Do you know anyone who rides a motorcycle? I mean, a real motorcycle, not a crotch-rocket or moped, no offense. I’m talking about an American, loud piped, chromed beauty on two wheels. I grew up riding on the back of my Dad’s bike, starting a lot younger than I should have and I still get a smile when I hear the pipes roar down the road.
There was something calming about the vibration of the motor and the wind against my face. I used to fall asleep as a child on the back of the bike, which looking back seems pretty dangerous. On more than one occasion, Dad felt dead weight on the back and had to pull over to secure me to the seat. Actually, that is really dangerous, isn’t it? No wonder my Grandmoms hated seeing me pull up on the back of the bike with that big goofy helmet and my little jean Harley jacket.
Bikers are more than meets the eye. The do more than rock a leather vest and chaps, which no one else can do. Maybe a cowboy can do chaps, but I’m tempted to believe they come from the same breed of people; gruff and strong. From my experience, they come from blue collar background and are down and dirty guys. Whether the biker you know lives the biker lifestyle or a corporate CEO turned biker on the weekends, they all seem to get along in a roadside bar because they have the bond of the open road. It’s evident in the way they wave to each other as they pass. I know I don’t wave to other Ford drivers.
Some of the scariest looking guys I’ve ever met were bikers, and they were also the kindest. We rode with firemen, military, police officers and men who worked with their hands. They had long beards, beer bellies and were long overdue on their haircuts. They remember your name and your story no matter how much time passed. They’re the guys you meet up with on Sunday morning at a diner and ride through the afternoon with. They are lifelong friends who will help stop your oil leak and tow you to get your tire fixed. Some have tattoos, some don’t. A real rider never wears sneakers and shorts, but long pants and boots, no matter what the weather. They know how to pack light and be prepared for anything that lies ahead.
They maneuver around people who don’t know how to share the road and with people who don’t see them, while stabilizing hundreds of pounds of metal on two wheels. They are the first to stop and help you. They support their friends and all of their causes, and will remember fallen friends in the form of embroidered patches and charity rides or events to support your family. They talk like sailors amongst friends, but treat a lady like a lady, with respect. They are sons, brothers, fathers and husbands. They relish old stories and they aren’t afraid to cry when it comes to reflecting on something important to them either.
I certainly don’t mean to leave the women who ride out. I’m actually related to some fine female bikers and proud of the way they handle themselves and the road without intimidation, in a predominately male atmosphere. At this point, I just don’t trust my balance to join them and I’ll stick to the back for now. Maybe one day…
My opinions here are based on my twenty-plus years of experience with motorcyclists I’ve known amongst my Dad’s various groups, as well as my father-in-law’s. There are always exceptions to everything, in addition to a slutty half naked biker rally girl for each kind of rider I’ve described to you today. Just never judge a book by its cover, like I almost did with the random Hells Angel who saved me from getting crushed at a concert. The guy picked me up like I was a feather. Never imagined a man that frightening looking could’ve been so graceful, and in a mosh pit.
Vroom vroom…the open road is calling.
Photo courtesy of the Rapid City Journal.