What Are Common Motorcycle Rider Characteristics?

long-term-riderHOW SIMILAR OR DIFFERENT ARE YOU, COMPARED TO OTHER RIDERS? Over the years, non-motorcycle riders have asked me to express common traits among motorbike riders that I’ve observed. But I’ve been hard pressed to identify truly universal common rider attributes – other than a love of motorcycles and riding. Perhaps you know of some that you might add in the comments below?

Regardless, as I’ve thought about this from time to time (well, factually, I’ve not thought about it too much at all), it occurs to me that at least one common trait among “successful” motorcycle riders (those that have been riding for many years), would have to be their awareness of the road, and especially their awareness of other drivers on the road. Although such awareness cannot guarantee long-term rider survival, I would say it’s a factor that would separate out temporary, or short-term riders, from long-time riders.

Stated more directly, it’s certainly possible that a rider can be taken out, in spite of a pretty acute driver awareness, since it’s common for motorcycles to be smashed by automobiles that have violated the biker’s right-of-way.

Acute Rider Sensitivity to Road and Drivers

Having said that, if a rider does “not” have an acute sensitivity to on-the-road situational awareness, he/she is almost guaranteed to be taken out by an inattentive driver, sooner or later.

Stated another way, show me a motorcyclist who maintains a similar degree of situational awareness on a motorcycle that many drivers are accustomed to in a car, and I will show you a short-term rider. A motorcycle rider simply does not have the luxury of being as inattentive as may be observed among many drivers we share the road with.

On the other hand, show me any motorcyclist with a whole bunch of miles and riding experience under their belt, and I’ll show you a rider who has an unusually acute sensitivity to what is happening moment-to-moment in front of, and behind him/her, on the road.

(Conversely, show me a motorcycle rider who also drives a car, and I’ll show you an automobile driver who is more aware of their driving environment than the vast majority of other drivers).

Acute situational awareness of one’s riding environment means being able to avoid quite a number of potentially bad riding circumstances by foreseeing drivers moving into your right-of-way, and simultaneously changing your course, to get out of the way.

Even short-term riders soon learn that it doesn’t matter who is legally right or not, in terms of the laws of the road, since motorcycle riders get the short end of the stick in most confrontations with 4-wheeled vehicles.

From my view, acute situational awareness simply equates to a greater control of one’s self, environment and future, which I would argue, equates to a greater control of one’s life.

Well, OK, that may be stretching things too far, but at least I could more confidently argue that it equates to a greater control of one’s riding and motorcycling experience and staying alive. If you want to stretch that further to consider it also means greater control of one’s non-motorcycle life, I’ll leave that up to you.

Common Motorcycle Characteristics?

The more I ride, and the more I speak with other riders, the more I am aware that there are as many different rider personality characteristics as there are riders. Therefore, at least at this moment, I can not seem to come up with any other “common” characteristics among riders.

But maybe you can.

What would YOU say are common characteristics among motorcycle riders you have become acquainted with? (Add your comments below).

63 thoughts on “What Are Common Motorcycle Rider Characteristics?

  • vern …ya like I said there is some good and some bad ….so you have off base army riders getting screwed over by ..no wait WHY .. your cops ..these are the guys who do mulit tours getting shot at and blown up …so how dare you brag about the what the cops run to ..that puts down every army ,marine , seal, air force etc who picked up a gun and shot it out for years ..every day ..and your cops ..to feel important and hide their coward shame they give out tickets …put them in a hot zone and watch them piss in their pants ..like I said there is good and bad …but to a cop there is never a bad cop …never

  • Mr. Anderson for you to categorize me (though I am now retired from the job) and the majority of other law enforcement officers as non-human, violent, dishonest, and corrupt is extremely offensive and narrow-minded, not to mention untrue. I don’t know how many times you’ve been arrested, but your views and assertions are accurate only for a very few cops. When we find officers who fit the pigeon hole into which you want to lump all of us, we get them out of the department, and out of law enforcement. When officers have to deal with citizens with your type of attitude is there any wonder that some become cynical?

  • I think everyone has a POV based on life’s experiences regarding the Police and their behavior towards motorcyclists who look like “biker clubbers”. Personally I see Police as a necessary evil in society — they are trained to be violent to deal with potentially violent people. They also deal with the worst of humanity. This changes them as people — I think in a very dangerous way. In my view, they have a tendency to regard everyone that is not a Police Officer as a prisioner/criminal who just hasn’t been caught yet and that the law applies to regular folks and not the police. I am sure there are good cops out there but I have a bad feeling that they are very rare (or newbies that have yet to become jaded).

    As for what characteristics may the best riders… I think it is this: 1) The ability to see signs of developing risks based on probability and react to them with foresight; 2) The ability to optimumly position onself for best visibility and survivability at all times; 3) The ability to guage your own individual capabilties and skills and work within them; 4) The knowledge to know that each ride is a learning experience and that you are improving your skills with every ride and so you do some practice sessions to practice some skills you cannot lean from the streets such as evasive swerves and emergency stops; 5) The knowledge that even if a driver looks at you that you may not actually “register” to them as a motorcyclist but rather a car much further away (probably cause of most accidents where cars pull into the path of motorcyclists); 6) The applied knowledge that as a motorcyclist you must operated from observed demonstrated actions of automobiles and not with the expectation that they will abide by the law (you don’t pull out in front of a car because you think they are going to stop at their stop sign/light — nope — you wait till you see that they are REALLY stopping first).

    I like the first comment re: ADHD… I have always believed that to be true. Also read somewhere that the best NASCAR racers are ADD/ADHD. Some scientists don’t regard that as a disability but rather the next evolutionary step in human brain wiring. I wonder.

  • I think everyone has a POV based on life’s experiences regarding the Police and their behavior towards motorcyclists who look like “biker clubbers”. Personally I see Police as a necessary evil in society — they are trained to be violent to deal with potentially violent people. They also deal with the worst of humanity. This changes them as people — I think in a very dangerous way. In my view, they have a tendency to regard everyone that is not a Police Officer as a prisioner/criminal who just hasn’t been caught yet and that the law applies to regular folks and not the police. I am sure there are good cops out there but I have a bad feeling that they are very rare (or newbies that have yet to become jaded).

    As for what characteristics may the best riders… I think it is this: 1) The ability to see signs of developing risks based on probability and react to them with foresight; 2) The ability to optimumly position onself for best visibility and survivability at all times; 3) The ability to guage your own individual capabilties and skills and work within them; 4) The knowledge to know that each ride is a learning experience and that you are improving your skills with every ride and so you do some practice sessions to practice some skills you cannot lean from the streets such as evasive swerves and emergency stops; 5) The knowledge that even if a driver looks at you that you may not actually “register” to them as a motorcyclist but rather a car much further away (probably cause of most accidents where cars pull into the path of motorcyclists); 6) The applied knowledge that as a motorcyclist you must operated from observed demonstrated actions of automobiles and not with the expectation that they will abide by the law (you don’t pull out in front of a car because you think they are going to stop at their stop sign/light — nope — you wait till you see that they are REALLY stopping first). JD Anderson

  • I bet a lot riders out there are ADHD. I am a sh** driver as I get too distracted by everything else in the car, but on a bike that is not an option. I end up hyperfocusing on the road and drivers around me and find that my ADHD helps me constantly “multi-task” my attention to potential upcoming threats, assess and avoid them. Riding for me is a way to have the high adrenaline I crave, avoid traffic (still legal to split here) as well as feel the freedom of being outside, not caged in a box looking through windows. I ride every day, rain or shine and wouldnt have it any other way.

  • oh vern please… just google the web and watch the videos of wash state troopers dumping on bikers, bikers who are in a milt club getting tickets and mouth out of the cops as wearing colors … just see all the drunk cops who try to pull rank to get out of tickets as DWI’S just because you have a badge and gun does not mean you walk on water ..or the wife beaters , planting drugs on kids ..looting in new orleans….every group has the same mix of not so good that give others who are good reason people [ cops ] …but then it is serve and protect our own ..the them or us mental state ..the out of state bike stops and tickets to make $ for state .. the no reason stops ..the claims of wrong doing at the stop but it seems its off the dash cam for some reason so its not recorded.. and if you film the stop they get upset and say you will be jailed when its not illegal and when you ask them to site the law they can not do it ..and are asked to call a higher up to check they do not do it …. just to bust balls and fill the shift ..it goes on and on ….but it is off set by those few who are real people and do good..and seem to know who are the bad guys are…so to you a cop can do no wrong -ever … ok fine as you say you can have your opinon, but i can not have mine .. to serve and protect our own …thanks for proving everything i said ..once again …

  • Roy, what happened to you in some past life, or last week or whenever, that causes you to have such a hard on for police officers?? “release doves and tell lies to all about the fallen cop who wrote 48,000 ticket was a great guy…” Cops run TOWARD danger while everyone else runs away from it. Cops daily deal with horrible scenes which would cause punks like you to lose your lunch. I don’t know about others who read these entries, but I’m tired of your vituperative nonsense. As you said in the last line of your latest missive… JUST GO AWAY AND DO SOMETHING ELSE.

  • went to the ”fallen rider” ride last sat out of sanford ,h.d. fla … great day in the 70’s … 100+ bikes 95% h.d. … but everyone was great h.d. dealer had bbq and vendors and live band .. and cops to release doves and tell lies to all about the fallen cop who wrote 48,000 ticket was a great guy…BUT THEN THE RIDE… 1/2 way into it the frt slows fast and the pile up starts .. one bike down on the grass and one in between the barb wire fense …3 people laying around … one holding his head .[ guess the head rag was not DOT ] now everyone starts to stop right in the middle of road and gets off their bikes and is looking all around as the rest of the 100 bikes come roaring down on them ..no one directing or trying to slow the herd just running up to see..and take photos .. well next years covered for fallen bikers ,so the ride will be on …SO ” WHAT ARE COMMON TO RIDERS ” there are fools on every type of bike who should stay home … just because you have a h.d. with flags flying or a sport bike with full leathers does not make you a rider ..just go away and do something else ..

  • “…pulled over and harassed a few patch holders” What an interesting statement, seeing as you have no idea what I have contacted “club” members for. Do you suppose that arresting a drunk biker who drove onto a sidewalk badly injuring three pedestrians is harassing him? If you do, well everyone with three live brain cells will see where you are coming from, Prospect.

  • It’s not a gang, we’re a club…and just because some retired cop has pulled over and harassed a few patch holders doesn’t mean he knows what they “revel” in. [edited]

  • For me, it is the freedom, the speed, the focus, the risk, the adventure, the elements, the lean, the smells, the recapturing of youth…need I go on?

  • Tom, you have some of the greatest back roads in the south there in NC. I live outside Atlanta, and I often drive my Harley up to your neck of the woods to revel in the twisties there. If you want to only ride on sunny weekends, go for it. You have some very pretty countryside up there to enjoy on those weekends. Oh, by the way…Don’t worry about Ken. He can’t help it.

  • Don’t understand the big deal Ken. I ride a desk during the weak and yes basically ride only on sunny weekends. I’m 61 and a relatively new rider (couple of years) but ride because I enjoy the backroads here in North carolina at about 45-50 mph. Not trying to pose as anyone!

  • Just today hauled my bike 700 miles, to ride the Blue Ridge parkway and other beautiful country roads up here in Boone County for 2 weeks. Why? Because I just love the feeling of being open and free on the bike; the smells, the wind, the wide vision of what is around, the feel of the road and of the machine that does what I ask of it, the ability to stop and enjoy anything anywhere. Riding now since 1957 (55 years)., am 73, NO serious accidents. Will stop when I can no longer hold up the Harley.
    Interesting that Old Army commented about piloting/ yes, I am commercial-multi-engine instrument licensed. VERY good training in awareness, AND in thorough preflight walkaround before taking off. Do the same in the mc/ never broke down.
    There is just no other equivalent to riding on this earth.
    God Bless all you riders out there. Stay safe and enjoy.

  • I agree with many of the comments regarding the focus, the feeling, the focus. One element that I didn’t see but feel is at least somewhat common is the attraction of the machinery. There aren’t many machines a regular person can actually work on and modify, and maintain themselves. There are a lot of bikes getting so high tech it may become less common, but the bikes I ride are relatively simple, and while I’m not a great mechanic, I can do much of the work myself and I love the feeling of really knowing what is going on with my bike. maybe a few others share this – I even have a couple old bikes that I really don’t ride – just like the design and engineering involved.

    And yes, I do love rolling on the throttle on an uphill corner.

  • hey you all ..come to daytona bike wek if you want to see the real BIKER ,black tee,head rag, black vest, no mufflers, real and fake tats,100’s of pins,patches, fresh grown face hair, fake pony tails,no helmet,i am bad do not mess with me rebel face, free rider.drunk, fat ,.ya all 100,000+ of them look a likes…..then watch them ,shave, cut their hair, load the bad ass ride that looks like every other h.d. on a trailer and tow them behind a BMW back to their small world up north…i see it every year ,what a joke..but when the clowns come to town its fun to watch..nothing like a 50 year old fat chick flashing her sagging tits to get .. some dumb drunk, old beer gut biker all happy..and warm….

  • I have read with amusement at some of the comments made on this thread. I have also been amused with many of the comments said to me when people find out that I’m a physician, and I ride BIKES everywhere…. Apparently, it’s something of an oddity when doctors ride bikes…

    But none of those comments can bring a wider smile and greater pleasure than being on my bike… The sense of freedom, the sense of being in ultimate control, the joys of cutting through insane rush-hour traffic like a hot knife through butter – it just takes me to a different place. A place where I’m alone, where no one else can come into… My Nirvana…

    There will always be detractors to the whole idea of riding powerful two-wheelers. There will always be those who curse and swear when a bike with loud-pipes whizz along while they sweat it out stuck in a sea of cars and trucks… There will always be those wide-eyed folks who look on in envy, while publicly professing their utter distaste for bikes, yet secretly wishing it was their butts on those same bikes…. Go on dudes…take your best swipe… The fact is, there will always be bikers, individuals who have the sense of self-confidence, the love and passion for riding… Ain’t nothing you can do or say to sway people like me away from what we were born to do – ride into the wind, live life, and be that much closer to self-consciousness and fulfillment.

    I rest my case.

  • Show me a rider that can fly a plane on instruments and I will show you some of the best awayness of what is going on in the environment available. This person is dealing with a third dimension plus fuel management is really critical. I was fortunate that I had GI benefits and was able to learn to fly before I started riding so I had some help in developing my riding skills. To the gentleman that is 63, I will turn 70 this month and am looking to get a gold wing.

  • My opinion, to which I am as entitled as you all are to yours, is that one cannot apply a set of “common motorcycle rider characteristics” to all, or even most, motorcycle riders. We riders all have our reasons to ride, and we all have our own ways of riding. I personally prefer long distance touring, while others may prefer dirt track ovals, or observed trials. Some ride only on weekends when the sun is out. Is that person a biker? Not within my personal definition, no, but he or she may think otherwise. That’s okay with me. Ken, you probably have your reasons for saying that only the 3 patch outlaws are “real” bikers while the rest of us are “posers”, but for the life of me I can’t fathom what those reasons might be. I’m a retired cop who has dealt with motorcycle gang members. A criminal is a criminal whether or not that person rides a motorcycle. Riding a motorcycle does not make a criminal a real biker or better than other motorcycle riders. In fact, since many outlaw bikers revel in how much they can drink, quite often they are some of the worst drivers on the road. I have ridden motorcycles for the past 47 years and have had only one bad accident, and that was caused by a woman driving a car who hit me while attempting to enter a store’s parking lot because of the word SALE on the front of the building.

  • Like the old saying – If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand. It is indeed a camaraderie like no other – until you meet the few who think there is only one brand of motorcycle made, or there is one way to enjoy riding.

    To ride – and especially to ride your own – is highly addictive. I made the statement that I love my motorcycle, and someone pointed out you can’t love something inanimate. OH YES I CAN – and I do !

    I admire all riders and I agree with the statement you made ” Stated another way, show me a motorcyclist who maintains a similar degree of situational awareness on a motorcycle that many drivers are accustomed to in a car, and I will show you a short-term rider. A motorcycle rider simply does not have the luxury of being as inattentive as may be observed among many drivers we share the road with”

    We HAVE to be aware of so many different areas, so many different directions all at once, so many different ways people ride even on their own bikes, not just the way cagers drive. We have to be aware of the “personality” and traits of our own bike. Add alcohol or drugs, or simply not being 100% physically and mentally; add distractions of any sort and we are very quickly talking disaster waiting to happen.

    I am 63 and I know my riding days are probably numbered. Unfortunately I started riding only 3 years ago., so I feel like I have so much to catch up on but I’ve made it 35,000 miles riding my own in those 3 years. Sure there were times that totally sucked – I have experienced nearly every newbie mistake that anyone can make. I have fallen so many times (in parking lots thank God!) I’m sick of it but I love it so much I just keep on keepin’ on..

    Maybe that’s the main characteristic of a biker – LOVE !

  • My friends and I ride for the sheer thrill of it, the comraderie, and the opportunity to minister.
    I personally don’t care to ride to bars or restaurants, seems a lot of people like this type of destination. For me, the journey is the destination. I like to ride to trails and hike or backpack.

  • This was supposed to be a thread of what people thought were ‘common’ characteristics of motorcycle riders . . not a compilation of all the specific reasons individuals like to ride. Common characteristics of ‘riders’, not about what people like about riding (i.e. speed, adventure, relaxed cruising, etc.). With that said, one common characteristic that I think riders share might be that they like the ‘get away’ that a ride provides . . a chance for some self time . . riding provides an opportunity for them to be alone with their thoughts . . regardless if they go fast, slow, to a destination or nowhere in particular. Just get away from everything else . . some time for self. Ring a bell with any of you?

  • I can relate to most of the replies here. I agree with a few as well. As stated by others, Ken, you my friend need to get a grip. When I wear my leather I am not trying to be an outlaw biker, your daffynition, not mine. I ride knowing that I am more protected by the leather than by t-shirt and jeans alone. I ride my bike because I enjoy the greater freedom, the feel fothe wind as I ride.
    I always wear a helmet with or without my leather. I do no constantly rev the pipes on my bike, other than being able to ride in a lane of traffic and not be run over I do not look for attention. I want to be recognized as having a lawful rightful place on the road just like the cars and your pickup. Just because I have a family and do not ride off into the sunset and sleep on the side of the road or harass old men and women does not mean I am not a biker.
    I wave at all bikers and if they wave back fine, if not so be it. I am not trying to be seen or pet my ego. I am just acknowledging another person on a bike, just like people do in their Jeeps or Mini Coopers or what have you’s.
    I drive a pickup on the days it is flat too cold or icy to be on my bike onthe road. I do not think I am a better driver than anyone else, I just think as a biker I have learned to pay better attention to the surroundings or others on the road with me. You are certainly entitled to youtr opinion that we are posers or not ral bikers, but that begs the opinion that anyone drving a pickup is a snot slinging, beer swilling inbred redneck.

  • LOL @ ken,
    “I’m scared of real bikers, but I worship them”. Funny because I see a lot of posers pretending to be “real bikers”. It has nothing to do if your kids like soccer, motorcycles and freedom aren’t just for socially inept primates, Freedom is about anybody riding whatever they want. You are in a weird place Ken, did some biker gang kidnap you and make you type that? 🙂

  • ken ..i am not pissed you hit it on the head… just because they ride will not make them a biker… leather/ black/ loud pipes or full face/jacket/ gloves/boots will not make you a biker.. i do not think there is a biker its a crap word to invoke some image.that is not real..thanks to t.v. movies.even some mag’s … a motorcylest or motorcycle rider is a better way..of putting it….as in all sports there is all sorts of mind sets that think they are something they are not by dressing the part..acting out the role..role playing ..for motor cycles that means sales,used motorcycles, crashed parts..body part donors….one must remember a motorcycle is to get you from a to b ..anything in between is all in your mind… do we say driving a car/truck is a sport… no but get a type of car and drivers dress/act/drive a role….sure riding a motorcycle is fun,but its still from a to b all the clothes/gear/ life style is in your head…..we are pack /herd..people.. look at h.d. riders they say we are american first ride american we are free riders, then they wear nazi helmets and dress all in black . and look alike ..sound alike…. pack/herd people ..same with sport bike riders all look alike/sound alike…. so its all in your head… who’s to judge ..not me,i am still trying to get from a to b alive…

  • These sweeping generalizations about motorcylists is like assigning the same character traits to stock brokers- you’re not really saying anything. Love for life, “gusto,” living adventurously, what are you people TALKING about? I know people who wear cardigans and boat shoes who’re more interesting and adventurous than bikers. And by the way, I’m a blue collar guy, former military and drive a pick up truck. I’m not a peer, but I’m also not some old-money snob who considers himself above it all. Oh I know . . . I don’t UNDERSTAND. It’s a biker thing. No guys, I really do. I get it.

    However, there is a group of bikers for whom I hold some respect. The REAL vagabond types who don’t need to wear a stupid costume to feel better about themselves are the real bikers of the 21st century. THEIR regular clothing is YOUR costume, your uniform- think about that. They’re the ones who capture the essence of freedom of the motorcycle. I have more respect (and fear, mind you) for a biker gang than I do for your yuppie insect posturing. I think most of you give bikers a bad name. You’re poseurs. Anyone with 2 kids, a 6.5% mortgage, cottage, or goes to his kid’s soccer games is a poseur. Anyone who wears a tie to work and leather on the weekends, guess what? You’re a poseur if you’re talking about the rudimentary principles of the biker lifestyle but living like a chained dog to a desk or other soul-sucking job. If you like the ride and enjoy the wind in your face, FINE. But don’t be a poseur. And I think the REAL bikers would agree with me on this. Lemme guess, you feel bad about when a real biker won’t wave to you on the road because he knows you’re not authentic. How do I know that? Because I see it all the time. And for some reason, female bikers are given a pass. Any female biker has my admiration, particularly because she doesn’t usually make such a huge statement about her persona. She isn’t doing it to be butch like a lot of you men are, just like a male nurse is doing it for the love of the job. She just RIDES.

    I don’t necessarily dislike bikers. I’m irritated by them the same way I’m annoyed at a guy with a bullhorn who suddenly wants to talk about his religion to EVERYONE. He wants EVERYONE to look at him, just like many (but not all) bikers. And it’s not the look that annoys me- there are plenty of man-children around who sport tattoos and leather, so in that respect bikers really aren’t that special. Anybody can grow a Fu Manchu and dress like a member of Judas Priest or Bear from the Village People. It’s the NOISE. Every time you rev your engines for no reason whatsoever, you reduce yourself to the level of a 14 year-old girl who’s finally realized her tits can attract attention. Or some punk who puts “cracklers” or modified pipes on his exhaust system. Or some wannabe thug who thumps his bass on his POS car. I don’t get it. I was a teen during the grunge era, and we didn’t have to disturb the whole neighborhood to enjoy ourselves. I guess times have changed. And I think bikers are louder now, more obnoxious. It’s like they’re trying to fill some void in their lives with this masculine kick. No one wants to hear your shit bike being revved unnecessarily. Stop it.

    One more thing: in terms of practicality, bikes are NOT the horses of the modern world, and you are NOT modern-day cowboys. If you don’t apply to this demographic, then you have no reason to be pissed about my post. Congratulations, you’re probably a REAL biker. If you are pissed, then maybe you should sell your bike and grow up.

  • I have been riding for over 40 years and weather I am on one of my Antiques or the Buell or the Victory XC for me its the openness, freedom and the adventure. It does’nt matter how fast or how slow or if you are in the dirt or on the street its the pure freedom and adventure of going somewhere or nowhere. I think down inside the freedom and the adventure is what all riders have in common with each other.

  • As I all ways said ATGATT and then I found my self with just a helmet and a t shirt! Its very hard to keep your own promise to your self when it is so dam HOT out.
    As far as what I see the cruisers are a little less aggressive than the (rice rockets)
    We all love our bikes…..
    Just my two cents……….

  • All m/c riders have this in common; they are individuals, they are willing to take responsibility for themselves, they are aware of the consequences of their conduct, they have an element of adventure in their bones, they enjoy the feeling of control, most of them have some mechanical sense, they enjoy the principles of freedom. Yes, some are exceptions but I believe all these characteristics exist to a greater or lesser degree in all of us riders. Having said that there are exceptions to every rule.

  • I have to agree with Craigkrittur. The most common trait I’ve noticed is a love of life and a desire to experience it fully!

    There are stupid idiot riders just like every other facet of human nature; We’re no better or worse than any other group of people. But no matter if you are
    -showboat on a sportbike
    -good rider on a sportbike
    -bar hopper on a harley
    -yuppie on a harley
    -atgatt rider
    -no gear rider
    -dual sporter
    -dirtbiker
    plus whatever other many types, the common trait is the desire to get everything you can outta life…

    A man and his bike are like a man and his dog…loyal friends forever. I’m back after taking off 30yrs to raise a family. Now it’s just me and figuring out which ones i’m gonna keep for a while. 🙂
    happy riding,
    Dave

  • Wow, what a great thread and a great bunch of responses. And to think I almost didn’t bother to read it, as I mostly ride alone. A lifelong dirt rider (40+yrs) with no desire for the current coolness factor of that sport and a new Harley touring class rider with no desire for the coolness factor of the Bike Night crowd I did not expect to find much to relate to in this topic.
    My mistake.

  • I believe many riders love not only the thrill of it, but the forced focus factor(fff). We all have quotidian preoccupations and annoyances that are constantly around us. Riding gives us the ability to break away, at least to a great degree, from the daily tribulations. We are forced to concentrate, to assess, to become as ever mentally alert of our surroundings to ride as safely as possible. It’s almost a form of yoga, at least it is for me. You become one with the machine, the road and the scenery. When I get back home or to wherever I am going, I feel much more calm and relaxed. WE ride to escape and explore the inner sanctum of our thoughts. Ride safe. Scott

  • I would have to limit my observation to veteran riders and their often common traits.

    While personalities run the gamut of society, certain traits of character seem to belong to those who have survived many years of riding, virtually unschathed.

    Whether a lone wolf or a social rider, the veteran riders I know are all passionate about the experience of following the backroads on two wheels. They keep their bikes mechanically sound, often doing their own wrenching to be certain it is done right,(not always clean, after-all their bikes are being used, not sleeping in the garage); “pre-flight” checks are the norm and they play “what-if” games on every ride (“what will I do if…”) and are prepared to react should the worse case senario come into play.

    Veteran riders, ride their own ride and really don’t care of the opinions of others of whether they ride too fast or too slow or too aggressively. They are not into showboating or tailgating, but prefer to cruise the roads at their comfortable speed, keeping their head on a swivel to be keenly alert to all traffic, road hazards, road conditions, animals and changing weather conditions. They are usually courteous to other drivers but are not timid by nature and will assert their right to the road, communicating by horn, finger, or a loud voice, if someone tries to violate those rights.

    Everyday for a veteran rider is “practice” day and they are constantly trying to improve their skills, critiquing every turn, slow ‘flight’ maneuver and parking skill. In so doing, however, the only one they have to impress, is themselves.

    Veteran riders know that even short daily rides are better for gaining experience than ‘week-end warrior’ spurts, so they try to ride as often as possible and are not afraid to throttle through inclemental weather.

    All the gear all the time is the mantra for veteran riders as they are fully aware that at some point they too may make contact with the road in a most painful manner, despite all precautions.

  • I ride because I’m passionate about it. It’s all about control. I’ve owned only bikes for two years now and it won’t change. There are downfalls like rain, winter and being a cop magnet, but that all fades away on the bike. I like to think there’s a mutual respect for anyone who braves two wheels, I wave to all. The biggest thing is knowing your machine including it’s and your limitations. Be safe and keep it upright.

  • I am a Rider. I ride every day. I am different in that I don’t care if people want to talk on their cell phones, paint their fingernails, put on make-up, read the paper or put on their pants when they drive…. As a rider I MUST be ready willing and able to avoid them if need be,
    I ride on Friday and Saturday nights to play “dodge the drunks” as I find it fun.

    You could blindfold all drivers and I would still ride.

    “What would YOU say are common characteristics among motorcycle riders you have become acquainted with?”

    The good ones pay attention and actually practice their riding skills.

  • It’s nice to read a thread without all the “my type of bike is better than yours” comments, well, mostly. Leaning into an uphill curve rolling on the throttle is a universal experience to all riders. If you ride you know exactly what I mean. It doesn’t matter what’s in your garage. Riders that manage to stay alive ride within their bikes capabilities and have excellent situational awareness. They know their bikes limitation and know the proper position they should be in on the bike in any given situation. And they know they want to do it tomorrow and for that they need to be alive. Afterall, we’re most alive when we’re in the wind, right?

  • Throttle cracked open
    Accelerating through curves
    Seeking perfect lines

    Nowhere else matters
    Mindful of nothing but here
    Meditative bliss

    To some I seem crazy
    Grinning, I let their tapes play
    My truth won’t change them

    They dream of safety
    Couches soft and cages safe
    But I crave the wind

  • i would agree with the love of adventure and drive for results. riding my motorcycle, especially for trips is an awesome adventure, riding for a few hundred miles, going through the Rockies or the hills of the Ozarks is truly amazing! i think another mutual trait is respect. riding by another motorcyclist, waving to each other in passing, wishing them well in their travels.

  • What are common characteristics among motorcycle riders I have become acquainted with? They love the “machine”, the idea of being connected to it. They love the ride, the simple unadulterated pleasure of kinetic motion, of going somewhere and the actual motion itself. I felt it first on a little dirt bike and was addicted from the start. I remember the first time I crashed that little dirt bike. It was scary and awesome all at the same time! I was going way too fast to make the little turn on our course and just laid it over into the grass and weeds on the outside of the corner. The wild sage and other green bits (some of which were cooking on the exhaust) left the most wonderful aroma – I’ll will never forget. Hot exhaust pipes, leaky fuel, motor oil and the green smelling scent of freshly crushed aromatic wild plants. Been riding ever since and I can tell you that it is with a smile that I mount my bike in the morning on the way to work and arrive feeling exhilarated and alive. The riders I know now still seem to have kept that same wide smiled, open-eyed joy for life and motion. Its not that don’t care for their safety, they do; its that they just love the open air more, to feel like your flying, that kinetic experience that I have now come to believe that some of us are born to crave and ultimately enjoy. Just look at all those old guys (of which I count myself one) who keep that gleam and an inner spark that says “where to next”? While at the same time never forget their first real ride. The one that made the “riders” – they simply cannot help it – they are who they are – a people on the move. What’s not to love?

  • These are all great responses. I’ll add, that I think the majority of riders may have an inner ear condition that sends pleasure signals to the brain when in-motion. A friend of mind noticed one that I constantly sway a little back and forth when I “sit still”. Then a Dr. asked me if my mother ever mentioned that I jumped a lot in the crib, and I had. So much so I jumped over the bars and on to the floor. She heard the thump and ran into my room, saw me on the floor with a stunned look on my face, but no tears. Also, I think there is a need to be in a state of full concentration, to have your mind full of only one thing, it’s like a calming effect, once you stop, then you can think about her again. Last I’d say there is a strong need to feel different, individual, self sustained, self governing, and unchained by fear, or “normal behaviors”. You feel like telling the cop, “hey that wasn’t reckless… wanna see me do it again?” Or “What?, trust me officer, that wasn’t speeding, if I was speeding we wouldn’t be talking.”

  • Well could it be sharing the same Love? Outdoors,wind other elements that come are way,as we swallow bugs. We all enjoy the adventure and who can forget the stories. Even the wildlife that cross our paths. We have the need to be different just like are bikes. camaraderie the spirit of the wild. Live on be free.

  • It’s fun! I get a rush – ‘butterflies’ in my solarplexis – when I drive my bike to & from work! I get to ride my bike 2 x per day 5 days a week! :>)

    I like the Cadillac commercial with the cute chick driver saying, “When you turn your ride on, does your ride turn you on?”

    I have used 7 different (bought & sold) bikes trying for the best commuter bike. Presently the best so far has been my BMW 1150RTP with full fairing. The other 6 were all ‘cruiser’ types.

    If I drive my bike like all the other cagers in my traffic commute, cruisers are ok, except for lack of element protection.

    The ‘sport bike’ style allows me to drive like a bike should be driven in the commuting traffic – that is – drive through the pockets or gaps left by cagers and leave them all behing you!

    I also agree with the author, “a motorcycle rider who also drives a car . . . is more aware of their driving environment than the vast majority of other drivers.”

  • My answer is: All of the above!
    At the bottom of everything, in my humble opinion, is intelligence, which gives you the enhanced awareness of your surroundings, enhanced spatial perception, the strong will to do things ypur own way, the need to do things yourself and by yourself, to experience new things, etc.
    In fact, as a sort of confirmation, I believe “stupid” riders don’t stay riders for long, hopefully they stop riding quite soon because they don’t see the fun of it. The rest are taken out by “sardine-can drivers”. Mind, this can happen even to the best of us, but I make every effort to use my brains riding “defensively”. Part of my “pre-flight” checklist is muttering the mantra: “Remember, every bloody fool is on the road with the single purpose of killing you!”. Excessive, sure, but it sort of puts you in the right mind-frame…
    Enjoy your riding.

  • What I beleive most motorcycle riders share, is respect for other riders. A motorcyclists gets in trouble, who will stop to lend a hand, another motorcyclist.

  • Totally agree with the article. Situational awarness is No. 1. As a urban commuter bicycleist and bicycle traffic safety instructor for over 20 years I am strongly convinced that situational awarness is everything. I constantly teach people to: Mind your space and constantly be engaged in continuous learning. Pattern recognition is what its about.

    Know this: Being in traffic on the road is the most dangerous situation on earth. Over the last 100 years cars have killed and maimed more people than ALL THE WARS during the same period. Period. Sincerely.

  • I’d say the sense of adventures…the need to try or experience new things…and the desire to do things well.

  • Although riding for only a short time, I believe a common thread between the riders I know is the ability and desire to get things done yourself and not to rely on others to do it for you. I believe we all are a self sufficient bunch, we pay our own way, don’t ask for handouts and love the freedom we have.

  • I have to agree with phill. The most common trait I’ve noticed is a love of life and a desire to experience it fully!

  • I think the common thread between my fellow bikers that I ride with is the gusto for life and what it bring’s to us. The freedom of the open road call’s us and the risk’s we take on the road wakes us up to everything around us

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *