Hip, hip hooray – Snag comes over all tolerant. What? – By Greg Leech (a.k.a. Snag)
Trends. Fashion. The Look. Social statement. Posing.
Thank the stars we have motorcycling to take us away from all that right?
I mean, who needs all that unrealistic claptrap? Nothing more real than just you and the bike, the open road… yeah, you got it.
In fact, I feel so inspired, I think I’ll slide into my $500 Bell helmet, my latest gen Dainese Gore-Tex jacket and my Alpinestars road boots and gloves and belt out a quick 100km. I’ll ride down Main Street Mornington on the way. That’s always busy and full of admirers. And, I’ll grab a coffee at Via Battisti during the ride.
You see where I’m going with all this?
We as motorcyclists like to think we are above trends, that our riding is pure, for the moment and free of ego. What a load of old cobblers that is.
Motorcycling has always been about looking good, as much as we like to live under the wondrous misapprehension that it is solely about feeling good. Of course it’s about feeling good. Nothing makes me feel better. But my ego is nowhere near sophisticated enough to allow me to wear crappy old gear, my bike is always relatively shiny and I know girlies look at me when I’m parking that Norton. Until I take off my helmet and reveal a head that looks like it made it, just, through a nasty industrial accident. Okay, the illusion may well be short-lived, but it’s a moment.
None of this means we are not fair dinkum. Not at all. We ride long distances, push on in a very spirited manner, fettle our bikes and take the whole thing very seriously. So, those with fingers twitching with wired anticipation to bang away on the keyboard and reply to all this calling me a total wanker should think again. I’m not bagging anyone. Just owning up. Well, you can go for it, the Boss Trev will like the interaction, I’m sure.
Think about it.
Motorcycling has always had its tribes. Tribes that identify strongly with a predetermined look, behavior and indeed choice of steed. Have you ever seen a seriously bearded biker on a super motard? Have you ever seen a fully race leather suited chap roll up on an Electra Glide Ultra Classic? How is the sale of black, open faced helmets going do you think? Dirties, roadies, boy racers, hipsters, café-coolies… Yeah, I could go on, but I reckon you are getting it. We are as guilty of falling for the marketing game as any other enthusiast group. And I’m just fine with that.
Yep, that’s as good as gold for mine and long may it continue. I’m pretty safe there I reckon. Vanity has been around since the first caveman looked into the pond and checked his hair before smacking that little cutie from Cave 18 on the bonce in the hope of getting his rocks off (see what I did there?). Yeah, ego and vanity are not going anywhere soon, that’s pretty certain.
Now, that brings me to the latest motorcycling trend. The ‘Motorcycling Hipster’.
He probably spends as much on moustache wax as he does on bike bits. He may well have tattoos on his neck and hands, he could well be wearing a fedora as often as his new/old, metal flake open faced lid. But he is as much a motorcyclist as most, and there is a real breed of hardcore hipsters who are pushing the envelope when it comes to design and are pretty damned handy in the workshop. There are a whole bunch of them who are there for the pose, for sure, but no more than any other group who is living its ‘flavour of the month’ status.
Think about this before you write off the hipster rider…
They buy stuff. Gear, lots of it. Parts, tools mechanics’’ time, books, movies, lipstick… Woops, went backwards there. Truth is, they are helping to keep our pastime alive and economically viable. Bless their cotton (not polyester) socks.
And, they are keeping old bikes on the road and viable. The minimalist bobber and café bikes they are attracted to are often constructed of things that would not have got a whole lot of attention otherwise and returned to the soil as a consequence.
Look. Most of them are simply looking to get laid. Is there anything fundamentally wrong with that?
So. The hipster and motorcycle trends. Really nothing new in all that and we really need to show that other great motorcycling trait (another total myth, but I’m running with it): Motorcyclists are a tolerant bunch. Yeah, right.
Anyway. Gotta get that latte at Via Battisti.