effective in blocking the Death Stream) that installs under a motorcycle seat to keep riders cancer-free, and he’s advocating the use of the shield by OEMs on all motorcycles. All they have to do to be responsible about their careless contributions to the spread of Motorcycle Cancer is equip their machines with one of Chipkar’s products.
OK, maybe that’s not exactly selfless. Maybe the guy’s looking to make a buck here to help defray his research expenses, but is that so wrong? Who among you would begrudge a shekel or two of attaboy gratitude to Louis Pasteur or Jonas Salk or to whoever it was who invented Lipozene? Not me, friends.
My only thought here is that a shield installed under a seat seems uneconomical and tough to retrofit. Wouldn’t it be easier to design a magic garment of some sort to wear when riding; some kind of anti-cancer diaper to don under the jeans? That’s my new mission in what’s left of my life. I shall design such a garment and liberate my biker brothers and sisters from the phantom menace of the Death Stream. And I shall store my own personal diaper on the shelf in my closet where I store my own personal tin foil beanie.
It’s all right here in the diaries.