Motorcycle Forums » Biker Chat

Who Exactly are the "Real Bikers"?

    • 611 posts
    August 23, 2011 8:30 PM PDT
    I found this on one of my other biker sites and had to bring it here.
    From : Dirk Diggler

    Since getting back into riding, and associating with more people who also ride, I've found myself asking this question more and more...  What exactly is the definition of the real biker?  

    Some will say it's anyone who has the drive and desire to ride, and loves the feeling of the open road.  Others will disagree, claiming that you have to ride for a cause, own a certain brand of bike, dress a certain way, etc.

    I've met both, and quite frankly, the ones who consider themselves the "real", "hardcore" bikers are most the time the biggest poseurs on the planet.  

    Allow me to embellish a bit...

    This past weekend, I decided to attend one of many "ride for a cause" rides, only because I felt a little bit of a connection to the cause involved, and thought I should do my part to at least make an appearance and donate a little money.  In retrospect, that's where it should have ended for me.  On the poster that caught my attention in the first place, it stated "100 mile ride"... Okay, I'm cool with that.  I love to ride, and riding with a group of people who (I thought) shared a common interest would be even better.  I couldn't have been more wrong...

    When I arrived roughly an hour before the ride was scheduled to depart, I saw a parking lot half filled with various bikes of all generations and models, but all save for one sport bike were Harleys.  That's fine, since I also ride a H-D, and like it.  But, I ride a Sportster...  Apparently, that was my first mistake.  I didn't have a Big Twin with open drag pipes like the majority of the others, so I became a little bit of an outcast. Unbeknownst to them, my nicely massaged XL1200 could have easily spanked any one of their loud obnoxious "geezer 'glides" in the quarter mile, but that's not my point... My second apparent mistake was wearing a helmet.  Out of all the (60+) bikes that were there when I arrived and probably half again that many that arrived after me, I was the only person there except for one other guy on a really nice V-Rod that wore a helmet.  I've seen too many bikers lives end prematurely that could have been changed if they'd simply strapped a $100 piece of plastic on their melons before they hopped on their bike, so I never ride without one.  But I digress... In the interest of being a "real" biker...

    On to the rest of the morning...

    The ride was to leave at noon, and like I mentioned, I arrived an hour early only to witness the better majority of the other attendees drinking their bloody marys and beer chasers, some to the point of obvious intoxication before they even threw a leg over their bikes!  Red flag #1 for this guy.  I will not ever, EVER, ride with even a trace of alcohol in my system.  100% sobriety or I do not ride. 

    As for "biker brotherhood"... What a joke.  There was no camaraderie amongst fellow bikers, at least at this event.  The cliques were worse than what I dealt with in high school!  It was like if you didn't know anyone, you weren't going to meet anyone.  The only person I actually got an opportunity to converse with was the guy with the V-Rod, who seemed quite friendly, and without me even mentioning it, also expressed his lack of enthusiasm for this particular ride.  He planned on cutting out early to go get some stuff done around the house.  

    The ride...

    Like I mentioned, it was advertised as being a 100 mile ride.  If only that were the case.  What it really was, was a total of 100 miles, give or take, stopping at a bar every 5-10 miles of said ride.  What??!?  I wanted to ride, not plant my ass on a barstool for an hour after riding 10 minutes! The ride was a "poker run", which I've concluded is a euphemism for 2-wheeled bar-hopping with the potential for a prize at the end of it all.  Definitely not my cup of tea.  

    So, I cut out early to go and take a nice scenic ride through the country on some back roads, and actually enjoy the rest of my afternoon.  

     Which brings me to my original question:  Who exactly are the "real" bikers?  

    If you ask "them", they are.  They're the ones that call someone like me a "poseur", "weekend warrior", or even more ignorantly, "credit card biker".  Why?  Because I have a nice clean (paid for) Sportster, instead of a big touring bike?  Because I don't have tattoos or piercings?  Because I'm not a war hero (and I use the term "hero" VERY loosely) waving a flag on the back of my bike?  

    The way I see it, THEY'RE the wannabes...  

    I bought my bike because I like to ride.  And ride I do.  As I'm writing this, I've already got over 5000 miles on this season, and in WI, our season is roughly May thru September.  Sure, you could ride more, but I like to be comfortable, not dressed in 10 layers of Gore Tex just to keep my core temperature above freezing.  

    The ones that give me crap about being a "weekend warrior" are just that...  Total wannabes.  The ones that put on their pirate costumes and ride from tavern to tavern, with open drag pipes making everyone in earshot aware of their arrival.  Worse yet, the local M.C.s...  Herd mentality of lawlessness.  Yippee.    Again, more about image than mileage.  I've probably ridden more in one week than any 10 members of their club combined!  

     So in conclusion, that was my first and last experience with going on a group ride/poker run.  In a nutshell, it was like being in the high school smoking section except with motorcycles and alcohol.  

    I bought my bike to ride, and ride I will.  The "real" bikers can think what they want, but the way I see it, if they want to call someone a wannabe, they should be pointing their fingers at themselves, and let the actual bikers who ride like they mean it lead the way.  I'm sure there will be enough taverns along the way to stop by and hoist a few.

     Ride free, ride hard!


    Your disgusted 5000+ mile "wannabe", "poseur", "weekend warrior", "credit card biker", "outcast"  Sportster rider.

    • 611 posts
    August 23, 2011 8:33 PM PDT
    So I told him:
    Well Dirk, I guess a "Real Biker" is in the eye of the beer holder!

    As with all gatherings of humans, Bikers are not exempt from the poser, the wanna-be or any of the other terms you became familiar with. Yes Virginia, there is a Real Biker. You just haven't met one yet. I know several women that qualify for that term. Ride 10-15k a year, even in less than optimum weather. As far as MC riders... In some clubs there are Nomad chapters, patch holders are required to put between 20-30k per yr, minimum.

    It has been said "There are drunk bikers and there are old bikers, but there are very few old, drunk bikers." Do not judge all bikers by the ones you met at a local Poker Run. That wasn't your cup of beer sorry, tea... So look for a riding club, talk to your local HD dealership about a local Harley Owners Group HOG... Buncha good folk that love to ride, not just bar hop. Sure, you got a bad taste from this ONE thing/run/ride... Get over it dude! Lots-o-folk out there that feel like you do.

    So, I'll say one thing and shutup... You can only judge yourself. So be the "Real Biker" that YOU have the definition for and be satisfied with that.

    Ride Enjoy Repeat

    • 611 posts
    August 23, 2011 8:35 PM PDT

    • 395 posts
    August 24, 2011 1:47 AM PDT
    This is an awesome post my friend.....what is a real biker? well, i guess it is as subjective as beauty, each person holds his/her own definition. For me a real biker is someone who rides for the love of the ride...not for showing off toys or proving you can raise the most's all about the ride, the wind in your hair the freedom of the open road the rumble of the engine and the vibration between your legs...i don't own a bike, but i get as much riding in as i can...does that mean i'm not a real biker? i love the open road just as much as anyone else on everything else these days hollywood and society try to dictate to us what we should term everything...i don't care if the guy next to me is riding a harley...i'm not gonna be impressed with the size of his engine....i'm not gonna be impressed by the gold chains on his neck......i'm not gonna be impressed with how many bud's he downs before climbing back into the saddle.....i will be impressed if he rides like it's the only thing that matters...because at the end of the day a true biker is one who rides simply for the love of the ride........
    • 3006 posts
    August 24, 2011 3:42 AM PDT
    Good post,one I enjoy seeing.
    A "real" biker is anyone on two wheels to me.,we all share the wind.That includes the bicycle rider the scooter rider a young guy on his first dirtbike or minibike,that guy who drinks too much,n all the other folks we ride with.I always temper my views with the fact that I am no better or worse than any of the other so called "real" bikers even the one percenters.
    My neighbor has a nice 03 Harley one that he has low miles on,while he likes to drink a few,n doesnt ride all that much,maybe a 1000-2 a year,he does meet my definiton of being a "real" biker..why ? because as my experience has shown,he is there to lend a helping hand,he knows what it means when ya cant ride your scoot due to injury illness or outside forces that cant be controlled,he is ready lend an ear or tools on mechanical issue's even tho he may not be able to give a rite answer he at least will tell ya that..& help find an answer !! He is the guy who, on different runs we done over the years, will stop when he see's a disabled biker regardless of the make model or size..
    it was a lesson well learned,as one year I was riding into Hollister n saw a disabled biker on the side of the road, stopped n asked if he needed a hand? he looked me n my bike ovr,over n probably thought, wtf?? apparently all he needed was hand to push his baby well back off the highway till help came, he directed me to a place in town for some good eats a nice local hangout,where I met an old timer who actually remembered the old days when Brando was down there filming that movie.
    Defining a "real"biker for me is easy,I figure it starts with the premise that the love to ride starts in the heart,and doesnt even really rely on having a set of "wheels" just the right mental state of mind !!!
  • August 24, 2011 4:08 AM PDT
    Interesting article, I'm from the school that believes to much effort is put into being this or that nowadays. I still ride as much as I can, and camp in a tent when I go to rallies and I talk to everyone who is nearby. I find that I have more fun and enjoy listening to stories from people who know who they are and are not out to be something because the neighbors or some co-workers are doing it. I'm just out to enjoy my self and have ridden that way for 30 plus years or so. Never wanted to be a biker and never will be I guess oh damn what will I do with myself?
    • 130 posts
    August 24, 2011 4:09 AM PDT
    Edgewalker, you been reading my mail.
    To lift a quote from a similar thread on another site: "If you don't have a bike, you're not a biker".
    I love to eat, that doesn't make me a farmer.

    • 130 posts
    August 24, 2011 4:16 AM PDT
    BTW, my missus is one of those women who logs over 14,000 miles per year. She's ridden her Magna from South Texas to Virginia and back. I've seen her and our daughter walk around two cages in 30-something-degree drizzle to get to her bike for the morning commute to a nearby town.. There have been days when I have had to insist she cage, due to stormy weather. Her answer to this sort of discussion is "I don't know, I'm not a real biker".
  • August 24, 2011 4:36 AM PDT
    I Just say keep 2 knees in the breez if what you are riding makes you happy that is what it is suppose to be about just being you. I catch hell because I want a little music while I ride You know the old stuff Allmond Brothers and such.
    • 0 posts
    August 24, 2011 8:27 AM PDT
    My opinion only;
    (and Yes the “he” can certainly be replaced by “she”

    A true biker is someone that rides for the love of the ride. It is effortless to him and he does not care about others opinions of him, and is not going to change who he is because of them.

    He likes to help others but it not caught up in it. He will help when he can but does not feel guilty if he can’t. He will contribute to a worthy cause if he feels it is right and won’t if he feels something is not right.

    He rides his particular bike, not because it is popular, or trendy, but because it fits him and his style and his finances at the time. Most true bikers like to make the bike their own and feel it is like a bowling ball, custom fit to him and no one else.

    He wears gear that fits him and his style and takes care of it in the hopes that it will take care of him. He does not allow it to stay dirty and like his bike, takes pride in ownership without being fanatical about it.

    He has no need to show off and do stunts. He needs no reminder of who he is, nor does he need the approval of others.

    He likes other people and enjoys their company, but likes his own company just as much.

    He will stand up for what he believes in but is smart enough to know when the fight is no longer worth the outcome, but will fight to the end to protect the ones he loves.

    He has a style that others try and copy, but cannot, for they have not figured out that a style is a personal thing and cannot be copied.

    Again, just my opinion.
    • Moderator
    • 1514 posts
    August 24, 2011 9:03 AM PDT
    I think that being a biker is as much the attitude as it is the wind in your face
  • August 24, 2011 10:21 AM PDT

    Well more then one guy has called me a "poseur".. I would take a look at his almost perfect 5 year old HD with all of 1200 miles on it and laugh at them .. My wife was a fair weather country side rider for a few years put on over 8 thousand miles just putting around .. My show bike has over 4 thousand on it .. How many miles have I put on bikes 5 bikes starting in the early 70's .. make fun of me?? my leathers are older then some of these " Real Bikers" I see standing around their prop in full costume,,,
    • 611 posts
    August 24, 2011 5:41 PM PDT

    OK, Thanks to you all for your replies. This is one is from Dirk, the guy that wrote this piece:
    Comment by Dirk Diggler
    Thanks for the replies... Helps put things in perspective a little more. I just had to write that yesterday because it was absolutely driving me nuts. The local "biker friendly" bars/taverns/etc. all seem to have the same shunning attitude when it comes to warmly welcoming someone who's not one of their own. I took that with a grain of salt, and after being banned from one these places for voicing my opinion about a topic that wasn't in line with the popular belief of the establishment, I was basically told that if I came back again, they couldn't guarantee my safety once I was out of the doors of the place. This from the people that spew the rhetoric of "fighting for freedom". Apparently freedom of speech wasn't one of the freedoms that this particular group fought for.

    Going into that ride, I almost should have known better. But like I said, it was a cause that meant something to me, and I felt that I should make an appearance and donate some money.

    It's nice to have some outside perspective on the subject, even though like it was mentioned, it has been beaten to death.

    So thanks for listening to my b*******... I'll get out of here and go do some riding now. :)
    • 611 posts
    August 24, 2011 5:54 PM PDT
    Here is one that I really liked and wanted to share:
    Comment by sofryj:
    There's no simple answer to this question....and to complicate things, the definition seems to have changed over the years.  I grew up in a 1% family....AOA to be more specific.  Since childhood, the word "Biker" to me always represented something.  It was a lifestyle and state of mind more than any Joe on a motorcycle.  I think of the "bikers" I know from those days, and they couldn't care less what you called them.  Above all else, it was a life off the main stream.... As I grew older, and those in my family that embraced the biker lifestyle were locked away or died (too young), I turned away from motorcycles all together.  But's in my blood, and the call of the open road was just too strong. 
    But now things are different....what was once the ANTI-mainstream, is now EVERYWHERE.  The results are it's easier to be an enthusiast, without the negative stigma and drawing the ire of police.  Also, it's nice to have more people understand the passion...But there is no more exclusivity.  The ranks of the old MC's have become polluted.....even the die hards like AOA and HA are becoming tainted by those with questionable heart.  You can't tell the difference between the real bikers and the posers.  I digress, back to the question at I a "biker"....I dunno.  I don't think so.  I definately have a little biker in my my my upbringing, but I'm not one of those "Bikers" I saw as a kid.  Truth is....whatever you call me, I love to ride.....and isn't that the important part?
  • August 24, 2011 7:36 PM PDT
    For me it's about heart and respect. You don't have to be a bad a.. to be a biker! "SOMETIMES" a situation warrants that. You don't have to wear leather head to toe,but "SOMETIMES" that is needed too. But "ALWAYS" the love of the road,love for your brothers,and respect is 'ALWAYS" needed. No one bike, makes it. Man back in the day we didn't even have anything on our shirts...they were plain white,black,or white with black grease! We didn't have to check in the mirror to make sure we were "pretty" before we went in anywhere. It was the lifestyle that we fell in love with. I see lots of young people who truly have the biker spirit. They are living and riding the dream and really don't care about anything else. While at the same time I see old dudes that finally have a harley and they think that makes them an instant biker...well you can hide and watch,they will have to earn it like everyone else if it is gonna be real for them. And if it is not real,what a shame to waist all that energy and hot air on a lie. Hey you gotta live with yourself 24/7. Eather you is or you ain't! If you stick it out,learn from your mistakes,and respect those who know more than you then if your not a biker,,,you will eventually be one! Just my 2 cents...Hey I gotta nickle left!
  • August 24, 2011 11:28 PM PDT
    good post....i notice the guys that go out and buy Ultras and the like.....then ride 4 miles to the bar on a saturday, sit there all day, ride home and tell their old ladys "ive been riding all day!". I bought a used duce a couple of years was over 2 years old, and had 1500 miles on it! its alot different that 20 years ago ...thats for sure...i ride 24/7 rain, shine, snow, you name it
  • August 24, 2011 11:45 PM PDT
    chicken wing's and beer and your favorites watering holes, after a long ride.
  • August 25, 2011 1:30 AM PDT
    Scotty, the original biker, said to me 30 years ago, when we were on the only Harley's on the road each sunday, "If he's up on two wheels, he's OK with me." I think that's about right.
    • 567 posts
    August 25, 2011 1:51 AM PDT
    To me, if you feel joy in your heart when you're riding, then you are a biker.
    If you understand the statement, "Its not the destination, its the journey." then you are a biker.
    If you just LOVE to be on your bike, then you are a biker.
  • August 25, 2011 2:14 AM PDT
    Good article Edge, I have been a biker my whole life. That means I love to ride. It took me a long time to get to where I am now. I waited many years to get the bike of my dreams. My house is paid for, my cars are paid for, and my bike is paid for. And I love to ride with my beautiful wife behind me. I wear a helmet and leather if its not too hot, and I watch out for the cages. Havent wrecked one since 82 when a cage pulled out in front of me. I ran over a deer last year on the Ultra classic and kept it straight. That is years of riding to credit and GODs grace that saved us then. I feel that Iam a real biker and I love to ride. Thanks for the article. Ride safe, See you in Daytona 2012.
    • 834 posts
    August 25, 2011 3:07 AM PDT
    Great story. I don't know if I'm a biker, but I know I have a bike and love to ride!
  • August 25, 2011 3:12 AM PDT
    Am I a "real" biker? Pretty subjective term. I'm definitely not the "biker" I was 35 years ago. Not riding a Harley. It's no longer my only means of transportation. Don't ride in the rain if I can help it. Got a group I ride with. Could be 50 miles; could just as easily be 3,000 miles.

    I no longer define myself by the bike I ride. Does that make me a "Weekend Warrior"?

    Doesn't matter to me, nor to the guys I ride with. Hope it doesn't matter to those I come into contact with on poker runs, in roadside rest stops or on long hauls.

    I am.
    • 2 posts
    August 25, 2011 12:02 PM PDT
    Who gives a rat's rump?

    As I was told by an old motorcycle cop "ride your own ride & ignore the traffic behind you"

    If you say you are a "biker" as far as I am concerned you are.
    If you say "Freddie isn't a "biker"' I won't argue w/ you but will continue to hang w/ Freddie, if I like his company.
    Say that I am not a "biker" will pretty much ignore the remark because I don't care.

    The only group I regularly ride w/ are the Legion Riders. - I am the only one who does not ride some attempt @ a cruiser. One rider has more invested in his ride + matching, iridescent, pearl trailer than I would invest in beach property. One rides an old enough to vote 450 Honda w/ what to me is a really silly "Windjammer" screen.
    We all served when called on, all take our checks straight home, all keep our lawns mowed.
    When we go out together we all come back together.
    And as far as I am concerned we are all whatever we describe ourselves as including "biker", if that is what we choose.

    p.s.: I prefer the term "rider"
    • 1161 posts
    August 25, 2011 8:08 PM PDT
    Ok since I messed up on my last post I will try this again but the short version.

    I go to a "Toys for Tots" regularly with out a bike to support the local riders even tho im in my cage. This is in December so it is getting chilly (for southern Georgia). so I had my leather jacket on and it says "Choppers till' ya die" with a big Iron Cross on it. And some guy comes up to me in full leathers and leather head band (Do Rag), and asked what one mine was and I told him I'm just here to support the Riders, "Toys for Tots" and I did not have a bike as of yet. Then his face went cold and said almost yelling voice," damn poser" as he walked away. I felt like I was 2 feet tall and this was also on my birthday. that was the first time i went to support the Toys for Tots, but I'm a bit of a hard head so it was not my last and I'm going to go again this year.

    I was on a other web sight for "bikers and enthusests" and accused of being a poser for not having a bike. So I asked them a simple question what makes you think I'm trying to be a "biker" like you? He ( I'm assuming it was a he) responded because your talking on the message boards and forums. So I asked what he ment from talking on the forums, I only replied on one post and it was about using helmets while riding. And my respone was as I normally reply, "If people don't want to use a helmet it should be their choice and I will fight for the right for people to have that choice." He said exactly your not a biker so you should not be on here or chatting about your thoughts at all on here. So I asked him so the "M" on my drivers lisence just means I can opperate a Motorcycle, and enjoy the wind in my face. But I can't be on a web sight for "bikers and Enthusests"? The last responce I got was a resounding,"NO". I told him to blow me and then sent him my address and said I'm going to close this account but feel free to common over and tell me to my face not to type on any "Biker" web sight. That was in 2009 and I'm kind of glad he did because I found a home here with all of you.
    • 130 posts
    August 26, 2011 2:55 AM PDT
    Seakers wrote...
    Ok since I messed up on my last post I will try this again but the short version.

      Then his face went cold and said almost yelling voice," damn poser" as he walked away. I felt like I was 2 feet tall and this was also on my birthday. that was the first time i went to support the Toys for Tots, but I'm a bit of a hard head so it was not my last and I'm going to go again this year.

    I was on a other web sight for "bikers and enthusests" and accused of being a poser for not having a bike.

    You threatened that poor guys identity, Seakers, shame on you.  Our Toys for Tots parade always has a couple of four wheelers in it.  It also has a lot of "bikers"  won't show up the following weekend  for the toy run across the bay, the one without spectators and  news cameras lining the poker run route.

    As for posting on biker sites, those guys don't have a problem with women who post  for years  without owning a motorcycle.  You're just not potential fender fluff, bud.