My daughter and I have just finished the first, 1000+ km leg of a motorcycle tour of Germany. Doing so, we’ve had some encounters with “real bikers”. Be it out on the road where it is interesting to see who lifts a hand in salute. It is customary for motorcyclists in Germany to greet each other when meeting out on the road, going the other way. Now, I’ve been known to acknowledge everything on two wheels with a motor somewhere in between, though my daughter insists one shouldn’t greet scooter riders. All the same to me, plus, they’re damn hard to discern from a full fairing motorcycle viewed head-on. Anyway, who doesn’t return this simple gesture? Well, for one, sportsbike riders, but I suspect they can’t let go of their handlebar without danger of crashing. The other large group that stands out for their greeting regime are “real bikers”, most of them riding a Harley Davidson or a custom chopper. They practise selective greeting. Let me explain: I ride a distinctive bike with the H. D. Fat Bob and get a return handwave, no problem. During our tour, I rode at the front because I was navigating, my daughter on her Touring Enduro riding in second postion, often staggered and about 5-20 meters back. Doesn’t matter, “real bikers” manage to grab their left grip fast enough to avoid the shame of greeting a pariah. Funny, but an often repeated feat on our tour.
And then we inadvertently got into the masses of a biker jamboree when we stopped for supper in Jüterborg. So did the participants of that meetup, and especially the german “real bikers” showed a lot of attitude, taking over the restaurants around Jüterborg’s market place, being loud (not only with their exhausts) and judgemental, bragging and showing off. This scared my daughter no end and we both were relieved to be out on the road again. Lots of them riding the roads around the campground where the jamboree was held, but then it dawned on me: they were all riding in circles. I suspect none of them would put 250+ km behind him as we had on every day of our tour. I wouldn’t want to on some of these stylish, lowered, apehanger-infested custom jobs they so proudly paraded.
They are bikers, we are riders!
And so, we are allowed not to worry so much about our image and the opinion of our peers and actually go somewhere. How does the beach sound to you?