Author Topic: Biker Image  (Read 325 times)

Offline bollard

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Biker Image
« on: April 17, 2017, 11:11:15 AM »
Another story, any comment would be appreciated  :)


Biker Image

Peer pressure and the pervasive threat of the need to conform with the pack is part of being a UK citizen. We don't like to be a lone voice of dissent, viewed as different or to be considered an outsider. From school through to the workplace there are incentives to toe the line and penalties if you don't. There is a degree of acceptance and tolerance but diverging significantly from social norms can attract negative attention.

That's the way it seems to be here on our housing estate, we live in one of eleven dwellings loosely set out around a turning head, it is effectively a goldfish bowl. Previously, I lived in a house that faced a main road, you were vaguely aware of your immediate neighbours, cut off from those opposite by traffic, it was more anonymous. Overlooking, with windows and doors facing the side were new to us.

Some people regularly change their cars, and others keep them longer, it's the same everywhere but you get the impression of a kind of pecking order. A couple of the women gardeners shuffle away with their backs turned once my motorbike coughs into life, another frowns at me, or so it seems. I can only think that motorcyclists, and especially the ones with older bikes, are thought to be ne'er do wells. Sorry but I like old motorbikes!

Looking across at each others houses and front curtilages is rather too intimate for my taste. As time went by I began to realise that some of my fellow residents in the close didn't appear to like anything that might adversely affect status. For sure, they didn't see motorbikes as graceful pieces of machinery. Oh well, does it matter? each to their own although it rather irks me that I am regarded as a delinquent and my activities are bringing the neighborhood down .

That's the home front, OK I admit that my bikes are tatty and the exhausts aren't perhaps in top condition (although they went through their last MOT ). There was also a sense of alienation when I joined IAM (motorcycle safety organisation), there it was to do with how fast and prestigious your machine was. The IAM branch was in a wealthy part of the country, possibly one of the most well healed, in the M4 corridor and I had to travel some distance to attend.

I felt somewhat uncomfortable, like a poor relation, nevertheless I had paid and the objective was to improve my riding to an advanced level. A little bit of being ignored but some interest in such an old bike, one female remarking on the novelty of analog dials, being different from her digitised display. Another biker commented on the smoke my bike emitted when I changed down as we charged about on forced pace training trips.

There was that invisible barrier, because I wasn't prepared to buy something smarter, the awkward feeling went on although I did get the smoke issue sorted in order to avoid similar observations in the future. My dress didn't help either, mostly Aldi and eBay togs, a couple of the blokes stood out as incredibly well turned out although one had a touch of Elvis Presley about his kit and the other a gestapo officer.

Why has motorcycling got a negative perception in some quarters? Maybe due to the mods and rockers culture of the 1960's, scuffles on the seafront and scruffy teddy boys. The American Hell's Angel movement didn't help. One time, riding through a wealthy rural hamlet I was taken aback to see a mother herding her kids off the street with a look of horror on her face.

On another occasion I stopped at a delicatessen in Hungerford for a coffee, one of my mirrors was wobbly so I bought some tape to temporary hold it. I asked if I could borrow some scissors to cut the tape in the deli and the woman said 'you won't stab me will you?'. I thought she was joking but then saw that she wasn't. Afterwards I remembered that they had once had a mass killing in the High Street there.

I can't say that the attitude of the locals and the people at the training school haven't had an effect, it makes me appreciate that bikers aren't always welcome and particularly not evidently impoverished ones. Being yourself isn't always easy, adopting a low profile is probably the way to go: Best not to upset people.


Offline mini-me

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Re: Biker Image
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2017, 11:38:26 AM »
Sorry, thats awful, a bundle of cliches.

I live very near Hungerford and find it a very congenial place, the event you refer to took place inthe early 1980s, thats nearly 40 yrs ago.
The attitude to Motorcyclists[ I'n never ever biker] is far better that it used to be.

As for conforming, I find the whole reason for clinging to riding especially older bikes is that I value my individuality.

Only motorcycle riding conformists I know of are Harley riders who like to gather and congregate in groups for some reason.Probably enables them to compare beards and beerguts.

Offline Rex

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Re: Biker Image
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2017, 12:26:05 PM »
It seems to be hinting at your own somewhat negative self-perception to me. You don't really think that mother was herding her kids because she heard you coming, do you?
Personally I keep all my neighbours at arm's length; not really interested in the minutiae of other peoples' lives, and therefore they don't or can't say anything about my bikes or whatever, but that said, your critical neighbours must have realised by now that interest in old cars and bikes is a world-wide pastime  now, and doesn't indicate that you're some poor eccentric reprobate who can't afford anything newer? :-\

Offline bollard

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Re: Biker Image
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2017, 12:51:22 PM »
yes i think that i need to make it a tad more positive  :)

maybe i ought to say a bit more about my bikes, they are pretty tatty and despicable tbh

Offline iansoady

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Re: Biker Image
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2017, 01:49:46 PM »
I'm not really sure what this one is for or whom it's aimed at.
Ian
1952 Norton ES2
1962 Ariel Arrow
1982 Moto Guzzi V50

Offline bollard

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Re: Biker Image
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2017, 02:11:11 PM »
good point ian - i just come out with stuff that i find applies to me, things that concern me or that i think about and ponder.

self indulgent yes but so far i have had eight items published over the years, comments from people like you help mangle these articles into shape  :)

Offline mini-me

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Re: Biker Image
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2017, 02:22:48 PM »
I am unsure why you post these here? Just send them as is to the editor of whatever magazine you are thinking of.

On a second reading I'm  baffled again, you must live in a very uncongenial place. Where I live its very rural, with a range of house prices starting at Half a million.[I've been here a long time, and look like the local totter, a cross between Darling Buds of May and Steptoes yard] yet I get none of that and withing 1/4 mile of me here are 3 other motorcycle riders, not counting the ride to work scooter types in the nearest village.

My old bikes cause nothing but positive remarks, and a trip to Hungerford is guaranteed to be a lot of chinwagging; one of the biggest antique dealers their is in fact a bike rider. I don't know when you were last there but the only deli closed some years ago.

Are you getting something off your chest?

Having just seen your last post, I contributed to the motorcycle press every month for many years, as well as a number of articles in club mags and outside bikes on another subject close to my heart,and am a published author. So I am pulling a little rank here. ;)

Offline bollard

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Re: Biker Image
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2017, 05:58:23 PM »
i guess we live in a status conscious place and yes i probably am getting some resentment off my chest

it has been helpful posting on here because i see that it would be a good idea to ditch that bit of my text

i suppose you could call that section a rant - they build houses so close today that there isn't much privacy.

Offline mini-me

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Re: Biker Image
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2017, 09:16:18 PM »
When I was house hunting several decades back I told the estate agent,when asked what I was looking for, I said no neighbours,see the stars, and be able to turn a car upside down without anyone complaining.
His face was a picture.

But I guess I have been lucky,can't say the same for my neighbours ;D but we are all a healthy distance apart.
But you are right, houses with thin walls, too close together are a way to go nuts quickly.

They are all status concious to a degree, I am an inverted snob, so it's water off a ducks back.

Get out on your bike more,its a cure for nearly everything.

Offline bollard

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Re: Biker Image
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2017, 09:46:06 PM »
Get out on your bike more,its a cure for nearly everything. haha that's true

seriously though, and despite me exaggerating it, there is a perception of bikers lowering the tone and also, funnily enough, some snobbery in the biking world itself.


Offline Rex

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Re: Biker Image
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2017, 10:04:39 PM »
I reckon there's too many dentists, doctors and other wealthy people ride bikes these days for too many negative perceptions from non-riders to still exist.
Dunno about snobbery; even packs of ageing Power Rangers have time for a chat over a cup of tea, although Hardly-Worthitson riders (when out en-masse with riding marshalls and all that old toss) seem to develop a "if only you were as wealthy as us" attitude to other riders.
I can live with it though...continually being called "dude" or "bro" by some pot-bellied Sporty rider with a red hanky tied around his head gets to be vomit-inducing after a while.

Offline bollard

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Re: Biker Image
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2017, 10:23:46 PM »
hmm, i have had very little to do with hog riders, they don't wave so i ignore them.

at vjmc meets the riders there are typically people with a bit of money, they tend to trade in older models that have become valuable, they tend not to be all weather riders

i'm not a big fan of adventure bikes or modern street/nakeds particularly so i suppose that i'm a tad out on my own anyway  :)
« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 10:25:26 PM by bollard »

Offline mini-me

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Re: Biker Image
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2017, 09:09:34 AM »
You need to get a proper older British bike,  1950's or earlier.

One thing I learned is the  pleasure of riding slowly or slower than the modern stuff. I had to come to terms with the fact I was no longer able to ride fast, for many reasons;  my pre war 500 enables me to plod along at a steady pace letting the world overtake me, with the ability to open it up if I feel the need.

Whenever I stop, for fuel, grub or a pee almost everytime I'll get 10mins of natter from someone coming up to me. I have not met with the attitudes you describe for many years.

Having learnt not to ride faster than my guardian angel, I don't feel the need to go on courses; 53 years on the road this year;  If I can go on in the same way for another 10 I'll be happy. You need to change your motorcycling somehow.

Offline bollard

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Re: Biker Image
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2017, 10:35:10 AM »
cheers mini  :)