So you just bought your first motorcycle and you’ve entered a new world of motorcyclists. Like every other new experience, there are certain things that will take a while before you understand. Maybe you’ve been invited for a group ride but you don’t understand why the same group doesn’t want to ride with you a second time. It doesn’t help neither that you were getting along just fine with other motorcyclists until you said something and suddenly everybody developed an ‘attitude’ towards you….Or is it what you did? More questions linger on your mind than answers. Like interacting with a different culture far away, you have to know what not to say or do less you have a hard time getting along with other motorcyclists. Whether you are a biker or just a regular folk, you have to adhere to the following rules whenever you are hanging out with your motorcyclist friends.
- Never mount on someone else’s motorcycle without their permission- It doesn’t matter if you’re best-friends, mounting on someone else’s bike without prior approval will get you into a lot of trouble. It goes without saying that mounting on a biker’s ride without consent is like mounting on his wife without permission. Don’t be surprised if you get a punch on your face.
- Don’t attach things to someone’s motorcycle- Just like mounting, pasting or taping anything on someone’s bike will not come out well even if it’s a joke. The only way you can get away with it is when the biker likes you and you leave a note on the windshield with a heart drawing and phone number. Remember, only if the biker is interested in you to take you out on a date.
- Don’t make fun of another rider’s motorcycle- Not everybody can afford top of the range motorcycle model. In fact, most bikers start with a minimum wage buying what their pockets can allow before slowly progressing to better models. Regardless, even if a stinky rich person has a poor choice of motorcycles, keep it shush on the annoying jokes.
- Don’t overtake the ride leader- If you’re invited by a group of bikers to ride with them, never overtake the lead rider. When riding as a group, it is not about speed or who is the fastest but riding as a single unit. It is like a military unit, you are the sergeant and the group leader is the captain. Neither should you leave the group while riding on the road without alerting somebody. It is annoying spending hours on the ditches searching for your crew member only to find out he/she made a swift turn without letting anybody know.
- Don’t follow other motorcycles blindly- As much as group riding is fun, be careful not to follow the rest blindly when you are in a group. Remember, group riding is not a competition and if you’re not comfortable going too fast, you can always slow down. Avoid overtaking on a blind spot while following whoever is riding ahead of you.
- Don’t drink and ride- There is a false misconception that motorcycle riders embrace drinking as part of their lifestyle. New bikers eventually find out that drinking and riding is not that popular within the motorcycle culture. Nobody will want to ride with you once they find out you drink too much before mounting your motorcycle. But that should be the least of your worries; a lot of motorcyclists have lost their lives due to riding under the influence.
- Avoid the excessive intervention talk- Every biker has a friend or a relative who keeps referring to motorcycles as ‘donor mobiles’ or ‘murder cycles’. Like that is not enough, they will tell you how they know someone that lost his/her life due to a motorcycle accident. What they forget to tell you is they also know someone who died on the road driving a car. Most bikers embrace the motorcycle lifestyle and culture because it a passion and they love it. Unless you’re from an alternate planet where accidents only happen to motorcycle riders, avoid the prejudiced intervention talk. Bikers don’t like it, especially when it is coming from someone who doesn’t ride a motorcycle.
- Always seek clarity before riding in a group- Just because you meet up with a friendly person at the parking lot, doesn’t mean you can ride together. Always ask if it’s cool to join for a group ride. The same way you should not share a side by side lane with a rider who hasn’t given you the green-light. Although there are groups you don’t need to ask since it is obvious they are exclusive closed groups. Such groups can be identified with uniform colors or gang signs on the back of their vests.