Are Bikers Comical?

It seems ironic or somehow dynamic to me that although we have accepted the leather clad tattoo’d biker figure as threatening in our culture… more often than not media depicts the biker as a clown. For example take the latest Mr Clean television commercial:

You can go back to Beach Blanket Bingo of 1965 to see an older example:

Although in real life some bikers are scarey like the more realistic depiction in Terminator 2 from 1991… why do you think it is so easy to depict them as silly like the Black Widows in Anyway Which Way But Loose from 1978 or more recently the Del Fuegos from Wild Hogs in 2007?

Although I own black leather jacket, vest, chaps and boots you won’t find me grocery shopping or doing housework in them. I don’t lounge around the house wearing them. I find the leather jacket and chaps functional but the only good use for my vest is to display patches. With all the synthetic jackets out there that are waterproof, warm, abrasion resistant and easier to see in brighter colors I’m not sure why I stick to leather. I have stopped wearing “biker boots” and traded them in for traditional Timberland brand work boots that are more comfortable for walking when I get off my bike. Honestly, I sometimes feel silly in my biker gear at gas stations and restaurants. Reminds me of the 2008 blog post by Steve Johnson at Motorcycle Philosophy called How To Look Like A Biker.

Click here to check it out.

Back to the question: Why is it so easy to make fun of the biker image? Are we silly looking?

8 Responses to “Are Bikers Comical?”

  1. I don’t think it’s so much that we’re silly looking but some of us take ourselves far too seriously, overdoing the whole biker image thing. It just invites mockery.

  2. Thank you for that very excellent thought! That makes sense. It does invite mockery. I even have to admit that I saw a couple pull into a gas station with the biker duds on. They looked like professional biker models that were going to host a television show or something. I turned to my wife without thinking and said “look at their biker costumes. They look sharp.” I didn’t mean to mock them but then I chuckled when I realized what I had said.

  3. Maybe the leathers are a welcome change from the suit and tie during the week.

  4. Yes John they are. Jeans too. And sneakers!

  5. I think the biker look has gotten to be a stereotype and well enough known that it’s become fodder for jokes or commercials. Other groups get their share of targeting too, plenty of humor or whatever out there directed at nuns, doctors, policemen, plumbers, etc. I think the fact that people get some humor out of the biker stereotype is actually a good thing, it means the image is becoming demystified and more accepted.

  6. Interesting point Doug. Thank you.

  7. You’ll also find some cool stereotypes in the media, such as motorcycle images from the 60s and 70s, Easy Rider type portrayals.

  8. It’s getting less and less easy to define what a biker is these days if indeed one can. Open road and freedom is probably common to all bikers and the possibility to occasionally hear birds sing in the trees and smell the air. Nope, I don’t know.

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