A guide to motorcycle culture

 Motorcycle culture has brought about various styles of bikes over the years, like Hank Young's Flying Pan...

Non-bikers might think that there is only one type of rider, but that couldn’t be further from the truth as there are many different cultures and groups that ride such machines.

There is something completely different to anything else when it comes to owning a motorcycle and those that don’t have one just don’t get what the big deal is – but we all do.

The different cultures of motorcycling have been portrayed in fashion, film, literature and music ever since riding became a popular past time, but over time there have been sub-groups of bikers that have sprung up all over the place.

Where did it all begin?

The earliest Motorcycle clubs prior to the second world war were predominantly little more than riding clubs that were either linked by the manufacturer of the vehicles, the type of bike or what region they were from.

After the war, more clubs cropped up where former conscripts yearned for being part of a team and the camaraderie that comes with that.

While today’s motorcycle culture still has some of these aspects, it is important to realise that there is not just one sort of rider these days. Indeed, you can split them into a few different categories.

The motorcycle enthusiast

There might be those of you that think everyone is a motorcycle enthusiast so this is a pointless category, but hear me out. These are the sorts of people that are members of riding clubs and meet with them regularly to discuss bike goings-on and other things.

It is possible they will also be part of sports bike clubs, regional riding groups and motorcycle rights organisations as they are willing to fight for the interests of other bikers. They are not necessarily committed to biking, but they just enjoy riding them in their spare time.

Age is no barrier in this group. All you need to do is have a shared love of the freedom that riding brings.

Lifestyle biker culture

These are the hardcore riders that define what motorcycling culture used to be about – at least that’s what Hollywood thought. These are the bikers that are regularly seen in their club’s garms and travel about in large groups.

However, despite the horror stories you may have heard in the past, the last few years have seen a move away from the Hell’s Angels of the past where they would protect their identities like a religion.

They’re still passionate about biking, but thankfully instances of violence are very few and far between now.

Motorcycle ministries

These are the go-betweens of the previous two groups as they have more commitment to the cause in the way that they dress and how often they meet in groups – the less committed lifestyle bikers if you will. They still like to wander around in their motorcycle leathers but don’t necessarily defend them fiercely.

You might of course find other people that don’t fit naturally with any of these groups – and that is fine – as this is just an overview of the most common forms of biker.