Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Stop calling each other posers and get your heads in the game
Even though motorcyclists are just about my favorite people on the earth, there are times when they totally piss me off. That's right, I'm talking to you.
In an era when our right to pursue happiness through motorcycling is arguably under greater threat than ever before, there remain some in the lifestyle who are determined to waste all their energies antagonizing other riders instead of standing up to the various groups and government agencies who hinder us every day. Over the past 24 months or so, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, and California have all passed various and sundry anti-motorcycling laws; most of them highly discriminatory, some of them downright draconian. We're under attack from all directions, yet some of us still choose to attack each other, making us appear much less organized and credible in our efforts to keep our way of life legal and sovereign.
What I refer to is the "You're not a real biker, you're a poser" accusation, which motorcyclists from all walks of life seem to be incessantly leveling at each other. Take a look around. It's all over the Internet. It's at every bike night. It's in bike shops and at racetracks. It permeates seemingly every interaction we have with one another, and it makes us all look like douchebags. The issue includes, but is not limited to, the following flawed arguments:
1. "You're a poser because you don't ride at least [insert number here] miles per year."And the lis goes on. Blah, blah, blah, blah.
2. "You're a poser because you don't ride a(n) [insert brand name here] motorcycle."
3. "You're a poser because you trailer your bike."
4. "You're a poser because you don't wear full protective gear."
5. "You're a poser because you *do* wear full protective gear."
6. "You're a poser because you only ride to the coffee house and hang out."
7. "You're a poser because you own an adventure bike, but never take it off-road."
8. "You're a poser because you dress like a pirate and ride a Harley."
Long ago out here in West Texas, the definition of a poser was very specific. Posers were the weekend-warrior types who dressed up and acted in such a way as to present themselves as one-percenter bike club members, especially at motorcycle gatherings. It seemed they were always around, acting hard, whenever the real outlaw MCs were not on the scene. But when the actual one-percenters *were* on the scene, the posers would slow down, take a look, and then keep on riding. Likewise, posers would always leave promptly whenever a real outlaw club showed up.
These days, in the spirit of the true definition as I've always understood it, there really aren't many posers to be found, if any. With the mainstreaming of H-D culture in the 1990s, coupled later with the chopper fashion of the 2000s and the rise of the sportbike to prominence, there's really no reason to "pose" anymore. There's now a group of motorcycle enthusiasts for every riding or social preference in the lifestyle. Resultantly, the term 'poser' has simply come to mean "anybody who doesn't do motorcycling exactly the way I do it".
And that's total bullsh. Because meanwhile, the 'outside' world is quickly closing in on us and our rights are slipping away one by one, all as we make fun of each other for being different from one another as bikers.
So what's a poser? Chances are that, if you ride at all, you're probably not one. Some days I make a 400-plus-mile ride alone or with a small group. Some days I go to a Starbucks Motorcycle Day, look at bikes, hang out, and socialize. Some days I ride my Japanese sporbike to the H-D shop and say hello to all the guys I know there. Some days I just commute six miles 'round trip to work and back. Some days I ride 200 miles just to eat my favorite barbecue for lunch. Some days I ride to another state. The permutations are virtually endless. Am I a poser some days but not others? The argument is stupid.
The important thing, regardless of how each of us enjoys motorcycling, is that we all actively participate in the lifestyle in some way. And the more motorcyclists, the better. We need unity right now more than ever, and when you bag on your fellow motorcyclist, you become part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Join the AMA. Call your representatives when threatening legislation is authored. Be a good steward and representative of the lifestyle. Stop calling each other posers and get your heads in the game.