Everyone wants to be a hater

bikes-field

*** Update –
If you read the below rant and get all sensitive and think I’m talking about you… chill out. I’m not talking about you or anyone specifically. I’m just making some generalized observations of stuff I’ve been seeing randomly out there.
***

People get a kick out of talking shit.
Go on BikeEXIF and read the comments. Enough said.
So take what I’m about to say below with a grain of salt.

I really don’t think I’m into motorcycles anymore.
To be more specific, I don’t think I’m into what I’m seeing “motorcycle culture” become.

Lately I’ve been noticing a lot of what I would call “being tough” – Being hard, and having a tough image, or being labeled a hipster.

I just can’t get into it.
It honestly makes me not want to ride motorcycles anymore.

I’ll be the first one to say it… I haven’t been riding motorcycles that long. First time I ever rode one in my entire life was May 2008. I’ve ridden bmx since I was about 12, and instantly I equated motorcycles to bmx that first ride, the first day. I viewed it as the same thing. I didn’t know anyone that had motorcycles (other than my neighbor Jose) and I didn’t know anything about it. There was no BikeEXIF or a million hipster motorcycle videos out there. If you googled “cafe racer” pretty much nothing came up.

From what I could find, there was no young-aged “philly motorcycle scene”. I was so pumped to meet a few people who were around my age and into the same types of older bikes I was into. None of us really knew what we were doing. That was a lot of the fun of it. Everyone was just so pumped to barely make it through half of a Fairmount loop because all our bikes barely ran ha.

Lately all I see in Philadelphia are people riding hard and having such a tough guy attitude. It seems to be “cooler” to have whatever image you’re going for, than it is to actually be into the vehicles themselves for the technology / mechanics / motorsports history etc.

Seriously bums me out.

Bmx was definitely not cool at all. It still isn’t. Don’t kid yourself. I’m pretty sure every girl I’ve ever dated probably thought it was lame that bmx was my life. Fuck it, I didn’t give a shit. That’s how I feel about motorcycles. If they had never become popular and I only had 2 friends who were into it, I wouldn’t give a fuck. Not one bit.

I guess the point of my rambling is this:
Why is motorcycle stuff in Philly becoming such a tough guy image thing?

Why does everything have to be soooooo hard and tough? It’s so fucking stupid. Stop trying to look like a tough guy on your motorcycle and have fun. Look at modern bmx and skateboarding. They’re not like that at all. They have more of a “have-fun” vibe going on. No one thinks they’re cool anyway so they’re just having fun with it. I wish motorcycles had more of that type of attitude.

It’s been interesting the past 6 years to see what the motorcycle scene in Philadelphia has become amongst those in their 20-30’s. I liked it better 5-6 years ago when everyone, including myself were more open minded and less judgmental because everything was new. It seems now, everyone just wants to buy a motorcycle, hop on it, wear black and look tough. wtf.

I’ve posted this story before. Give it a read again HERE.

Two best friends from a town in the middle of nowhere riding across country.
One kid on a chopper, and the other on a cafe racer.
Both not knowing shit about shit, just having fun with each other and their bikes. Didn’t matter one was cafe and the other was chopper.
Their story was a lot of my early inspiration for what I found fun and cool about motorcycles.

Their story makes me forget about how dumb the Philly motorcycle culture is becoming, and remember one of the reasons I liked bikes in the first place.

My biggest and primary complaint is the whole tough guy image / attitude a lot of people are getting. Maybe that’s just an inevitable trait of motorcycling some people get, and I didn’t realize it until now… bummer.

21 responses to “Everyone wants to be a hater”

  1. Alex Quinn says:

    I can honestly say that I have met some of my best friends through riding two wheeled death machines in this city. Everyone I have met on a bike has been super friendly, interesting and, for the most part, generally amicable. While we can all grunt and moan about how motorcycles are the new fixed gears and hipsters are ruining the scene I, for one, embrace it. Fuck it. If it gets more people on bikes I’m all for it. I don’t agree with all of it, but I just stick to what I know and like and leave all the crazy bullshit to the people on the fringe. Thats my two cents.

    -Quinn

  2. Mike R says:

    I agree with Ed and I don’t like the influx of some folks but I can’t overlook the interesting like minded riders I have met over the last 5 to 6 years around Philly. To quote crazy Johnny G ‘The worst part about motorcycle culture are the motorcycle people.’ I think he came up with that when we were heading to the NYC International Motorcycle show and I have to say I sort of agree.

    I’ve been riding bikes for over 20 years and most of those years have been alone. I ride because I love it not because it’s fashionable or to look hard. If you saw the dayglow BS that we called motorcycle gear around that time you would look hard press to be anything other than uncool.

    The boys and girls who ride to make a fashion statement won’t be around for long. Another craze will hit that they will all gravitate towards. Hipsters, old heads, newschoolers, or whatever you want to call people are O.K. with me if they are friendly and enjoy two wheeled transportation. The rest I filter out and return to doing my own thing. What else can you do?

  3. Chris francione says:

    Hey ed, I rember back then around fairmount and I get where ur coming from. When I skated in the 80’s I remember being bummed at all the attitude, it was punk rock and piss off! That’s not all of it though.. Just hang with the old bunch and forget all that scene stuff and we’ll have fun the same way!
    Your Yamaha dirt bike is anti tuff enuff!

  4. Nerd says:

    1. Philly has had a “tough guy attitude” for as long as I remember. Just go to any local music shows, especially the hardcore or punk shows. This is nothing new. Seriously, I’m surprised that this seems new to you.

    2. Do you only ride in Hipsterville, USA (Fishtown/Nolibs, etc)?

    3. Fuck it, just ride 🙂

  5. Devyn says:

    That hard look on my face is pure concentration—It turns to a smile the minute I get out of the city and onto the country roads. I attribute all the baditude to the day you cut the sleeves off your first plaid shirt. I’m joking.

    I got into this to see how far I could ride and where it could take me. By those principles I’ve followed function, even underneath any style, it all serves a purpose.

    The people I enjoy to ride with have that good-natured vibe. The people that don’t carry that vibe just won’t make it as far.

  6. Mike Ashleigh says:

    I will offer counterpoint to your soapbox ed…and I say soapbox in the most endearing of ways. You echo a sentiment thats been growing within me lately.

    Since getting involved with Chin on the Tank about 3 years ago, I’ve seen the group as the anti tough guy. Ever since I showed up to the first ride with my clapped out sportbike and was graciously welcomed, I knew how awesome this group was. No tough guy attitudes here, just dudes who are psyched on the common interest of actually riding, shooting the shit, and imbibing every now and again.

    Its never been about what you wear, I know my helmet and gloves that appear to have been swiped from a power ranger isnt to everyones taste, but I’ve never detected a hint of judgement.

    Chopped up harleys, chromed out harleys, dual sports, cafe racers, touring bikes, $30k bmws, they all come out to the rides and its your attitude, not your bike or what you wear that garners the respect.

  7. Tom says:

    Just ride, man. To hell with anyone who thinks you need to act, be, or dress a certain way. Let the posers pose. They will all move on to something else sooner or later anyway.

  8. Cash out on your CBs while you can!

  9. Ben says:

    It’s okay Ed. You will always be a tough guy to me.

    XOXO

  10. billbraile says:

    I know that my age kinda puts me out of the meat of the conversation, but I have to say that meeting up with Philadelphia Riders has given me the exact opposite view. I’ve never seen such an eclectic, inclusive group of people who’s common thread is the motorcycle. It’s where I met you guys as well as many other people I now count as friends. Every Tuesday I talk with guys who are executives in some of the country’s largest companies as well as guys who are just starting out in their careers. I see technical riders sharing beers with guys who are riding bar hoppers.

    The group is always so friendly and non-judgemental and lacking of “ego”. You wanna talk about new rider? I just celebrated my 4th year riding. I’ll be 48 this summer.

    Now to me this TWT is a solid representation of the real Philly motorcycle scene and by and large it’s fantastic.

  11. Marissa says:

    can I get first dibs on your dirt bike ?

  12. ed says:

    @Bill
    The guys from Philadelphia Riders are into it for the right reasons. I respect that.

  13. Steve says:

    Take a deep breath. I’m in my 70’s and still riding some. I’ve seen so many trends come and go that I can’t count ’em. I know “Adventure Bikes” will be gone soon, and sooner is better. I don’t get pissed any more at the tends because I know they won’t last. Those who love 2 wheels will always be there and continue on for the shear love of it.

  14. Like Q-Tip said “I said well daddy don’t you know that things go in cycles”.

    I think he was right.

    I’m guessing most people who have ever been into anything more than a few years have gone through just what you describe. Don’t be deceived: Whether you know it or not, you’re questioning your continued interest and identifying what you get out of it when there’s no one else around. There are so many aspects of bikes to be into. You might just be branching out or changing paths. The various cycles I’ve been through in the almost thirty years I’ve been riding street bikes include party machine, social vehicle, travel companion, object as art, growing into one with the bike, old friend through the years and miles, don’t give a fuck about anyone but me and mine, thread of continuity through rapidly changing times, fuel for philosophical examination, magical transporter to brave new lands where I haven’t been before, day to day grocery getter. . . .

    Long list right? It goes on and on and on. It doesn’t have to end. The bike is not the end, it is the means.

    BTW, I know lots of nice unjudgemental people that ride or build bikes. I consider myself lucky to have that. I think I got there, unconsciously, but being the person I wanted to meet. Criticism, judgement, and clicque-ish behavior come easier to humans than we like to admit. I’d bet I’ve been a stand-offish dick to a few people here and there, but never intentionally.

    Hang in there. It’s worth it.

  15. Adam Cramer says:

    well, well…you’re a little thin skinned… think how you would feel if you had a shop for 30yrs,,,,and a bunch of wet behind the ears guys came along and gave you the cold shoulder because you did’nt tell them how great it was that they had JUST found a love for bikes…or one of those guys makes a great ETSY video of your shop and tells you that you suck…because you would’nt sign a TV deal with his blood sucking huckster,,, and your bud adam tells me “I made you famous,,i discovered you” That about sums it all up…no one found me,,,no one found you,, no one invented being a biker, no one can define what it is or what it is not. Its not bikes you hate,or are losing interest in…. its the people
    Honeymoon is over,welcome to real life…dont let others ruin or define your motorcycling.. it only takes one person to ride a bike….sounds like youre transposing motorcycles for a social problem,,,
    This illustrates the weakness of our youth whine,whine,whine instead of do,do,do,,,,
    ive never lost interest or love for motorcycles,every single day i wake up its motorcycles…people come ,people go,,fads are in and fads are out,(Remember,this is cafe’ racers second time around)
    But i stay the same and so do the bikes….thats where happiness is,

  16. colin says:

    At the end of the day it all comes down to whether or not you really want to do it or not.
    I get stoked riding and working on motorcycles and that’s all that really matters for me to be involved with them.
    Sounds to me like you need a trip out to Montana!

  17. Ed 1 says:

    Well Ed 2, has Alexander’s Fla to Mass trip with stop-over in Philly rekindled your interest in non-tough guy’s motorcycling? I’m still into it, with my more than 48 years of riding. Brings me back to when I rode from Grand Forks ND to Biloxi Miss on a ’67 Honda 305.

  18. Chris francione says:

    Wtf?

  19. Tex says:

    Thank you for introducing me to the Hipster Motorcycle Videos website! Funniest thing I’ve seen/read in ages.

    I’ve been riding bikes for about 30 years, and I don’t consider myself a “hater”. I am a little tired of seeing perfectly good bikes butchered in the name of creating a “cafe racer” but my attitude was always “live and let live” until I saw this abomination:

    http://custombikecollector.tumblr.com/post/85533819955/custom-bike-collector

    Whoever did this to a Morini is NOT a motorcyclist and never will be!

    Seriously though there are more cool people riding bikes that wankers, sounds like you’ve found a bunch of good ones. Go for a ride with ’em.

  20. Antonio says:

    Vanity has always been a major part of the motorcycle culture. And the “tough guy” has been a staple. Don’t let it get to ya amico. Just enjoy the ride. That’s what it’s all about.

    Here in St. Louis we’ve got a pretty large Harley crowd. I ride a Yamaha. I deal with a lot of “rice haters” but I’ve also met some really cool people too. Just gotta take the good with the bad. And there’s a LOT of good in the motorcycle community.

  21. Phreon says:

    It’s simple really. The “haters” are in the same boat as you, tired of “riders” putting on airs, trying to project an image. Generally, people like that are known as “posers”. It’s not about the image, it’s not about the “culture”, it’s not about the scene, IT’S ABOUT THE RIDE. Honest riders who just love being on two wheels cringe when they see a perfectly good classic bike chopped into a barely ridable abomination designed to fit someone else’s idea of “cool”. Converted into an abomination about as safe and comfortable as a used suppository. Or cringe at someone trying to act tough or pretending they’re a true rider with their latest Vimeo video featuring a random wine tasting in the middle of a field.

    Who gives a rat’s ass what other people think? Get on the wheels you have and enjoy the hell out of ’em!

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