Do you have an "image"?

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Do you have an "image"?

Postby DianneB » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:45 am

My father rode motorcycle in the 1930s and 40s at a time when motorcyclists were just seen as modern day cowboys, not quite upstanding citizens but not outlaws either.

I started riding in 1964 and by that time the "outlaw motorcyclist" image had pretty much taken over and anyone on a motorcycle was automatically assumed to be lawless criminals bent on mayhem, destruction, and riding rough-shod over law-abiding people. A recreational motorcycle club we started in the early 60s dissolved when we found ourselves caught between two rival motorcycle gangs.

The "Honda invasion" of the middle-60s went a long way to de-stigmatizing the outlaw biker image but the undercurrents of lawlessness remained just under the surface and were easily stirred up by the sight of "colours", bandanas, and other paraphernalia formerly associated with outlaw motorcycle groups.

When I look around at a group of motorcyclists today, I see a LOT of people pretending to be bad-a@@ bikers, complete with the trappings of the fringe element. I know they are "playing pretend", a form of escapism, but I doubt that they REALLY know what they are pretending to be!

I have never worn "colours" and never will. I don't have any tattoos or piercing, I don't have badges or patches on my motorcycle jacket, and, at my age, I certainly wouldn't look good in a skimpy HD tank-top! ;) I am not a girly-girl and not a tomboy either. If I project any sort of "image" at all, it would just be an older woman on a bike and, away from the bike, nobody would know I ride. I wouldn't mind wearing a branded vest or some other little token of my interest in motorcycles but I have no desire to buy in to any of the pretend images.

What about you; what is your style?
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Re: Do you have an "image"?

Postby Ametha Elf » Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:30 pm

I am absolutely nothing close to the image of a "biker". In fact, when people find out that I ride, 99.9% of the time they are very surprised. I do have two tattoos but they are hidden on my back and stomach and are only there because of two major life upheavals which I wanted to mark as a personal reminder to myself, and neither has anything to do with a biker image whatsoever. I don't drink, swear, or take drugs. Im always in bed early and rise early!! I'm quiet, and not much of a socialiser. When I ride, I like to project a good image in the hope that other women may see me riding and get inspired to ride as well. I have long hair which I wear with a couple of pink ties, in one long braid down my back, just to get the message across again that Im a lady rider. I am very aware that people notice me because there is not a large percentage of female riders around here. I chose my jacket to be a flattering style and not just a bulky shapeless look. I'm just a 57 year old lady who loves every moment of riding and when I'm not riding, I'm thinking about it.
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Re: Do you have an "image"?

Postby dlb » Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:04 pm

I'm not sure what my image is. We have different friends with different images. I certainly don't cultivate one as anything in particular. I work in a conservative job, with conservative people, so maybe people think I am conservative? My husband doesn't look conservative, but is more so than I am. I don't think anyone outside of my husband, kids, and some local friends even know that I have a motorcycle license. I love riding and that is what I want to do. I agree that when I am on the bike I look like an over 50 woman on a bike. I try to be polite and am more worried about being safe and not screwing up as I ride, than anything else. ;) Should I be more concerned about the image I project?
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Re: Do you have an "image"?

Postby dbsteffy » Thu Nov 27, 2014 6:12 pm

Well, something to think about. Growing up, bad girls hung out with bikers and only bad girls had tattoos. I don't cultivate a specific image but I am mindful of what people see as I ride - that I am a 62 year old, plus size woman on a motorcycle. I'm a waver, I wave at most anything on 2 wheels and smile if we make eye contact. I practice common courtesy when we ride, on the road, when fueling up, at the coffee shop, I don't want to be one of "those biker chicks". I got a Harley this spring and have jumped into the HD marketing pool with both feet. I am definitely a female on a bike but not girlie. I do wear some pink, occasionally and dress mostly atgatt . Sometimes I take more time getting dressed for riding than for work and my Hubby, bless him, thinks I'm beautiful and look good on my bike. He is so proud to have me alongside him, I make a special effort to look nice. It may sound like I spend a lot of time checking myself out in the mirrors but once the kickstand goes up, I am riding, being watchful, careful, smart, defensive, keeping my eyes on the road, not my lipstick.

I rarely mention that I ride when introduced to new people. I have my bike friends and then everyone else, rarely do they overlap, it's not on purpose, it just works out that way. Our friends run the gamut from leather clad & moustachioed on a chopper, wanna be CEO on sportbike, regular Joes in Harley gear just out to enjoying our local world on 2 wheels.
Riding is special to me, a very personal journey that I share with my husband, it's my next evolution as I advance through this life.

I guess I want my image to be a competent motorcycle rider that happens to be female.

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Re: Do you have an "image"?

Postby Ametha Elf » Thu Nov 27, 2014 7:19 pm

dlb wrote: I try to be polite and am more worried about being safe and not screwing up as I ride, than anything else. ;) Should I be more concerned about the image I project?



Safety is your first priority, always and forever! Ride safe, and the glow of happiness you will be putting out will be the best image possible!
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Re: Do you have an "image"?

Postby Myspirit » Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:55 pm

I don't believe I have an image but I do believe those that do not ride have a sterotype in mind. I am 54 with no body art and only my ears are pierced. When non riders find out I ride they almost slways make comments like "a sweet girl like you rides a motorcycle"? It is a stupid remark but I know non riders have a for the most part unrealistic idea of who today's bikers are. We are just regular men and women who happen to like the wind in our face.
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Re: Do you have an "image"?

Postby DianneB » Fri Nov 28, 2014 9:00 pm

Myspirit wrote:We are just regular men and women who happen to like the wind in our face.


Well not all of us are ;)

I dropped in a a Harley Davidson open house last summer and I confess to chucking at some of the scantily clad, pierced & studded, tattooed, young things in their skimpy t-shirts and short-shorts! I couldn't help but wonder who they were trying to impress or what kind of statement they were making. The guys were no better - just everyday office types dressed like bad-a@@ bikers for the day.
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Re: Do you have an "image"?

Postby dbsteffy » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:04 am

DianneB, I shake my head with you.

I see a lot of people in motorcycle gear, mostly men and mostly Harley, that's the predominant ride in these parts, when we're out, restaurants, music events, etc. I suspect that only about 1/2 are serious riders and most of the other half have garage bikes. They bought a bike because it's an ego thing so they can brag about it, tell stories of all the imaginary/exaggerated rides and only put a few miles a year on it because they are secretly scared to ride. These men didn't take a riding course, got talked into buying a bike by their buddy, did some bar hopping and ..walla... crashed.

Then there is the smaller group who also like to brag about having a bike, ride very little but have the cleanest, shiniest, chromed out bike because all they do is polish it. They don't ride because the roads are dirty. I know this guy, he is my neighbor, nice man, always ready to help tinker but hasn't ridden in 2 years because the last paint job on the tank left some 'orange peel' around the gas cap. Seriously, that's his excuse, riding may cause the paint to bubble.

I may sound judgemental, but really, it's more observational, our riding friends see and know the same types of people. You know it's true because of all the used bikes for sale that only have a few thousand miles on them.

I were the gear too, but this old lady walks the walk and talks the talk and rides her own.

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Re: Do you have an "image"?

Postby DianneB » Sat Nov 29, 2014 4:23 am

dbsteffy wrote:I wear the gear too, but this old lady walks the walk and talks the talk and rides her own.


Right on sister! I like your attitude!

After 50 years riding and 6 motorcycles, I figure I can ride what I want and wear what I want and if I feel like snickering at "the posers" I am entitled. ;)
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Re: Do you have an "image"?

Postby Maine Rider » Mon Dec 01, 2014 6:43 pm

DianneB - interesting post about having an image. I chuckled at your story about the HD open house. I am planning to attend my first HD ladies night next week. I don't think I'll see the scantily clad women you ran into since it is winter in Maine, but who knows. I am in my 50s, and like the other posters here don't have an image. I ride because I love riding. I have a Harley jacket, but I don't even think it says Harley on it anywhere, just a very small outline of the logo with no words in it. I got it on the 50% off rack at my dealer. I told the young girl that runs the clothing department that HD needed to design clothes for the "over 50" women riders. I don't want to wear skulls and crossbones, don't want any bling, bling, sometimes I wear my cable knit L.L. Bean sweater when I ride, no jacket. Remember I'm from Maine and everyone here wears L.L. Bean stuff. Anyway, I may have a Harley, but I have not bought into all the Harley gear that goes with the bike. I love my bike, but wear whatever feels comfortable when riding.

I run a small health center where I live on an island of only 350 residents. I am also a hospice volunteer. I was interviewed for a story in Mass General's publication last summer and my bike was parked outside the clinic. The interviewer asked if he could take a photo of me on my bike. He asked if I had every done a "House call on my Harley". I have--not the big, bad image of a biker chick I'm sure.

I used to be intimidated by bikers, but not anymore now that I am one of them. They are just people like me who enjoy riding.
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