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GOING THE DISTANCE
Photo by Genghis
HEART OF THE CULTURE: The Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
ENGLISHMAN AT THE SEEDY X-BAR:
"This is starting to sound like Sharia law....There must have been a demand for non H-D chops otherwise there would have never been an Iron Horse. Furthermore, as far as choppers go, you cannot deny that the Honda 750-4 has been chopped since 1969 and remains very popular today, especially amongst those that would not pay the Harley 'ransom' even if they had the money.... and can appreciate the efforts involved in make one look decent. This place is filled with proud anachronisms and there's nothing wrong with that. "
19PANHEAD50 IN RESPONSE:
"I've been called many things in this life (especially by ex-wives) but never a "proud anachronism." I kinda like that turn of phrase. But, come on man, gettin all weepy about guys who wanna take the easy way out instead of saving a bit more jing and layin' their sweaty hands on a Harley? Fark dat. Selling a H-D for an engagement ring? Then buying junque and spending all kindsa money on it? When ya already had the best? (eff da rest) Harley 'ransom?' Remember the phrase . . . .ya get what ya pay for...."
At the heart of this subject, was a letter from a THBC reader who relayed in a letter to the editor, that he sold his Harley-Davidson Super Glide, to please his bride-to-be with an engagement ring, only to end up picking up some Nipponese Trash in some nearby junkyard, and transforming it into the New Vision of what the contemporary custom cycle is: A hacked-up piece of Japanese Junque that would serve well as a boat anchor. The disdain that old school bikers have for such endeavors, and the late-term abortions that pass for righteous motorcycles, Offically Licensed As Genuine by the Chopper Cognoscenti, is being treated by the chopper media, as some sort of out of place heresy that belongs in a museum featuring ancient artifacts of times gone by.
Tell ya what man, A Night At The Museum would reveal the featured exhibit to be True Bikers in Their Natural Habitat: On the backs of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Mr. I-Sold-My-Harley-To-Build-A-Honda Chopper's bike, couldn't even get into this museum with an admission ticket. Let 'em park outside with their two-foot extended frames and Sportster tanks. Is the idea that the Harley motorcycle was and still is the Veritable Spine that supports the body of the biker subculture, an outdated notion, as Englishman contends?
One can't change decades of biker history, with a few hasty paragraphs in a magazine. What Englishman's missing in his haste to bury such thoughts along with 80 years of biker subculture principles, is that true bikers everywhere, wear this distaste for Japanese Junque on their sleeves as easily as their expressive facial expressions. Believe me, those facial expressions are a combination of utter disgust and disbelief at the clumsy attempts at a convenient revising of the culture's history, and roots. Those roots, which extend down miles of Biker Earth, and spread like tentacles across the North American continent like the vast blue sky above, have always had the Harley-Davidson motorcycle at it's heart and departure point.
Are the bikers at the Seedy X-Bar & Grill "proud?" Most certainly. We're proud of our roots which extend back to the 1930s. Proud of our forebears, who rode their Harleys and built the biker subculture on the backbones of their Orange & Black Bikes, brick by precious brick. Proud of carrying on this tradition, in the face of those who would contend that we not, "....pay the Harley 'ransom' even if they had the money..." We're proud of our loyalty to our Harleys, and by stark contrast, disdainful of the glut of Hacked-Up Yamaha M.C.s that fill the billowing pages of magazines. These guys can't even be called Brando-Come-Latelys, as Brando rode a Trumpet (his own, it seems, it was his insisted-on condition for appearing in the flick). Can you imagine a 2012 remake of "The Wild One" with the star on a modified UJM? My imagination doesn't extend that far.
I'll tell ya what. I've sacrificed plenty in hard and plentyless times, to just be able to keep my Harleys, even when selling 'em for quick and easy bread would've been the easy way out, which would've been the disgraceful path of least resistance. True bikers, will do whatever it takes, to keep on keeping on their Harleys. Been there, done that, man. That's what "going the distance" means to me, in the context of the biker subculture. To compare these biker principles to "Sharia Law," says more about the person who conjured-up that ugly analogy, than about true bikers who stand by their Harleys.
To irresponsibly depict dedicated bikers who recognize the significance of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle's role in the biker subculture as fanatical, is a poorly thought-out disservice to bikers. I'm proud in another way. I'm proud to be associated with bikers who stick by what they know and have always known: Harley's best and eff the rest. This is innate knowledge that's always been an unquestioned part of the fabric of the subculture. That's what the bikers who hang at The Seedy X-Bar are, no-nonsense bikers who tell it like it is, and slough off historical revisionism as easily as water off ducks' backs.
As to the question as to whether bikers at the Seedy X-Bar are "anachronisms," let's take a look at the definition of anachronism:
A person or thing that is chronologically out of place; especially: one from a former age that is incongruous in the present.
There's nothing incongruous regarding the knowledge that the Harley motorcycle is the backbone of the biker subculture, and nothing inconsistent in the knowledge that Hacked-up Japanese Junque has no place in the subculture. It has ever been so, and will always be so in the biker subculture. To say that bikers who express this certain knowledge are jihadists instead of realists, is delusional.
So, let me get this straight: Only bikers who believe that a hacked-up XS 650 has the same importance as a righteous Harley in the biker subculture, have the "correct" and accepted viewpoint, as dictated by artificial commandments from chopper magazines, are on the right thinking path? Did I get that right? This is the arrogance of delusion, that I've referred to before, that splashes across the editorial pages of magazines today. One would have to be self-delusional to believe that Japanese Junque has value in the biker subculture, in the same way, and with the same intensity that the venerated Harley-Davidson does, wouldn't one? This is one for Doctor Melfi. Later.