Monday, 13 July 2009

Designer bikes. Rat bikes.

For no particularly good reason I was at my local Harley dealership on Saturday; just mooching about checking out the bikes and looking at all the branded merchandise that I had no intention of buying.

It was quiet in the shop and the only other people there were a couple talking to one of the sales staff. They had a his-and-her air of squareness about them: Sensible hair-cuts, very clean jeans that looked suspiciously like they had been ironed, and equally crisp official HD t-shirts. From the snippets I overheard, the fella had recently brought a new Softail with a custom paint job and he was now after something similar for his wife who had recently passed her bike test.

I'm positive that it wasn't simply envy on my part, but something about this jarred badly with me. Maybe I have some mis-guided sense of romanticism that holds that owning a bike like that should be something that is earned after serving an apprenticeship of owning lesser bikes, riding them in all weathers, and the frustration and bruised knuckles of working on them in ill-lit garages.

On Sunday I went to the Epping Forest tea hut: There was a gathering of rat-bikes and survivalist bikes. My initial reaction was that this made a refreshing contrast to what I'd seen at the dealership.

But on reflection taking a perfectly decent bike, as some of the survivalist types had obviously done - and spraying it camo-green, draping it with netting and festooning it with daft stickers and unnecessary 'hard' looking black skulls and other bits and pieces - seems just as shallow as mr-and-mrs middle-england wannabe bikers.

Both are all about getting trying to get instant access to an image/lifestyle - and both are equally lame (or I suppose equally valid ).

No comments: