There are millions of Americans who own motorcycles. Riding can definitely be a lot of fun, and you might not ever want to trade yours in for a safer vehicle. While motorcycle riding is undeniably dangerous, many of those who ride can’t imagine their life without one.
You might also notice that there are some different stock characters who ride motorcycles. These prototypical individuals often congregate together, but if two different ones meet up while they’re out on the road somewhere, some interesting conversations can occur between them.
Let’s talk about some of the different motorcycle rider types. As you read this, see if you fit into any of the molds or whether you’re a new kind of rider entirely.
The Weekend Tripper
The weekend tripper does not ride their motorcycle to and from work every day. They probably have another vehicle that they drive most of the time, and weeks might pass before they get their motorcycle out of the garage and take it for a spin.
The Surdyke motorcycle supply website says that if you’re planning a long ride or a multiple-day trip, you’ll want to prepare and make sure that “you’ve packed the right long-distance motorcycle riding gear.” The weekend tripper always has the right gear stowed safely in their garage, whether that includes a helmet, pads, a sleeping bag, goggles, or anything else that the situation might require.
The weekend tripper may have had a rebellious streak when they were younger, but now, their motorcycle is not their identity. Because of this, the more dedicated riders might feel contemptuous toward them.
The Consummate Rebel
The consummate rebel biker is a rulebreaker and can’t see themselves living their life any other way. They are likely to have a crash pad or a flophouse somewhere instead of a nice, two-story suburban home. They’ll never have the white picket fence and cocktail parties, and they don’t much care for people like that.
Because of this, the rebel biker often sees the weekend tripper as a poser. The rebel doesn’t own another vehicle besides their motorcycle, and they probably never will.
They might be the family’s black sheep. They may have long hair and a long beard, and questionable hygiene.
The rebel biker is an outlaw spirit, and that means they’ll never grow up, at least in some people’s eyes. It’s all a matter of perspective, though: the rebel sees those who look down on them as wage slaves, and they’re glad they will never be that way.
The Cool Professor
The cool professor biker might not literally be a professor, but sometimes they are. This individual might teach English or Philosophy at a small, liberal New England arts college. They’re smart, but they also know about obscure, esoteric subjects in which most people are never going to take any interest.
The cool professor biker is like the weekend tripper in that they have a respectable job, but they still have a rebellious streak, and their motorcycle ownership reflects that. They might teach at a college, but they’re always trying to stretch the rules regarding what they can say in their classes. They might go so far as to have anarchistic leanings.
The cool professor wants their students or coworkers to know about this part of themselves, so they usually make a point of mentioning that they ride or they try to ride up at a time when as many people as possible will notice them. The rebel biker likely won’t think much of this individual either, unless they bond over a shared love of Jack Kerouac and the Beat generation.
The Midlife Crisis Biker
The midlife crisis biker probably just finalized a painful divorce. They bought a motorcycle because they’re desperate to show that they’re still young and have some life left in them, although all they have to come home to is a one-bedroom apartment and a stack of TV dinners.
The midlife crisis biker will try to cozy up to the outlaw biker, not to mention anyone they perceive as a potential romantic interest. Their would-be conquests are half their age, though. The only reason they would agree to be with this individual is if the desperate midlife crisis biker has some ready cash to spend on them.
The Young Outlaw
The young outlaw biker is similar to the consummate outlaw biker, just younger. They are still just as jaded, though, and probably angrier. They’re the sort of individual that a parent warns a young person not to bring home.
James Dean played this biker in the classic “Rebel Without a Cause.” In answer to the famous question “what are you rebelling against,” the young outlaw will inevitably snarl back, “what have you got?”
Young outlaws often die tragically young, just like James Dean did. They’re not likely to wear a helmet or pads, so a fiery, pointless death is often in their future. They seldom respect anybody or anything. They’ll think nothing of racing each other or committing poorly thought-out crimes that can easily land them in jail if the authorities catch them.
The young outlaw either dies or lives to become the older, consummate outlaw. Occasionally, one of them reforms and leaves the lifestyle behind. That usually depends on whether they can find and cultivate some strong, positive life influences who can act as their mentors.
Maybe you feel like you don’t fit neatly into any of these categories. That’s possible since there are always outliers.
If you do find that you fit into one of these groups, though, don’t feel too badly about it. There are few true individuals, and if you emulate those who have come before, there is no shame in that.
Regardless of whether you fit one of the molds or you’re something brand-new and unexpected, motorcycles remain a countercultural symbol. You make a strong declaration about who you are just by riding one, and it will probably always be that way.