Biker Brotherhood

First State HOG in West Virginia

There is something spiritual about being a motorcyclist that is impossible to explain to non motorcyclists. Part of the mystique is brotherhood! We don’t go into a motorcycle dealership to buy brotherhood, but on the road we experence so many things that we did not expect. No wonder we become passionate about this sport! We are very fortunate as human beings to have a connection that others don’t understand.

There is no doubt that among motorcyclists there is a brotherhood or an “open door policy” for friendship. Making new friends during childhood it is a lot easier than during adulthood. I am guessing this is partly due to the fact we are all thrown together into a school and partly due to the fact that as children we are more open to developing relationships. As an adult it is difficult to make friends. Some males don’t make many friends after graduating from high school or college. Their interaction with other adult males may be limited to co workers.  We become less trusting and throw up walls that inhibit us from starting conversations with total strangers. I grew up in the Boston area and it was unnatural to strike up a conversation with a stranger of the same sex. It’s taboo! Back home, a man who talks to another man he doesn’t know is either gay or about to pull a scam! You only talk to women if you are hitting on them. Under these circumstances it is difficult to make new friends. It is a lot easier of course to start a conversation with someone that we have something in common with. For example a man may feel less inhibited starting a conversation with someone wearing a t-shirt for his favorite sports team:  “hey you like the Bruins, I like the Bruins… we can talk about this topic because we have something in common”. Now let’s introduce the sport of motorcycling…

You ride a motorcycle, I ride a motorcycle… we understand each other! Ah, the refreshing open acceptance that allowed ourselves to make friends with strangers during childhood is back! I joined the First State Chapter of the Harley Owners Group just shy of two years ago. I have made dozens of new friends through HOG. Grown men and women of all ages welcome each other with hugs! There are people I have met recently in my HOG chapter that feel more like family than friends. We are blessed to have found this experience. Motorcycling is so much more than just riding a two wheeled form of transportation!

Now think of your neighbor or the average Joe down the street. He gets married, has children and goes to work day in and day out. He comes home from work tired, spends time with family and watches the boob tube. He doesn’t do much else! He has little interaction with others. He is disconnected and can’t make new friends. He forgets life is an adventure and his journeys are limited. I feel sorry for these people who failed to discover what we have! 

I am a lucky man! I own a Harley Davidson motorcycle that has opened the door to numerous adventures, taken me to places I would have never visited and created lasting friendships I otherwise would not have made. This sport has given me and my wife something we can share together that enriches our lives. Thank God for the Harley Davidson company and the Harley Owners Group!

No wonder there are so many people out to squash our fun. Those people trying to put a stop to motorcycle rallys, loud pipes and enact helmet laws. There are even a few bad apples putting scathing comments on our motorcycle blogs! They are jealous! It’s that simple!

We have it, they don’t! Be glad you have it my brothers and sisters!

Accessories for your Harley Davidson®

21 Responses to “Biker Brotherhood”

  1. I really do believe the majority of “Harley-Haters” are just jealous. Some people are so miserable that their only defense mechanism is to cut down those who they secretly envy. As you say, for us that goes far beyond just the bikes.

    You and I are lucky we belong to good, close-knit Chapters. There are others, even among our blogger friends, who have expressed less than favorable feelings about their own local Chapters. So that has to mean that it’s not about Harley, or HOG, it has to be about the people. Some say HOG is all about drama, politics, and cliques. Maybe some Chapters are, and for them, I feel sorry it has to be that way.

    I don’t think you can have any group of more than two or three people together anywhere that isn’t going to eventually have some of those elements. Personally, I think if you’re friendly and outgoing, you can seek out the good people in any group. The key is to take those folks who you don’t care much for with a grain of salt and not let a few bad apples spoil the bunch.

    The sport of motorcycling, the Harley-Davidson experience, and HOG membership in my opinion are all things that provide experiences based on the mantra “You get what you give.” That may be the best definition I can come up with for the real difference between a “biker,” and a “poser.”

  2. “Life begins when you get a Harley”…well, mine did anyway! 😉

  3. Amen Brother! I couldn’t have said it any better myself!

  4. Amen Brother. Well said!

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  6. Sorry, I messed up the hyperlink! Here it is again.

  7. “Brotherhood”
    It has a different meaning to different groups even amongst motorcyclist. Me, I am part of a brotherhood of Soldiers. Among us their is a common bond because of the life we have chosen and the experiences we have had. I also belong to a small motorcycle club, no we are not an official MC but none the less we are a group that rides together and even though some of us may be “nomads” at the time being we still manage to be there for one another.
    Now that last statement “be there for one another”, that to me is what brotherhood is about. We are more than good friends some of us, we have truly become family in a way. My “brothers” I know I could call on no matter what if I have a problem big or small and I hope they feel they could do the same with me. When is the last time someone paid your way so you could go on a bike trip? Ohhh did I mention that was around a grand in ferry fees to cross the english channel? How about giving someone a car? What about free mechanic work that would cost the person in the $1000’s? Then never saying another word about it. A few beers is all the payment needed. These are brothers, when they will do for you things normally only close family will do. It is not just about a close friendship, it is way more.

    Then again from my point of view too many use the word friend for someone who is just a casual acquaintance so understanding that being a brother or sister means so much more and is a much deeper commitment.
    Now the question; would you die for your blood family? I mean lay down your life for them? I know I would for my wife, children, brother, and parents. Well the same goes for those who I would call brother that are not blood.

    That being said I have people that are just friends to me that ride. These are people I enjoy hanging out with and hell I buy them a beer every now and then and maybe help them out if they are in a bind but it be no where near the level as those I think of as “brother”.

    The thing is there are many activities you can do that will bring you into close proximity to people that you can eventually call friends or brothers and sisters. Churches, softball leagues, bowling, and different social clubs. The sky is the limit. It is all about getting out instead of sitting at home behind the tv as was mentioned in the article. Heck you could have a bike and still not meet anyone because you wont get out and ride.

    Just think about all of that next time you call someone brother and ask yourself if you are willing to make that kind of commitment or do you really only think of them as friend?

  8. Good point ORB. Many people including myself will never know the kind of brotherhood experienced among soldiers who will die for one another. Also, I am glad you point out that there are other activities that connect people. Motorcycling is not the only path to brotherhood.
    My main point in this post is that we are all blessed to have found this spiritual connection and need to be thankful for it. Not everyone has it. The economy sucks and as you know (more than most) our country is at war! Through all this doom and gloom we should still feel lucky that we have found something special. We are fortunate. We have friends!

  9. I don’t ride a Harley Davidson, but, I’m definitely not a Harley Hater. I’m not jealous either, I am just a V-Star Lover. Very intriguing post. I don’t care what someone rides as long as it’s got less than 4 wheels. I also will continue to wave at everyone, even though not everyone waves back, even when they could.

    What you said about men is correct. Some, like me, are even worse at taking up conversation with someone else. Hopefully in the future I will get involved with some local groups and make some new friends.

    Ride on,

  10. Good post, although I’d suggest it’s not limited to Harley riders and owners.

    The thing I’ve also noticed in all my years of riding is that when you’re on a bike, people feel much more comfortable approaching you to chat or offer assistance. I’ve spent hours on the side of the road with a broken down car with no one stopping, but every time I’ve had a bike breakdown, someone in a car (not usually a biker) has stopped within minutes to see if they could help in some way. And that feels good after all the BS from our local politicians. (Who, after all, typically respond to the 1 or 2% of their citizens who generate 99% of the complaints.)

    Similarly, stand on the sidewalk leaning on your car and the world will avert its eyes and walk past. Stand beside your bike and people will stop and talk about the bike, where you’re from, whatever, just to make some sort of connection.

    Envy? I don’t know. Maybe people intuitively understand that on a motorcycle you’re very vulnerable, and that vulnerability makes you approachable. Whatever the reason, I wouldn’t change it for the world – it’s a large part of why I ride.

  11. Thanks for coming by Torch and David! You both have nice blogs and I’m glad to receive your comments. It took some effort, but I believe I kept this post open to all motorcyclists and tried to not make it “brotherhood among Harley owners”. It was very tempting to write “Harley Dealership” instead of “motorcycle dealership”. It was hard not to say that we Harley owners know a brotherhood stronger than non Harley owners. V-Stars are great bikes and I believe they have a strong owners group too. I have to say I like David’s motorcycle a lot! That’s what I would buy.

  12. It’s okay, Jay. You could have written Harley dealership just as well. There’s two ways to look at this thing, in my opinion. Joker and ORB each address a different aspect.

    I agree with Joker that you get what you give. Or expect to get. It’s like a stranger arriving in town on the train. He’s going to be living here, now. An old timer is sitting on a chair on the platform. The stranger asks the old timer what kind of people live in this new town. The old timer asks the stranger what kind of people lived in his old town.
    The newcomer said they were mostly rude and selfish which is why he moved. The old timer says that’s the kind of people he’ll find here, too.
    A different stranger gets off the train. Same story, same question to the old timer. This new stranger replies that the people in his old town were all warm and friendly. The old timer tells him that’s what he’ll find here, as well.
    We tend to find what we look for. Maybe that’s why it’s easier to bond in a motorcycle group. It’s easier to let our own guard down and look for the good in others, which in turn, magnifies our own good qualities.
    It’s not just found in HOG chapters. Not to take away anything from them. I know some awesome people who are died in the wool Harley riders.
    As ORB alluded to, it happens with any group that shares common goals. My fellow Iron Butt Riders for example. I still have two really close buddies from ‘Nam, and from police work. I have two fellow instructors who fall into that group. Like ORB says, I’ve literally risked my life for the soldier and cop friends and would do it again.
    In the end, though, I think the take away lesson is to keep considering what a blessing having this kind of brotherhood is. It’s fun to try to think of reasons it happens, of course, but the main thing is help bring out the best in each other and enjoy!
    That’s my nickel’s worth, at least. Great post!

  13. Well my friend Jay, finally a post I could not pass up without a response!! I have been riding a number of years, and have had various bikes, from Honda’s to Triumph’s, most of these changes were in my younger years, none of them had clubs that were even close to the ones of Today. When I think of the Camaraderie that was passed up by excuses of youth or brand of bike I missed it’s a shame, but through out all that, there was Harley Davidson’s. Most Bike Groups of the golden ages, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s..Etc were American Bikes, Indians and Harley’s sure they scattered a few German made ones, and Italians in there, but those old groups were Good Old USA….
    so when you hesitate to zero in on Harleys as the cement that makes those groups and present day groups, as strong and numerous as they are today, for all Groups, V Stars, Triumphs, BMW’s hell even the Crotch Rocket Burners…..they better tip their hats to Old HD….

    I have enjoyed more friends, and friends who are now family through my short association with HOG, then any other venue in my life, be it Work and careers, sports, and even childhood lifelong friends…..this group of eclectic individuals, who have this common factor, the desire and inspiration to throw a leg over steel and rubber….we few…we lucky few….we bikers!!!!
    So to the Family I ride with now, to the ones I have yet to meet, the road is OPEN…and begins with the next roar of your engine….
    Ride Safe, Ride Often and Let Those Who Ride DECIDE!!

    aka “Diesel”

  14. Wow, such long comments, you have all summed it up. I’ll just say Amen to that.

  15. Thanks for all your comments everyone!

  16. BROTHER BOOZER I’m offended by that comment….BULL SLAP

  17. Yeah, WTF is up with dudes from Boston. I laughed my ass off when I read that. I have a friend from Boston who could not talk about anything other than sports and chicks. He wouldn’t open up until I told him one day, “Dude, are you better than me? You can talk and I won’t think your a pussy for sharing shit that’s bothering you. Get off your high horse and join the human race. Bruce Willis will forgive you.”

    After that he was a regular dude around me. Hey, there aint nothing gay about letting people know how you feel. It takes a strong personality to open up and take the criticism and compliments of others. I can slap a guy on the back, give him a hug and if you think that’s gay then you have some other issues that you need to sort out for yourself. I have found bikers don’t have alot of hangup like most folks do.

    Your post mostly reflects my thoughts on this. I get what you are saying without doubt.

  18. It was a very uptight place to grow up, maybe it is more relaxed now that the curse has been lifted.

  19. I know I’m late, but great post! 🙂

  20. Great thoughts . . . well written.
    It’s one of the reasons why we have riden this roller coaster ride for so long.
    PS- Honored that you put our West Virginia Trip Group Picture with your post, very appropriate.

  21. I’m honored to have you come by and leave a comment. Thanks, see you soon.

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