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GOING THE DISTANCE
PHOTO BY GENGHIS
It's truly fascinating how some of my biker/writer brethren use their written words as a cure for what has been characterized on TV commercials as, "Low T." Is there anything as transparently laughable as a biker who uses his bike's style or the way that he rides, as a thinly disguised motorcycle-powered machismo meter? I count myself lucky that I'm secure enough in my manhood, so I don't have to brag that my bike has a rigid frame. Or that I just rode that hardtail 1,000 miles in the last 8 hours. Such bull.
It's not bull to ride a rigid. Nor is it bull to log long miles, if that turns you on. But to claim that riding the bike is an esoteric form of torture, and to say that one is enduring these rigors to qualify as some sort of "true biker," is a buncha crap. Transparent bullcrap. So transparent, that it must make you wonder if these writers are compensating for a missing testicle, or some equally disturbing deficiency. Now, you may call me cruel to pile on writers like this, but you have to admit, it is funny.
Wouldn't it be far more logical for biker/writers to express the sheer joy (or at least a medium amount of fun) that the riding of their bikes gives 'em, instead of the torturous hardship that riding their bikes supposedly entails? It's like saying, "I had my fingernails ripped off with pliars, but I wouldn't have it any other way...." It would be different if the masochistic sufferer in question actually enjoyed having his nails ripped off with pliars. Then it would make sense. Hey man, get it straight. Riding is fun and if you don't think so, take up golf instead. The world's full of drama queens who are martyrs. Let's not add to the whining with a bunch of Motorcycles de Sade.
What right-thinking biker wants to think of motorcycle riding as a mandatory task that rivals waterboarding for involuntary coercion, or endodontic roto-rootering for levels of intense suffering? I sure don't, do you?
Who wants to hear that a biker hates to ride his bike, but does it anyway, in an ill-advised program designed to prove something to others, meaning that he really has something to prove to himself? What does it say about that writer? Maybe that he has inferiority issues.
Riding bikes is supposed to be fun, right?
I'll give you an example where the activity is not fun, but people do it anyway. True martial arts training is not fun. When I had my combat arts school, I quickly weeded out the wheat from the chaff, because my students found out quite abruptly, that my classes were hard and painful. I pushed my students to the very brink of exhaustion, and they engaged in full contact sparring without protective equipment---no gloves and no padding, only groin cups. When they complained that they expected a shopping mall karate studio that was "fun," I gave 'em the truth: that real training is not fun, but hard, painful work. Those who were looking for an upscale martial version of pilates, left in a disillusioned huff---before they became injured. My school was down and dirty, and not commercial. I wasn't interested in a profit. My students just chipped in enough for the rent on the training space. This way we stayed "pure" and not at the mercy of compromise.
This is different than riding motorcycles, though, because riding is supposed to be fun. There is no projected goal as there is in the martial arts. In the martial arts, the goal is to be as tough as nails, and to become proficient at fighting. In riding, the only goal is to have fun---unless the rider has some other subconscious goal in mind, like male ego enhancement.
In answer to my own question, I'll tell you exactly who does want to---no, make that needs to read about how riding a motorcycle isn't supposed to be fun, but rather a masculinity test to be endured and passed: readers who are also weak of ego.
Once someone weak knows what test has to be passed to be a man, the course is set on auto-pilot. From there, all one has to do to become a real man is to follow directions to the end. Think of it as a "GPS for the testicularly-challenged."
These are riders who are as equally insecure as those biker/writers who propagate this dreckitude. Weak-minded people will always seek formulae to fortify their own lame egos. The lame of mind will always look for leadership in their quest for masculinity. They can't think for themselves (or else they would be real men already), so they need a public voice to instruct them how to be masculine en masse. Consider it a form of mob ego-enhancement, an Extenze placebo but without the sex.
In a way, it's ironic. You have the insecure leading the insecure, purportedly to advance to greater security in their collective manhood.
One of the hallmarks of the biker subculture is that its members pride 'emselves as being antisocial mavericks.
Bikers think of themselves as anitisocial in the sense that they live outside of some of the "rules" of the mainstream.
It is then surprising that many bikers are social enough within the culture's structure, to the extent that peer pressure can sway the way that they live, and the way that they ride. This is has always been a paradox to me.
I still contend that the Thinking Biker is the biker who can stand on his own, regardless of what others in the culture may opine about him. This is the essence of what I've been saying for years, starting with my columns in Snow's IH. I believe that this message has appealed to the more intelligent end of the IH reader spectrum, which is the polar opposite of readers who reveled in tales of how only a certain conformation of motorcycle was acceptable to qualify owners as "true bikers." The age old question of "who's a biker" was answered with great clarity by David Snow. He said that if you owned a running motorcycle and you rode it, you are a biker. Period. Anything outside of this definition, is nothing but an attempt to bolster weak egos, and an attempt to artificially enhance masculinity. Just remember that Adolf Hitler was missing one testicle. Later.