What do I mean when I use the term "biker"? I've been thinking about that lately. I call myself a biker because I ride a motorcycle, but I know that some would deny me that moniker.
Two things on my mind here. A couple of weeks ago I was cruising down the interstate, at the legally posted speed of course, when the laces on the right side of my leather vest came undone and the vest began to flop in the breeze. I pulled over and turned on my flashers. I got off and put the vest in my bag. Within 20 seconds of my pullover, two riders on Gold Wings pulled over to see if I was alright and needed help. They saw a brother in need and stopped. They didn't check to see what kind of bike I was riding. Then, just last week, I saw a sticker that read "$18,000 and a New Bike doesn't make you a biker." It doesn't? Then what does?
I hear people knock guys who trailer their bikes to various places, unload them and ride. "Not real bikers," they say. But some of the guys who trailer their bikes put more miles on their machines than some of the loudmouths with leather and tattoos who spend most of their time riding from one bar to the next while the guys on the Gold wings ride by outside, putting on the miles. Who are the real bikers?
I have heard people say that they won't stop to help folks riding "rice burners." When I first started riding forty years ago I was taught to wave at all other motorcyclists. I still do. When I was riding a Gold Wing a few years back, most Harley riders wouldn't wave back at me. I waved anyway. Now that I'm riding a Harley, some punks on sport bikes ignore the waves. They need to be taught.
To me a "biker" is someone who rides a motorcycle. Period. If you put your ass in the saddle and put the miles on;if you love riding and ride as much as your constitution and commitments allow you to ride you're a biker and I'm proud to be associated with you. If you're at the side of the road I'll pull over and offer to help no matter what brand you are riding. I love my Harley but I love riding motorcycles most of all. What you wear, the tattoos you have, the brand you ride, none of those things make you a biker. Being able to do a burnout doesn't make you a biker. These might indicate some other things about you, but in my opinion a person only becomes a biker by putting his butt in the saddle and heading on down the road. Ride your bike to work if you can. I ride mine every day and will until the roads get icy. I rode today, I rode yesterday, I'll ride tomorrow. I love to ride. I live to ride.
All of us who ride motorcycles share some common concerns about safety. We share a love of the freedom of the ride. We have some common enemies; uncaring legislators and irresponsible cagers with cell phones stuck to their ears. We should be working together towards common goals. So towards that end I'll continue to wave at everyone up on two wheels. I'll continue to associate with people who love to ride, regardless of what they ride. I'm a H.O.G. member and proud of it but that doesn't make me a biker. Riding, that's what its all about. Get out there and ride.