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Are You A Biker?

June 18, 2012 | By More

by Linda Carruth

You’re on a vigorous blast of a ride, and it almost seems a shame that it’s rushing by so fast. There is open country road ahead of you, as far as you can see. Although it’s late in the day, you can feel the warm sun on your arms and a balmy wind buffeting your face. The smells of late summer remind you how little of the riding season you have left. The farm fields have that mature late summer aroma, the kind that burns your nostrils just a little. And the scenery, the rolling patchwork hills, the houses nestled in here and there, a galloping horse behind a distant fence, and long, long shadows that deliver a cool shock every now and then.

A graphic description of riding a motorcycle, all too familiar to a seasoned rider, extols the subjective virtues of riding. In recent years, motorcycles have gained in popularity as more and more new riders take to the road, and with that has come a growing controversy. It’s a simple contradiction in terms and it’s also very real. The question was raised in a very commercial, very silly movie a while back, but no conclusion was made. Not really. The box office receipts may have been pretty good, and perhaps the sales from the multiple product placements were lucrative, but the content bordered on offensive— to bikers.

What Is a Biker?

A biker is someone who truly LIVES to ride. Not necessarily a one-percenter, although like it or not, that element exists and this writing means to neither condone nor condemn. Every area of a biker’s life is connected to riding. A biker will ride instead of drive whenever possible. Some don’t even own cars. They brave the rain and cold to get to where they’re going, and not just on the weekends. They give of themselves for charitable causes, and for their fellow riders, enjoying a good ride and a party in the process. No sacrifice is too big for a fellow rider or someone in need. An undue amount of disdain is cast their way even though they raise a lot of money and give so much of themselves for others. Bikers maintain a lifestyle that revolves around riding instead around keeping up with the Joneses. You won’t see them with the latest bike models with the cookie-cutter factory paint jobs, nor will you see them in designer leather togs. Their leather is for function only to protect their respective hides from cold, wind, rain, or asphalt. Their pins and patches represent events in which they’ve taken part or places they’ve actually been, on their bikes. And everyone of them, without exception, knows of someone who has gone down because of an errant or negligent driver. Bikers follow certain rules, are never phony, and live submerged in the life.

Can You Buy Into The Life?

No. If you buy a motorcycle, along with the leather and gear that goes with it, and then take to the road, are you a biker? No my friend, it doesn’t work that way. You might be a motorcycle enthusiast, or a motorcycle rider, and that’s okay, but you are not a biker simply because you plunked some money down in a showroom. Spending money doesn’t get you into the club. Spending time and miles, and learning to respect and control your machine, as well as respecting other riders on the road, will maybe, eventually, get you closer. Everyone has to start somewhere, right? The term yuppie biker is tossed around a bit these days, and it’s all in fun really but the point is, this is one area where money doesn’t speak loudly. Leave the bikers their moniker, as they have earned it.

So What’s It All About?

It’s about the ride. If you bought your bike because you want the wind in your face, and that freedom you feel when you just pick a direction and go, then do just that. The riding experience is the end-all be-all of owning a bike, not the rallies, parties, and bike nights at the local sports bar, although those can be fun too at times. You can participate in charity bike runs that have open registration, but wait until you have some real miles under your belt. Pack riding can be a white knuckle experience. When you see brake lights up ahead, they’ll reach you fast, and you will have very little time to react. If you’re an inexperienced rider, you can jeopardize your safety as well as the safety of riders around you and behind you.

Learn how to ride properly and get plenty of saddle time. Take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course to learn evasive moves and safe stopping techniques. Do some reading and try to understand the culture you’ll be sharing space with. It can be a lot of fun to go to rallies and check out all the bikes and vendors, but show some respect, and don’t insinuate yourself into a group that has no desire to blindly accept everyone. Keep it about the ride and you’ll do all right. There’s a lot to be said for peaceful coexistence, but remember, it’s a two way street.

Now get out and ride!

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And here’s a list of motorcycle safety class locations listed by state: Motorcycle Safety Class Offerings by State

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Category: Motorcycle Savvy

About the Author ()

Linda Carruth is a freelance illustrator and designer who enjoys riding her motorcycle. Her professional work can be seen at lwwallace.com, but her motorcycle, humorous, and motivational designs are available at MadDashRiot.com, LinesByDesignBoutique.com, and at MadDashRocket.com.

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