Motorcycling, it’s not just for bikers

Biker or motorcyclist?

If you asked me if I consider myself to be a biker (or even a biker ‘chick’), I’d have to say ‘no’, right after I socked you in the nose.

I’m not a biker. Or a biker ‘chick’. I’m a motorcyclist. And that’s different.

Different for me by a matter of connotation. Don’t know the difference? Lemme ‘splain.

Bikers, by the stereotypical definition, place form before function. The horsepower before the horse, as it were. It’s a subculture that’s more interested in fitting the part of the Bad Boy than in actually riding the bike. Bikers ride to fit an image. Motorcyclists ride for the joy of riding.

You can spot a motorcyclist out riding any day of the year, rain, snow, sleet or shine. Their desire to be out on the bike enjoying the weather and the solitude is greater than the threat of inclement weather. Bikers only ride when the weather is in that sweet spot between 65 and 90 degrees, lightly cloudy, not too breezy, and no chance of rain in the forecast.

Bikers ride to be seen. Motorcyclists ride because they like to do so. And they do it as often as possible.

I think my friend Richard Siewert best sums up the desire to ride a motorcycle in his latest blog post:

The motorcycle…feed[s] this need to run. Not away. But run. I’m racing away from my own mortality, to see, to feel, to experience all this world is hiding in its many corners, to accessorize my thoughts with the experiences of a world filled with possibilities. I realize that everyone’s heart does not ache the way that mine does. That the lure of the unexpected and the unexplained are not as enticing and seductive for some as they are for me. I believe the world is calling me to far away places, to exotic food and dangerous women. At times it calls me with a whisper and other times, like today, it is a raucous din of which I cannot describe. London, Edinburgh, Morocco, Senegal, Melbourne, Moscow, Prague, Buenos Aires, Honk Kong, Tokyo and every road in between call out to me. I’m listening and I’m hurrying and I ache for you just as you ache for me dearhearts. Be patient, I will race across your blacktop in time and breathe in your air, I will marvel at your vistas and swim in your streams. We were made for each other after all and not even the devil can keep us apart.

Looking to escape the stereotypes of the biker subculture and graduate to Motorcyclist? Or maybe you just want to learn how to ride. Contact me. I’ve been riding since 1997, have taught numerous friends to ride, and have a penchant for translating obfuscations into layman’s terms (that’s humor for a word-nerd).

Richard is a brilliant writer and great motorcycling companion. He also writes for the the Austin Men’s Style column in the Examiner and is a History undergrad at Texas State.

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A project-turned-obsession, the Eastside Hovel was established in 2010. It's the hole into which I throw all of my money.