By AJ Jacobsen
Motorcycles. If you’re reading this, chances are, you ride, know a rider, or have an interest in riding. These two wheeled machines can evoke a wide range of emotions and create a culture all their own. Within that culture there are many sub-cultures, each with unique individuals that collectively make a whole, all brought together by their love of an engine and two wheels.
While the cultures vary widely not only between types of riders, there is also a big difference in the riding communities in various parts of the world. Here in the USA, motorcycles are seen as “toys” – optional modes of transportation that no one really “needs.” There are a few places were some individuals may be “moto-only,” but it is uncommon in this country for someone to have a motorcycle and no other means of transportation. In other countries, say, Italy for example, it is far more common for the residents of that country to have a two wheeled vehicle for a primary form of transportation (scooters are everywhere!).
The sub cultures here in the USA get rather interesting and draw in a very wide spectrum of the people that make up the eclectic mix of humans here. From the dedicated racing teams, to the country-wide touring groups; from those who collect rare, expensive, modern bikes to those who love digging up a vintage find; from the family playing on dirt bikes to the daily commuter, and everyone in between – we have an especially unique cross section of the country that rides in some shape or form.
Some of these differences create tensions as one groups view of what “should be” conflicts with another group’s idea of “what they like.” These tensions flare to life online and in social media where, hiding behind a screen, people vocally share their opinions, even when they aren’t welcome. With the onset of online media groups, it seems that the differences between the various types of riders has only been amplified and has often served to further divide an already small group of the American culture.
While these platforms can also be extremely useful, pulling collective information and experience together, and giving new riders access to people and groups that I otherwise may have taken years to come across (if they ever did), that is all now at their fingertips. The community is also connected in ways it never would have been before, with friendships formed across the country as people connect over their love of motorcycles.
As we streak through this riding season, I encourage you, our readers, to set aside some of your “prejudices” and get to know some riders outside your normal circle and groups. You may be surprised to find others who are just as dedicated and passionate about their riding and their bikes as you are – because, let’s face it, we are all here for the love of the ride.