Saturday, November 22, 2014

Personal Experience as a Member of the Motorcycling Community

     Before I had a motorcycle, I secretly had a negative image of the motorcyclists. I believed that they were rebels without a cause, who only made problems for society. I thought that the sport bike riders sped on the highway, and that the Harley riders were criminals. I never let my prejudices affect the way I treated them in person, but these were the thoughts I kept to myself. After I bought my bike and started riding, I found that being part of the motorcycling community was one of the greatest things to ever happen to me.

     Bikers are an extremely kind group of people. They would go out of their way to introduce themselves and have conversations with me. It didn't matter where I was or what I was doing; if they saw that I had a bike, they would talk to me. Even if I pulled up to the same stoplight with another motorcyclist, we would chat until the light turned green. This friendliness is even experienced while riding. It's considered almost rude not to acknowledge another passing motorcyclist without a simple hand gesture or head nod.

     The best part about this community is how inclusive it is. It doesn't matter who you are, your age, race, gender, economic background, or beliefs; everyone is treated equally. Other motorcyclists won't judge you for your bike. You'll get the same attention riding a brand new $30,000 Honda Goldwing as you will a beat up, $500 250cc starter bike. New riders are given special attention, since bikers want to set a good impression and encourage them to continue riding.

     Women from my experience talking to other riders are also given extra respect as riders. Traditionally, motorcycling has been seen as a male activity, but the times are quickly changing. When I inform other riders that my sister has a bike, they are impressed and excited. I am too. I'm happy that there are many strong and independent women out there who are going against the grain of society and changing cultural norms. It's doing a huge favor for the motorcycling community as well by making it more inclusive. Sure, there are the a few riders who are stuck in their old ways, but in general, motorcyclists see it as a good thing.

     Motorcycling has really changed my life in so many ways. It's not just the thrill of travelling, or the sense of freedom only achieved by riding. It's the people who form this community that make riding such a pleasure. It saddens me that there are many people out there who see motorcyclists the way I did long ago. My greatest hope is that one day, everyone will be able to share these experiences. 

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