100% Biker 137

100% Biker 137
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So I’m talking to Laurie, our long-term freelancer and erudite-as-fuck ‘Last Thing’ writer, on the ‘phone the other day and he mentions the last editorial I wrote for issue 136, and how I touched on something there, but didn’t develop it further.

In case you didn’t read it or can’t remember and can’t be arsed to look, it was about other people’s perceptions of custom bikes and the reasons why we ride them and, looking back now, I see what he was talking about – I talked about the every day practicalities of riding them and not the more metaphysical reasons why we ride them and, thinking about, there’s probably a reason for that: I’m not as deep as a thinker as wot he is.

So I thought I’d have another think about it and I can see, almost, what he was talking about – that we ride custom bikes because we want to prove to the rest of the world that we’re not the same as them, that we’re not content to follow the herd, that we’re individuals, that we want to stick two fingers up at the world. And, do you know, I’ve never really thought about it like that before.

When I started riding custom bikes (read as ‘horrible manky piles of old shite painted matt black’ … so no change there then), I don’t know that I ever consciously thought about what I was doing as a form of rebellion, and I still don’t know that I do even now. I painted my bikes matt black, and drew and painted things on ‘em when I was pissed, because I liked them that way – the fact that they drew a reaction from onlookers was just something pleasant that happened too, y’know?

Then when I got into serious customs - things with proper modifications – was I doing it to rebel? I don’t know, but I don’t think so. I think I was doing it ‘cos I wanted a ‘smart’ bike. I know I have done stuff, as I’d imagine we all have, that was done to cause, I wouldn’t say outrage, but definitely a reaction and probably still do to a certain extent – like riding in long shorts and trainers (before I had a big off and decided that stuff with armour and protection in was much better than looking cool but being in constant pain … just wish I’d sussed that a little earlier) or being a life-long fan of Simpson helmets when I know there are way better lids out there, but it wasn’t something I can really say I ever really thought about much. It’s always been about the bikes for me, rather than the image (says the bloke with the silly haircut) per se, and that’s probably why I’ve now lost count of the number of times I’ve had people say to me things along the lines of ‘You ride that? Really? I’d’ve never have guessed - you look too … clean’. I’ve also been told four times now at events that I don’t look like a biker, something I’m actually quite proud of in a perverse way.

So, I’d be interested to know – is your bike about rebellion? Or is about having a bike that presses your buttons?

Oh yeah, and Merry Christmas!