Bikers and their tribes

This is a long article, so if you can’t finish it, I understand!
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It has been interesting for me to enter and become part of the motorcycle riding world.
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First thing I notice (and you may have noticed it already with me) is that our relationship with our motorcycle is a primary relationship, intense and real. I suppose the feelings that come with riding are naturally associated with the bike itself: a sense of freedom, fun, adventure, peace, excitement, maybe bonding with other riders, power, joy and happiness, and the inevitable adrenaline rush. It’s funny the way we post pictures of our motorcycles! They are our “baby,” our “best friend,” our “chineada” as they say here, etc. It’s really amusing to me.
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Yeah. We post photos of our bikes and adventures as if they were our main love.  I suppose they may be! I myself started doing that (posting photos of my bike) when I went into my Honda quotes phase. I still like coming up with Honda quotes. It’s fun! Silly and fun. And looking at photos of my bike and travels evokes my love for, well, my bike and my travels.  My bike is a symbol of a whole, complex web of feelings, thoughts, and memories — and of hope for more joys to come!
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Which brings up the other theme of tribes within the community. Tribes that identify with their favorite brand of motorcycle, for one. Harley riders are Harley riders and proud of it.   I appreciate they way they love their bikes. It’s special. Then there are all the others: KTM, BMW, Ducatis, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, etc. I wonder if different types of people ride different types of motorcycles and what one’s personality has to do with the brand one picks. It seems that bike-riding traditions are passed down along generations as well. No?
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There are those who love all motorcycles and are not identified with one tribe. In general, they seem to own more than one bike. Personally, I admire these kinds of bike riders the most, for they seem to have shed some ego need to prove something. (Though having several bikes sort of shows you can afford them! It’s “upper class” in some ways, no? Hahaha!)
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Then, there is the phenomenon of bike clubs — those who join a specific group with a name, with a set leader of the pack, rules, badges, etc. I don’t know much about this world. Some don’t say hello to others. They have codes of conduct and dress. You can be invited to ride with them every now and then, as I was invited to ride with “Travelers of the Kingdom.” It might be a fun sociological investigation to study all the clubs here in Costa Rica.
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.Some wave hello to other riders, identifying and celebrating the life of riding. Others refuse to say hello to those that don’t belong to their tribe. To each his own.
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I feel as if I am just scratching the surface of all of this. Street, Sport, Cruiser, Chopper, Touring, Dual-Sport, Off-Road, Scooter! Yikes! Each offers its own kind of experience and companionship.
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Many don’t identify with any of these, of course. They just have a motorcycle to go to work and run errands. It is a mode of transportation. Nothing else. Yet, they are still part of the bike riding culture.
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You have those that love to race, those that love to take it easy and enjoy the ride. Those that shine and beautify their bikes; the collectors, the fixer-uppers, and who knows what else.
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Then there are the “lone wolves.” Those that prefer to ride alone, like I do, I suppose. For me, riding alone is an intensely spiritual experience of entering the unfolding beauty around me. Awe, wonder, gratitude, joy, extreme fun are all feelings I enjoy while riding. Yeah, and stress and fear sometimes, for sure! For me, it’s like living a new kind of time and space, immersed in a super-sense of connection to “all that is.” Hard to describe. It is about enjoying the best gifts of solitude. I love the sense of serenity, courage, and wisdom that comes with riding alone.
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However, though I do love riding alone, I would be quite happy to find a riding partner again, but think that is a thing of the past for me. Occasional riding buddies are good enough. Just hope to not make any wives or girlfriends jealous! Maybe my age will alleviate some of that — can’t believe I am almost 57!! I hope to also find more women riders. In time.
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I guess women riders are a whole new category as well, come to think of it.  They too have their clubs and Facebook pages!
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On a more somber note, there are many who were in severe accidents, and after a while, sometimes over a year or two (or more) return to riding. That is how powerful the love of riding is. I have met many who tell their tales of their accident, their long internment in a hospital. And yet, they are now riding again.

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And, there are the ex-riders. Those that were in accidents and then chose not to ride anymore. Or those that stopped due to a close call. Or those who simply decided it was time to stop. Not worth the risk, for whatever reason. They still like to identify with other riders, and share about the kind of motorcycles they rode, the special adventures they had. A few have shown me their scars. They too are riders at heart — missing a lost love they have come to accept as being part of their past.

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Which reminds me, there are those that wear protective gear, and those who don’t. What’s that about?

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And, sadly there are the ghosts. The dead riders. In Costa Rica,hundreds of mostly young riders perish every year — usually between the ages of 20 and 24. A shame. And yet we see why: they ride without helmets at high speeds, taking great risks with no care. A tragic loss to their families and friends.

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I pray I may be one of those that never gets in a serious accident while riding. Like many riders I know that have ridden all their lives. May I be part of that percentage!

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Yeah. Tribes. Clubs. Gangs. Groups. Loners. Brand lovers. A whole world with all its subcultures, music, language, codes, dress, humor, etc. Interesting!

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AND, there are those that HATE motorcycles and motorcyclists! Hahaha! Especially here in Costa Rica because of how scary it is to have them pass you on the RIGHT and LEFT simultaneously! Or watch them zig zag between cars.

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Yes, motorcycles here may feel life-threatening, and so it is natural for some road-rage to come up in us against them. I remember feeling intense resentment against them, the way they came at me on the double yellow line, for example. Yes, just like cars can be maniacs and disrespectful bullies, so can motorcyclists. The resentment against them is understandable. But let’s remember that they are human beings — with fragile bodies of flesh and bone. It’s too easy to cause severe damage. So, just breathe and ask for serenity when a rider shocks and scares you, out of the blue! Best thing to do is drive on the right of the lane as much as possible to give them space (and so they won’t pass you on the right!).

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These are some of my thoughts this morning. Thanks for listening. Sorry, it is so long!  I did not know I had so much to say when I started.

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I welcome comments from riders and non-riders. Or not!

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Here are just some of my Honda quotes. Having fun!
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Feel the beauty. Know the love. Live the power.

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