In today’s world, it seems that everyone needs to be labeled and placed into specific categories. This has caused tension among folks for years. For the most part, our beloved hobby of motorcycles had been free of this. Yes, I know that the Harley vs. every other motorcycle brand has been around for years. But it seemed that was as far as it would go. Now it seems it has started to dig into our hobby even deeper and with more hatred than ever. I was on a social media outlet recently and the topic was brought up asking what a “true” Sport-touring” rider was. I read the comments and I was taken aback by some of the mean and hateful comments.
Does it really matter if one rides a Harley, BMW, or insert any other brand? Now we are being asked if you ride an Adventure bike, Sport-touring machine, Dual-sport, or street bike. Why do those of us that take part in this amazing hobby feel the need to have a label placed on the type of bike or the style of riding that we like to do? What does it do to promote the hobby?
It is a fact that motorcycle enthusiasts are aging out and that the younger rider has not filled the gap. It seems to me that if we continue to label riders, then the hobby will never see the resurgence that is needed to show growth in our hobby. The bottom line is it hurts all of us.
When I was growing up and was first introduced to this hobby by my parents who both rode, there were no labels. They were just motorcyclists. No one cared if you were riding a dirt bike, a drag bike, or a street bike. The fact is you were a rider. No one cared what you were riding, they just wanted to share their experience with you, so that you would continue to ride.
Society wants to place a label on all of us, depending on race, sexual orientation, politics, and a number of other categories, too many to name here. Now it wants to contaminate the one pure thing that I have enjoyed for over 40 years.
I could care less what you ride and how you ride it as long as it does not harm anyone or place folks at risk. What does it mean to be a sport-touring rider? Do adventure riders mean more to our hobby than others? The fact that one rides a cruiser, street bike, or dual-sport should never be viewed as a good or bad thing. It should be celebrated! Not because of the label placed on the rider but for the reason that they are riders! Let’s celebrate those that love this wonderful hobby, the hobby promotes freedom, which no other mode of transportation provides except motorcycles.
We all have our likes and dislikes when it comes to riding a motorcycle. I love riding at a spirited pace, on a nicely paved piece of tarmac, with nothing on my mind. Just completely focused on the task at hand. I also like riding at a leisurely pace, taking in the scenic landscape, and enjoying the fresh air. Riding a nice unpaved backroad, and standing up on the pegs to dampen the ride as we ride over rocks and sand is also a favorite of mine. Heading off in the early morning, with a destination in mind and many miles to cover, is another way I enjoy riding a motorcycle. I feel that each and every one of us that loves this hobby can recall enjoying all of the scenarios listed above. It does not matter what you are riding, the brand of machine, the horsepower, and the seating position really does not matter. It is all about enjoying the ride.
I am not going to lie and say that I have never fallen into this “Label” trap. I will say that I have worked very hard at seeing the rider as a person who loves the same thing that I do when it comes to motorcycles. They may enjoy it differently or on a make of machine that I choose not to ride, but I try to ensure that I treat them with the utmost respect, as they love the same hobby as I do.
There will always be bad apples in all walks of life including riders of motorcycles, however, I feel that painting with a broad brush and creating labels is a hazardous thing. Here is an example; when the average person complains about a rider being out of control, speeding, or having a loud pipe, do they say “That darn Kawasaki sport touring bike is speeding and riding recklessly”? No, they say that a “motorcycle rider” is speeding and riding recklessly. Labels are already being applied across the board, do we need to jump in and help those that are less educated about our hobby by creating a: House Divided” among us riders?
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”Abraham Lincoln
We need to stand together, promoting this hobby and celebrating all of those that ride! We are fortunate that we get to ride, that we get to enjoy the feeling of riding a motorcycle. Let’s stand together and ensure that our kids and grandchildren will be riders, without labels and stereotypes.
The next time you are with other riders, remember that they are enjoying the same hobby as you are. Maybe it is on a different make or brand of bike and maybe their riding style is different than yours, but it is still the same hobby. Take a moment to say hi, and be kind and respectful. Our riding community needs more of this. The world needs more of this. Will you do your part?
No labels are needed. But if you feel you need to place one on me, just label me as a Motorcycle Rider!
Be careful out there and be safe
Hi Jerry, I have been riding and enjoying motorcycles and motorcycle people since 1969. I have enjoyed dirt bikes, adventure riding, dual sport and sport touring. Todays world is far different from back in the day but, fortunately, I do not see much of the division you speak of. Motorcycle people are almost always great people. Your “social media outlet” does allow for people to be ugly without much accountability or even conscientiousness of what they are doing. I would give the offending individual grace and concentrate on the great people and great experiences. I will not let one bad egg rob me of my joy.
I like the idea of your blog. I hope it is successful and meets your expectations.
Yeah – I am not letting it get to me. It is a shame that some folks have to try and ruin a good thing. Thanks for the reply and Ride safe!