Guys and Bikes: Why Do Men Like Motorcycles?
"What is it with men and motorcycles?" My wife asked me the other day.
"Huh?" I was confused, because I was brushing my teeth at the time, an activity that has almost no conceivable direct connection to her question.
"Nearly every man I've known has either owned, or wants to own a motorcycle," she continued. "Why is that?"
I thought for a second. The first answer that came to mind was "Because motorcycles are cool," but why are they cool? And could it be more than just that, I wondered?
Undeniably, they are "cool." Just close your eyes and think of motorcycles and the guys who ride them for a moment and consider what images come to mind. For me, I think of James Dean or young Marlon Brando. Young rebels with leather jackets and cigarettes dangling from their mouths, roaring through town, defying authority. Hellions on two wheels. Instantly cool.
Motorcycles embody non-comformity. They are 600lb, 1200cc rolling, rumbling sculptures, giving a hard chromed middle finger to the establishment. They are the polar opposite of the automobile - that safe and sterilized, seatbelted, airbagged, sanitized-for-your-protection vehicle of the masses. Riding a bike sets you apart from the rest. It says "I will not be a lemming, slowly rolling towards my grave in a tin coffin with cruise control and ABS. I prefer to ride there, on a thumping v-twin or screaming 4 cylinder rocket, tires churning op the pavement all the way!"
I have loved motorcycles ever since I was a teenager. I was 19 and the ink was barely dry on my drivers license when i first rode. The thrill of being allowed to drive a car on public roads was still fresh and new when I first swung my leg over the seat of an old Kawasaki, turned the key, thumbed the start button and felt the motor kick over, the exhaust settling into a loping, 2-stroke rhythm. I twisted the throttle, watched the tach needle swinging quickly toward the red, then settle back again. I squeezed the clutch, tapped down the shift lever with my foot and gave it a little gas, feeling the bike lurch forward suddenly, then stop again as I let the clutch out too quickly. I started the engine again and tried again, being more careful with the controls, and soon I was off, gliding smoothly up and down the gravel road that ran in front of my house, until I was confident enough to try my luck on the open road. I turned around and rolled toward the pavement, pausing to make sure the road was clear, then twisted the throttle again and took off, the tires rolling smoothly and effortlessly along the paved street. A little more gas and the tach needle was swinging up again as the peaky two-stroke motor hit its powerband and took off, pushing me forward, daring me to hang on to the handlebars. The wind clawed at my face and the air pushed itself down my throat as the trees swept by and the sun shined brightly on my skin.
I felt alive. Attached. Connected.
This road, the same one that I'd driven over for years suddenly came alive. Each moment was profound, a revelation of the mysteries of being. I had reached satori.
But there are other, more practical reasons for riding a motorcycle: They are easier to park, use less gas and take up less space.
They have one other benefit: They attract women. Even the nerdiest guy seems infinitely cooler when he's riding a Honda CBR600. Even that guy in the office, the quiet one with the gray suit and glasses, becomes an icon when he trades the glasses for shades and the suit for a leather jacket, jeans and boots, and his office chair for a Harley softail. Motorcycles are fun, dangerous and exciting and - by extension - the men who ride them must be edgy, as well.
And we all know how women like the bad boys.
1986 Honda V45 Magna Close-Up
© 2013 Daniel Petreikis