My ex-brother-in-law is a biker, and by his account an authentic biker. The real McCoy. Ricky is not an outlaw biker, not a Hell’s Angels biker. You would be completely safe in Ricky’s presence, he does have morals, and ethics. To be frank I like many things about Rick.  He is not dangerous, not an outlaw, so then what exactly is a biker? Let’s just say that there is, at least to me, a continuum.   To tell it as told to me by my sister, and endorsed by Ricky but not in as many words. There is a Harley Davidson commercial tag line that states, Live to ride and ride to live. Rick’s take on this is, ride to work and work to ride. The bike is his preferred mode of transportation. It’s also closely associated with his sense of self. Big tough and independent, and he is all of that. Yes, Rick looks the part. Black leather biker jacket, biker wallet, engineer boots. Oddly I don’t recall Rick having any tattoos. I suppose he had to crack the stereo type somewhat.

Rick rides a bikers bike and talks the talk. I have no idea what a pan-head is, or for that matter what a knuckle-head is but he does, and the knuckle-head is what got Ricky started on his life time ride. And it has been a life ride, not a pursuit. To blatantly rip off Rudyard Kipling, you can take the tiger out of the jungle but not the jungle out of the tiger. You will not get the biker out of Rick. To that end he became a Harley Davidson Mechanic, attend a school in Florida that focused on only that brand of motorcycle. He has at times worked for dealerships both in Illinois, and Florida. He now makes ends meet working on bikes for friends and co-workers. My sister relayed a story of younger members of the local bikie gang were upset with the old guard of the same motorcycle club with the preferential treatment that Ricky received at the clubhouse. The treatment was nothing all that special a couple free beers here and there when Rick could be troubled to show up at the clubhouse. Never a member of gang, nevertheless he repaired usually for free the bike for the old guard. Resentful of his talents the biker cubs wanted to put a stop to the freebies. None of the younger kits have asked Rick to tune up the ride or trouble shoot a tricky carb.

To an old dog like Rick and his aging bikie friends the younger set just doesn’t get it. They wear HD branded clothing, as do their old ladies, they according to Rick want to dress the part and they want the respect, or perhaps the cred that comes with the branded clothing; they want the badassness but that haven’t paid the dues. Perhaps you’ve been following a wannabe biker as Rick refers to them. The office pogue that wants to look the part, as that said pogue passes another wannabe on the highway, or divided highway. You’ll see the secret handshake err wave. It something special Harley Davidson people share. Rick doesn’t initiate the wave, and often returns the single finger salute. They are not real bikers. It’s hard to be tough with leather fringes on your jacket, rodeo style chaps protecting your legs. Leather saddle bags—give the old timers a break, you should be riding a full dresser to begin with. Ricky hated working on their bikes, adding the cool lights, the frilly bags. The way these namby pamby street toughs strutted about. He the old guard and they the future of motorcycle toughs.

They wearing the black leather jackets to signal their toughness, Rick and company wear them for protection, same with the footwear. Everybody will lay down a bike, it only a matter of time. The wallet, with the zipper and chain has a purpose too. Mainly so that you don’t use your cash or your license. The wannabe’s have one because the big boys do. So this Labor day weekend the Rebels without a clue are here in Milwaukee Wisconsin, people coming from all parts of the globe. Hundreds of people will be standing on over passes with cameras in hand to take in the spectacle. The biker boys will pretend not to be flattered by the attention, pretend not to care, but lets face it that’s why they are riding the iron house, the iconic brand. This bike is a survivor, a throw back to different time, a veritable time machine or rather a machine out of time. It’s a great bike and by extention the wannabe’s are great too. Not of their own accord, just cause they have the money or made a sacrifice in order to pony up the bucks to ride bike that others have made into a legend. Ride to work and work to ride. It’s according to rick not a life style, it’s just my life.
There is nothing put on about Ricky, he is authentic, he is a biker and he looks the part but it doesn’t come from what he is wearing, he exudes it, it comes from within. I told Rick my favorite Harley Davidson joke. It goes something like this. What’s the difference between a Hoover vacuum and a Harley Davidson. The position of the dirt bag. Rick laughed his ass off it took a considerable amount to reattach it too. To others, to the wannabes those would have been fighting words.

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