Friday, 1 May 2009

What is a biker?

What is a biker? (Taken from
How would you class yourself in the world of bikes?
This has to be one of the most asked questions, after "How fast does it go mate?"
Defining exactly what a 'biker' is, is probably an impossible task, everyone has a different opinion and to try and lump them together to make a stab at what a biker really is could be very difficult, so guess what I'm going to do today…

Bikers or motorcyclists have quite a few diverse groups that you could belong to, everything from Rocker to Scooterist (different from Mods I'm told) to commuter, I know there are a lot more but I'm not going to list them, these are just examples to give us a feel for how we perceive ourselves. The way each of us sees each other is crucial to this debate, humans are notorious for fitting themselves into categories, different groups that either bind together or are constantly at war, human conflict has been going on since we discovered that bashing someone's brains in with a rock was fun and we have not really stopped since. We all like to belong to group of some kind, even the self proclaimed 'lone wolves' amongst us still like to be classified as bikers which therefore put them into a 'group', there is a kind of camaraderie and comfort to be found in belonging to like‑minded group, you can observe this in other groups as well. Anti‑vivisectionists, football supporters and Freemasons for example all work together for a common cause which they believe in, we are not any different, most of us ride bikes because we enjoy it, even the most hardened commuter will get some pleasure out of riding a bike and when push comes to shove people from the same group stick together and help each other.

Belonging to a group defines our boundaries which show where stand, we wear the uniform of our tribe to show where our loyalties lie, to show other tribes or groups that we are one of a particular band of brothers.
Bikers are one type of tribe that has within it various groups, just like football supporters are the main group that can be broken down into sub groups of the teams they support, bikers can also be categorised further into various sub‑groups. The word 'biker' can mean different things to different people, ask any typical man in the street what a 'biker' is and you will probably get an answer that is not far off from describing the average persons vision of a 'Hells Angel', ask a motorcyclist the same question and be prepared for a completely different answer depending on what he may ride. One will tell you that a biker is someone who rides everyday whatever the weather; another that it is someone who belongs to a club, maybe another view is that a biker should only ride British bikes. The viewpoints are many and varied, leading me to suspect that this question will never be answered to the satisfaction of all.

So I'm going to tell you what I think a biker is, a biker is someone with passion for two wheels, it does not matter to me if he rides a scooter or a Ducati, he may have owned the same RD250 since 1977, keep it polished and running and only take it out on Sundays, or he may like riding everyday whatever the weather, maybe not cleaning it but making sure it works and runs using anything that happens to do the job. It's the passion for the ride that in my humble opinion makes someone a biker, not what they ride, there are lots of riders out there who don't have the passion, they bimble along in their own little world treating their two wheels like an object and not a bike. The passion means they experience the thrill of the ride, whether it's a fast ride through the twisties or the thrill of taking a 30 year old bike on the road after restoring it for years, or maybe just the feeling that comes with going on a run with your mates, it's that adrenaline rush that keeps the passion alive and kicking within us.

Even after riding for over 35 years I still get that rush every time I get on a bike, it makes me feel alive and ready to take on the world, that first spin of the engine in the morning lets me know that I'm ready to rock and FTW!! It's my escape valve from work and the troubles that try to get me down, it lets me feel alive.

Do I class myself as a biker? Yes, because I feel I have a passion for bikes that has never left me ever since I first sat on one as a fifteen year old dreamer, motorbikes allowed me to be someone else, someone different from the small bullied youth that dreaded going out in the early 70's, that passion has never left me and I hope it never will.

At a funeral in January I met Rick, I have not seen Rick for 15 years, he is my ex‑wife's uncle, he had been a biker for years, not in the same sense as most of us, but still a man with passion for his bike, two years ago he T‑boned a car that did a U‑turn and has not ridden since, talking to him was quite sad as I could tell the passion had gone from his life, he asked me if I was still riding with a wistful look in his eye, I could also see that his wife was nervous about us talking about bikes. Such a shame that he has given up but once that spark has gone it's not the kind that can be rekindled, Rick is in his mid 60's and has had a good run though, I don't intend to give up until I am unable to get on a bike! Even then you might have trouble with me.

In my eyes bikes are my life, over the years they have got me into trouble and out of it, they have lost me partners and helped me find new loves and best of all I have met some great mates, mates who I would trust with my life, about how many other 'pastimes' could you say that. I class myself as a biker as I would anyone who has the passion for two wheelers, the rush is the best feeling in the world and I hope all of you who understand what I'm talking enjoy it too, and will do so for many more years.


No comments:

Post a Comment