Archive for February, 2013


February 9, 2013

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Photo by Genghis

REAL BIKER ATTITUDES: Don’t bother showin’ on your chopped Honda.


“He organized the Ghetto Coalition’s toy run last December, when 300 local riders rolled out for Wyckoff Hosiptal to give every sick kid a toy. But there’s no place in his heart for a foreign-made bike. ‘I’d rather see my sister in a whorehouse than see my brother ride a Rice-A-Roni,’ he says….”


The Biker Subculture, is more than the sum of what one sees on the magazine stands. What one sees on the racks, are merely the parts of the culture, that the editorial boards want you to see. Biker culture is more than the sum of these highly selective parts that are homogenized, sterilized and politically cleansed.

True Biker Subculture, consists of what bikers feel on the street level. It is what it is, and should be presented as such. Reuben of the Taino Tribe MC, represents Street Level Biker Culture, that vast, sprawling web of culture that has reigned dominantly for the past 8 decades, that no amount of editorial tweaking can change. It is what it is, and all that it is. The Biker Subculture, from the Big Four MCs, to the hundreds of smaller motorcycle clubs, to independents alike—despise Japanese motorcycles and find them unacceptable from any angle. It has been so, and will ever be so.

In the past, I’ve speculated about the motivations of today’s biker rag editorial powers, for putting Japanese bikes front and center as “acceptable,” while muting the traditional championing of Harley-Davidsons. This malignant neglect shown toward the Harley motorcycle as the epicenter of the Biker Subculture, is a reversal of the historially accurate philosophy inherent in the Biker Subculture. This inherent attitude of recognizing the role of Harleys in the culture, was a time-honored philosophy in the biker magazine industry, because these magazines were captained by true bikers who happened to have a talent for organizing publication. It went without saying that these old-fashioned editors, were themselves true Street Level Bikers who were espousing what they and their brother street bikers believed.

These editors’ motivations in pushing Japanese bikes at the cost of truthfully depicting the dominant role of Harleys in the culture, is irrelevant and moot. What is important, is that this phenemonon of not defending the honor of Harley-Davidson motorcycles as the very backbone of the Biker Subculture, is in itself, indefensible and offensive, no matter what’s behind it. It is a corruption of the true attitudes of bikers at the street level, an attempt to sway and deceive. Bikers like Reuben are like you and me. His and his club bothers’ attitude toward Japanese bikes, are idential to yours and mine, and are consistent with the vast majority of true bikers in the culture.

The attitudes of those in the Biker Subculture are in fact, an important slice of Americana, as important a slice representing anti-establishmentism, as the non-conformist attitudes in the Hot Rod Culture. The issue is not whether attitudes held in these cultures are politically correct or not. The issue is whether these attitudes exist, and whether they are consistent with the cultures historically and traditionally. Real Street Level Bikers like Reuben, you and I, have these attitudes for sure, and have had ’em since our biker forefathers fostered ’em since before the midpoint of the last century.


“The proprietor was a giant Swiss named Mark whose arms and shoulders looked like something out of a Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers cartoon. He had knives and snakes and scorpions and skulls full of Hell’s Angels slogans: Live Fast, Die Hard…..I’d Rather See My Sister in a Whorehouse Than See My Bother on a Jap Bike….”

Bikers take the role of Harley-Davidsons in their lives and in the Biker Subculture seriously enough, to have “Harley” in some form tattooed on their skins for life. True bikers also take their attitudes seriously enough, to have ’em permanently inked into their epidermises. The aforementioned slogan regarding siblings in whorehouses and on Jap bikes, is an historically correct and traditionally enduring attitude in the Biker Subculture. No amount of magazine ink stating otherwise, can countermand the truthful ink of those tattoos on our brothers and sisters in the culture. Later.