Friday, 27 October 2006

Not-So Wild Ones

A late night taxi ride last night, and we passed a group of HOG riders. (HOG - Harley Owners' Group - a kind of loyalty club run by Harley through their dealer network).

There were some pretty nice, and very expensive looking Harleys, although they do seem suspiciously clean as if probably haven't ever seen rain. So does the gear that the riders are wearing; very much a sanitised version of the outlaw MC look, complete with their version of a backpatch / colours.

This in particular makes me cringe. To Joe Public I suppose all bikers look pretty much alike. But these guys are about as far removed from real outlaws as an IT- company paint-balling team is from the SAS. And for them to wear a backpatch is as inappropriate/offensive as the paintballers affecting a green beret or para's wings.

I don't say this as some wannabe outlaw.

But I do respect outlaw MC's total 24/7 committment to the lifestyle, their sense of brotherhood, and their genuine ability to live on the edge of conventional society. Although the bottom line is that I could no more accept their code of loyalty that puts the club first, right or wrong - than I could support my country right or wrong. In any case, for me, part of the freedom of riding a bike is that it is a solitary pleasure not a social one.

Although I am a member of an independent Harley club.
It is older and in some respects more traditional and hardcore than HOG. The guys tend to be more likely to ride all week rather than just the weekends, and to do more of the spanner work themeselves or through indie/custom shops rather than official dealers.

But there is also a clause somewhere in the club rules that forbids the wearing of any club insignia as a backpatch.

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