Sunday, January 6, 2008

What Is The Biker Lifestyle?

The biker lifestyleChristine, who blogs on "Christine's Corner", is thinking about selling her Harley, feeling as if she needs to find a greater calling in life.

She mentioned to her friends about quitting her riding hobby, and then one of them responded that it's not a hobby, but a lifestyle. And this is what Christine wrote in response...

Deciding to ride or not ride doesn't change me or my values or the way I will choose to live my life. Riding is not my life...I work in an industry--as like the majority of the folks that do motorcycle--that has nothing to do with motorcycling. The folks that do work in the motorcycling industry--well, they are the lucky ones--if they are indeed doing what they love.
I think Christine is correct.

Of all the riders that I personally know, not a single one of them live the "biker lifestyle". Some of them might think they do, but in fact they don't. And for the record, I don't live the lifestyle either.

A lot of people talk about the "lifestyle", but probably 1% of 1% of these people ever actually achieve the lifestyle. It's that hard to achieve.

You've heard the term, "Live to ride, ride to live". That pretty much sums up the biker lifestyle. But it's rare to find someone can who actually live up to that creed. There are some that exist, but very rare. Most of us live for other things as well, most of us have other things that depend on us, and most of us are governed by other things.

Whether its our spouses, our kids, our jobs, our businesses, or even Uncle Sam, most of us are tied down. Someone who lives the biker lifestyle doesn't get tied down. The biker lifestyle is about freedom, the freedom of the road, and being free to go whereever.

Living the biker lifestyle is like being a vagabond on two-wheels, travelling around the country, and never really staying in one place. It about making friends, and letting them go. It's about waking up one morning and not knowing where you'll be sleeping. There are some people that do this, but it's very rare.

Some people think that being a member of a 1%er club, or 3-piece patch club, means living the biker lifestyle. Wrong. That just makes you a club member. Others think that going to rallies and runs and partying with bikers means living the lifestyle. Wrong. That just makes you a partier.

The biker lifestyle is not about socializing. It's about being free. "Live to ride, ride to live": how many of us have the balls to let go of everything that chains us down, and live up to that creed?


  1. Wow! In order to live the biker lifestyle I have to be a vagabond. What if I simply collect old motorcycle parts, spend the majority of you life working on, riding, traveling and turning others onto the "activity" of motorcycling all while living in one location and maintaining long term relationships. I suppose that a biker lifestyle is nothing more than subjectivity.

  2. Anonymous, if that's what the "biker lifestyle" means to you, then so be it. This blog is just what I feel, not what is factual.

  3. Live to Ride and Ride to Live: That really does sum it up. I gave up that life style 18 years ago when my OL at the time told me she was pregnant. Looking back now I don’t know what I was thinking. I hung up the leathers, sold my last bike when my son was 5, went to college, got a white collar job and other than the brief times I did get to spend with my son have been miserable for years now. I spent years trying to live myself and provide for my son what I thought was a normal life. If I had to measure my success at that I would have to say other than my son being alive healthy and intelligent I have nothing to show for it. At 50 years of age I am realizing that the “Biker lifestyle” is in my blood and by attempting to be someone other than who I am I have done the greatest disservice to my self and my family. I am currently on a quest to throw off the shackles of society I so willingly put on earlier in life and return to my true self and be free once again.

  4. Being a 'biker' and living the 'biker lifestyle' is as different from one person to the next as it can be.
    Anyone who thinks their personal definition is the right one is a bit deluded. At best, we can generalize. One thing we can all agree on is that, generally, people consider a biker to be someone who regularly rides and who's love of riding is a predominate identifier in their lives.

    Anyone who takes the slogan, 'live to ride and ride to live' literally is in trouble. It is a slogan that nobody can literally live up to so why fool ourselves.

    In our world, reality for the majority is what the majority believes it to be. If you want to know what a biker is, ask yourself what the majority believes it to be.

    What defines us is what we do and how we live. If we ride and riding is the predominate identifier in our lives, chances are we will be considered by most to be living the 'biker lifestyle'.

    Nobody else gets to decide alone what that definition is.

    Ride on,
    Biff Sacred

  5. I never gave up riding, although my riding has morphed from long rides to commuting to work and my bikes have changed from big Harley to bigger Old Gold Wing to battered Buell Blast as my money decreased and domestic responsibility increased -- wife, kids and mortgage.

    Times are tough and to make more money I teach MSF classes. I ride to work all year long and, if I have to travel for work, take the bike.

    I can't say that I live that free biker lifestyle. I can say, however, that my motorcycle is a way of life.

    Freedom is just a word. You have to write the definition it for yourself.

  6. The lifestyle is more than just riding. It is about being who you are and not conforming to society because they want you to. It is also being true and honest to your family and friends no matter if it hurts. You also must learn to live today for today because you don't know if ther will be a tommorow. I could go on and on but those of you who think you live it step back and ask yourself do I love to ride,or do I live to ride. Thats a question only can answer.

  7. I have been on 2 wheels all my life from age 14 to now. I'm 51, I lived to ride ind road to live. when I was younger road all over this country. With a tent and a sleeping straped to my sportsetr. Then I got married sold the bike raised kids want got a job as a plumber then in IT. I only went 2 years with out a bike. I'm devoriced have a cruser v-twin thumper and ride every chance i get. which is when Im not working or sleeping. My curtent OL rides to and trust me I live the life and always have. P.S. anyone who says they road with a 1%er is mostly talk.

  8. I rode after I returned from the service in 1970. Everywhere. I went to college on the GI bill and rode all four years. Then I got married and bought a new bike, not understanding the committment of marriage and the responsiblity of being a father all that well. My bike garnered a few miles before it rusted away in storage after a few years of unuse. Recently my kids have grown, my wife has a life of her own, and I have retired after purchasing a new cruiser. She and I pounded out over 20,000 miles and disolved 6 tires the first year. Year two promises even more. Does that make me a bikerholic suffering a relapse? Not really. I've always been a biker if you can define a biker by the desire to be free. The only difference is that I am acting on it now. Again.

  9. in my opinion a biker is someone who puts riding and there bike first in life. RIDE TO LIVE LIVE TO RIDE dosent mean you don't have other things in life you clearly need a place to lye your head when the wind isn't in your face or a stupid car or truck to drive when the roads are icy. But if you choose to put your last hundred bucks into your bike to keep it rolling instead of grocery's in the fridge or ride your bike as long as the road isnt ice covered in my opinion thats what it means when they say live to ride ride to live

  10. Trying to define the lifestyle, limiting it with the constraints of a definition, is the antithesis to the biker lifestyle. If you have to create a definition or give testimony to justify that you live the lifestyle I submit that you are a poser. Might as well just buy yourself a motorcycle jacket and call it quits at that.

  11. "Live To Ride, Ride To Live" Doesn't mean that you love to travel long distances, or sleep in a different place every night. It means that the passion of two wheels is in your blood. I consider myself to be a hardcore biker. That doesn't mean that I'm a bad ass looking for trouble, it means that I love riding, even if it's just to the store for a 12 pack, above all else. My Harley is my life- literally. I tried being a 'normal' person for a very long time, and it drove me insane. Eventually I had to go on disability because I simply can't stand to be around people. I was in a deep depression and on the verge of suicide when I found a beat up, rusted out Ironhead frame at a swapmeet for a hundred bucks. It was a piece of shit destined for the scrapyard, but I was in love. A month later I found a matching engine on ebay, and over the next year, a month at a time, I built a bad ass old school bobber. It saved my life. It doesn't matter how far I ride it, or how many different locations it takes me, it's the most important thing in my life. Just for the record, I have no children or job, or any real responsibilities so yes, I am 'free' to do what I want, but if I had a job and a family, my bike would still fall in the category of most important things in my life, and I know plenty of hard working family men and women who live the biker lifestyle just fine, yet still manage to make time for work and family.

  12. Here in Australia, mail is delivered by postal workers, like myself, on zippy little Honda CT110s. (I ride a Suzuki Intruder everywhere else I go.) So if you want to literally "live to ride and ride to live" like I do, there are ways and means ;)

  13. I'm in my 40's and bought my first bike when I was 14. Ive had all kinds of bikes throughout the years. Mostly Harley's like I have now. I'm married and have three kids. Ive been an active duty US Marine for the past 24 years so I'm responsable to uncle Sam when I'm not off fighting for freedom. Ive been refers to as many things over the yesrs; even a blker. Imagine tlhat? Bottom line is people-who gives a fu@k. Ain't that what its all about anyway?

  14. I have been riding all my life ( since able to turn throttle) my dad rode all the time. I ride and rode all over the country with friends and alone. I enjoy riding alone mile after mile. I am 52 now with a job and i still ride, most of my arguments with wife are over my riding.I leave the house weather its raining or cold it does not matter, been divorced over my riding,, once you can truly feel the so called biker lifestyle or should I say if it is in the blood you never can give it up. i try to be a citizen but sometimes I wonder why.Its not about being cool or riding cause your nieghbor rides or trying to keep up with a co worker. you just cannot decide to be a biker. you are or your not.

  15. I will be 60 this next Bday. Been riding since I was 14. What is the Biker Lifestyle? I believe this means different things to different people. I love riding my Harley. There are very few things I would rather do. The biker lifestyle? Is whatever it means to you.F....... What other people think it is.

  16. I will give up all for my bike to ride down to my life I will die for this shit I come from a long line of it I keep nothing I cant walk away from and I feel bad for the ones that have chained themselves to other thing and still call themselves bikers you own ride all the Harleys you want but that don't make you a biker most of you dreame about it but it is the hardest thing you will ever do is live and die for the ride

  17. I think it's happened to me a few times. It is a state of mind, initially and quite continuously, I think. I remember the first time. Looking down the highway and knowing that I had no idea where I was going to stop, or for what.
    I was just going, and that was the sum total of it. Not getting there, not just the 'trip is the destination'. It was a sense of no attachment to go back to, and only the future to save me. Ring any bells?

  18. I have ridden a bike for now about 40 years. I have ridden it in several countries outside the US. I have ridden not only on a warm clear day (as many weekend riders do) but in the snow, rain, wind, sleet and down right cold. I have prospected, hung around and flown colors. I have met more awesome people in my travels than most. I have partied with the best of them, but most are under ground now. I served my country when it asked me to do so and the bond that I share with other rider veterans is rare and very special. After reading this blog, I realize that by that definition, I am not a biker.

  19. I am not a biker for several reasons. It is so dangerous. I have seen so many people killed on them. Also, it can cause you to gain several strange friends and sometimes leads to cults who are bad bad influences. It is also very immature and causes people to give up families and their lives. This is a very terrible sport and thoughtless sport in general

  20. I think that is not a biker life style, that is a lazy life style. Be a biker its about friendship, family, solidarity, commitment and of course freedom, the freedom that means to take your own decisions and be responsible of it, nothing more.


About Steve

San Diego, CA-based motorcycle rider who likes long road trips, old rustic bars, craft beer, and tough women. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, writing about the mysteries of life. (Read more...)