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GOING THE DISTANCE
"THE APOLOGY TOUR"
PHOTO BY GENGHIS
EXCERPT FROM AOTHER BIKER WEBSITE:
".....Call me a fag...but I think I removed all the 'cool' from my bike. With the shit from getting nailed by that fuckin' bus and the Peterbilt goin' on in my back it didn't look like I was goin' to make the Long Ride or any other ride for that matter. My spine is fucked from my shoulder blades to my butt crack...constant pain more or less. So I had to make some adjustments.
Since this summers ride is going to be over 8000 miles I had to turn my back to looks and go for function instead. Hence the lower bars, functional rear suspension (always had a swing arm but it didn't really work with the short shocks and shock angle), and the big ol' comfy Mustang seat. Fuck it man, I want to ride and could give a rats ass if I fall into the "cool" catagory...not that I ever did!
So let the onslaught of opinion begin, I'm not happy about it but the bike did all the damage, it's going to have to pay the price for me to keep riding!....."
It's amazing to me that bikers, who are characterized with good reason for being rugged individuals who forge their own paths in the world---"FTW"---feel the need to justify what they feel, and what they do with their motorcycles. Repeat, their motorcycles. This shovelhead belonging to this biker who made his way back to effective rear suspension, just as God and The Firm intended, belongs to this individual---not anybody else. Yet, the apologia. Why?
There is an element of implied guilt here, that is pathognominc of yielding to the Common Belief. There is a sense of seeking approval from the Mother Ship before embarking on an individual journey with one's little ship---his Harley. There is a bowing of the head subconsciously, to The Group, to Me-Tooism, to Ultimate Conformity. Will The Group allow this individual to indulge in his own desires and plans, without ostracizing him? Will the apology be enough to elicit a Sally Field-like...."OOOOhhhhh....you finally like me!..."...? Who knows? Only the Shadow Of Apology Tours, the king of saying he's sorry---Mr. Obama, knows. In many ways, this reminds me of the president and his World-Wide Apology Tour.
The president went on whirlwind trip through Europe, apologizing for all sins real or imagined by the United States Of America. Behind this in my estimation, is a lameness and naivete, a structural weakness within the Apologizer-In-Chief for this disgraceful behavior. What happened to his wife's professed...."For the first time in my adult life, I'm proud of my country...."? May I suggest that what lies behind the president's shame and guilt-ridden apologizing, is a programmed, tearful bowing to The Group who believe that America has no business being a leader in the world, that our country is responsible for every terrorist act that's occurred since the early 1990s, contrary to common sense and self-evident logical conclusion? People on the far left of the political spectrum are programmed internally to believe the worst about America.
Many to the far left believe this, and believe me---the president is a part of the far left. In this, the president and many in the biker subculture who lack a strong will and individual vision of what being a biker is all about---share this weakness. This weakness has a name, and that name is "peer pressure." A biker should do what he or she wants without having to justify his or her deeds, period.
For all of the individualism that is heralded in the biker subculture, bikers who lack an inner vision and the strength to do exactly as they want with their bikes, feel the intrinsic need to be subservient to the beliefs of the Larger Group. In this case, the Larger Group has been led by the noses by television, print and internet media to believe that only rigids are "cool." How ridiculous is this guilt evident in many who buck the accepted trends? What, you don't wanna wear a doo rag? What, you wear sneakers while riding? What, you don't go to Daytona or Sturgis? What, you don't wear a leather vest festooned with five pounds of badges?
"WHAT, YOU HAVE SHOCKS? WTF?"
The need to apologize in biker culture, is rampant.
The words of the biker in that excerpt, in confessing his "sins" before the Group Council, says more about The Group than about him. It is an indictment of how sheep-like many in the culture are, instead of being strong individuals. I'll tell ya what. I'm just an average biker, but, I decided at an early age that shocks that work were the superior modality if you like to ride. I rode rigid for a year on my XLCH when I was a tender 22 years old, and I decided on the basis of common sense and self-desire, to switch back to rear suspension forever after. I didn't need any excuses of a bad back and old age. I didn't seek approval after the fact. Then again, I've never felt the need to justify my actions to anyone, since I never cared what anybody else thought, or thinks of me in any way. I do what I want, and hey---so should every other biker worth his Harley.
It is the fear of ridicule from other members of a Group, that is behind the guilt that ultimately leads people within The Group, to seek approval, and yes, absolution. The Group is like a many-headed Father Confessor, ready and able to grant forgiveness for all sins committed against GroupThink. That is what's behind the president's Apology Tour, and behind the need to apologize for choosing swingarms in the biker scene. How ridiculious. Later.