The following is a superficial journal entry, containing information to be attached as an appendix to the report titled People of Earth: Social Mores, labeled Motorcycles Life Style, under the subheading Leisure Activities or possibly subset Transportation. However, be it known that the term Life Style is mentioned incessantly in diverse conversations on a myriad of Earthly subjects and never defined to any satisfaction. Therefore, without any significant clarity, the term is meaningless.
On the surface, a report on motorcycle ownership appears to be a straightforward subject. A motorcycle is a self-powered, two-wheeled means of transportation that requires a modicum of proficiency in the art of physical balance. Not an overly popular mode of transportation, only one in several hundred persons utilizes such a machine. Unlike other planets that we have observed, where transportation appliances have no particular intrinsic value, a motorcycle on the planet Earth seems to be a treasured piece of equipment whose owners raise it to a Godlike status. Interestingly and incongruently, it is reviled with equal passion by a much larger portion of the population.
People who possess and ride motorcycles do so for many inexplicable reasons. Great personal satisfaction and pride of ownership are hallmarks of this contraption. Conversely, from an outsider’s perspective, the motorcycle has opposition from a great number of other transportation machines that are more elegant and comfortable, less expensive, with superior fuel efficiency and are impervious to the elements. Commenting that the motorcycle appears to be impractical or even silly to one of the deluded title-holders may well lead to violence.
Within the grouping of motorcyclists, there are many subgroups. Younger Earthlings tend to be interested in speed. Wearing brightly colored animal skins, they attempt great feats of daring. Struggling with one another in these contests the winners are acclaimed, but for a surprisingly short period of time. “You are as fast as last week’s trophies,” is one of their sayings. There is very little logic to it.
Other groupings involve older motorcyclists and an increasing quantity of females of the species. These are those who have survived youthful speed competitions and for some illogical reason still ride motorcycles. (An aside… you ride a motorcycle, you drive a car.) Many of these older riders do so as a form of entertainment. Asking them about this recreation, they talk about wind in their hair (although many of them are bald or shave their heads), about the sense of smell being enhanced (although many of the odors are noxious), about being at one with the climate (although being at one with excessive heat or cold or wetness is something they eschew at any other time). Motorcyclists continually talk about being in tune with nature. They could do the same by taking a walk. It is very bizarre.
There are motorcycles built for travel, for riding overland, for commuting short distances; in fact, there are motorcycles built for nearly every function, including objects of art. Within each of these categories there is a tribal aspect to motorcycles. Because of their minority status in the overall population, coupled with the fact that general society wishes to outlaw the motorcycle completely, one would think that the owners of these machines would merge with fellow riders and enjoy the camaraderie and protection of one another. This is not the case. Rarely do the owners of one type mix with the owners of another type. Further, the owners of one manufacturer infrequently mix with a machine built for the same purpose if it bears another’s trade name.
“You can’t sell a motorcycle to a rider who wants a Harley and you can’t sell a Harley to a rider who wants a motorcycle.” As inconsistent and as unfathomable as this statement sounds it seems to be a truism when talking about the tribal aspects of motorcycling. (A Harley is a particular type of motorcycle made by a singular company.)
Passion and unreasonable loyalty replace logic when it comes to motorcycles. As an outsider, the subject appears to be without reason. Humans on this planet do a great many things that are contradictions; this report wishes to understand motorcyclists as an example of these inconsistencies and their unpredictabilities.
In an effort at delving deeper into this paradox of reasoning, closer communication with these Earthling Motorcyclists has been attempted by the purchase of one of these machines, a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle. It has been selected because of the self-absorbed religious commitment of their clannish membership. They tattoo their members!
Irregularities immediately surface. A shirt has been included with the acquisition of this Harley-Davidson. On it is emblazoned a motto. “If you don’t own a Harley you ain’t shit.” Again, this writer is not capable of explaining this motto. It implies that if you do own a Harley you are excrement. Why an owner of a Harley would wish to describe himself as excrement is one of the illlogical discrepancies that are of interest.
Within an odd segment of Harley riders, there is another incongruity. While riding a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle built in the United States of America, touting great national pride, these riders do so while wearing headgear that was designed and used by their country’s enemy in a previous war. Americans, riding American-built motorcycles, flying American flags on their motorcycle, wearing German Army war helmets is just one more interesting abnormality to common sense. One would think that German-built BMW motorcycle riders would wear this helmet, but they do not.
Having purchased a Harley, sporting the T-shirt embossed with the paradoxical motto proclaiming the importance of being excrement, and wearing a German Army war helmet, this writer will be riding to an ancestral ceremony known as a Poker Run.
Seeing the importance of the subject, this writer accepts the dangers in order to garner further information on this rather unique aspect of humanity, the motorcyclist. While participating in the medieval ritual, the Poker Run, braving dismemberment and the possibility of death, a written Last Will and Testament has been posted.
Hoping for all the powers of our planet and the good luck of our Gods, this preliminary incomplete journal entry is respectfully submitted by “Batfricks The Lesser,” known also on the planet Earth as “JoNesSamUel734.”