Biker News & Biker Lifestyle

How a Bikers Life has changed since the 1970’s. Would you want to go back?

Looking back over the last 40 plus years of living the biker life I have definitely seen changes, some have been great some have sucked ass.
In the mid-seventies when I left on my first west coast trip it was with a bag of weed 2 bottles of vodka a couple of tees an extra pair of pants a tent on my handlebars, sleeping bag behind me on my seat and a leather jacket.
It was all about living free answering to no one and staying fucked up for as long as my dope and vodka held out.
That first day I decided to stop by every wayside and either roll one or have a shot until I got to the coast. I was a fucked up dude that night sleeping on a table in a rest area all off 250 miles from home. I decided the next morning I better come up with a new plan or I wouldn’t have enough supplies to make it very far. Lol
That was some of the great parts, rolling west every day with no plan, no worries at 17 was a riot.The “good old days”.

Satans Choice
My great feelings ended kind of abruptly when I dropped a valve 5 days later in Wenatchee Wa. Remember kids there were no cell phones and no help around the corner with a 1 800 dealer net work at your fingertips. I pulled into a motel parking lot and spent 3 days fixing that piece of shit on my own with borrowed tools and begging rides to pickup parts all over town. That was the shit part of the “good old days”.


After I got running again I decided California was still within reach and headed south and west towards Big Sur. That leads me to another great time, camping on the beach in Ca when a group of bikes rolled down and set up about a hundred yards up from me.
That night I walked up and met the first Hells Angels I had ever seen other than in a magazine. They were about as fucked up as I was and we had a great time for a couple hours bullshitting, partying and talking about how nuts a kid was to be riding 2500 miles west to see the Pacific.
That was a great part of the “good old days”. I left Ca heading east because I thought I might be a great time to see Rocky Mountain, National Park.
My adventure had started Aug 6th 77 as I headed east I stopped for gas in Eureka Nevada August 18th. I always remember it was there that I found out Elvis had died a couple of days earlier and his funeral was going on.
Big changes between then and now, the biggest personality in the world dead for 2 days and I hadn’t even heard about it.The jury is kind of out on whether that was a good or bad thing about “the good old days”.

Two days later as I headed up the west side of RMNP it was 75 degrees and sunny, 45 minutes later it was 28 and snowing like a mother fucker. I had everything I had brought along on and was using my dirty socks for fucking gloves and leggings after cutting the toes out. Yea we didn’t have the weather channel on cell phones we just fucking hoped for the best. When I got down the other side after 4 hours with my feet down and one slide on the side where I ripped my fucking sleeping bag open and bent my tent poles all to fuck I wondered what kind of idiot would set out across the country alone on a piece of shit like mine totally unprepared. I pulled in to a cheap hotel in the pouring rain now and tried to get a room.


Guess what they don’t have room for bikers. Slept on a shitter in a rest area on the east side of RMNP close to Loveland. This was definitely not part of the “good old days”.
I had been on the road almost three weeks still had 1200 miles to go home ran out of weed, and vodka had been gone for a week already. All my clothes were fucking soaked and it was raining. Spent an entire day standing around the rest area waiting, even made friends with a great cop that stopped to check on my ass a couple times and brought me a hamburger. Never asked my age or fucked with me in any way he just kind of thought I was nuts. It probably helped that he was only like 6 years older than me.
Another day of 17-year-old biker life.A couple of days later in NE, it dawned on me that my financial situation was becoming dire.I had enough money for gas and cigarettes but the food was not an option. I quit eating for the last two days and rolled up at my girlfriend’s house at 9 at night, hadn’t eaten, hadn’t showered for like 5 days, done laundry in weeks other than “naturally” and had been gone for 28 days and covered like 5500 miles.
As my life has gone on I have had a lot of guys tell me about what it means to be a “biker”.I have read articles about it, seen all the experts write about it.
To some it is all about the parties, to some, it is all about the miles.
Some are independents, some are in RCs some are in MCs but I am always left with the impression that what our biggest problem is now is the failure to understand as a group that we all have to be “bikers” first. If we lose sight of that we will lose our way of life.

I will never regret the road that got me here but to be honest all of the “good old days” weren’t that good.

Perhaps I will write about the Eighties next.

Robert “Ghost”Hawkins

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  1. Funny but when you brought up the Elvis death thing it made a light bulb go off. At that time I was a 19 year old kid and traveled from my home on the Il Ws border to my folks house 400 miles south on my motorcycle. I recall it was really hot and somewhere around Indy I fell in with a pair of old guys riding BMWs. Let me tell you those old men didn’t waste any time. We covered 100 miles in just over an hour. Now remember the speed limit in those days was 55 so that was quite a feat. After crossing the Ohio river I stopped at dear old Dad’s and sat down in the A/C and cracked open a PBR. Just then it came across the television that Elvis was found dead!


  2. Loved your article. Most talking about “traditional clubs” or the “good old days” today have no idea. I wasn’t riding in the 50’s, but in the 60’s and 70’s we just wanted to do our own thing and break from the norms and rules of society. Sturgis was just another motorcycle rally, the largest in the country was in Fresno, CA. Then in the 80’s the COC’s were started to unite bikers against “the man”. By the end of the 80’s, the COC’s had more rules, under the guise of protocol, than “the man” ever had. How did we go from the desire to be free to voluntary submission?


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