The long haul
(Originally Posted by Creeping Jennie on Monday, 05 October 2015 in Sturgis.com Blogs)
I’m old enough to remember the days when bikers were not welcome in most businesses during the first week of August anywhere in the Black Hills. They were dirty, smelly, uncouth, they stole gas, dined and dashed, drank and fought. People who enjoyed riding motorcycles, but were not part of the “biker” lifestyle distanced themselves from the “biker” title. “Oh I have a bike, but I’m not a BIKER.”
As with most American icons, over the years Sturgis went from being a dirty little secret known by only the true coinsurers of the biker culture to a well-known “bucket list” item, palatable to the average Joe. Now it seems like everyone wants to be a biker.
Here in the Black Hills, bikers are not thought of as the menacing thugs that they once were. Almost everyone rides, or at least has a Harley in the garage, even if it may only see
For example, although many Australians enjoy riding motorcycles, and even their postmen ride around on “postie bikes,” those who choose to ride Harley Davidson motorcycles are considered to be a criminal element. I will never forget the time I experienced this. I went to Australia to visit my then fiancé, now husband Gregg. It was Christmas time, and of course, since seasons are opposite to what is occurring in the northern hemisphere, it was summer. We decided to go for a ride, so we geared up and fired up Gregg’s bright orange Ultra. The only way this bike could have been made to look less threatening would have been to paint it pink, not neon orange. Don’t get me wrong, it was a beautiful bike, but it was a cushy dresser- it did not conjure up images of a scary thug. And of course, in Australia, helmets are mandatory. As we were riding, I realized that I had forgotten to put on my usual layer after layer of sunscreen, so we stopped at a rest area. I pulled off my
At the end of the day, I shared my observations with Gregg. He told me that this was not an unusual reaction. He told me about how the police there leave the crotch rocket riders
Bikers are a funny breed. Many try very hard to pare themselves down to fit into the biker box, yet post memes in social media about how society shouldn’t stereotype bikers. How many people do I know, in various levels of depth, who seem to require themselves to sport some type of HD merchandise every day? Many people even craft their own custom items, ranging from clocks and calendars, hair accessories, furniture, and anything else you can imagine, all emblazoned with the Harley Davidson logos, featuring the company’s trademark black and orange colors. It’s now totally acceptable, and encouraged, to proclaim to the world that you ride one particular brand of motorcycle. You can even join a club devoted to the brand.
Of course, if you are active in the motorcycling community, you know that there is more than one brand of
If you wish, you can ride a bike that LOOKS like a Harley, but it’s not, smug in your own satisfaction that you did not buy into the Harley merchandising pitfall. I mean, you can make great strides and efforts to dress, sound, walk and talk just like the Harley “
You can be the type who goes out of his way to prove he’s not a RUB, and “If I have to explain, then you don’t belong.” This guy was a biker way before it was cool, even though he was only four years old when they burned down the shitters in the
You can be the stereotypical RUB if you wish. You need a fully custom, tricked out (fill in the blank with whatever is trendy) machine, a pristine leather riding vest purchased complete with the patches already sewn on, because fuck sewing machines. This midlife crisis has your name on it! Your wife of 25 years is concerned that you will fuck everything that moves at the Rally, but hey, what happens in Sturgis stays in Sturgis, right?
You can be the type of biker who doesn’t even own a bike. Many of these are over the road truckers who don’t actually own a motorcycle, but one day they would like to buy one and go to Full Throttle Saloon. Biker, trucker- what’s the difference?
You could be the guy who actually did witness the Honda up the
Maybe you can be one of those guys who
You might be the little guy who has balls so big that he puts snow tires on his bike and rides all fucking winter. He goes to as many rallies as he can, and does volunteer work for his local ABATE chapter.
You might be the chick who didn’t wait for some man to make her bitch. She got her own bike and rides the hell out of it. She’s not some little Barbie, she’s real woman, and she won’t take shit from you.
You might be the guy who rode dirt bikes as a kid. He grew up fiddling with a broken down
You might be one of those guys who has to wear his helmet all the time, you might be one who never wears one. Perhaps you are
Maybe none of this shit really matters at all. In fact, I dare say none of it matters at all. Who gives a fuck what you ride, where you ride, when you ride, why you ride what you wear when you ride. It only matters that you do.
I’m not trying to fit into any particular image, type, or box. I just want to ride.