Of all pastimes and hobbies there are few as open and welcoming as that of the motorcycle community. Despite having a reputation in popular culture for being a haven of miscreants and trouble makers, the majority of bikers are very accepting of anyone else on two wheels.
I was given some insight when I was studying for the exam to get my permit by a friend who has been riding since the 70’s and a former MC member.
“It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been riding, or what you’re on. When you get in two wheels you’re apart of the crowd” - The Snowman
My friend is very private so I will refer to him only as “The Snowman”, but he was right.
I vividly remember going for a ride with two of my friends who were also new riders about a month after I got my permit.
We were a Motley Crew of mismatched beginner bikes. I was on a blue Suzuki V-Strom 650 (See Low Quality Picture Below) , my friends were on a Buell Blast 500 and a Harley 883 Iron.
We were riding along Highway 89 headed west into the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. A group of bikers were on their way down the mountain and as they approached they threw out the signature sign of respect, the biker wave.
They had no idea that all of us were about as green as you can get, and the combined value of all our rides was maybe half of one of theirs’. Regardless of experience or investment, we were on two wheels and they were happy to see us.
In all honesty I couldn’t have been more excited for that moment as a new rider. I was beaming with joy as I threw the biker wave right back at them.
At that moment I felt I had moved into a whole new realm and was officially welcomed to the community by a complete stranger, and just like that I was part of the club.
In a world so wrought with divisions the ability to bridge the gap between myself and others is a great change of pace. Through this hobby I've been fortunate to met many people from all around the world who share the same passion that I do.
In an era where everything takes place on-line or over the phone motorcycles are able to bridge the gap and create real and meaningful conversations between strangers.
Made possibly by a mutual admiration of each other’s rides and a respect for those that ride them.
I’ve spoken with Colombians at Deal’s Gap who flew to the US just to ride the Tail of the Dragon.
I've spent an evening on the landing of a small Motel in West Virginia sharing stories with 2 other groups of Bikers from Canada and the UK, who I never would have interacted with otherwise.
Most Recently I was able to go for a ride with several locals and show them Cruisers can keep up (more or less and with some difficulty) with BMW’s and Ducati’s.
Most importantly Motorcycles have acted as a source of Bonding for my family as Cousins, In-Laws, Parents, and Children as we have been riding together for almost a Decade.
I hope that I can pass this passion and tradition on to the next cohort of riders, and I always try to share my passion with anyone that will listen and even to a few who don’t want to.
Fads like "Escape Rooms" and Brewery Tours will come and go, but as long as I'm breathing I will keep riding.
If you're reading this, I hope to see you out on the road making memories and ride safe.