By James “Hollywood” Macecari -Opinion Columnist
Generational changes in the biker scene. Are they good or bad for the lifestyle?
As always it depends on what generation you‘re apart of lol. If you‘re the older generation, you will gripe about some of the things going on right now. If you‘re the younger generation, you love whats happening out in the scene. I‘m middle age, where I stand on some of the things happening in the scene I guess you can put me in the 50/50 camp.
I was lucky enough to learn from the Vietnam Veteran generation. The guys that were the ones who were hardcore to the bone. I know, many people say it was the ones after World War Two who gave us the club scene. In part they are accurate. Hollister happened and the 1%er was born. But it was the Vietnam generation that took everything to a whole different level. They also established many of the traditions the biker scene sees today. These guys were not just rebellious. But as Randy McBee said in his book – Born to be Wild: The Rise of the American Motorcyclist. They defined what it meant to be counterculture.
The motorcyclist, once menacing, became mainstream. To understand this shift, Randy D. McBee narrates the evolution of motorcycle culture since World War II. Along the way he examines the rebelliousness of early riders of the 1940s and 1950s, riders’ increasing connection to violence and the counterculture in the 1960s and 1970s, the rich urban bikers of the 1990s and 2000s, and the factors that gave rise to a motorcycle rights movement. McBee’s fascinating narrative of motorcycling’s past and present reveals the biker as a crucial character in twentieth-century American life. Source- Born to Be Wild: The Rise of the American Motorcyclist Randy D. McBee To Buy the book click here.
The generation that changed everything – The rich urban bikers of the 1990s and 2000s
No other period caused a huge divide within the biker scene as the RUBS. This is also the generation Harley-Davidson put all it’s cards on the table for and are now paying the price. For those old enough to remember the mid 90’s when the RUBS started showing up at mass at Harley dealerships. You will remember Harley had to put people on waiting lists to buy a bike. This is when the prices of Harleys shot through the roof. Well Harley left it’s core base of blue collar workers and went with the RUBS. Not working out all that well now is it? Harley-Davidson is faced with rock bottom sales and a used bike market that is destroying new bike sales.
The RUBS also gave raise in the 2000’s to the pop-up club scene. There was always a divide between those who were considered scooter tramps and those who were considered RUBS. RUBS didn’t like how the biker scene was set up; especially how the club scene had a set of protocols new clubs would follow. RUBS being RUBS decided they would buck the trend and start up clubs the way they wanted to. They started accepting cops and pushed the idea they didn’t need anyone’s permission to start a club. Personally, I think they started accepting cops because they needed protection.
The Social Media Internet Generation 2008- Present
We all know what happened in 2008. Yep, the show that would change everything within the biker scene. Sons of Anarchy. The show gave internet balls to those RUBS and pop up clubs became an infestation on the club scene. Today the pop up club and internet biker is like a virus with no end. Most of the traditions established from previous generations are all but gone.
Who would’ve thought just 18 years ago the future would hold a biker scene most would’ve never recognized in their time? Cops currently running an alternative to the Confederation of Clubs called Alliance of Law Abiding Clubs. Some of the old timers profiled hard during the 70’s probably have their heads exploding right now. You even have regular independents out there openly supporting cops who profile bikers. Something that would’ve been unheard of just 20 years ago.
To say things have changed is an understatement. Even the national rallies everyone use to attend has changed. It’s no longer about a wild party, it’s all politically correct and if you run too hard than a big-ass ticket is awaiting you from some bullshit law enacted just for bikers. Take a look at the article we did on the Myrtle Beach Rally. I’ve put the link below.
All the changes that have come to the biker scene are not all bad.
It’s not all doom and gloom in the biker scene. Some changes have actually been good for the scene. You have the rise of more women getting involved in riding. It was once taboo for a women to hope on a scooter and ride. Women use to be regulated to the bitch seat on a bike.
Another significant thing that has happened is people have shifted their way of thinking about those who do not ride a Harley-Davidson.In the old days a person was an outcast if they rode anything metric. In the present climate, it’s a familiar sight to see guys who would’ve been on Harleys just a few years ago riding around on metrics. People are seeing it’s about the person who makes the biker. Not the bike. This idea alone has added people to clubs that would’ve never been able get into just 20 years ago.
One of the last things I see is the Independent Biker has brought the lifestyle back full circle. With all the drama and politics in the club scene. Independents really have brought back the original idea of what it was to be a biker. Riding, enjoying the wind and partying hard. The club mania looks like it’s dying off. But only time will tell. We do have that new Mayans show coming out this fall. We will have to see if it starts all again with people wanting to be apart of clubs.
Insane Throttle Facebook Question of the day– What are some of the good changes you’ve seen in the biker scene over the years?