10 Things Outsiders Won’t Understand About Motorcycles

Let’s see how we can break this down…

1. You can’t ask to ride someone else’s bike

This is an unwritten rule of motorcycling. One time, this guy I just met asked me “can I take your bike for a spin and see what this toy can do?”. Now, my bike isn’t new or fantastic, but it’s the only one I have and it’s even closer to me than some people are. Definitely closer than some random guy. Needless to specify, I am a woman. We interpret things. And for women, this signal is intrusive (least to say). Instead, before suffering from words one could never take back, he may have started with “you can take my bike for a spin if you want” and stop there. Maybe, just maybe I said “sure” – while pondering if it’s worth trying someone else’s bike to afterwards potentially feel a moral obligation to share mine. 

2. Riding makes you a better car driver

Who needs to grow that third and fourth eye to always have a 360 view? Who needs to worry that at any given moment someone will not see us in the car’s dead angle? This guy (gal)! While riding a motorcycle won’t literally make you a better car driver you know, all the gear shift patterns and yeah, tons of weight and mass, it will certainly help with your eagle eyes and instant reflexes. There’s a reason why eagles have 20/5 vision and humans have 20/20. Bikers are partially eagles.

3. Riding gets you buffed

If you think your arms get heavy after using a car’s steering wheel for a while, you should try holding down a beast with your bare hands at 130 kmh and wind gusting from all directions, trying to still stand straight without saying your prayers just yet. That’s strength. After a good day of riding, you should be feeling your arms, legs, back and almost entire upper body sore. Perhaps you are likely not riding the next day again. Or you are, you probably are because you can’t help it, you rebel. Either way, it is way more fun than going to gym.

4. We’re not all “outlaws”

The history of motorcycling is rich. This “outlaw” stigma was casted on bikers in America’s early 1900s, with Hollywood’s 1960-1970s low-budget movies still depicting bikers as “outlaw” characters. And I get how with all the gatherings of old-school violent “motorcycle gangs” around the same time still alive today, things didn’t look fantastic. But how did we grow out of the colonizing view of tattoos? How did we end up accepting that over half of all Americans under 40 are inked? Anyway… where did I start?! Oh yeah. We’re not all violent, crazy, reckless and wild.

5. Women can ride, just like men

And that won’t ever make women less feminine or men less masculine. It makes women feel empowered, happy and confident, same as men. Isn’t this how everyone should feel, regardless of what gifts nature offered them? Now, we shouldn’t make specific assumptions, because not every man is a good rider and not every woman either. And that’s OK! But please, for the love of bikes, let’s stop reacting with “wow, you’re a chick rider!”, because you might will get an unpleasant reaction in exchange.

6. We take the long way home

We don’t ride motorcycles to replace cars. We ride motorcycles because we want to feel alive, adventurous, to take on twisties and feel the air swooshing in our face. It just makes sense that on a good day, we’d be back three hours later with your bread and milk, instead of five minutes. I mean, five minutes? On a warm day? While on a bike? Friendly advice: don’t ever expect that from someone with a true biker soul. Or, maybe get the bread and milk yourself…

7. Bikers do a lot of charity work

You don’t get to hear this too often, but many bikers across the globe take time to give back. In Romania, there is a biker charity group called “Bikers For Humanity“. They started in 2015, having gathered 400 volunteer bikers from all over the country to build houses for poor people as part of the foundation “Habitat For Humanity”. In the UK, “Blood Bikes” are volunteers who transport blood, samples, surgical instruments and other clinical products across the UK & Ireland, all unpaid. Let alone all the bike charity rides for children all around the globe. Still think bikers are “outlaws”?

8. We like strangers on the road

As a biker, you are never really alone. There is always someone out there just like you, riding solo. And when you meet them on the road, you always wave at them with two fingers. That’s the “biker wave” and it’s as old as motorcycles. Although it initially started with the two-finger one, nowadays we use all kinds of gestures and body parts “at hand” (pun intended): a nod, a palm-out V sign, a raised-hand wave and even a full leg sticking out. Any small effort to show your respect.

9. It’s free and forced meditation

As stated at point 1, riders need to pay much more attention to their surroundings. In the end, they’re just calmly sitting on some welded bits of metal with a flaming engine between their legs and zero sort of in-built protection, smiling like idiots. Bikers are forced to meditate with their eyes open. A form of full-body meditation where the key is to live in the moment.

10. You won’t know it until you try it

I can keep roaming about this stupid freedom, about the twisties and the living in the moment, but the truth is one: you need to try it yourself or else you will never get it. And, trust me, you will be grateful that you did. Write me if any of these ever made sense to you and influenced you in any way. I am as grateful as the day I first saw a group ride in front of my house when I was just a kid. It’s an innate desire and a calling. Will you answer?

Indian Motorcycle - Chieftain - Smiling