Thursday, June 1, 2017

8 Questions Answered About Bikers You're Too Scared To Ask

If you're within the North American continent, then at some point you probably have encountered a Biker as they were pumping gas into their bike, crossing on the ferry, at a stoplight, etc. But ever since Life Magazine published that article about the "Hollister Riot," and the movies (Wild One)
and television shows (Sons of Anarchy) that have followed, the general public has been a little leery of the so-called Biker crowd. 

It's only natural that you have questions about these black leather clad men & women, but didn't know who to ask. Certainly most Bikers seem very cold, so it's only natural you want to keep your distance... so here's everything you've wanted to know about them but were afraid to ask.

What exactly is a Biker?
There is no easy answer to this one... you might as well try to define the meaning of life while you're at it. But Motorcycle-Central.com broke it down into 8 variations for you. However, the majority of Bikers aren't going to "fit" exclusively into just one category. For instance, I see myself as a combo of Brand Loyalist, Cruiser, Philosopher and a small bit of Mechanic.

What does "KSU" mean?
When Bikers are organizing a group ride for charity or for fun, we will have a time to meet up at a preset location and a KSU time, usually 30 to 90 minutes after the meet-up time. "KSU" is an acronym for "KickStands Up" - or a shortened version of "the ride will leave at."  

Why do Bikers wear black ALL the time, even when it's 100°F outside?
The easy answer is that black doesn't show dirt... we are smashing bugs (and sometimes even birds!) with our riding gear. Gas & grease are also easily accessible while riding a motorcycle, so black items of clothing won't show the stains and dirt. Plus with some of the newer technology, like 'coldblack', wearing black in the heat of summer isn't as bad as it once was.

Why do some Bikers wave at each other?
The "Biker Wave" is nearly as old as motorcycling itself. It's
just something Bikers do as they pass each other while riding (I've even "Biker Waved" at riders from my driveway while washing my bike!). It's a way to show camaraderie to others who share the same passion for life on two wheels. But not all riders wave and as a rider, there are certain times you can't wave (your left hand is busy with the clutch), and that's ok too - there's no hard & fast rules to doing the Biker Wave. Except for this dog - bow wow.

Is it ok to sit on a motorcycle?
Only if you're in a dealership showroom is it ever ok just to sit on a motorcycle, and even then you should ask first or wait until someone offers. If the motorcycle is on the street or at a rally, then the rule that my dad taught me is the one you should follow: Look with your eyes, not with your hands (or butt).

What do all the patches mean?
And again, a question that doesn't have just one, straight-forward answer. A "Broken Wings" patch can either mean the rider had a crash and/or broken bones. Fat Boy, Heritage, Dyna & Sportster (and more) are different Harley bikes. You can also have Knucklehead, Panhead, Shovelhead and Evo which are different types of Harley motors. Two-piece and three-piece patch sets can show that the Biker is in a motorcycle club or association. Then there's also the 1% patch. Here's a webpage that goes into a little more detail.

Now that you mention it, what is a "1%er"?
Going back to 1947 and what is now known as the American Motorcycle Association made the comment that 99% of motorcyclists are law abiding citizens - which implied that 1%
are not. The 1% of motorcyclists are the ones who ride hard no matter what the weather, party hard, not "main-stream" type of people. 
     Then there are 1%er "Biker Gangs" - Hell's Angels, Outlaws, Bandidos, Pagans, etc. These motorcycle clubs follow a lifestyle that work for a certain type of personality. There's camaraderie, danger, living on the outskirts of society, no-apologies, a bond stronger than you have with blood relatives and a dedication to each other than most people will never understand. 
     If you encounter a Biker with a three piece club patch and a 1%er patch and/or tattoo, you definitely do not want to f*ck with them and now is not the time to prove just how tough you are. Just give them the same respect you would anyone else. 

Do I have to be a 1%er in order to be a true Biker?
Short answer: No. However most Bikers embody many of the 1%er characteristics: you love to ride your motorcycle - even a day riding in the rain is still riding; you help your fellow rider when you can - especially if they're stuck on the side of the road; you like to hang out and party with people who share the same passion. All you need is two wheels.

Do you have a question about Bikers that I failed to answer here? Ask it below in the comments and I will answer to the best of my ability.