Updated: Dec 16, 2019
This question has as many answers as there people to ponder it. Since there are no universally agreed upon standards by which to measure the “realness” of any person who may identify with the “biker” culture, what constitutes a “Real Biker” is highly subjective.
Apparently, when someone declares that a given person is not a real biker it is because that person doesn’t meet their ideal or image of what a real biker is.
In some circles only outlaws are “real” bikers. If this is true then who or what are the millions of other people who ride motorcycles ? Are they “unreal” bikers ? I have to admit, I’ve witnessed some “bikers” say and do some pretty unreal things, outlaws included.
Some say the only those who ride HARLEY DAVIDSON motorcycles are real bikers. This is based upon the premise that Harleys’ are made in America. Well, we know that’s not entirely true. What about bikers’ from other countries ? What about motorcycles made by other companies ? If you get hit by one of these at freeway speeds you will experience, firsthand, the “realness” of it.
The social standard of behavior and conduct of the biker is often used as the measuring rod of what constitutes a “Real Biker”. Adherence to the “Biker Code” is often cited as a way to judge the “realness” of a biker. Google “Biker Code” and you will see that there is more than one version and interpretation of this. So, which is it? No matter which Biker Code you say is the real one, we all know people who ride, belong to clubs, wear cuts, have tats, and live the life, that ignore the basic tenets of the biker code. So, is a Harley riding, outlaw MC member, who commits rape or violence against the weak a real biker? What about the biker who deals meth or beats down other bikers because they wear a different patch ? What about the judgmental A-hole who thinks it’s his or her place to be the decider of what a “Real Biker” is.
Many people who are not bikers at all adhere to an honorable code of conduct. Too many bikers are far less than honorable people on their best day. You don’t have to look too far to find bikers who adhere to a code of conduct that makes them at least socially responsible and at best, honorable and decent people who happen to ride motorcycles. At what point in time, after obtaining and riding a motorcycle, do you become a “Real Biker”? Is it measured in years, miles, or the number of bikes you have owned or wrecked ? Does membership in a club qualify you as a “Real Biker” ? What about the number of tattoos or the length of your beard? How about the dirt on your cut or, the size of your beer belly ? Number of arrests, length of time served ? Beuller ?...........................Anyone?
The “Realness” of any classification or category of people is largely in the eye of the beholder, much like beauty. If there is any standard by which a person might be judged as a “Real Biker” it might look something like this: Any person who has adopted the motorcycle as an integral part of his/her lifestyle, and by virtue of his/her training, skill, experience in the riding, maintenance, and trading of motorcycles, and by virtue of his/her experience and skills in the interactions with other people who are similarly engaged, and who is deemed to have a high degree of credibility in these areas may be considered a “Real Biker”.