The lure of the motorcycle brotherhood and sisterhood is a strong one. The biker lifestyle offers a sense of belonging that lasts a lifetime. For over 100 years, motorcyclists have forged a family that is stronger than steel. This multi-generational legacy embraces a culture like no other. Individuals come together the world over to share their abiding passion for the freedom found by throwing a leg over a hot motor and roaring off with the grim reaper as your ever-present riding partner.
Yes, riding a motorcycle can be dangerous. Bikers have made the decision to step outside of their comfort zones and make a deal with the devil. They blast down the highway with little protection, the wind becomes a solid force, rain can feel like tiny needles on your face and smashed bugs paint a roadmap on your face shield. Your life is balanced on two patches of rubber that meet the unforgiving blurry road beneath you. And yet you take the challenge to ride again and again because nothing on Earth can make you feel like you are flying; a motorized minotaur. You think of changing lanes and the bike just does it. Such is the link between man and machine.
It is no wonder that riders feel a sense of camaraderie and brotherhood, for they share a passion that few who do not ride can possibly imagine. As the biker T-shirt states: “If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.” The biker lifestyle as we know it today really began after World War II, when returning servicemen found a way to bond through the creation of motorcycle clubs. Back then, bikes would often break down, and riders would always stop to help each other. You see, it was rare to see a motorcycle on the road in the 1950s, and after movies such as “The Wild One” created the impression that bikers were delinquent bad boys and rebels without a cause, bikers began to look out for each other.
The negative images of bikers as road pirates gained steam through the 1960s and ’70s when many “B” movies portrayed bikers as bad guys and police began to pull us over for any imagined infraction. As one old biker, Mil Blair once told me, “It was nothing for various cops to stop you two or three times during an afternoon ride.” This kind of stereotyping only reinforced the bond between riders and to this day there is a feeling that we take care of our own … because no one else will. This can be seen when two riders approach each other while out on a ride. Riders always wave to each other as they pass. There is a real sense of brotherhood and they nod to each other at stop lights. They stop to help when they see a motorcycle broken down by the side of the road. Such is their instant bond of brotherhood that they never think twice about walking right up to a total stranger and striking up a conversation about their bikes and their favorite places to ride. They share stories of the road over a libation or two including beloved tales of breakdowns, accidents, races, rallies and dreams of that perfect motorcycle.
Bikers are truly brothers and sisters in arms, from the formal brotherhood found in motorcycle clubs, to two riders who just happen to meet out there on the road and decide to ride together for a while. Friendships found on the road often last a lifetime. When you get right down to it, motorcycles are all about fun and all about freedom. The kinship that bikers feel runs deeper than any affiliation to the brand of bikes they ride or their style of riding. As the biker saying goes, “It’s not what you ride, it’s that you ride.”
As the current quarantine runs its course, I predict that bikers will want to get out there, meet up with likeminded brothers and sisters to ride… and cruise! Why not join hundreds of your best biker friends on this year’s High Seas Rally? It will offer guaranteed fun and a rider reunion like no other on Earth. Why not sign up today and I’ll see you there!