Bike riding means many things to many people. For some it’s a form of therapy and for others its pure adrenaline rush. However, there is a group out there for which riding is nothing more than a chance to jump on the bandwagon. Whatever the case may be, there is a clear line that separates the serious rider from the poser or some may even call them ‘yuppy’, ‘hipster’ and ‘wannabe’. And the difference can be seen in everything – the look, the bike, and even the food they consume.

Serious riders can sniff a ‘wannabe’ a mile away. However, for those who don’t ride, but would like to know how to spot a ‘wannabe’, here are a couple of signs they need to look out for.


Not Taking Safety Seriously       

A ‘wannabe’ rider would typically not take motorcycle safety seriously.  A helmet, which is a must, worn with a t-shirt and shorts is one of their biggest giveaways. Serious riders respect the road and the fact that no matter how experienced or careful they are, there is always a possibility of an accident. Without the right motorcycle gear, these ‘wannabees’ are challenging the odds. One more reason for their cavalier attitude is that they simply want to come across as someone who ‘lives on the edge’.


The Roads They Take

Wannabees are essentially city slickers who stick to urban areas and dense-traffic routes for their ride. This gives them a chance to showboat in slow-moving traffic. In addition, they would be more inclined to hit fashionable urban bars as opposed to the serious riders who consider the open American highway dotted with biker bars, home away from home.  

The Food

A wannabe rider would be your typical diet-conscious, careful eater who just wants to look good on a bike. A real biker, on the other hand for instance, would never pass up on a succulent classic beef steak. They would know where to get the best burgers in town and would rate beer by the size of the mug it is served in. If the rider is looking at how many calories a certain beer has, chances are they are the recreational type.

Also serious riders may come across as rowdy and may seem to give waitresses a hard time in a good natured friendly way. However, they compensate by always leaving a good tip. Wannabees on the other hand are the ones who have a chip on their shoulder and expect the world to bow down to their ‘awesomeness’, just because they are riders.

One more thing, everyone knows drinking and riding don’t go well together. It’s just that serious riders know it better than the rest.    

The Talk and The Attitude

Real riders mean business. They do not go around boasting about their bikes or their lifestyle – especially not on social media. Riding, for them, is more of a lifestyle and a passion than a means to impress friends and score dates. Serious riders, in most cases, would not take up a ‘check out how cool my bike is’ tone with anyone. They let their rides do the talking. And as far as the attitude goes, real bikers may come across as a little intimidating, however more often than not, they are courteous and friendly in nature.

Wannabees, on the other hand, would be less concerned with mastering the art of riding and more interested in talking about how amazing their bike is. You would find them boasting about all the money they’ve spent on customizing their bike but when it comes down to it, their ride would be amateurish at best as compared to the ‘real ones’.

Riding Position

With tall ape-hanger bars and forward mounted footrests, it is common to spot serious bikers riding in what may appear to be very uncomfortable positions. But wannabees get this seemingly uncomfortable position all wrong. They take it to an alarming new level, just to make sure they follow their one cardinal rule - I must look cool at all costs! A real biker would, however, understand the construction of his bike, the seat, handlebars and required eye level well enough to achieve the perfect riding position.

Tattoos and Leather

If someone was to dress up as a biker for a costume party, would it be safe to say tattoos and leather are the first thing that come to their mind. While it is true bikers usually have tattoos and are dressed in leather, it is solely for anthropological reasons.

Tattoos have been around for thousands of years. The earliest evidence of tattoos goes back to 2000 B.C. in Egypt. The main reason for getting tattoos was identification and display of association with a certain tribe or group. Things haven’t changed much. Today one of the main reasons why riders have tattoos is to indicate affiliation with a specific group. Even though they are part of a global fraternity, this doesn’t mean all riders belong to a group, riders also get tattoos for symbolic reasons – a personal mantra, a quote or a symbol that defines them. 

As for leather, there is evidence of this material being used by the Neanderthals thousands of years ago. Owing to its durable and protective nature, leather has also been used by the vikings, knights and fighter pilots to protect them from the elements. To the untrained eye, leather may look cool on riders, but they actually serve a very critical purpose – protect them from abrasions and injuries in the event of an accident. 

By now you might have figured out how to spot the ‘wannabe’ from the ‘been there done that’. However if you’re still not sure, ask them this question

How many hours do you have on this bike? And which part of the country did you ride through last?

A serious rider clocks some serious hours on their bikes and has a habit of going on long motorcycle trips. Whereas the recreational ones only use their bikes to go to their favorite bars.

Have you ever come across a wannabe? Let us know how you spotted them.