Welcome back! For all you noobs and foreigners to the biker subculture, here is the latest (and probably last) installment of Motoring Monday. This week I’ll give you a glimpse into the heart of a weathered, hardened, veteran biker. Here we go…
You have no doubt, at some point in your life, been driving down the highway, when you notice a long string of bikers traveling in a tight pack going in the opposite direction. Your first inclination may be that they’re a group of friends or a motorcycle club out for a joy ride. Sometimes you may be right. Depending on the size of the pack though, it could very well be something much more meaningful. But, then again, maybe not. There’s no arguing that bikers love a cold drink and a good party. So let me lay it out for you.
If you witness a big pack of bikers riding down the highway in a line, odds are it is an organized ride for some random charity. On a year-round basis, bikers gather for good causes, both big and small, enjoy some camaraderie, the wind in their face, and the open road. Charity rides often benefit local charities, like a family struggling with medical bills for their disabled child, or a library who’s just trying to keep their doors open for one more year. Sometimes, they act a little more globally than locally by donating all proceeds to a breast cancer awareness and research fund. Some charity rides are more self-serving, with the profits benefitting a motorcycle awareness council. In any way, you may be a little surprised to learn of all the good that comes from bikers banding together and owning the road on any given weekend.
As I already mentioned, sometimes bikers just want to kick back, relax, and have a good time. This is where biker rallies come in. These serve as a gathering place for all bikers within an undetermined radius of the event. There are all types of rallies, big and small, that take place all over the globe. Generally, it’s just a massive social experience with events like motorcycle shows, concerts, parades, rides and parties. Some of the bigger, more well-known rallies draw crowds from across the country and even beyond the United States’s borders. Daytona Beach, Florida usually kicks off and closes the traditional “riding season” with Bike Week and Biketoberfest. Taking full advantage of the prime summer weather, Sturgis, South Dakota opens its arms to bikers of all shapes and sizes. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally annually transforms the sleepy town of less than 7,000 citizens into a sea of masses numbering over half a million people!
Sometimes, a small group of friends or motorcycle club might just want to ride in the direction of a biker destination. There are way too many of these to count, but I’ll list a few that have caught my eye over the years. The American biker has an undeniable urge to be sucked into the Harley Davidson craze. With Harley being the iconic American motorcycle, their headquarters and museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a top spot to stop for bikers. While you’re in the midwest, a stop in Pickerington, Ohio is a must. Located right next to the American Motorcyclist Association headquarters is the Motorcycle Hall Of Fame Museum. Due west from there, you have the openness calling you toward the famous Route 66, where you can get your kicks. While it may not serve the same purpose it once did, the thoroughfare still provides the charm and is a gateway to the West. If you feel drawn to the east coast, then there’s always the intimidating cliff-side curves of “The Dragon.” Deal’s Gap, North Carolina offers one of the most scenic, revered, and dangerous biker resorts in the country. The 11 mile “stretch” of highway doesn’t in fact offer many stretches at all, cramming in 318 curves all the way down the side of a mountain. Outside of the confines of the U.S., there are no telling how many more places to mount up and ride to. I can tell you about one of my personal favorites though, so I will. The famous Ace Cafe in London, England is a global historic landmark for bikers on any continent, serving as the backdrop for the Rockers versus Mods gang rivalries in the 1960s.
So now you’ve gotten a small peak into the often misunderstood, secretly loving, caring heart of the big, bad biker. And with this conclusion, you hopefully now also have a general understanding of the biker subculture. You know what to look for when you see a biker, and you’ll be able to recognize lingo, gestures, and bikers of all types. Your life is now complete, and you can die knowing that you learned everything you ever wanted to about being a biker.
Thank you, that is all.