Motorcycles Define the Word Cool

Why are motorcycles cool?  Is it because of the danger perceived in riding on two wheels compared to driving inside a cage?  Is it just an American Cultural Phenomenon created by the Fonz from “Happy Days”?  Could it be that in the United States most people perceive motorcycles as a toy rather than a tool?  We Americans love our toys.  Maybe motorcycles are cool because those riding them are just chill people with a charismatic flare?  If you have an idea why motorcycles are cool then respond back to me.

On the subject, I believe Motorcycles don’t make a person cool but they can make a garage a place one wants to visit more often.  Sometimes in the middle of the winter I will find excuses to go out in my garage and hang out near my bike.  Even when it’s minus 20 degrees with 5 foot of blowing snow outside, I still find myself dreaming of the ride.  Do you have this Illness?  It’s a sickness that affects many of us; a pertinacious Fascination with motorcycles.  Yes, I am TwoTireTirade and I am addicted to motorcycles.  Luckily my sickness is not contagious but can be infectious to those with a predisposition to rally against the norm.  I find that it’s a love it or hate it kind of adoration.  Most people want nothing to do with motorcycling but then there are a few that sweat gasoline and breath in exhaust.

For those of you able to ride this weekend be safe.  Let the ride continue!!!!

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About twotiretirade

Keeping the faith of fanatics who feel fired up for anything motorcycles. It’s all about the journey and the philosophy of riding on two wheels. Let’s bring alive the truly unique culture of motorcycling and never let the ride leave the fibers of our being. View all posts by twotiretirade

12 responses to “Motorcycles Define the Word Cool

  • bikermonkey

    Right on brother! Love the little cooler too btw, LOL. Ride Safe.

  • pradsliff

    Great topic. Here are my two cents. “Cool” in motorcycles is derived from two places, “perception of scarcity” and “intrinsic challenge.”

    For those who do not ride, seeing an activity that seems to only be approachable by the few, makes it cool. Certainly pop culture has done its best to portray motorcyclists as outlaws at worst and ne’er-do-wells at best. And many motorcyclists do little to dispel those stereotypes. But even with all that, seeing some activity that looks interesting, dangerous, flashy, and fast all at the same time promotes the perception that it is for the vaulted few, and unavailable to the hoi polloi. Hence: “cool” because many people can’t do something that looks so interesting for a few.

    For those of us who DO ride, motorcycling is a difficult skill to master, with severe consequences for failure. This intrinsic challenge makes us “feel alive”, that we are living “on the edge,” feeling the “wind in our hair,” and being “more in touch with our surroundings.” We are forced to heighten the use of our senses to rise to that challenge while trying to stay safe and avoid disaster all at the same time. Hence: “cool” because we are doing something that is difficult that requires our FULL engagement.

    I dislike the labels and stereotypes that have become part of the mythology of motorcycling. The leather vest with “colors,” chaps and boots are so cliché it makes me think that Sturgis is just as “geeky” as ComiCon, just in a different way. It’s all cosplay if you ask me, only with sons of anarchy-esque bikers, you might get your ass kicked but at ComiCon, not so much.

    For myself, I reject that it is “cool” to be a criminal. I also reject the traditional motorcyclist costumes that project “who I am” by “what I wear.” I believe in ATGATT and that’s why I wear armor. But I would just as soon not be identifiable as having arrived on a motorcycle when I walk into a drinking establishment rather than wearing it on my sleeve. For me, riding a motorcycle does not make me feel better than someone else, it just makes me feel better.

    However, I do believe in free speech and grew up in a culture where, “It’s all good” was our mantra. So I don’t look down my nose on anyone who gains enjoyment from leather plumage that projects their self-image. For me, I just want to ride.

    • twotiretirade

      Pridsliff- Wow what a terrific well thought out reply. Seriously, great stuff!
      Its so funny b/c you are so right. Those who don’t ride tend to think that its only for a certain few. How ironic b/c anyone can ride who has the motivation to do so. I meet so many people who state they would love to ride but never have a genuine answer on why they don’t give it a try. Motorcycling is for everyone but only some who want to participate follow through. I can tell you that I always wanted to go parachuting but have not acted on it yet. I don’t have a real answer why I have not done it yet. Well that has to change, it looks like I will be parachuting this spring.

      I think you hit the nail on the head as well for those of us that ride. Motorcycling is the one activity I can do where I can block out all other thoughts. I’m totally Engadget when on my cycle. Its freedom from my minds constant rants and turmoil.

      I have ridden many types of bikes over the years. I started with a Seca 2, then to a Shadow which lead me to a Harley and just made a switch to an FJR. I guess, some may constitute me as a wayward cyclist whom cant find his home. For me, I just love the experience and hope I never settle down to a certain style or brand of bike. The diversity of motorcycles is one of the many attributes which gives it its strength. I respect anything on 2 wheels including bicyclist whom are just motorcyclist with better cardiovascular systems.

      Keep the faith and let the ride continue.

  • scroungelady

    Yeah, motorcycles don’t make one cool but they make your life YOUR life. Although I’m sidelined with an injury right now, it has been enjoyable searching websites for motorcycles for sale…potential replacement for me and the Mr (though that is another story).

  • pradsliff

    Hey TwoTireTirade, I just finished an epic Labor Day trip and during the ride I thought a lot about “why” motorcycles are cool. I came up with a third reason, in addition to the two in my comment above. To those of us who ride AND to those who see us ride, we have regained something that cagers have lost. We have regained: “half the fun is getting there.” It became so clear to me on my recent trip, which I chronicled in this blog post: http://bit.ly/UYXepl I hope you like it.

  • twotiretirade

    So true, I think there are a few people that just get in their cars for a ride but I think that there are a ton more folks who get on their cycles without a chosen destination. They ride for the pure joy of it.

  • dhey

    Nice topic, TwoTireTirade..

    well, as I live in Indonesia where in our big cities, most of the citizens rode 2 wheels as a daily commuters, there’s no motorcycle scarcity matter around our place. Most of the houses at least have one.

    *Indonesian called almost every 2 wheels machines as “motor” (pointing to the motorcycle, not the engine), doesn’t matter it’s a cub, a scooter, a crotch rocket or a big bad cruiser.

    And yes, we also think motorcyclist are cool. Since most of the motorcycle enthusiasts really understand what kind of risk stands behind this activity, yet still bear with it. — bunch of us, Indonesian just commute with it, only some really ride it.

    And not to forget, Indonesian road traffic is one of the most ‘challenging’ in
    the world.

    I really agree with pradsliff about the “intrinsic challenge”, just like Guy Martin said “Just because you’re breathing, It doesn’t mean you’re alive”. I think there’s almost no other activity can provide such a complete sensation as motorcycling.

    • twotiretirade

      Well said across the board. I like the description of “Motor” when referencing motorcycles. I hope no one in Indonesia minds if I borrow that descriptive reference. I like the phrase I borrowed from Shawshank Redemption, ” Get busy living or get buy dieing” when people confront me about the dangers of motorcycles. Be safe, be in control, live within your means and enjoy the ride. That is a metaphor for life and riding cycles. Take care!!!!!!

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