Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Over the years of owning a bike I have discovered distinct groups of motor bike culture. Here is my take on it, and some of my views. Of course not everyone fits into these groups, some may off from time to time.
THE LEARNER: The young and some times not so young new to biking enthusist. They have been introduced to bikes by some one and have fallen in love with the whole biker thing. They have done some basic training to get a license, but by no means are a good rider. They are often on a budget so cheap safty gear becomes the norm. They are at there most dangerous at this time, they are at there most vunerable and can be easily influnced by more experinced riders. There motorcycle control levels are low, and the learning curve is steep. But there enthusiasm is contagious and brings a smile to everyones face.
THE SPEED FREAK: The hardcore go fast, not happy unless they are 80km's above the limit, knee down rider. They are often young and in experienced, although not just limited to that. They ride is if they are bullet proof, not interested in other road users, or the worlds perception of them. Some of them are skillful, some of them are not. Some ride far above there ability and while other's will show discernment. This is a risky group to be a part off, driven by egos and speed. They think cruisers are for old men and poofs. They don't notice the scenery as it fly's past in a blur. They will weave recklessly through peak hour traffic at speeds that would scare any unsuspecting pillion. They will have the latest and fastest bike, some will be decked out in all the latest racing leathers while others are happy wearing shorts and a T Shirt. Big rides consist of a Sunday afternoon blat. If they do crash it wont be there fault, it is the road, or the sheep, or the other driver that got in there way.
THE RETURNING RIDER. This group consists of the older, baby boomer, who is returning to biking after the kids have left home. They learnt to ride a bike in their youth when the most horse power a bike delivered was 35 hp, where the brakes were crap and the correct gear to keep warm entailed sticking a newspaper down there oil skinned jacket. They love biking, but have no idea that the Rocket 3 they just purchased pumps out a lot more horse power than what they are use to, the bikes are bigger and the brakes do actually work They have all the right gear, don't often break the speed limit and there rides consist of a Sunday afternoon jaunt to the local pub, where they sit and admire the other cruisers. They have no time for the youth on there sports bikes. They will spend endless amounts on safety gear, yet not a penny on getting some training. They have seen it all and know it all. There 'wisdom' on riding a bike is clouded by there age and there in ability to see fault in there own actions. They think accidents only happen to mad sports bike riders. They will buy a bike that is too big, and not practical for them but they do it anyway because that is what you do. When they sell it three years later it will have 1900kms on the clock.
THE TOURER AND THE ADVENTURER ; They don't care about what type of bike you ride, they just love being on two wheels. They have one time or another belonged to one or all of the previous groups, They have probably crashed at some time in their life and have learnt from there mistakes. But complacency is there enemy, and getting into the groove can be forced. They prefer to ride alone, yet they are comfortable around people, especially people who are passionate about bikes. When they do ride with a group, they ride with a select group of friends who they are comfortable with. They realise they are not infallible. They will ride the long route home, and search the map for unknown roads. They will push themselves to the limits of endurance, just for the chance to spend a few more minutes on the bike. They will do this at a risk to there own helath, where miles count for more than anything. They will sell there bike after five years with 80000kms on the clock.
Regardless of what group you belong to, or where you are currently at, we all have a moral obligation to encourage safer and more comon sense riding. We must learn from our own mistakes and not be afraid to share them. We must not be influenced by stupidity and egos. Are you riding a bike to be a part of a culture or because you love to ride. Are you skilled? Do you have the right to "teach" other riders?, or should your self be seeking out some training.