WHEN DID WE AS BIKERS BECOME SO SEGREGATED?

r_041109Does this look like a guy who would ride a Sport Bike? Ha… fooled ya!

One thing that really annoys me about the biker community is the tendency of many to segregate themselves into a group of like branded riders. Harley riders, Sport Bike riders, Sport Touring riders… I’ve seen them all do it. Some of it I can understand, after all it probably is easier to relate to a rider with similar tastes in bikes, but a lot of it seems to be based on some unspoken arrogance that says, “our group is better than yours.” I do my best to break down these ridiculous barriers every chance I get and in fact, I like to have a little fun with it.

For those of you that don’t know, I have both a Harley-Davidson touring bike and a Suzuki sport bike in my garage and I love to use them both in situations that might take some by surprise. For example, one of our local Harley-Davidson dealerships has a restaurant on-site and one of my favorite things to do is pull up on the Suzuki for a bite to eat. Trust me… the looks from the Harley die-hards is priceless when I pull off my full-face helmet and riding jacket to reveal an old guy, complete with nappy goatee and H-D T-Shirt. Haha! Something just doesn’t compute in their minds! On the other side of the coin… I’ve also been known to show up for a Honda Riders Club ride on my Electra-Glide… much to the surprise of all the VTX and Gold Wing riders.

Seriously… when did we as bikers become so segregated? Who said that Harleys and Metrics shouldn’t go to the same Bike Night? Who made it a rule that a guy on a Honda CBR600 should feel uncomfortable riding into the local Harley dealership? How come you don’t see more group rides that have all different brands and styles of bikes? I don’t get it and honestly… I don’t care if you ride a cruiser, sport bike or even a moped. If you are a person of integrity and a safe rider… you are welcome to ride with me!

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9 responses

  1. goldiron

    Motorcyclists, as a community became segregated several times over the last sixty years. Prior to that, I have no first hand knowledge.

    Manufacturers have done their level best at segregating motorcyclists. Motorcycle clubs insisted upon a brand loyalty.
    Legislators and lawmakers have done their best to target specific types of motorcycles, both on road and off road as well as targeted the operators by age and experience.

    The entertainment industry has historically chosen to emphasize some sort of segregation by motorcycle brand or type.

    Finally, the bureaucrats, and their supporters, have continually used motorcycling as a profiling target for a myriad of differences including racial issues.

    April 12, 2009 at 5:58 AM

  2. rubenandjoann

    Nice post…I couldn’t agree with you more. I waive to everyone on two wheels and three, regardless of what they ride. I have found great diversity in backgrounds but commonality when it comes to the ‘wheel’; if we could only get past the segregation hurdle you spoke of, you just might meet some really interesting people.

    April 12, 2009 at 6:33 AM

  3. Bravo for speaking on this…I have observed quite a bit of this myself. It seems to be personal to a lot of folks; perhaps we should simply treat people like people. Let’s ride and enjoy being together, and it’s ok if the sports bike riders leave my in the curves.

    Warmly,
    Jim
    http://www.PassiveIncomeAndHarley.com/blog

    April 12, 2009 at 10:59 AM

  4. dave

    absolutely agree with you!!
    unfortunately the world teaches us to judge ourselves by what we have (or don’t have) compared to others. as for me when I am standing talking to someone in my jeans and denim shirt, along with the white beard and gray/white ponytail the looks are quite surprising when I pull on a full face and get on the Goldwing :).
    try to make someone who doesn’t expect it smile today

    April 12, 2009 at 12:10 PM

  5. You Rock! And I agree with you whole heartedly. Two wheels is Two Wheels I don’t care how you count ’em! Now, if I only has two bikes…!

    Ride on,
    Torch

    April 12, 2009 at 7:35 PM

  6. Agreed. However, I wave and talk to everyone with an interest in two or three wheels. Even some of the people I know have that better than thou attiude and ask why are you waving to them? I just don’t get it. My feeling is anyone riding does so for many of the same reasons I do. Granted some are just in it for the status and do not stick with it for very long. The ones who are truely moved by motorcycles are the ones I enjoy being around no matter what they ride. Check out my blog that shares some similar thoughts.
    Be Safe
    http://www.cycleblog.americancycleaccessories.com/?cat=2

    April 13, 2009 at 4:37 AM

  7. goldiron

    One of the biggest problems that we face as motorcyclists is passing judgment on fellow motorcyclists. We either do it too much or too little.

    I ride alone, for the most part. I use it as time of enjoyment and reflection. I do not need the distraction of other riders around me. As such, there are many times that I take the long way home. I render aid to motorcyclists that are in trouble or broke down. Doesn’t matter what they ride. I chastise those that want to ride high or drunk or operate obnoxiously/dangerously.

    This generally separates me from fifty percent of the riders out there. The others either are riding too slow or too fast for my ride that I am riding that day or that night.

    April 13, 2009 at 11:11 AM

  8. Sarah

    My husband & I feel the exact same way!! We don’t even care if it’s a scooter. If you’re happy, we’re happy! By the way, I ride a Buell & my husband rides a Kawasaki.

    April 14, 2009 at 2:01 PM

  9. Kudos on a great post! I feel the same way, and to be honest, I have been disgusted by the attitude of some biker cliques on more than one occasion. I can understand liking one brand over another, we all have our tastes, but to think you are better than me because you mortgaged the house and bought a new H-D it just plain silly. I could ride a H-D if I wanted to, but I don’t, so I don’t. To be sure, it’s not just the H-D crowd, I can’t tell you how many times I have waived at guys on crotch rockets to be ignored or given a dirty look.

    Another thing I have taken crap for is wearing gear. I had one guy tell me that riding with a helmet takes all the fun out of riding and I might as well stay at home. I let it pass, but that kind of attitude kills me. You don’t want wear a helmet? Fine, it’s your choice.

    Anyway, stay safe and let’s all try to respect each other out there and watch out for you fellow riders, no matter what they ride!

    April 15, 2009 at 6:07 AM

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