This was the impression and dare I say intent, of this article today on Jalopnik Jalopnik - Young People Aren’t Saving HD
I consider myself a biker first. Yet, I do not have a bike at the moment and haven’t for quite some time: so yes, that may seem or sound silly.
For me, that statement stems from my passion, the feeling I get when thinking about and lusting after the objects of my desire. I work in the auto/truck/transportation business and have been in and around some of the most beautiful and exotic cars of all time. But my true love is motorcycles.
We are a different breed. We do not look at the world the way you do. It’s not night and day different but know that it is different. I cannot put into words what is so special about being on a bike. It’s a feeling, an experience in the moment: one that you can live at any time and any where and only within the confines of your own head.
I can try and explain it too you but you simply just have to experience it for yourself. It is not for everyone. I respect those who don’t like it or simply just don’t want to. I would encourage everyone to get some training at a minimum so as to live in a bikers shoes/boots for just long enough to understand what it’s like to ride out in the free world amongst and outnumbered by the thousands of cars and trucks.
The picture above was found on, as all my pictures are, Google. I saw it and just laughed. Perfectly encapsulating what I think the real problem is.
It’ s not just that the current crop of motorcyclists are generally old, that’s way too simplistic, it’s a failure of the leadership over the past 30 years to keep the industry moving forward and fresh.
Remember this guy? I hope you do. For those who don’t, this is Marlon Brando in The Wild One from 1953.
In my opinion, maybe the coolest cat ever, Steve McQueen. Noted car guy and racer, he earned his legend status, but his bike exploits are even cooler.
And now onto the maybe the most important American movie of the past 100 years. Motorcycles are central to the story but not the story. A coming of age story about a country, not an individual, but artfully and skillfully told through the stories of the individuals.
Easy Rider from 1969. Good damn, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper are the coolest mother fuckers on the planet. All the attitude and swagger in a mild mannered approach. Truly threatening to no one but as free as any human being ever could be. Open to the world and thriving on experiencing new and different people, places and things that the future held. The dreams, aspirations, desires and thoughts of what the world could be and should be.
So what happened?
I could write endlessly about the failures of the baby boomers: the peace and love generation that when that stopped working, put on their suits, got their haircuts and raped and pillaged the Earth until there wasn’t much left. But that’s not the deal here.
No, instead, the powers that be over the last 30 years have focused on the here and now: not tomorrow, now, RIGHT FUCKING NOW!
Who are the heroes, the cool ones that my generation and the one just behind me can look to. I’m thinking long and hard and I’m sure some of you have a few suggestions but, there is no Brando or McQueen or Fonda/Hopper.
Apathy, complacency and the pursuit of the dollar, today’s dollar, not tomorrows, today’s, has contributed to the allure and cool factor in motorcycling being killed off.
Yes, the Ducati Panigale 1299 Superleggera is cool, so is the BMW R1200GS, so is the retro cafe racer movement currently taking place. But who is appealing to the average Joe/Jane? The guy or gal who hasn’t given riding a single, let alone second though?
A motorcycle is way more than just a mode of transport. Motorcycles represent culture and diversity. Art, expression, political movement, individuality, freedom: all of these and many more, encompass motorcycles and motorcycling as a whole.
HD and others can’t be afraid to move forward. I don’t know from a technical standpoint what the next generation of motorcycles are going to be. Maybe it is this
Then again maybe not?
All I do know is that it doesn’t matter. No one needs to motorcycle to get from A-B and back to A. There are other safer and cheaper choices. Biking is a choice, a passion and for some in totality, a lifestyle.
All bikers though, are influenced by just being a biker, so it does shape your life and it’s style. This can’t be the image and ‘hero’ we need or deserve.
In the current political climate and cultural nexus of America in particular, we need an outlaw, a rebel. Someone to bring the truth and come riding in on his or her two wheels. Strength in character and conviction, lead by the truth and unafraid to say what needs to be said and to whom it needs saying.
it certainly wont come from some guy getting out of an armor plated Cadillac.