UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Meanings in motorcycling Reeves, Robert Gordon 1972

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1972_A8 R44.pdf [ 8.47MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0302436.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0302436-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0302436-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0302436-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0302436-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0302436-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0302436-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0302436-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0302436.ris

Full Text

MEANINGS IN MOTORCYCLING by ROBERT GORDON REEVES B . A . , U n i v e r s i t y of M a n i t o b a ,  1969  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the  Department of  A n t h r o p o l o g y and  Sociology  We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as conforming required  to  standard.  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April,  1972  the  In presenting  t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r  an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference and study. I f u r t h e r agree that permission f o r extensive copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may by h i s representatives.  be granted by the Head of my Department or I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n  of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n permission.  Department of  •J  The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada ^  Date  V  ABSTRACT  The t h e s i s  i s d i v i d e d i n t o t h r e e major s e c t i o n s .  One i s devoted t o a d i s c u s s i o n ' o f t h e m o t i v e s and  Section  assumptions  b e h i n d t h i s p a r t i c u l a r s t u d y and o f t h e problems i n v o l v e d i n formulating a research procedure.  The g e n e r a l i n t e n t  i s to  g e n e r a t e an account o f some i m p o r t a n t f a c e t s o f t h e N o r t h American m o t o r c y c l i n g boom. approximately fifteen'hundred  The b a s i c method i s t o ask cyclists,  i s assumed t h a t t h i s p r o c e d u r e e l i c i t s s u b j e c t  what m o t o r c y c l i n g means.  /  "VJhat do you get o u t '  o f i t ? " i n a s e r i e s o f s e p a r a t e motorcycle - s i t u a t e d It  :  encounters-  accounts o f  A schemata i s d e v e l o p e d t o e x p l a i n  the p r o c e s s by which a s i n g l e account o f t h e s e many p a r t i c i p a n t e x p l i c a t i o n s may be c r e a t e d . t i z a t i o n of recurrent the f u r t h e r  The r e s u l t i s a thema-  elements o f r e s p o n s e s .  In a d d i t i o n , .  p r o c e d u r e o f c o n s u l t a t i v e feedback i s employed i n  . a s e r i e s o f one hundred s e c o n d - o r d e r  encounters..  S e c t i o n Tv;o c o n t a i n s a d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e n i n e major themes which are r e d a c t e d as an account o f t h e f i f t e e n h u n dred encounters.  Each theme i s d i s c u s s e d at l e n g t h , and the  s c h e m a t i z e d r e l a t i o n s between them are e x p l a i n e d i n terms o f t h e c l u s t e r i n g o f c o n c u r r e n t response elements..  In a d d i t i o n ,  two f i n d i n g s which do not f i t the schema are p r e s e n t e d :  one  i s t h e adamant r e f u s a l t o r e s p o n d , the o t h e r i s t h e i n v o c a t i o n o f a. form o f c o m m u n a l i t y .  S e c t i o n Three t a k e s up where S e c t i o n Two i s f o r c e d t o leave o f f .  I t proceeds from t h e abovementioned d i s p a r i t i e s  and from t h e r e s u l t s o f t h e one hundred s e c o n d - g e n e r a t i o n encounters.  The o b j e c t i s t o g e n e r a t e some account of. t h e  h i g h degree o f consensus among .responses t o t h e b a s i c question.  I n a d d i t i o n t o e x p l a i n i n g some i m p o r t a n t  m o t o r c y c l i n g , thi© s e c t i o n p r e s e n t s a t o r y concept, Image B e h a v i o u r . basic principles*:  features of  a more a b s t r a c t  explan-  T h i s concept i n v o l v e s : f o u r 'j>  s e n s i t i z a t i o n , . i m i t a t i o n , the conversation  o f Images, and Image p r o j e c t i o n .  F i n a l l y , an appendix i s  i n c l u d e d t o r e v i e w t h e two major p i e c e s o f r e s e a r c h i n t o t h e phenomenon o f m o t o r c y c l e - s i t u a t e d . . . b e h a v i o u r » • ' . . •  ;  INDEX  S e c t i o n One . . .  pp. 1 - 4 3  F o o t n o t e s f o r S e c t i o n One . . .  S e c t i o n Two . . .  pp. 4 4 — 146  Chapter One:  None o f Your Goddamn B u s i n e s s ...  p> 44  Chapter Two:  Transportation....  p.. 46  I t ' s : a Job ...  p. 54  Chapter Three:  -  p> 43  Interjection:  Some Notes on C l u s t e r i n g . — . .  P* 59  'Chapter Pour:  M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e ...  P- 61  Chapter F i v e :  Kicks. ...  p.. 74  Chapter S i x :  Machismo ...  Interjection:  p. 84  F u r t h e r Notes on C l u s t e r i n g . . . .  p. 120'  Chapter Seven:  Weather ...  p. 121  Chapter E i g h t :  Mechanics ...  P» 124  Interjection:  F i n a l Notes on C l u s t e r i n g ...  p. 128  Chapter N i n e :  M a l i c e ...  p. 129  Chapter Ten:  Anxiety  Chapter Eleven;.  ...  P» 134  Creepy F e e l i n g s ...  p> 138  F o o t n o t e s f o r S e c t i o n TWO . . .  p. 145  S e c t i o n Three . .. .  PP. 147  - 176  Appendix  pp. 177  - 188  ...  ;  SECTION ONE  1  The most g e n e r a l purpose o f t h i s s_tudy i s t o say something  about the. s o c i a l phenomena a s s o c i a t e d with the  burgeoning culture*.  presence o f motorcycles i n r e c e n t North There  American  are many o t h e r f a c t o r s which have had to be  taken i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n i n p r e p a r i n g t h e r e p o r t , such as h a n d l i n g a v a i l a b l e d a t a by a c c e p t a b l e means* but our g e n e r a l r e s o l v e has p e r s i s t e d throughout..  as t h e c a r d i n a l component  We have r e s t r i c t e d o u r s e l v e s to North  American  c u l t u r e , both because i t was n o t f e a s i b l e to gather anywhere e l s e , and because i t is: the unique t e x t which we are c u r i o u s about* to era  American  con-  L i k e w i s e we are c o n f i n e d  r e c e n t c u l t u r e , say 1960 CE onward, because t h i s i s t h e ,  o f t h e "motorcycle boom"', and anything which we say  about m o t o r c y c l i n g w i l l be r o o t e d i n t h e h i s t o r i c a l a r i t i e s : o f the p e r i o d * set  data  peculi-  T h i s then, i s t h e stage as we have  i t f o r our o ' e r r i d i n g r e s o l v e *  We would do w e l l now to,  c a t a l o g u e t h e p r i n c i p a l s as they appear Proposing t o say something  about m o t o r c y c l i n g behaviour*  we have r e s t r i c t e d o u r s e l v e s t o a study o f t h e m o t o r c y c l i s t s themselves*. for  A l t e r n a t e approaches, might have been  instance:  essayed,  a study of p u b l i c behavior i n the presence o f  m o t o r c y c l e s * an a n a l y s i s o f recorded f a c t s about  motorcycle  owners, or an examination o f motorcycle c o n s o c i a t e d document a t i o n ; however, t h a t i s not where our i n t e r e s t s l i e , and i n s t e a d we have chosen  to c o n f r o n t those most d i r e c t l y  2  i n v o l v e d i n the p r o d u c t i o n associated  behaviours.  Accordingly, i s defined  and maintenance o f m o t o r c y c l e -  a s i n g l e population  as f o l l o w s :  a c r e a t u r a l - c o n t r a p t i o n conglomerate,  c o n s i s t i n g o f at l e a s t one motorcyclist"', or  element i n t h i s study  human being,, r e f e r r e d t o as: "the  "the c y c l i s . t % and  a number o f p h y s i c a l  objects-,, which w i l l be subsumed f o r the purposes o f d e f i n i t i o n under the r u b r i c o f l e t us consider  the two  this  "the motorcycle, milieu"',  f a c e t s : o f the p o p u l a t i o n  conglom-  erate i n turn. Every p o p u l a t i o n  element must i n c l u d e at l e a s t  m o t o r c y c l i s t , t h a t is?, the one T h i s much i a g i v e n .  who  d r i v e s the  by l a w  r  no more than one  t h a t instances- o f two and  contraption*  Some degree of v a r i a t i o n may  duced i n c o n s i d e r i n g t h a t the c o n t r i v a n c e passenger.  We  can  one  be  also  intro-  carry  must t h e r e f o r e  human s u b j e c t s per p o p u l a t i o n  r  allow  element»  the r e l a t i v e frequency o f such'cases, may'have some  e f f e c t on the b e h a v i o u r s a s s o c i a t e d with the t h a t i s to be determined-  Other p o s s i b l e  motorcycle^  first—facet  v a r i a t i o n s i n c l u d e whether or not the passenger i s h i m s e l f ( h e r s e l f ) a motorcycle d r i v e r *  Hence, we have phrased  this  p o r t i o n o f the d e f i n i t i o n i n the terms "at l e a s t " . The motorcycle m i l i e u g e n e r a l l y * but not  necessarily,  3  i n c l u d e s t h a t two-wheeled gadget l e g a l l y d e f i n e d under t h e Motor V e h i c l e s Act as a m o t o r c y c l e * objects by  The other  physical  i n t h e m i l i e u are those which are brought  together  the p a r t i c u l a r c y c l i s t / p a s s e n g e r s p e c i f i c a l l y f o r u s e  with t h e machine, f o r example: s a l l y r e q u i r e d by law),  h e l m e t s (now almost  univer-  colours. (emblems: o f membership: i n  some form o f motorcycle a s s o c i a t i o n ) , or s p e c i a l c l o t h i n g (leathers, cutoffs, etc.)*  The p r e c i s e extent  and content  o f the m i l i e u depends on t h e c y c l i s t being observed:  there  are c y c l i s t s who g e t by with a bare minimum o f t r a p p i n g s , < o r none at a l l ; some have the b i k e  and a l l the a s s o r t e d  r e g a l i a ; ; o t h e r s have t h e extras, and no motorcycle*^" A l l t h a t i s r e q u i r e d by t h i s f a c e t o f the d e f i n i t i o n i s t h a t t h e r e be a c l u s t e r o f a r t i f a c t s which connote "motorcycle"' for  t h e s u b j e c t , o b j e c t s which are commonly; and d i r e c t l y  a s s o c i a t e d with t h e presence, o f t h e two-wheeled  contrivance  t h a t i s t h e normal focus: o f the m i l i e u * The  f i r s t f a c e t o f t h e d e f i n i t i o n now f a l l s o u t i n  terms o f the second..  A m o t o r c y c l i s t i s anyone who makes  use. o f a motorcycle m i l i e u .  Having c o n f i n e d o u r s e l v e s  to a  study o f the immediate producers, o f motorcycle behaviour, there i s s t i l l element  leeway under t h i s d e f i n i t i o n o f a p o p u l a t i o n  t o i n c l u d e a wide range o f d i v e r s e , even b i z a r r e  combinations o f t h e two c r i t i c a l  facets*  4  Thus f a r , we have s e t t h e stage, p r i n c i p a l s , but there i s s t i l l i s to progress.. field  and d e l i m i t e d t h e  t h e matter o f how our e p i c  We must g i v e some c o n s i d e r a t i o n now to  methods. It  i s a l t o g e t h e r apparent, t h a t i n attempting  something about North American m o t o r c y c l i n g ,  t o say  we are i n no  p o s i t i o n t o observe and i n t e r v i e w s l l o r even a major p o r t i o n o f North American m o t o r c y c l i s t s ; : nor, matter, i s anyone e l s e .  P r a c t i c a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s have con-  f i n e d u a p r i n c i p a l l y to m e t r o p o l i t a n odd  f o r that  Vancouver, with t h e  jaunt down t h e West Coast t o F r i s c o , and one s i d e  trip,  1  through Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal..  There is. no p o i n t  i n t r y i n g t o defend t h i s as a r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o r a random sample;  i t i s a l l t h a t we c o u l d g e t our hands on, i t i a  a l l t h a t we could gather from November o f 1970 through January o f 1972;  and t h a t i s a l l there i s to i t .  T h i s sampling problem extends beyond t h e p r a c t i c a l l i m i t a t i o n s o f t h i s r e p o r t , however.  To begin with,  there  i s no extant l i s t o r s e t o f l i s t s o f the e n t i r e p o p u l a t i o n which can be subsumed under our d e f i n i t i o n o f a p o p u l a t i o n element., constucted  T h i s i s not unexpected, s i n c e the d e f i n i t i o n was f o r our own s p e c i f i c r e s e a r c h purposes, but  v a r i o u s attempts have been made, by o t h e r organizations,, at e s t i m a t i n g ,  i n d i v i d u a l s and  at t h e c o n t i n e n t a l , n a t i o n a l  5  or  local levels,  nitions-  u s i n g i d e n t i c a l o r at l e a s t s i m i l a r  defi-  F u r t h e r e s t i m a t e s were e l i c i t e d i n the course o f  t h i s study*  On t h e basis, o f these f i g u r e s we have reached  o n l y one f i r m c o n c l u s i o n :  they are a l l j u s t guesses,- n o t  even educated guesses, which, when examined c l o s e l y , have no sound s t a t i s t i c a l basis-*  There i s as y e t no way o f com-  p i l i n g a r e p r e s e n t a t i v e sample o f North American m o t o r c y c l i n g behaviours, l e t alone o f a s s e s s i n g the p r e f i g u r a t i v e ness o f our d a t a * The next best t h i n g would be to compile f o r a g i v e n survey a r e a a l i s t  o f a l l r e g i s t e r e d motorcycles,., o r a l l  l i c e n s e d m o t o r c y c l i s t s : ( p r e f e r a b l y both, s i n c e t h e overlap) i s f a r from p e r f e c t , and the c o n j o i n t d i s t r i b u t i o n would be revealing)*, no  T h i s i s n o t the e n t i r e solution,, f o r i t t a k e s  account o f the u n r e g i s t e r e d , u n l i c e n s e d p o p u l a t i o n e l e -  ments, whose a b s o l u t e numbers a r e l e g i o n * of  the l i s t  Por t h i s p o r t i o n  one c o u l d c o n s u l t such incomplete r e c o r d s as. are  kept by motorcycle r a c i n g a s s o c i a t i o n s who have at l e a s t some token c o n t a c t with these p o t e n t i a l s u b j e c t s *  Interest-  i n g l y enough , i n terms o f t h e behaviours; a s s o c i a t e d with m o t o r c y c l e s , even t h i s second b e s t procedure proved Sible.  R e g i s t r a t i o n and/or l i c e n s i n g s t a t i s t i c s ,  impostthough  n o m i n a l l y open, are kept from the p u b l i c eye by a b u r e a u c r a t i c runaround, of  a t l e a s t i n B r i t i s h Columbia*  In the case  u n r e g i s t e r e d c y c l i s t s , e i t h e r such f i l e s do n o t e x i s t , o r  6  they are "hone o f . . . . ( t h e i n q u i r e r . * a / s o c i o l o g i s t ' a?)-...goddamn business"! I t was too f a r a f i e l d from our major p u r p o s e ,  and  c e r t a i n l y beyond t h e scope o f t h i s s t u d y (as w e l l as c r u s h ingly uninteresting)  uo c o m p i l e any l a s t r e s o r t p o p u l a t i o n  l i s t from s c r a t c h u s i n g the door t o d o o r / s t r e e t  to  street  at a l l h o u r s o f t h e day and n i g h t t e c h n i q u e . , The c o n c l u s i o n i s t h a t , h a v i n g no l i s t ,  we once a g a i n  ; ;  have no sample o f N o r t h American m o t o r c y c l i n g . However* even w i t h o u t the s t a t i s t i c a l a m e n i t i e s , we s h a l l h o l d  fast  t o our g e n e r a l a i m , which i s t o say something about i t , least  i n terms o f t h e d a t a we do h a v e .  at  A l l t h a t we have  l o s t i s some statement o f the g e n e r a l i z a b l l i t y o f our  inter-  p r e t a t i o n s t o t h e t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n , o r t o some i d e n t i f i a b l e segment o f i t ; t h i s does n o t e n t a i l t h e l o s s o f a l l v a l u a b l e ;  understanding.. H a v i n g s e t m a t h e m a t i c a l f o r e p l a y a s i d e as i m p r a c t i c a l f o r t h e purposes o f t h i s r e p o r t ,  t h e immediate problem  becomes how to r e c o g n i z e a p o p u l a t i o n element when you see one, s i n c e our d e f i n i t i o n of permutations.  as i t s t a n d s encompasses  F o r t u n a t e l y , the probable  a wide r a n g e  subject-object  c o m b i n a t i o n s are much fewer than t h e p o s s i b l e ones, and t h e t a s k i s n o t as d i f f i c u l t manufacturers,  as i t might have b e e n .  The m e d i a ,  and m o t o r - v e h i c l e l e g i s l a t i o n have reduced  7  t h e a v a i l a b l e "motorcycle" t r a p p i n g s to a r a t h e r s t a n d a r d i z e d , hence, r e a d i l y r e c o g n i z a b l e s e t who  Those s u b j e c t s  have some o f the. t r a p p i n g s but no motorcycle are  visible.  The problematic cases are t h o s e with  t r a p p i n g s , or none at a l l ,  who  cyclists. have no way  still  nonstandard  are not i n the presence o f  the machine; and also those with nonstandard none, no c y c l e , and who  still  trappings, or  regard themselves, as motor—  The former are n e c e s s a r i l y by-passed, o f i d e n t i f y i n g them.  s i n c e we  Given the above mentioned  p r o v i n c i a l and market e f f e c t s , such cases w i l l be few i n number and can s a f e l y be ignored..  The l a t t e r cases, are  p o p u l a t i o n elements f o r a study o f t h e s e l f concept  (and  p o s s i b l y , p s y c h i a t r i c help;),, and do, not f a l l w i t h i n t h e scope of t h i s ; r e p o r t *  >  Thus, the net o p e r a t i o n a l e f f e c t o f our  contrived  d e f i n i t i o n o f the p o p u l a t i o n iss such t h a t the t y p i c a l , or modal element w i l l be an i n d i v i d u a l i n the presence o f a m o t o r c y c l e and a number o f a d d i t i o n a l a r t i f a c t s *  The  study  does^ not d i r e c t l y concern i t s e l f with o b s e r v i n g the behavior of  n o n c y c l i s t s , . or t h e behaviour o f c y c l i s t s beyond t h e  m i l i e u , s i n c e problems o f i d e n t i f i c a t i o n and e x p l a n a t o r y scope would i n e v i t a b l y  arise*  The next f i e l d work problem  i s how  to r e c o g n i z e the  o p p o r t u n i t y f o r an o b s e r v a t i o n a l s e s s i o n when you see one*  7  t h e a v a i l a b l e "motorcycle' ' t r a p p i n g s to a r a t h e r s t a n d a r d 1  i z e d , hence, r e a d i l y recognizable, set.. who  Those s u b j e c t s  have some o f the. t r a p p i n g s but no motorcycle are  visible.  The problematic cases are those with  trappings:, or none at a l l ,  who  cyclists. have no way  still  nonstandard  are not i n the presence o f  the machine; and also those with nonstandard none, no. c y c l e , and who  still  t r a p p i n g s , or  regard themselves, as motor-  The former are n e c e s s a r i l y by-passed, of. i d e n t i f y i n g them.  s i n c e we  Given the above, mentioned  p r o v i n c i a l and market e f f e c t s , such cases w i l l be few i n number and can s a f e l y be. ignored..  The l a t t e r cases, are  p o p u l a t i o n elements f o r a study o f t h e s e l f concept  (and  p o s s i b l y , p s y c h i a t r i c help;),, and do: not f a l l w i t h i n t h e scope of t h i s : r e p o r t . Thus, the net o p e r a t i o n a l e f f e c t o f our  contrived  d e f i n i t i o n o f the p o p u l a t i o n i s such t h a t the t y p i c a l , or modal element w i l l be an i n d i v i d u a l i n the presence o f a m o t o r c y c l e and a number o f a d d i t i o n a l a r t i f a c t s .  The. study  does not d i r e c t l y concern i t s e l f with o b s e r v i n g the b e h a v i o r of  n o n c y c l i s t s , - or the behaviour o f c y c l i s t s beyond the  m i l i e u , s i n c e problems o f i d e n t i f i c a t i o n and e x p l a n a t o r y scope would i n e v i t a b l y  arise.  The next f i e l d work problem  i s how  to r e c o g n i z e the  o p p o r t u n i t y f o r an o b s e r v a t i o n a l s e s s i o n when you see  one.  8  The p o s s i b l e s i t u a t i o n s  i n c l u d e any and a l l o c c a s s i o n s  that  s a t i s f y the p r e v i o u s p o p u l a t i o n r e q u i r e m e n t s ; , t h a t i s , w h e n ever and wherever a c y c l i s t i s en m i l i e u * g e o g r a p h i c a l and temper a l p r a g m a t i c s ,  R e c a l l i n g our  i t was f e a s i b l e , to  a v a i l o u r s e l v e s , o f a mere f r a c t i o n o f the l e g i t i m a t e tunities*  oppor-  To c o r r e c t l y sample them, one must have a c o m -  p l e t e l i s t o f when and where c y c l i s t s are i n m i l i e u ; , and, once a g a i n , t h e r e i s no such l i s t to c o m p i l e one.  and i t i s beyond our means  Though t h e r e are t i m e s and p l a c e s  c y c l i s t s are- more and more f r e q u e n t l y  i n evidence,  where any  a n a l y s i s o f the p a r t i c u l a r s o f t h i s , e s p e c i a l l y i n c o m b i n a t i o n w i t h the p o p u l a t i o n s a m p l i n g c o n s i d e r a t i o n s , approaches a n e a r - i n f i n i t e t a s k .  This, a f f e c t s  s t a t i s t i c a l g e n e r a l i z a b i l l t y o f our r e s u l t s , e n t i r e sense.  only the  not  their  We have i n c l u d e d s p a c e / t i m e d e t a i l s o f  s p e c i f i c o c c a s s i o n s o n l y when and where i t was. p o s s i b l e and w o r t h w h i l e , i n the i n t e r e s t o f g e t t i n g on w i t h our more general  purpose.  I t ought to be o b v i o u s by now t h a t t h e phenomena we are c o n s i d e r i n g a r e , science technique,  i n terms o f t r i e d - a n d - t r u e  r a t h e r " s l i p p e r y "'.  We s h a l l have cause  to remark on t h i s a g a i n , when ve l o o k at "the and i n our d i s c u s s i o n " o f maths and men"* picked a subject  social  literature" , 1  p r now, h a v i n g u  and a s i t u a t i o n , l e t us c o n s i d e r t h e  lem o f what to l o o k f o r :  what s h a l l be our d a t a ?  prob-  As a  9  forewarning  t o p r o s p e c t i v e r e s e a r c h e r s i n these, • and, ..we  suspect, other  " r e a l world"  the.- s o c i o l o g i c a l l y popular  areas, we might mention t h a t and p r e c i s e v a r i a b l e s , c l a s s i c a l  f i e l d w o r k methods i f you w i l l , may i m p e r i l the r e s e a r c h e r . Attempts to determine, no matter how u n o b t r u s i v e l y , answers to t h e "who-what-where-when-and-how-much?" questions  generate  s u s p i c i o n , even overt h o s t i l i t y , p a r t i c u l a r l y i f the observer should i d e n t i f y h i m s e l f / i s i d e n t i f i e d as a s o c i o l o g i s t , l e t us l i g h t e n the t e x t with an i l l u s t r a t i v e i n c i d e n t t h a t we cannot r e s i s t r e l a t i n g . to occur  i n t h i s same l o c a t i o n , j u s t s h o r t l y b e f o r e we r e a l l y  knew what we were doing The  Iu was t h e second bad scrape  (wrong).  episode has been r e c o n s t r u c t e d from memory, but i t  was worth remembering.  The encounter takes p l a c e on an up-  ' t i l - n o w p l e a s a n t summer Saturday i n the Foreshore parking l o t .  Park  Winding Marine D r i v e b l a c k t o p i s a g r e a t  f o r "jammin'", a motorcycle improve one *, s k i l l , 1  near s u i c i d e .  a c t i v i t y designed  and nerve,  place  to t e s t and  i n the a r t o f high-speed  The s o l e t r i c k to t h i s e x e r c i s e i s t h a t one  must avoid V o i n g over t h e high s i d e . " . S l i d i n g o f f t h e o u t s i d e edge o f a curve at excessive speed probably  the worst o f a l l motorcycle  i s regarded  a c c i d e n t s , short o f a  head-on c o l l i s i o n , because t h e r i d e r i s i n v a r i a b l y by the tumbling  machine.  as  crushed  The a c t i v i t y i s h a r d l y a c o n t e s t ;  t h e r e i s no room f o r d i s t r a c t i n g f r i v o l i t i e s l i k e  competition.  10  Hence, c y c l i s t s g i v e each o t h e r a wide b e r t h , p r e f e r a b l y , " o u t t a s i g h t an* ^round t h e n e x t c o r n e r . " the. one. who can b r a g t h e l o u d e s t  "The w i n n e r " i s  afterwards.  Yours t r u l y has been q u e s t i o n i n g t h r e e members o f "The 3  Spartans",  a non-Biker  ( b u t s t i l l v e r y Mo.cho)  club  "dedicated  t o t h e enjoyment and improvement o f t h e s p o r t o f m o c o r c y c l i n g . " At t h i s p o i n t i n t h e encounter I m i s t a k e n l y l e t drop t h a t I a t t e n d U.B.U...  I i seemed a s a f e enough s t a t e m e n t a t t h e  t i m e , we b e i n g on " U n i v e r s i t y p r o p e r t y " and a l l .  Rather  abruptly,  The o p e n i n g  i t i s now my t u r n t o be i n t e r r o g a t e d .  l i n e goes t o Moose, e x - p r e s i d e n t and honourary l i f e t i m e member o f The S p a r t a n s . "Whadda y a do h e r e ?  11  "Oh...doing my t h e s i s . " "Wh add a b o u t ? " "Dmm,  anthropology  and s o c i o l o g y . "  I ~m a c o n g e n i t a l l y  i m p r o f i c i e n t l i a r when q u e r i e d d i r e c t l y ; I r e a l l y need a l o t o f t i m e and p l e n t y o f warm m i l k t o g e t my s t o r y s t r a i g h t . At t h i e p o i n t I ...ecide t h a t I had b e t t e r g e t my tomatoe p l a n t s i n as i t f e e l s l i k e we a r e on t h e v e r g e o f a v e r y heavy f r o s t . . D e l i c a t e l y e x c u s i n g m y s e l f ,  "Gotta  split...",  i n t h e f a c e o f r a p i d l y comprehending g l a r e s , I b e g i n "no  figuring:  s p r i n g e r , low c e n t r e o f g r a v i t y , a l l tuned; mayue I c a n  outrun  •em."  E x e c t r i c s t a r t g i v e s me t h e head s t a r t and  11  overwrought a d r e n a l s extend t h a t t o an u n c o m f o r t a b l e e a r l y lead. Coming up on Simon F r a s e r ' . a . monument a s c o o t m a t e r i a l i z e s on t h e w h i t e l i n e , i n s i d e t r a c k f o r t h e oncoming  corner,  The Mongoloid o b s e r v e r - i n - u s - a l l s t a t e s f a t u o u s l y ,  "he's  c l o s i n g , c r o w d i n g you up, y o u - a r e - a b o u t - t o - b e - h i g h s i d e d . . . " Ego c o u n t e r s f r a n t i c a l l y ,  "Hang onerel  Your Hog'.er  h e a v i e r , LisT him h i t y o u l "  Cianka-ta-CRUNCHl  Arms f l a i l .  A scscccrrappppepepe...  C r e t i n o u s l y , " w e l l s h e e i t , man, you made i t . . . h e bounced r i g h t o f f . . . w h y , h e l l , " B e r s e r k , "FAAAASSTERRR1It» A o r a d i n g t h e box i n t o t h i r d , pump-pump-pump a t h r o t t l e Dervish.  Go w h e e l s t a n d i n g i n t o a loonnng  straightaway.  Time w i t h o u t end l a t e r I n o t i c e t h a t my l i t t l e speedometer g i g g l e s jouncing off-end  ( i t does n o t work t o t h i s day, n o r  have I essayed t o have i t r e p a i r e d ) , a nobody e l s e i s i n sight.  Fins.  This slipperyness  ( i f you w i l l r e c a l l ) may be a f u n c t i o n  o f t h e p a r t i c u l a r phenomenon we a r e e x a m i n i n g .  We t a k e up  12  this topic specifically  i n the chapter e n t i t l e d  "None o f  Your Goddamn Business!", and r e f e r to i t again i n S e c t i o n Three under "image "behaviour." In t h i s same v e i n , i t i s .worth n o t i n g t h a t the academic t r e a t i s e s which concern themselves remotely) two.f  (directly,  indirectly,  „ith motorcycle-focused behaviours number e x a c t l y  E i t h e r the t o p i c i s s o c i o l o g i c a l l y u n i n t e r e s t i n g , or  s o c i o l o g i c a l l y s l i p p e r y , or both;  we have concluded, on  the  b a s i s o f the preceeding i n c i d e n t , t h a t i t i s at l e a s t saponaceous, but r e a s s e r t that i t i s a c a d e m i c a l l y a b s o r b i n g . The p a u c i t y of attempts  to understand the m o t o r c y c l i n g  phenomenon, i n the f a c e of the growing contraptions, i s s u f f i c i e n t One  final  presence o f the  excuse f o r s t u d y i n g them.  q u a l i f i c a t i o n b e f o r e r e t u r n i n g to the  o f e x a c t l y what we d i d do:  account  concerning the r e l a t i o n s h i p  between mathematics and human behaviour.  Wc have a l r e a d y  e x p l i c a t e d the p r a c t i c a l i m p o s s i b i l i t y o f p e r f o r m i n g any o f the most rudimentary  sampling proceedures.  with the d a t a we have.  We  are s t u c k  However, even under these l e s s - t h a n -  i d e a l circumstances, one t r i e d  and t r u e s o c i o l o g i c a l  proceedure  i s to apply s t a t i s t i c a l techniques o f summation and  analysis  i n sn attempt  infor-  mation  to render comprehensible  which i s at hand.  The l i s t  that body ox  o f a v a i l a b l e methods i s  impressive, and a l l that they r e q u i r e i s one.assumption.about  13;  the nature o f the data:  the facts:, as we have them, must  s a t i s f y the p r i n c i p l e o f e q u i v a l e n c e . each and  W  c  must suppose t h a t  every i n s t a n c e of "JL" ( i n t h i s context, some motor-  c y c l e r e l a t e d behaviour,  or some f e a t u r e o f t h a t  f o r example: "power t r i n p i n g " ) is: mathematically  behaviour, and phenom-  5  e n o l o g i c a l l y equivalent o f "X",  to each and every other i n s t a n c e  and d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from a l l "Y"'s, "Z"»S-©tc.  punchout", " p i c k i n g up broads",  ("a  "going f o r a Sunday spin")..  U n f o r t u n a t e l y , t h i s i s an assumption t h a t we  are not  w i l l i n g to make, because i t seems q u i t e obvious t h a t the phenomena i n question are not l i k e t h a t at a l l p u t a t i o n a l mode may  be p e r f e c t l y p o s s i b l e , and the r e s u l t s ,  would be elegant, t r i m , and n a t t y a n a l y s i s i s incongruous situated  However, the mode o f  with the f e a t u r e s o f  a c t i v i t y which we have encountered..  motorcycle T h i s amounts  to our a s s e r t i n g t h a t the phenomenon i s not o n l y but  "fuzzy"' as w e l l -  a post-hoc  "slippery" ,, 1  Each and every b i t o f i n f o r m a t i o n  obtained from our s u b j e c t s was, sense, unique and  The com-  i n a v e r y r e a l and  situation specific-  important  The f o r c e - f i t t i n g o f  mathematical mode o f a n a l y s i s would be  wholly  i n a p p r o p r i a t e f o r the s u b j e c t matter and our i n t e r e s t s own  Our  " s o f t s o c i o l o g y " approach ( i f one must g i v e i t a name)  to t h i s problem might be the p r e c u r s o r of a hard math schema, but at t h i s stage o f the game (both e a r l y what with the r i d d l e s of sampling,  and  late)  the dearth of d i r e c t l y  14  r e l e v a n t l i t e r a t u r e , and t h e k i n d s o f i n f o r m a t i o n which we were a b l e t o e x t r a c t , we a r e f o r c e d t o c o n c l u d e t h a t mathematics i s too p r e c i s e , motorcycling too v e l u t i n o u s .  The  two w i l l not f i t . H a v i n g made a l l t h e s e  q u a l i f i c a t i o n s about what we d i d  n o t / c o u l d n o t do, we. may b e g i n t o examine e x a c t l y what i t was t h a t we d i d a c c o m p l i s h about d o i n g i t *  i n the f i e l d ,  and how we went  Quite s i m p l y , we went around and asked a .  l o t o f m o t o r c y c l i s t s : what t h e y g o t o u t o f i t . . As o u t l i n e d above, we c o n f i n e d our q u e s t i o n s m a i n l y t o t h e Vancouver a r e a , w i t h b r i e f s i d e t r i p s down t h e West Coast and o v e r t o Winnipeg, Toronto and M o n t r e a l f o r i n t e r e s t ' s s a k e .  The b u l k  o f t h e q u e s t i o n i n g o c c u r r e d d u r i n g t h e summer o f 1 9 7 1 , w i t h some preamble d u r i n g t h e p r e v i o u s w i n t e r ( n o t a b l y t h e Motor V e h i c l e Records f i a s c o ) and t h e t y i n g up o f l o o s e ends t h e f o l l o w i n g year's? end.  That i s t h e m a t t e r s i m p l y p u t , b u t  t h e r e i s much more t o t h e m a t t e r t h a n t h a t . F i r s t , "a l o t o f m o t o r c y c l i s t s " means i n excess o f one thousand r e s p o n d e n t s , a l l o f whom f i t o u r d e f i n i t i o n o f a p o p u l a t i o n element.  The p r e c i s e number i s n o t known because  o f two f a c t o r s . . There were a few known " r e p e a t s "  (persons  we " r a n i n t o " ' t w i c e , o r i n a few c a s e s , s e v e r a l t i m e s ) p l u s a ( l i k e w i s e , presumably s m a l l ) number o f unknown repeats..  A l s o , when i t became q u i t e e v i d e n t t h a t mathe-  m a t i c s was o f no a v a i l , we s i m p l y stopped c o u n t i n g .  Since  15  the one t r u e s c i e n c e was way  d i s f r a n c h i s e d a l i t t l e over  through the whole procedure,  probably  the. raw  number o f  half encounters  exceeds f i f t e e n hundred but f a l l s , s h o r t o f  two  thousand. Next, t h e q u e s t i o n s we  asked, and why  we  In as. much as our g e n e r a l aim can be expressed to  asked them* as. an  attempt  get the i n s i d e dope about m o t o r c y c l i n g , we decided' to g e t  the dope i n s i d e by g e n e r a t i n g with our subjects.,  Merely  a little  interactive  contact  watching them, o r hanging around  the o u t s k i r t s of the v e h i c l e / v e r b a l t r a f f i c d i d not v e r y p r o d u c t i v e ; i n f a c t i t was probably  a f u n c t i o n o f our own  often,  confusing*  motorcycle  tendency to f i n d c e r t a i n encounters  prove This  n a i v e t e , and  with c e r t a i n  was the  cyclists  (motorcycle policemen i n p a r t i c u l a r ) "too t h r e a t e n i n g f o r words"..  In the f i e l d  t h e r e was  a rough inverse- r e l a t i o n s h i p  between the readiness: to assume the merely s p e c t a t o r and the a b i l i t y to comprehend a s i t u a t i o n . . r e c t l y t h a t t h i s was  stance  Deducing c o r -  g e t t i n g us nowhere, the d e c i s i o n  made to screw one'ss courage to the s t i c k i n g p o i n t and to  direct Now  was stick  questioning.. to the matter o f the p a r t i c u l a r  w i l l take some e x p l a i n i n g Returning,  questions.;  this  *..  as ever, to where we began, r e c a l l t h a t our  o v e r r i d i n g aim i s to say something about the s o c i a l phenomena  16  associated with motorcycles. it,  B e i n g a b i t r e f l e x i v e about  we are n e c e s s a r i l y c o n s t r a i n e d t o s a y i n g something  academic and s o c i o l o g i c a l about t h e b e h a v i o u r o f m o t o r cyclists..  'Without b e i n g too dogmatic about i t , s i n c e t h e s e  m a t t e r s are h a r d l y s e t t l e d i n s o c i o l o g y p r o p e r  (whatever  t h a t may b e ) , we s h a l l e x p l i c a t e f i r s t what b e i n g "academic" and b e i n g " i s o c i o l o g i c a l " ' e n t a i l s , , and t h e n e l u c i d a t e what  is  meant by " s a y i n g something about s o m e t h i n g " . The. ground r u l e o f academic work i s . t h a t the r e p o r t c o m p l e t e l y and c o r r e c t l y r e a s o n e d ,  be  which i s t o say,, l o g i c a l }  and,, as. an e x t e n s i o n o f t h i s standard,, f o r t h e sake o f b r e v ity  and c l a r i t y , t h a t i t be s y s t e m a t i c , s e t t i n g f o r t h  i n h e r e n t l o g i c i n a c o n c i s e , r e a d a b l e manner..  the  Nut a l l o f  s o c i o l o g y w i l l c l i n g t o t h i s custom ( p r a i s e b e l . ) ,. nor s h o u l d it,  but i n the r e a l m o f academic s o c i o l o g y one must be. t h o r -  oughly ( p a i n f u l l y ? ) s y s t e m a t i c and l o g i c a l .  This explains:  why r i g h t now you are p r o b a b l y a s k i n g y o u r s e l f ,  "Why d o e s n ' t  he c u t a l l t h i s preamble and g e t on w i t h t h e booze,, the b l u d g e o n i n g , , and t h e gang rape scene?" ^ t h a t i s . , i f you are b o t h e r i n g t o read t h i s p a r t a t a l l , , though t h e words "booze ... . b l u d g e o n i n g . . .gang r a p e " have p r o b a b l y caught y o u r eye i f you  are skimming.. S o c i o l o g y , o r any p i e c e o f i t , i s a study o f s o c i a l  phenomena;  any more e l a b o r a t e s p e c i f i c a t i o n o f t h e term  will  17  r a i s e i s s u e s of considerable contention, s i n c e s t r i c t e r d e l i m i t a t i o n s o f the l e g i t i m a t e and n e c e s s a r y  characteristics  o f s o c i o l o g i c a l endeavor are n o t u n i v e r s a l l y agreed upon.. However, even our v e r y squat d e f i n i t i o n does p o i n t out at. l e a s t t h r e e g e n e r i c t r a i t s o f work i n t h e f i e l d , t h r e e s t a n dards which are t h e m s e l v e s l o c i o f u n r e s o l v e d debate how  b e s t t o a c h i e v e them, but which are n o n e t h e l e s s  over service-  a b l e c r i t e r i a o f what q u a l i f i e s as s o c i o l o g y . . P r i m a r i l y i t must be a study:  i t ' s , aim i s t o a p p l y t h e  mind i n a c q u i r i n g an. u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f s o c i a l phenomena..  A.  s o c i o l o g i s t attempts t o apprehend and i n t e r p r e t t h e o b j e c t o f h i s study i n o r d e r t o g r a s p i t s meaning;;, t h i s i s an aim he s h a r e s w i t h t h o s e i n any f i e l d o f knowledgeable  endeavor,  b e i n g d i s t i n g u i s h e d from some and l i k e n e d t o others, o n l y by two f u r t h e r c r i t e r i a o f s o c i o l o g i c a l  effort*  S o c i o l o g y i s a study o f phenomena:  of information that  i s p r e s e n t e d as b e i n g i n t e r s u b j e c t i v e l y apparent t o t h e senses:.  Though not a l l s o c i o l o g i s t s w i l l s u b s c r i b e t o r a m -  pant p o s i t i v i s m , t h e y do share a common, i f o n l y v a g u e l y d e f i n e d concern w i t h "the f a c t s " o r "The r e a l w o r l d " ; h e r e t h e s o c i a l s t u d e n t p a r t s company w i t h , f o r example, t h e metap h y s i c i a n and his. meanings. F i n a l l y , i t i s a s t u d y o f the s o c i a l :  as h a v i n g t o do  w i t h human b e i n g s i n s i t u a t i o n s r e q u i r i n g t h a t they have  18  d e a l i n g s v i t h one another.  The f i e l d  shades o f f i n t o  other  s o c i a l s t u d i e s , f o r example, economics and s o c i a l psychology,, but  the s o c i o l o g i s t i s at l e a s t d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from  the  p h y s i c i s t , h i s d a t a and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s . Thus, s o c i o l o g y i s t h a t branch o f knowledge ( i f knowledge needs be hackled) which seeks to understand the i n t e r s u b j e c t i v e l y s e n s i b l e phenomena o f human beings i n r e l a t i o n . S o c i o l o g i s t s : say something about people i n t e r a c t i n g ; : i n t h i s rough and round about manner we have d e l i m i t e d the f i e l d as a whole.  I t i s not our i n t e n t to be any more d i d a c t i c , dog-  matic o r p r e c i s e than t h i s , t h e r e i s enough o f t h a t i n t h e field  already.  In t h i s ,  are p u r p o s e f u l l y f u z z y ,  and the s e c t i o n t h a t follows,, we interested only i n general  guide-  l i n e s f o r the accomplishment o f our paramount p r a c t i c a l go a l . The it  key t o t h i s r e p o r t , should  one wish to t r i a n g u l a t e  i n t h e d a r k l i n g f i e l d o f s o c i o l o g i c a l endeavor, i s t h e  s o r t o f something we s h a l l have to say about Again, t h e c a u t i o n  motorcycling.  i s not t o haggle these d i s t i n c t i o n s i n t o  a s o c i o l o g y o f knowledge, o r a knowledge o f s o c i o l o g y , but to keep i n mind t h a t they arose from and are g u i d e l i n e s t o a p a r t i c u l a r b i t of fieldwork. sociology and  We are not e x p l a i n i n g  how  i s to be done; we are c l a i m i n g t h a t i t i s s o c i o l o g y  e x p l a i n i n g how we d i d i t .  19  Saying something  (academic  and s o c i o l o g i c a l ) about  the  i n t e r s u b j e c t i v e l y s e n s i b l e phenomena o f human beings i n r e l a t i o n has gone by msny a moniker:  theorizing* analyzing,  e x p l a i n i n g , r e n d e r i n g , accountable, e t c . , ad  infinitum*  They are a l l s t u d i e d attempts to a r r i v e at some u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f c e r t a i n phenomena.. i z e d as a mental  That understanding can be c h a r a c t e r -  event or s t a t e of the researcher.'a c o n s c i o u s -  ness, such t h a t , having apprehended the s e n s i b l e , and subj e c t e d i t to i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , he now grasped the meaning o f i t ; understand t h a t way,  it,  f e e l s t h a t he  has  whereas b e f o r e he d i d not q u i t e  or d i d not grasp the meaning o f i t i n q u i t e  or he d i d not comprehend i t at a l l . .  aha ! he f i g u r e s out what the h e l l t r i e s to d e v i s e a way  Suddenly,  i s going on, and  o f f i x i n g i t i n h i s own  now  head, and o f  i m p a r t i n g t h i s understanding o t others.. The  question a r i s e s , whence t h a t meaning?  Has  the  i n v e s t i g a t o r , i n g a t h e r i n g and e x p l a i n i n g h i s data, grasped a meaning t h a t was  somehow i n h e r e n t i n the phenomenon, has:  he g i v e n i t y e t another meaning, or has he i n j e c t e d meaning where none e x i s t e d b e f o r e ?  I f we may  assume (without  s t a r t i n g and enormous t h e o r e t i c ^ J . debate) uhat, though the g e n e r a l aim i s understanding, t h e r e are many d i f f e r e n t ways. o f comprehending the same p e r c e i v e d events, and t h a t each o f these modes o f apprehension  i s l e g i t i m a t e ( t h a t i s , not  to be s h i t t e d on or otherwise d i s p a r a g e d ) , p r o v i d i n g i t meets;  20  the other standards o f academic s o c i o l o g i c a l e f f o r t , the r e s e a r c h e r may  then  l e t the whole matter hang, or he may  pick  p r e c i s e l y the s o r t o f understanding he wishes to attain.. The l a t t e r  a l t e r n a t i v e i s the approach  of t h i s report f o r  t h e r e are s p e c i f i c s o r t s of meanings t h a t we  are  after.  What t h i s study seeks i s an understanding o f the meanings i n h e r e n t i n m o t o r c y c l i n g behaviours, a p o i n t t h a t needs f u r t h e r (but take h e a r t , not endless) e x p l i c a t i o n . By "meanings i n h e r e n t i n m o t o r c y c l i n g b e h a v i o u r s " i n t e n d our s u b j e c t s apprehensions events they themselves  produce.  we  and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s o f the I f our aim i s to make sense  o f the s o c i a l phenomena, then i t i s not absurd to assume t h a t our s u b j e c t s w i l l have a l r e a d y a r r i v e d  at some  compre-  hension of what the h e l l they are doing, and i t i s these meanings t h a t we meaning o f .  are a f t e r ; t h a t we,  i n t u r n , seek the  Ix. must be s t r e s s e d t h a t the r e s e a r c h e r & 1  e v e n t u a l grasp of the meaning o f a s i t u a t i o n i s not c a l to h i s s u b j e c t s understanding o f i t ; 1  :  r a t h e r , h i s i s an.  u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f an understanding, meanings he has from h i s apprehension  grasped  and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f t h e i r meanings,  and, of course, an understanding s u b j e c t to the o f academic s o c i o l o g y (hmm..). might be cognominsted  identi-  criteria  Taken as a whole, t h i s  study  a study of the s o c i a l phenomena o f one  set of p a r t i c i p a n t meanings (though not o f the phenomena o f  21  p a r t i c i p a n t meanings i n g e n e r a l / t h e t r i a n g u l a t i o n would be complete. ignorant  a b s t r a c t ) , , and  (Happy now?)  armies o f h i g h e r t h e o r e t i c a l and  c r i t i q u e c l a s h by n i g h t ; we  your  Let  the  methodological  r e t u r n once more to  practical  matters. The subject  first  t a s k o f t h i s r e p o r t was  to g a i n access to  i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of m o t o r c y c l i n g ;  hence, our  our  ques-  t i o n , "What do you get out o f it?"„ " i t " b e i n g the motorc y c l e m i l i e u o f the s u b j e c t i n whatever context the wishes: to speak o f i t ( f o r example: i n g e n e r a l , at t h i s moment . . . . ) . .  r i d i n g , , owning,, r a c i n g , Obviously,  a l l y , t h i s : i s a r a t h e r vague q u e s t i o n . researcher little  cyclist  and i n t e n t i o n -  Whatever e l s e the  s a i d d u r i n g the encounter, and  we t r i e d to. say  as p o s s i b l e , c o n s i s t e d o f p o s i t i v e n o n d i r e c t i v e  feed-  back; the aim was: to keep the s u b j e c t t a l k i n g f o r as l o n g he wished, about whatever he was of i t .  w i l l i n g to say he got  as  out  The o b j e c t i o n c o u l d immediately be r a i s e d t h a t one .  i s only going to get those  accounts o f whatever the h e l l i s  going on t h a t t h e s u b j e c t s have i n d i v i d u a l l y or  collectively  judged f i t f o r p u b l i c consumption (the p u b l i c being our researcher, One  as  and whoever e l s e i s suspected  of  fair  involvement).  can never t e l l i f the responses represent  what t h e  phenomenon " r e a l l y means"' to the m o t o r c y c l i s t s , though  one  can be f a i r l y c e r t a i n t h a t i t i s never the whole t r u t h and  22  n o t h i n g but the t r u t h .  Our r e p l y i s , "Ah, q u i t e so, q u i t e  so, but ' t i s the v e r y beast we sought."; on the b a s i s o f field  experience  (groan) we have concluded  that t h i s  r e s e a r c h e r was never going to g e t any c l o s e r to p a r t i c i p a n t apprehensions than by asking f o r them o u t r i g h t . Should really  anyone wish to know what ( e l s e ) m o t o r c y c l i n g i s  a l l about, l e t him go and r i d e one; no one bared  t h e i r deep dark s e c r e t s to u s , and i t i s not l e g i t i m a t e s o c i o l o g y to smudge the study with the r e s e a r c h e r ' s own innermost f e e l i n g s ( o b j e c t i o n s r e i n e v i t a b l e b i a s e s aside).. A. r e a l advantage o f t h i s question i s t h a t i t can prope r l y and s a f e l y be asked o f j u s t about any m o t o r c y c l i s t , i n j u s t about any s i t u a t i o n , by almost anyone, p r o v i d i n g i t i s at  a l l adequately  staged..  Some c a r e i s r e q u i r e d , s i n c e  i n t r o d u c i n g i t too a b r u p t l y i n v i t e s h o s t i l e o r d e f e n s i v e r e p l i e s , which are not answers to the question but responses: to  threat or i r r i t a t i o n .  I n t r o d u c i n g i t too l a t e i n the  encounter c l o g s t h e r e s e a r c h e r with extraneous i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t the s u b j e c t has s t a t e d o r has a l r e a d y made up h i s mind to  state.  The question must be the focus o f the i n t e r v i e w  i n c i d e n t , p r o v i d i n g some measure o f coherence i n an o t h e r wise nebulous d a t a g a t h e r i n g Questions  situation.  such as "Why do you own i t / r i d e  i t . . . ? " were  r e j e c c e d because they c a l l f o r s e l f j u s t i f i c a t i o n ,  rather  23  than c o n v e r s a t i o n , p u t t i n g the s u b j e c t on the  defensive-  Other p o s s i b i l i t i e s , "What i s i t l i k e ? " , "How  do you  feel  when...?", were d i s c a r d e d becaused they e l i c i t reams o f random d e s c r i p t i o n / n a r r a t i v e i n s t e a d of o r g a n i z e d interpretation.  " ( W i l l you)  T e l l me  subject  about i t ? " i s hope-  l e s s l y n a i v e , i n v i t i n g k i d d i n g or s u s p i c i o n . The  question  b e i n g reasonably  as posed i s phrased i n " s t r e e t " asked of any  s u b j e c t from any  language;,  observer  vantage p o i n t , i t i s u n l i k e l y  to arouse c o v e r t r e a c t i o n s  t h a t c o l o u r the o v e r t r e p l y *  The  asking i t almost two positive  interest  The  after  thousand times) demonstrates a g e n e r a l  i n the s u b j e c t , harmless c u r i o s i t y ,  prying interaction o f which we  query ( a p p a r e n t l y ,  voyeurism t h a t demands d e t a i l s  not  (the p e r i l s  have already d e s c r i b e d f o r your enjoyment).  word "get"' i s one o f the widest  i n the language,  not only i n terms o f i t s s o c i a l d i s t r i b u t i o n above), but i t s c o n n o t a t i v e  scope*  from p a s s i v e r e c e p t i o n to s e i z u r e * n o t i o n s o f rewards and  I t covers  (discussed any  experience  I t i s not r e s t r i c t e d to  c o s t s (except  i n the minds o f s o c i a l ,  psychology students,, a couple o f whose r e p l i e s proved f a s c i nating i f unfollowably street  and  ask,  unfathomable).  To go out  i n the  "What i s the meaning o f i t ? " , or "What does  i t mean to you?", w i l l provoke i n c r e d u l o u s s t a r e s , l a u g h t e r , and the odd  request  for religious tracts.  There appears to  24  be no more s u i t a b l e term f o r the meaning , s i g n i f i c a n c e , sense,  i m p o r t , i n t e n t i o n o r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f something,,  t h a t can be phrased i n a s i m p l e , u n o b t r u s i v e  question.  One o b j e c t i o n t h a t c o u l d be r a i s e d here i s t h a t i n t e r v i e w e r may be r a i s i n g the q u e s t i o n i n the minds f o r the f i r s t t i m e ; t h a t i n f a c t q u e s t i o n , and t h a t he i s i n j e c t i n g existed before.  the  subjects*  i t i s a non-salient  meaning where none  T h i s s o r t o f c r i t i c i s m i s c o u n t e r e d by  n o t i n g the v e r y g e n e r a l n a t u r e o f the q u e s t i o n . . assumed t h a t t h e s u b j e c t has at l e a s t thought  Iii i s  about  the  m o t o r c y c l e e x p e r i e n c e , i f o n l y i n p r o c e s s o r memory, and t h a t i f n o t h i n g e l s e more c o h e r e n t and t o the p o i n t  is  o b t a i n e d from h i m , at l e a s t some o f t h e s e t h o u g h t s w i l l  be.  R e c a l l t h a t i t i s p r e c i s e l y t h e s e most g e n e r a l meanings, so f a r as the s u b j e c t s that t h i s report The  choose t o r e v e a l them t o an e n q u i r e r ,  is interested  i n understanding.  s t u d y has assumed t h a t the presence o f the  may be m e a n i n g f u l f o r the c y c l i s t .  sessions.  In the i n t e r e s t  on the course o f the  will  contact  o f c l a r i t y and p r o d u c t i v i t y we  have s t u c k t o a s i n g l e r e s e a r c h personage, motorcyclist..  is  (milieu-  o r n o n - c y c l i s t i d e n t i t y o f the r e s e a r c h e r  have a s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t  milieu  It follows that there  a s i m i l a r p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t the v i s i b l e c y c l i s t situated)  in  that of a fellow  Even t h i s s i m p l e c a t e g o r i c a l d e t e r m i n a t i o n  25  conceals a c o l l a t i o n of n e a r - i n f i n i t e v a r i a t i o n s , but t h e a l t e r n a t i v e , identities,  o r , worse y e t ,  observer  use o f d u a l  identities  The i n t e r a c t i o n e f f e c t s  scope o f t h e s t u d y , interest  i n a more c o n t r o l l e d  interpretation  was beyond  the  and we opted t o "ga n a t i v e " i n t h e  o f g e t t i n g on w i t h i t . .  The s i m p l e s t way to accom-  p l i s h t h i s i s to c a r r y a m o t o r c y c l e h e l m e t ;  more e l a b o r a t e  v e r s i o n s i n c l u d e s i d e s l i d i n g i n on a H a r l e y d r e s s e r , out i n b o o t s ,  c o l o u r s , cut o f f s ,  and copeous  d i r t and o i l . . We p l a y e d i t by e a r , grand o l d t i m e *  of  c o u l d be s t u d i e d w i t h a much  l a r g e r p o p u l a t i o n , o r , more l i k e l y , interview situation; their  disparate  switching identity in mid-session,  proved i m p o s s i b l e t o i n t e r p r e t . . different  situation-specific  'Nuff  decked  quantities, of  and g e n e r a l l y had a  s a i d about c l a r i t y *  A. much more p u z z l i n g " f a c t " ,  and one f o r which we have 6  g e n e r a t e d a more complete a c c o u n t , '  i s that asking  the  q u e s t i o n , one c y c l i s t to a n o t h e r , g e n e r a t e d a much g r e a t e r quantity  and a much h i g h e r q u a l i t y o f r e s p o n s i v e  information.  C y c l i s t s were f a r more w i l l i n g to answer i n the f i r s t s t u c k c l o s e r to t h e p o i n t ,  and gave l o n g e r , more e l a b o r a t e  r e p l i e s i f they were t a l k i n g to another c y c l i s t . . them as a n o n - c y c l i s t ( t h a t i s , one who i s n o t p e r c e i v e d as a c y c l i s t ) was e i t h e r f r u i t l e s s Hence, i n t h e i n t e r e s t  place,  or  of c l a r i t y , p r o d u c t i v i t y  we have t a k e n our u n o b t r u s i v e  Approaching  immediately frightening* (caid  frolics)  q u e s t i o n and gone as u n o b t r u -  26  s i v e l y n a t i v e as p o s s i b l e While we axe on the s u b j e c t o f f i e l d work  gerrymander-  i n g we would do w e l l t o mention some t h i n g s t h a t might have been been i n t e r e s t i n g but never q u i t e got o f f the groundF i r s t , we never r a n i n t o enough passengers ( f i g u r a t i v e l y speaking) to warrant' any hard and f a s t c o n c l u s i o n s what they g e t out o f i t , g e t s out o f i t ,  (as. opposed to what the d r i v e r  i n the context o f the complimentary  the passenger, e t c - , e t c . , e t c . ) . about i n g r e a t numbers, at l e a s t of s i n g l e r i d e r s ,  about  role of  They are not out and i n p r o p o r t i o n to the number  and when they were , e i t h e r they d i d not  have t h a t much to say ( t h e onus i n the i n t e r v i e w b e i n g on t h e person i n command o f the f o c u s o f the m i l i e u ) , o r they d i d n o t say much t h a t was d i f f e r e n t / r e v e a l i n g it  Secondly,  was n o t worthwhile t o compile an i n v e n t o r y o f m o t o r c y c l e  m i l i e u a r t i f a c t s and d i f f e r e n t i a t i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s -  Such  d e t a i l s , were unnecessary f o r an adequate u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f subjects' r e p l i e s ,  and r e c o r d i n g them f o r subsequent a n a l y -  s i s was out o f t h e q u e s t i o n .  The only m i l i e u  distinction  which was s i g n i f i c a n t f o r a l a r g e p r o p o r t i o n o f the s u b j e c t s , and around which some mathematically sampled  "meanings"'  study might be attempted, was the s i z e o f the engine (with the n e c e s s a r i l y r e l a t e d f e a t u r e s o f manufacturer and model type)-  I t was not p a r t i c u l a r l y u s e f u l f o r t h i s r e p o r t , and  27  we have only considered f u l end  m i l i e u d e t a i l s where i t was  fruit-  p r a c t i c a l to r e c o r d them.'  N e i t h e r have we  attempted to be  systematic  p o s s i b l e v a r i a t i o n s i n i n t e r v i e w s e s s i o n s due  about  to the presence  or absence of other m o t o r c y c l i s t s / n o n - m o t o r c y c l i s t s , the. area o f the c i t y / p r o y i n c e / c o n t i n e n t . , and the time o f night/year.-  Where such f e a t u r e s were important  day/  f o r motor-  c y c l i n g , we have mentioned them; but f o r the purposes o f t h t h i s study b r i n g up tant. not  We  these v a r i a b l e s (and  any o t h e r s you  at t h i s time) have been assumed  would care to  " random"/unimpor-  are t r y i n g to say something about  motorcycling,  everything. B r i e f c o n s i d e r a t i o n can now  which i n f o r m a t i o n was  recorded  do to s p o i l the u n o b t r u s i v e  be g i v e n to the manner i n  i n the f i e l d *  stance we had  so  I t would not carefully  c u l t i v a t e d , so, o f the many a v a i l a b l e r e c o r d i n g methods, some were r e j e c t e d o u t r i g h t . d i s t r a c t i n g , and  Films and tapes were too  i n t i m i d a t i n g ; : they only p r o v i d e  cumbersome, a partial  r e c o r d , and they d i v e r t the a t t e n t i o n o f the observer. still  camera was  s l i g h t l y more f e a s i b l e , s i n c e there  s i t u a t i o n s where i t i s l e g i t i m a t e to "take However, t h i s was a uniform  source  a few  The  are  snapshots"*  d i s c a r d e d because i t could not c o n s t i t u t e o f data.  Concealed r e c o r d i n g d e v i c e s were  s u b j e c t to a l l o f the above l i m i t a t i o n s , and  were an enormous  28  psychological  liability  method ve f i n a l l y  (or p h y s i c a l , i f d i s c o v e r e d ) .  chose was  technique o f "rushing l i t t l e shorthand and  the  home and  The  quasi-eidetic redintigrative w r i t i n g i t a l l down"-  With a  a l o t o f p r a c t i c e , i t served the  pur-  pose w e l l . Having d e s c r i b e d d e l i m i t what, out o f the To do  how  we  set t h i n g s  down, we  o f the t o t a l i n f o r m a t i o n a l  t h i s , l e t us. s e t t l e , on some simple  o f the  can be  by the f o l l o w i n g terms, l e t us Meanings?  The  assumed t h a t  subject  goulash..  r e s p o n s e s i n the raw..  subjects  are  question,  "What do you  get  were e x p l i c a t i n g what t h e i r motor-  meaning i s what any  one  (single) thing that  I get out of i t " . .  I t does not  Accordingly,  That i s , , i t i s  c y c l e m i l i e u s i t u a t e d b e h a v i o u r s meant to themsubject  r e f e r s to the d a t a as the  speaking  denote:  i n r e p l y i n g to the  out o f i t ? " , the  record.  standardized  c e r t a i n t h a t we  same t i d b i t i n t h e i n f o r m a t i o n a l  still  possibilities;  complete body of encounters, we decided to  terminology, so t h a t we  one  must  Any  one  would i s o l a t e as "aOme  subjects  Thus,, "meanings"  have/would c o n s t i t u t e i t .  matter i f a g i v e n response i s r e f e r r e d to  as  or a number of meanings;., the ways o f c o n s t i t u t i n g i t  can be using  (and  were) as v a r i e d  as the  subjects..  the term s y n t h e t i c a l l y , to encompass the  o f d a t a and what we  to i n d i c a t e that the  were a f t e r -  We  are  only  e n t i r e body  responses were, indeed,  29  An Element:  A p a r t o f a s u b j e c t response on t h e b a s i s o f  which c o n g r u i t y / i n c o n g r u i t y among the meanings i s d e t e r mined.. term.,  T h i s , i n c o n t r a s t t o t h e above, i s our a n a l y t i c An element can be a n y t h i n g from a key word o r phrase  i n a r e s p o n s e t o t h e tone i n which t h a t response was ered.  deliv-  I n "meanings"-we have denoted t h e v a r i o u s senses t h a t  t h e s u b j e c t s make o f t h e i r b e h a v i o u r s ; by "elements" we denote how we, as r e s e a r c h e r s , s h a l l make sense, o f t h o s e meanings.  What i s r e q u i r e d i s t h a t an element o c c u r i n more  t h a n one r e s p o n s e , and t h a t t h e r e be a number o f elements which d i f f e r e n t i a t e t h o s e r e s p o n s e s a c c o r d i n g t o a c e r t a i n meaning system t o be devised.. The s u b j e c t r e s p o n s e s were, on t h e whole, e x t r e m e l y v a r i e d , and v o l u m i n o u s ; we r e c e i v e d a g r e a t d e a l more i n r e p l y t o our q u e s t i o n than we had ever a n t i c i p a t e d .  Accord-  i n g l y , we cannot hope t o make sense 'out o f each and every s u b j e c t s ' r e p l y , n o r can we a d e q u a t e l y account f o r the e n t i r e corpus o f i n f o r m a t i o n ( i t was not even p o s s i b l e t o r e c o r d t h e major p o r t i o n o f i t i n a l l i t s c o m p l e x i t y ) . .  I n s t e a d , what  we s h a l l attempt t o do i s p r o v i d e an account of t h e "common sense" f a c e t s o f m o t o r c y c l i n g . .  That i s , we have s e l e c t e d  o n l y t h o s e words, p h r a s e s , i d e a s which o c c u r r e d  in a signif-  i c a n t number o f s u b j e c t responses ( t h e c r i t e r i a  of  cance b e i n g  signifi-  " i t seems t o me I've heard t h a t song b e f o r e " ;  r e l y on t h e f i e l d  judgment i n s t e a d o f m a t h e m a t i c s ) .  These  we  30  tidbits  w h i c h we a b s t r a c t we c h r i s t e n " e l e m e n t s " as  denoting  s o m e t h i n g common i n t h e meanings o f more t h a n one s u b j e c t . The. f a c t u a l / l o g i c a l  r e l a t i o n s , within  e l e m e n t s , d e t e r m i n e d b o t h by t h e s u b j e c t ability  t o comprehend  eventually  and r e c o r d  c o n s t i t u t e our i n i t i a l  t h e chosen s e t o f  responses  and o u r  t h e shared facets., Section  Two  schematic  u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e "common s e n s e " o f m o t o r c y c l i n g iours,  meanings which t h e r e s e a r c h e r  portions  o f t h e meanings: w h i c h h i s s u b j e c t s  otherwise) share. features  still  p o s s i b l e , as we s h a l l  different striking  to  s a i d so much t h a t  o f motorcycle  A Theme; of t h e i r as  A block  intending  some o t h e r  Hence , we h a v e the shared  together,  on t h e b a s i s  some s e t o f common/congruous e l e m e n t s ,  thing/theme).  (and not/as d i s t i n c t  The c o n s t r u c t i o n  responses  summary and t r a n s l a t i o n . common s e n s e  with  so much  s i t u a t e d m e a n i n g s and b e h a v i o u r .  about t h e same t h i n g  elements o f subject  further  was common..  o f meanings, lumped  containing  many  i nthe  i n a d d i t i o n to having  t h e f o l l o w i n g terms t o d e a l  as i t i s  B u t one o f t h e  about m o t o r c y c l i s t s , ( t i t l e a s t  mind) i s t h a t ,  developed  just  s e e below, t o f o r m u l a t e  researcher's say, they  to those  (unwittingly or  o f a phenomenon f o e x p l a n a t i o n ,  a c c o u n t s o f one s e l e c t e d set.. things  behav-  C e r t a i n l y , i t would be p o s s i b l e t o s e l e c t  other  aspects  has g i v e n  will  i s a process  The r e s e a r c h e r  (other  o f themes f r o m of redaction, of  uncovers  than t h e simple  from  some  co-occurrances  a  31  which cause him to c u l l the i s o l a t e d elements) meaningful r e s p o n s e s o f t h e s u b j e c t s  and t h e r e b y  them to an agreed upon t h e m a t i c o r d e r . t h i s second-order  t-mong the reduces  As. e x p l a i n e d above,  summation i s dependent upon the  logical/  f a c t u a l o r d e r o f the b a s i c e l e m e n t a l c o - o c c u r r e n c e s . same i s t r u e f o r t h e f o l l o w i n g A Cluster:  term.  A b l o c k o f themes lumped t o g e t h e r , on t h e  o f t h e i r c o n t a i n i n g some f u r t h e r elements,  The  set o f  basis  common/congruous  as i n t e n d i n g about the same t h i n g (and n o t / a s  d i s t i n c t from some o t h e r t h i n g / t h e m e ) .  This i s a process o f  t h i r d - o r d e r r e d a c t i o n , o f f i n d i n g some a d d i t i o n a l m e a n i n g f u l o r d e r among the themes we have c o n s t i t u t e d * :  The  clusters  w i l l r e p r e s e n t t h e most summarized way o f making sense o f t h e meanings, which were o r i g i n a l l y e l i c i t e d :  they are  the  s h o r t e s t s t o r y t h a t we can t e l l . The degree t o which i t i s p o s s i b l e / n e c e s s a r y  to  system-  a t i z e t h e r e a l i t y "out t h e r e " ' i n t o some c o n v e n i e n t l y compreh e n s i b l e " s t o r y " depends on t h e n a t u r e o f the phenomena under i n v e s t i g a t i o n , the researcher  who performs t h e b u t t w o r k , and  the p a r t i c u l a r audience f o r whom the e x p l a n a t i o n i s The whole a f f a i r ,  intended.  i n a d d i t i o n to whatever e l s e i t may b e ,  an emminently p r a c t i c a l e n t e r p r i s e .  S i n c e i t has never  our i n t e n t i o n to f o r m u l a t e g e n e r a l s o l u t i o n s to  is  been  abstract  t h e o r e t i c a l / m e t h o d o l o g i c a l problems i n the s o c i a l  sciences,  32  t h e p r e c e d i n g t e r m i n o l o g y i s not advanced f o r debate on any such u n p e l p a b l e g r o u n d s . problem:  I t i s rooted i n a p r a c t i c a l  how t o say something u s e f u l / i n t e r e s t i n g / " f a c t u a l  about c y c l e - s i t u a t e d b e h a v i o u r .  The f i n a l / f i n i t e  1 1  f r u i t s of  f o l l o w i n g t h i s procedure are l o o s e l y c o n c e p t u a l i z e d as "'a story",  and n o t h i n g more e l a b o r a t e ,  because i t has not  proved u s e f u l / i n t e r e s t i n g t o embark on any f u r t h e r  self-  j u s t i f i c a t i o n o f i t s "fcicademic" and " s o c i o l o g i c a l " m e r i t . The schemata o f "meanings, e l e m e n t s , may s t r i k e the r e a d e r l i k e i t was l i f t e d  themes and c l u s t e r s "  as s u s p c i o u s l y nonabstruse;-. i t l o o k s  from any h i g h s c h o o l l i t e r a t u r e  course.  Quite s o , and t h e p r a c t i c a l reason f o r such a r t l e s s n e s s the self-imposed c o n s t r a i n t o f c o n s u l t a t i v e feedback, cussed below..  is dis-  The d e c i s i o n t o e x p l i c a t e the "common sense"  (as. w e l l as the d e c i s i o n t h a t e l e m e n t a l  co-occurrences  c o n s t i t u t e i n t e r s u b j e c t i v e f a c e t s o f meaning)  i a also  grounded i n the phenomenon under i n v e s t i g a t i o n . .  In a s i m i l a r  manner we may account f o r the t r i c h o t o m o u s n a t u r e o f t h e redaction procedure-  The end i s t o f o r m u l a t e an adequate  account o f whatever t h e h e l l i s g o i n g on..  I f i t takes  t r i e s ( l e v e l s o f m e a n i n g / a b s t r a c t i o n i n the seminar fine.  I t c o u l d have taken f i f t y ,  three  parlance),  but then t h i s would be a  book; i f i t had t a k e n one, we would have a m o v i e .  Since, i t  i s s o c i o l o g y , t h r e e i s a ( p e c u l i a r l y ) p o p u l a r number, h a v i n g i t s o r i g i n i n (as y e t u n s p e c i f i e d )  researcher-audience  1  33  considerations. On the o t h e r hand, the p r o c e d u r e s by which r e a l i t y i s e v e n t u a l l y reduced t o such terms may seem too  abstruse;  i n d e e d , t h e y are a l t o g e t h e r h i d d e n i n the r e s e a r c h e r ' s own head..  Again,, q u i t e s o , r o r q u i t e p r a c t i c a l r e a s o n s .  have no d i s c e r n a b l e body o f d a t a , it,  We  f o r how s h o u l d we r e c o r d  much l e s s a n a l y z e i t ( o t h e r t h a n by the above means) i n  a l l i t s ( a l l e g e d ) p l e n i t u d e ? Where l u r k s the i n t e n t " s e t o f e l e m e n t s " , supposedly r e p l e t e w i t h l o g i c a l and f a c t u a l connection?  Tnere are DUG a few s e l e c t e d elements: s p o t t e d  throughout the t e x t  "for i l l u s t r a t i v e purposes",  have been r e c o n s t r u c t e d from m e m o r y / s h o r t h a n d .  and they The r e a d e r  i s l e f t w i t h o n l y t h e themes and c l u s t e r s o f S e c t i o n Two, and some f u r t h e r r e f l e c t i o n s on t h e m a t t e r i n S e c t i o n T h r e e . Our o n l y j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r t h i s s e t o f t h e o r e t i c a l l y / m e t h o d o l o g i c a l l y / ( f a c t u a l l y ? J questionable procedures i s following.  We have a l r e a d y a l l u d e d t o t h e  difficulties/  d i s c r e p a n c i e s o f d o i n g t h a t which i s " c l a s s i c a l " , acceptable,  a priori,  on grounds o f s c h o l a s t i c  i n any i n v e s t i g a t i o n o f c o n t i n e n t a l c y c l i n g , programmatic p r e c e d e n t s number b u t two* m i n d , and s t i c k i n g f a s t  the  (ie.)  entrenchment)  e s p e c i a l l y when  Bearing t h i s i n  t o our most g e n e r a l p u r p o s e , we  barged ahead and d i d i t . .  S e c t i o n One c o n t a i n s t h e  explication  o f how and why (to t h e b e s t o f our knowledge, and at t i m e s  34  i t was not c l e a r t o us e x a c t l y what we were d o i n g or why). S e c t i o n s Two and Three c o n t a i n the e x p l a n a t i o n o f what was t h a t we f o u n d , f o r a l l our b u m b l i n g . .  In t o t o ,  it  they  c o n s t i t u t e one p o s s i b l e s t o r y o f what t h e h e l l i s g o i n g on i n the f i e l d o f N o r t h American m o t o r c y c l i n g b e h a v i o u r s . We have t w i c e mentioned t h a t h a v i n g d e c i d e d on a p a r t i c u l a r s e t o f e l e m e n t s , themes,  and c l u s t e r s t h a t  are  worth e x p l a i n i n g , i t would s t i l l be p o s s i b l e t o g e n e r a t e several quite different researcher element,  accounts f o r those "facts"..  The  i s i n a p o s i t i o n t o judge what c o n s t i t u t e s  etc.,  s i n c e he i s the one f a m i l i a r w i t h the  subjective facets  of subject responses.  an inter-  However, we s h a l l  have t o s e t some a d d i t i o n a l c r i t e r i a o f what s h a l l c o n s t i t u t e an adequate account.. r i o n as  We have d e r i v e d one such c r i t e -  follows:  We have assumed t h a t m o t o r c y c l e s and m o t o r c y c l i n g a r e m e a n i n g f u l a s p e c t s o f our subjects' l i v e s . .  Thus, they  are  a b l e t o p r o v i d e u s w i t h t h e raw d a t a f o r t h i s study i n t h e form o f answers t o t h e q u e s t i o n , "What do you g e t out o f i t ? " Prom t h i s corpus o f i n f o r m a t i o n we have s e l e c t e d  certain  c l u s t e r s , themes and elements as worth comprehending. i t i s not u n r e a s o n a b l e t o assume t h a t s i n c e our  Now,  subjects  have, on t h e w h o l e , a c o h e r e n t g r a s p o f t h e i r own m o t o r c y c l i n g r e a l i t i e s , and are a b l e t o i m p a r t t h i s t o  the  35  researcher,  they may also be able to comprehend and account  f o r t h e shared aspects o f those m o t o r c y c l i n g This: r e q u i r e s t h a t t h e r e s e a r c h e r there  realities..  inform h i s s u b j e c t s t h a t  are c e r t a i n c l u s t e r s , themes and elements, where they  are n o t already already, were,  aware o f them as such, though u s u a l l y , they another f e a t u r e o f m o t o r c y c l i n g  t h a t needs  7 explaining.  Then he asks h i s s u b j e c t ,  "What do you make  of i t ? " The- c r i t e r i a o f an adequate account o f t h e shared features of motorcycling  behaviour i s t h a t i s should be  comprehensible t o t h e m o t o r c y c l i s t s themselves* to t h i s ,  In a d d i t i o n  i t must be academic and s o c i o l o g i c a l , which com-  pounds, t h e f i e l d w o r k problems.. criterion,  Under the r u b r i c o f t h i s  an inadequate account runs not only t h e r i s k o f  " f a i l i n g t o meet t h e standards o f proper academic endeavor",, but o f being achieved  called  "a load o f b u l l s h i t " .  Adequacy i s  by the f o r m a l i z e d procedure o f " c o n s u l t a t i v e f e e d - ,  back". Our  procedure has been t o go back, a f t e r  determining  what m o t o r c y c l i s t s have i n common, and ask a r e p r e s e n t a t i v e sample o f m o t o r c y c l i s t s what they make o f i t . By sample we mean approximately one hundred who f i t the d e f i n i t i o n o f a t y p i c a l population  element ( t h e r e was not time, f o r more)*  By r e p r e s e n t a t i v e we mean r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f the common  36  elements o f a meaning. the same.  Thus, the encounter parameters a r e  A s u b j e c t i s approached by the r e s e a r c h e r gone  u n o b t r u s i v e l y n a t i v e , and asked, "What do you get o u t o f it?"  On the b a s i s o f h i s r e p l y , the r e s e a r c h e r  determines:  i f t h i s s u b j e c t r e p r e s e n t s one o f the common f e a t u r e s o f m o t o r c y c l i n g behaviours. for  I f so, the u s u a l procedure was  the r e s e a r c h e r t o generate  a cover s t o r y , such as, "You  know, somebody e l s e once mentioned something l i k e t h a t . " The  question can then be posed, "What do you make o f i t ? " ,  "How do you f i g u r e i t ? " , "1 don't g e t i t , do you?",, e t c . , v h i c h are a l l " s t r e e t language" f o r the g e n e r a t i o n o f a suitable  account.  Quite o b v i o u s l y , a process o f s e l e c t i o n and r e d a c t i o n s i m i l a r t o t h a t i n v o l v e d i n the i n i t i a l d e t e r m i n a t i o n o f elements i s o c c u r r i n g here, but on a s m a l l e r s c a l e . i n t e n t i o n here ,is not to p o i n t out t h a t an i n f i n i t e  The regress  i s i n e v i t a b l y i n v o l v e d , but t o employ the procedure o f c o n s u l t a t i o n i n t h e g e n e r a t i o n o f the f i n a l criteria  is. designed  account.  The  to systematize, and l e g i t i m a t e "being  f a i r " t o one'o- s u b j e c t s , so t h a t , having pumped them f o r data, one does- n o t cast them a s i d e l i k e the f i n a l  a n a l y s i s is; made, and the v o t e s  In p r a c t i c e , the f i n a l i n i t i a l data, and p a r t i a l l y  empty v e s s e l s b e f o r e are i n .  e x p l a n a t i o n was h i n t e d at i n the worked out i n the r e s e a r c h e r ' s :  37  mind b e f o r e c o n s u l t a t i o n b e g s n .  But c o n s u l t ve d i d , l a r g e l y  i n V a n c o u v e r , but w i t h f o r a y s up and down the West Coast t h r o u g h the w i n t e r o f 1971. further  Over much beer and one hundred  encounters the "image b e h a v i o u r " e x p l a n a t i o n o f  " t h i n g s i n common" was u l t i m a t e l y hammered i n t o s h a p e . final  account i s n o t o n l y academic and s o c i o l o g i c a l , 8 c o m p r e h e n s i b l e t o the s u b j e c t s themselves:. Ix. i s l o n g p a s t time t o get a g l i m p s e o f t h a t so w i t h o u t f u r t h e r  The  but  account,  ado we s h a l l t a b u l a t e the s c h e m a t i z e d  f i n d i n g s o f S e c t i o n Two.  The procedure has been to g i v e  esch c l u s t e r and each theme an a p p r o p r i a t e t i t l e . t h e s e i s d i s c u s s e d , at whatever l e n g t h i s  Each o f  appropriate/  f e a s i b l e / i n t e r e s t i n g i n a s e p a r a t e c h a p t e r o f S e c t i o n Two.. Elements, o f s u b j e c t meanings/responses  appear i n quotes: t o  i l l u s t r a t e what i s i n v o l v e d i n each case...  Negative  Positive  Clusters:  Clusters:  Themes:  Creepy P e e l i n g s  Schema of Elements  None o f Your Goddamn Business  Wishy-Wasrhy  Transportation.lt' s a  Enthusiastic  Gripes  Bummers  Job.r Mechanical Bridfi'Kicks.Machismo • Weather-Mechanics • M a l i c e - A n x i e t y  39  A word o f c s u t i o n i s i n o r d e r :  the p r e c e d i n g schemata  i s a way o f making sense o f s u b j e c t r e s p o n s e s ;  i t i s not  a  s t r u c t u r e f o r immediately c l a s s i f y i n g those meaningful replies-,  end, more i m p o r t a n t l y , i t i s not a t y p o l o g y o f  subjects., in  l e t us c o n s i d e r t h e s e two c r i t i c a l q u a l i f i c a t i o n s  order. First,  tion,  we must emphasize t h a t t h e r e p l i e s t o t h e  ques-  "What do you get out o f i t ? " v/ere tremendously v a r i e d ,  so v a r i e d as t o defy s i m p l e s o r t i n g i n t o s l o t s . almost i m m e d i a t e l y apparent, r e c u r r i n g phrases,  I i was  .'. . .• >  however, t h a t t h e r e were c e r t a i n  images, r e f e r e n c e s ,  ( i n a word,  t h a t r a n t h r o u g h almost a l l o f t h e s e r e s p o n s e s ,  elements)  and t h a t  c o n s t i t u t e d a v e r y i m p o r t a n t p a r t o f t h o s e meanings...  This  s e t o f elements t r a n s c e n d s t h e enormous v a r i a n c e and s u b j e c t i v i t y o f the p a r t i c u l a r meanings.;; a s i m p l e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n scheme would i n ho sense exhaust t h e d a t a and i t would be difficult  t o put one response i n one box o r t o break t h a t  response- up. s e n s i b l y i n t o two packageable b i t s . . What we have done i n s t e a d , i n t h e i n t e r e s t s o f an e c o n o m i c a l s t o r y , i s t o f i r s t  abstract  those  telling  elements  which o c c u r i n more than one response and which d i f f e r e n t i a t e s i g n i f i c a n t a s p e c t s o f the i n d i v i d u a l meanings..  The  schemata i s a system f o r c l a s s i f y i n g t h o s e common elements, a c c o r d i n g to some system c o m p r e h e n s i b l e to a l l c o n c e r n e d ;  40  i t i s n o t a d i r e c t paradigm o f meanings. only a s y n t h e t i c term, there  Hence, meanings i s  i s : no need t o compare o r disr-  t i n g u i s h d i f f e r e n t meanings, or t o d e f i n e what would c o n s t i t u t e one u n i t o f meaning. There i s a p r a c t i c a l reason f o r t h i s i n i t i a l of abstraction..  procedure  S u b j e c t s f i n d i t r a t h e r o f f e n s i v e when t h e  s t u d e n t makes: a d i r e c t comparison between t h e i r r e p l y some o t h e r sub j e c t * SJ response... s t u d e n t s a y i n g i n each and what you d o e s not..  This. i s . t a t amount t o  and the  e v e r y case,. 'Teah, I know e x a c t l y  mean.,", when, i n f a c t , i t i s q u i t e a p p a r e n t t h a t By a b s t r a c t i n g o n l y c e r t a i n b i t s o f  f r o m t h e subject's^. r e p l y , , and w o r k i n g out t h e  information intersubjec-  t i v e sense of those elements, the student p r e s e r v e s the m e a n i n g f u l ) i n d i v i d u a l i t y o f the p r o f f e r e d r e p l y . . o f t e n , t h i s was ,r  he  (very  Quite  a c c o m p l i s h e d by t h e s i m p l e d e v i c e o f  saying  xou know, somebody. els-.e mentioned something l i k e that... ..'V.  thus preserving  t h e respondent* sv-dignity,., and t r a n s f e r r i n g  t h e d i s c u s s i o n t o a more "abstract." ±evel o f meanings., A- s i m i l a r p r a c t i c a l c o n s t r a i n t i s t h e r e a s o n t h a t schemata has no p r e t e n t i o n s cation of motorcyclists. important information,  t o b e i n g an e x h a u s t i v e  Subjects,  can g e t  having  classifi-  volunteered  q u i t e put o f f ( p u t t i n g i t ;  m i l d l y ) i f t h e y are t h e n p i g e o n h o l e d on t h e b a s i s o f information;  the  that  t h i s i s tatamount t o the s t u d e n t s a y i n g , on  the  41  b a s i s o f the b r i e f e s t p o s s i b l e acquaintance, y o u , y o u ' r e , one o f those.."  "Yeah, I know  I t would be p o s s i b l e to u n d e r -  t a k e such a t y p o l o g y o f m o t o r c y c l i s t s ( o r s t u d e n t s , professors) or a f a c i l e d i r e c t c l a s s i f i c a t i o n o f  or  responses,  but t h e author would c e r t a i n l y not w i s h t o attempt ( w i t h any s e t o f s u b j e c t s , they appear)'  it.-.,  no matter now meek and c o o p e r a t i v e  under the m e t h o d o l o g i c a l c o n s t r a i n t o f c o n -  s u l t a t i v e feedback. It  i s worth n o t i n g t h a t the r e p l y o f any one  subject  c o u l d c o n t a i n t h e elements o f any o r a number o f themes:;; q u i t e d i f f e r e n t meanings and elements would l i k e l y be i t e d at d i f f e r e n t t i m e s and i n d i f f e r e n t s e t t i n g s  elic-  ( s u c h was.  c e r t a i n l y t h e case i n t h o s e i n s t a n c e s o f known r e p e a t s ) ;  and  t h e y l i k e l y had a g r e a t d e a l more on t h e i r mind than they chose t o r e v e a l a t t h e moment and which o t h e r s , t i m e s and p l a c e s , spoke f r e e l y about.. from the s u b j e c t s '  responses..  at  other  A l l t h i s was o b v i o u s  What i s not o b v i o u s ( o r , what  was never o b v i o u s to us at t h e t i m e ) i s whether the  subjects  are d i s t r i b u t e d i n some p a t t e r n e d way, c o r r e l a t e d w i t h some o t h e r measure o f s u b j e c t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s a n d / o r a c r o s s the schemata t h a t we h a v e .  The r e s p o n s e s ,  and any o t h e r r e s i d u a l  n o t a t i o n s made by the b y , r e v e a l e d no such p a t t e r n . . congruent w i t h the p r e v i o u s l y mentioned c o n s t r a i n t pigeonholing, that,  and i s s u p p o r t e d by the f r e q u e n t  This i s against  assertion  " e v e r y b o d y ' s . . . ( q u i t e a p p a r e n t l y ) . . . on h i s own t r i p " .  42  There a r e c e r t a i n cases: where a c e r u a i n theme o r  cluster  was d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h an e a s i l y i d e n t i f i a b l e c l a s s of subjects.. so,  Where such was the c a s e ,  we have n o t e d  and t r i e d to account f o r i t ; but such i n t e r v i e w s were  few i n number and s h o u l d never be t a k e n as the hard and rule.  Io was f a r more common t o f i n d t h a t t h e r e are  subjects  fast  certain  who q u i t e c l o s e l y embody the sense o f a g i v e n theme.  They a r e ,  i n the eyes .of o t h e r m o t o r c y c l i s t s , and o f t e n  t h e i r own s e l f  image, a w a l k i n g , t a l k i n g " i d e a l t y p e " .  t i m e s t h i s w o r k i n g man's " i d e a l t y p e " approaches  in Some-  near-myth-  i c a l p r o p o r t i o n s ( i n the sense o f , nowhere at l a r g e ) ,  for  example, P e t e r F o n d a ' s " C a p t a i n A m e r i c a " ; b u t ,  sooner o r  later,  In such  you happen on a p r e t t y good f a c s i m i l e .  instances,  t h e " i d e a l t y p e " w i l l be used f o r  illustrative  purposes o n l y , w i t h o u t i m p l y i n g any complete t y p o l o g y . Thus, w h i l e our s t o r y e x p l a i n s a v e r y m e a n i n g f u l aspect o f the m o t o r c y c l i s t s ' e x i s t e n c e ,  i t i n no way exhausts  the  meaning o f m o t o r c y c l e - r e l a t e d b e h a v i o u r , o r e x p l a i n s  the  differences  to.  among m o t o r c y c l i s t s , nor does i t p r e t e n d  With t h e s e c a u t i o n s and w i t h t h i s o u t l i n e i n mind, we can (at l a s t . 1  this  ) b e g i n to d e t a i l the p r e l i m i n a r y f i n d i n g s o f  study.  43  FOOTNOTES FOR SECTION ONE  1.  F o r example, V a n c o u v e r ' s own B l a c k D e a t h M o t o r c y c l e  2.  D e a l e r s , c l a i m i n g t o be i n t h e know, and b a s i n g t h e i r e s t i m a t e s on i n d u s t r y f i g u r e s o r A.M.A,/CM.A. l i t e r a t u r e , pegged t h e numbers a t between t h r e e and t e n m i l l i o n . Tne m o d a l e s t i m a t e was f i v e m i l l i o n .  3.  See t h e c h a p t e r on Machismo, S e c t i o n Two.  4.  The work o f A. M. N i c h o l i i on Tne M o t o r c y c l e Syndrome, and J. C Quicker, A T y p o l o g i c a l Account o f M o t o r c y c l i n g * See t h e Appendix f o r a r e v i e w o f t h e s e a r t i c l e s .  5.  We s a y , " m a t h e m a t i c a l l y and p h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l l y ( b y w h i c h we i n t e n d , s i m p l y , ' i n t h e r e a l m o f a r i t h m e t i c and i n t h e minds o f t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s ' ) " b e c a u s e i t makes no d i f f e r e n c e w h e t h e r o r n o t b e h a v i o u r s a r e l i k e i n t e g e r s i f we t r e a t them as such.. The p o i n t i s , a r e p e o p l e e q u i v a l e n t t o t h i n g s , and i f n o t , why comprehend them i n t h a t manner, even f o r p u r p o s e s o f a n a l y s i s ?  6.  See S e c t i o n  7.  Again,  8.  Though we would have t o l e a v e o u t a l l t h e b i g b u l l s h i t words and s u b s t i t u t e a c o u p l e o f c a s e s o f b e e r . The f i n a l v e r s i o n i s h a r d l y p e r f e c t i n t h i s regard, i t i s merely a step i n the desired d i r e c t i o n . We o n l y c o n t e n d t h a t t h e e s s e n t i a l s o f t h e s t o r y are comprehensible t o a l l p a r t i e s concerned.  Club,  Three.  see S e c t i o n  Three.  SECTION  TWO  CHAPTER ONE  NONE OP YOUR GODDAMN BUSINESS  44  There i s one s e t o f responses which does not f i t our schemata,  and which cannot p r o p e r l y be r e g a r d e d as  "data".  I t i s o n l y by s t r e t c h i n g the p o i n t t h a t we can make sense o f them at a l l , s i n c e a l t h o u g h they appeared t o be q u i t e m e a n i n g f u l f o r the s u b j e c t s c o n c e r n e d , they do n o t  represent  a d i r e c t r e p l y t o our q u e s t i o n , "What do you get out o f i t ? " This block of undata i s e n t i t l e d "None-of-your-godamn-business",  since that phrase, besides o c c u r r i n g quite f r e q u e n t l y ,  c a p t u r e s the essence o f o t h e r , more c i r c u m s p e c t / r e s p e c t a b l e replies.  S p e c i f i c r e p l i e s ranged from an e v a s i v e ,  d o n ' t r e a l l y know" t o ,  "Fuck o f f , S h o r t P a n t s ! "  "Oh...  The p o i n t  seems to be t h a t t h e s e s u b j e c t s had no i n t e n t i o n o f r e p l y i n g because t h e student had no b u s i n e s s a s k i n g i n the  first  place. T h i s s e t o f r e p l i e s does not i n c l u d e the vague response where t h e s u b j e c t g e n u i n e l y d i d not know what he g o t out o f it.  Significantly  this sort,  enough, t h e r e were v e r y few r e p l i e s o f  a f a c t we s h a l l make much o f i n S e c t i o n T h r e e .  Almost a l l the s u b j e c t s were w i l l i n g t o g i v e the q u e s t i o n a try,  and many waxed eloquent i n the a t t e m p t .  Occassionally,  p a r t o f t h e s u b j e c t ' s r e p l y would be an e v a s i o n o f the tion,  ques-  as a way o f i n t r o d u c i n g a h e s i t a n t r e s p o n s e , o r to  c l o s e o f f one t h a t had become too t r i c k y .  In t h e s e  cases  t h a t p a r t o f the r e p l y was s i m p l y i g n o r e d , s i n c e i t d i d not  45  happen o f t e n enough o r i n enough s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n s t o make much sense o f i t .  Even the most v o l u b l e o f s u b j e c t s  a b r u p t l y shy away from f u r t h e r  could  e x p l i c a t i o n o f h i s meanings.  We d i d not i n c l u d e such responses i n t h i s s e t ,  but  instead  t o o k what d a t a we d i d g e t . There were, however, a s m a l l number o f a l l manners o f subjects  who evaded the q u e s t i o n o u t r i g h t .  At t h i s  point,  s i n c e we are d e a l i n g i n f i r s t i m p r e s s i o n s and p r e l i m i n a r y ways o f o r g a n i z i n g the d a t a ,  i t i s too awkward a t a s k  to  make adequate sense o f such e v a s i o n s , though, we s h a l l have cause t o r e f e r t o i t l a t e r i n S e c t i o n T h r e e . itself  The t i t l e  stems from an i n c i d e n t i n which a s u b j e c t  t o answer f o r the p r i c e o f one f l a g o n o f s u d s .  volunteered Several  s t e i n s l a t e r the e n s h r i n e d t i t u l u s was f i n a l l y f o r t h c o m i n g i n t h e form o f an e l o n g a t e d , belch.  eloquently enunciated,  beer  CHAPTER TWO  TRANSPORTATION  46  It  i s a s i m p l e t h i n g t o a s s e r t t h a t the m o t o r c y c l e i s  a mode o f t r a n s p o r t a t i o n ,  a means f o r g e t t i n g from p o i n t A  to point B, but,  in  at l e a s t  the c o n t e x t o f N o r t h - A m e r i c a n -  c u l t u r e - as-we-have-encountered-it,  t h i s s o r t o f statement  runs the r i s k o f b e i n g a b i t s i m p l i s t i c ; '"What do I get out o f s e x ? Correct  as i t may be,  1  rather  l i k e saying,  Why, r e p r o d u c t i o n , o f  course..."  i t j u s t does not seem t o wash.  L e t us  i l l u s t r a t e t h i s point t e c h n i c a l l y / t e c h n o l o g i c a l l y . We ( N o r t h - A m e r i c a n s - a s - y o u - e n c o u n t e r - t h e m ) have at our d i s p o s a l a l a r g e number o f m e c h a n i c a l "modes o f tion",  transports-:  some common, some q u i t e uncommon, and i n t h i s  frame-  work t h e m o t o r c y c l e can be c l a s s i f i e d , g e n e r i c a l l y , as any l a n d - l o c k e d , m o t o r i z e d conveyance c a p a b l e o f t r a v e r s i n g c l e a r t e r r a i n on two w h e e l s .  firm,  I t can go a n y p l a c e a c a r o r  t r u c k can ( e m a i l town deputy s h e r i f f s p e r m i t t i n g ) and some some p l a c e s they c a n n o t .  In the l a t t e r  application, i t  o c c a s s i o n a l l y r e p l a c e d the horse i n a g r i c u l t u r a l and t i e r " p u r s u i t s such as r a n c h i n g o r p r o s p e c t i n g . certain specifiable transport  "fron-  Under  c i r c u m s t a n c e s , however,  edge must go t o the a u t o m o b i l e :  has  the  t h e c y c l e cannot c a r r y more  than two people (by l a w , and by d e s i g n ) ; i t cannot convey more t h a n a few c u b i c f e e t gage,  o r a few hundred pounds o f b a g -  and even t h a t must be e l a b o r a t e l y s t r a p p e d down; i t  w i l l riot n e g o t i a t e  snow o r i c e ; i t exposes the d r i v e r to a l l  47  t h e v i c i s i t u d e s o f weather,  season,  and c l i m a t e , as w e l l  as  a c o n s t a n t onrush o f c o o l i n g / l i m b - f r o s t i n g a i r ; * n o i s e , and t h e s e a t i n g p a t t e r n , v i r t u a l l y p r e c l u d e a l l but the most r u d i m e n t a r y communication; c y c l e s are more d i f f i c u l t  ( i n the  sense o f r e q u i r i n g the g r e a t e r development o f a g r e a t e r number o f p e r c e p t u a l and motor s k i l l s )  oo d r i v e ,  and to l e a r n  t o d r i v e , than t h e average a u t o m o b i l e ; they are more h a z a r d ous when the a c c i d e n t , i n j u r y ,  and f a t a l i t y s t a t i s t i c s  are  2  added u p . With t h i s c a t a l o g u e o f t e c h n o l o g i c a l d i s a d v a n t a g e s , s m a l l wonder t h a t f o r the v a s t m a j o r i t y o f N o r t h American p o i n t A t o p o i n t B s i t u a t i o n s , most p e o p l e d r i v e c a r s campers, whatever s a f e , get t h e i r hands o n ) .  (trucks,  s n u g , f o u r - w h e e l e d v e h i c l e they can  In f a c t ,  t h e danged t h i n g s at a l l . . . " ,  "It's  a wonder anybody r i d e s  at l e a s t under t h e g u i s e o f  "a mode o f t r a n s p o r t a t i o n " . Still,  people are u s i n g them t o get from p o i n t A t o  p o i n t B ; t h e y are i n e v e r - i n c r e a s i n g e v i d e n c e on s t r e e t s , highways and p a r k i n g l o t s , though s t i l l v a s t l y out-numbered by "more p r a c t i c a l " conveyances.  To get to the p o i n t , some  o f our s u b j e c t s d i d indeed say t h a t what they got out o f i t was " t r a n s p o r t a t i o n " ,  o r " w h e e l s " , "back and f o r t h ,  back and f o r t h " ; but they seldom l e f t  i t at t h a t ,  everyday,  because,  as we s t a t e d e a r l i e r , such a b a l d - f a c e d statement j u s t  does  48  not wash.  The response was w e l l - n i g h i n v a r i a b l y g i v e n some  qualifications,  t y p i c a l l y by comparing the m o t o r c y c l e w i t h  o t h e r p o s s i b l e modes o f conveyance (as i f i n q u e r e l o u s a n t i c i p a t i o n o f the next q u e s t i o n , " W e l l , heavens,  why d o n ' t  you d r i v e a c a r ? " ) and p r o d u c i n g some p o i n t s i n i t s  favour.  Those who gave the b a r e s t rare b i r d s .  t h e m a t i c element,  "transport",  were  As an a s i d e , we o f t e n had the d i s t i n c t i m p r e s s i o n  t h a t t h e s e s u b j e c t s were h o l d i n g , b a c k , t h a t they were a f r a i d t o admit what they r e a l l y got out o f i t ; not t h a t they were s i m p l y u n w i l l i n g t o t e l l u s , but t h a t t h e y were ashamed t o admit i t .  L a t e r o n , we c o n c l u d e t h a t t h e s e people p r o b a b l y  never get i n t o any o f the m o t o r c y c l e - o n - s t a g e r o l e s , but they s t i l l  l i k e d t o hang around i n the wings sometimes.  However, t h a t i s g e t t i n g much ahead o f o u r s e l v e s . The s i m p l e s t e l a b o r a t i o n o f t h e b a s i c t r a n s p o r t i s "cheap t r a n s p o r t a t i o n ,  cheaper than d r i v i n g a c a r " ,  at upwards o f one hundred and f i f t y a hard statement  to refute;  p o s i t i o n t o say t h a t , "the f a c t s " ,  theme  m i l e s per g a l l o n ,  and, it  but few m o t o r c y c l i s t s are i n a  and v e r y few d i d .  We t u r n a g a i n t o  t e c h n i c a l i t i e s a v a i l a b l e t o anyone who at  t i m e has begun m o t o r c y c l e s h o p p i n g .  N o t h i n g i s cheaper  a s m a l l , used m o t o r c y c l e , except p o s s i b l y t h e  anythan  bicycle,  c u r r e n t rage i n " ( p o o r ) p e o p l e ' s t r a n s p o r t a t i o n " , public transit.  is  and the  I f you t a k e the b u s , you can beat the l o t ,  but i t i s not q u i t e -s c o n v e n i e n t i n the d o o r - t o - d o o r , d a y -  49  o r - n i g h t sense, a p o i n t once mentioned i n defense o f a w e l l worn Honda 90.  However, one  "but i s q u i t e probably  p o i n t t h a t i s never mentioned^  an o p e r a t i n g assumption i s that i n our  c u l t u r e a great d e a l o f mesning/value i s attached one's own  p r i v a t e mode of t r a n s i t ,  t h i n g (and  and  to owning a c o s t l y  even the cheapest w i l l get you  dollar-investment  bundle).  H c r r e we  to owning  over the hundred-  i n f r i n g e on the  thematic  realm o f the Mechanical B r i d e . Moving up from the lowest get  p r i c e range, one  could  a used, four-wheeled " c l u n k e r " f o r the p r i c e o f  s m a l l e r / s m a l l e s t new  cycles.  Subjects,  a new  T h i s element i s , o f course,  devoid o f s t a t i s t i c a l t e s t , "(so and  and  u n d e r l y i n g assumption here,  "rely  c u l t u r a l heresay, with  drove t h a t o l d wreck  i t died".  The  on  two  never-mentioned  and on up the p r i c e s c a l e , i s  t h a t g r e a t e r p r e s t i g e accrues  to he who  owns the  newer t h i n g , even d e s p i t e p a r i t y of c o l d cash Here again,  can  anecdotally q u a l i f i a b l e  so) knows (somebody) who  hundred thousand m i l e s b e f o r e  this  cannot p l a c e t h e i r  i n a very much used d e v i c e , but they  machine".  the  however, counter  p r a c t i c a l admonition by s t a t i n g t h a t they confidence  still  shinier,  investments.  "cheap t r a n s p o r t a t i o n " i s o f t e n too simple  a  statement of meaning. A notch higher on the cost s p i r a l and you  can get  a  good used car f o r the p r i c e of the g r e a t m a j o r i t y o f new  and  50  used m o t o r c y c l e s .  Pecuniary p r a x i s a s i d e , and H a i Karate  ads notwithstanding,  "everybody knows you can't  make out on  the back seat o f a m o t o r c y c l e " (we o n l y met one person who claimed  he d i d , r e g u l a r l y ) .  'worse y e t , the most expensive  o f the c y c l e s w i l l get you a brand new small c a r , o r b e t t e r i f your u n c l e  i s i n the b u s i n e s s .  motorcycle insurance one-half and  Some more s t r a y f l a k :  coverage c o s t s as much as o n e - t h i r d t o  more than the same amount o f automobile coverage,  i t i s f r e q u e n t l y r e q u i r e d by law; l i c e n s e , r e g i s t r a t i o n ,  p a r t s and r e p a i r s run about par; helmets are a mandatory expense.  I u i s not s u r p r i s i n g then, i n the l i g h t o f a l l  these p o s s i b l e o b j e c t i o n s , t h a t no one on anything hundred c.c.'s ( t h e s m a l l e r / s m a l l e s t gated g a l l t o say f l a t l y  over two  b r a c k e t ) had the u n m i t i -  "cheap t r a n s p o r t " .  To t h i s  extent,  then, t h e theme p a r t i t i o n s the p o p u l a t i o n . One f e l l o w s a i d i t was " e a s i e r to park", but he was kidding. Another c l u s t e r o f elements under t h i s thematic mode we s h a l l term c o l l e c t i v e l y  " f i z z " , f o r they seem to be the  r e s u l t / r e p l a y o f a d v e r t i z i n g f r o t h about being generation".  Occassionally  motorcyclists/the got  i n "the p e p s i  (very o c c a s s i o n a l l y ; by and l a r g e  p u b l i c are a much more h a r d b i t t e n  l o t ) we  a r e p l y that motorcycles are a "young/fun/neat-keen/  l i v e l y " mode o f t r a n s p o r t .  Even without l a b o r i o u s  statis-  51  t i c a l documentation o f d i s t r i b u t i o n s : Take a l o o k around y o u ! Who's r i d i n g them? Young(er) p e o p l e ! Ta Da! ( B l e n d i n m o t o r c y c l e commercial theme music g r a d u a l l y , d r i v i n g b e a t , sound o f wind r u s h i n g past,...). C e r t a i n l y , (Moms and D a d s ) , the o l d s t e r s have always r i d d e n them; a f t e r a l l , C. Wright M i l l s was no s p r i n g c h i c k e n ! And ( a g a i n h a z a r d i n g a g l a n c e / guess ) more and more o f t h o s e middle: agers are C a t c h i n ' On.' Y e s , the image i s l i v e l y , young at h e a r t , that o l e c u l t u r a l god, pure-fairy-white-GOOD-CLEAN-FUN! - end c o m m e r c i a l ; no f u r t h e r c r i t i c i s m s . The m o t o r c y c l e i s a young fun way t o get from A to B , and a number o f i n f o r m a n t s t o l d us t h a t t h a t i s what they g o t out o f i t as a mode o f t r a n s p o r t .  Grey-suited,  attache-cased  businessmen, f a m i l i e s on c y c l e o u t i n g ( " T h e r e s a Honda f o r 1  Dad, a Honda f o r Mom, and TWO o f the k i d s ! " ) , s p i c u o u s l y , women f a l l It  and most c o n -  into t h i s otherwise thematic  category.  i s i m p o r t a n t not t o confuse " F U N ! " w i t h t h a t d a r k e r demon  " K i c k s " , whose e v i l s we s h a l l s h o r t l y d w e l l u p o n , f o r none o f our s u b j e c t s tations.  combined these a n t i t h e t i c a l meaning p r e s e n -  For an e x p l i c a t i o n o f t h i s p a r t i t i o n i n g o f  p o p u l a t i o n by s e x , see t h e d i s c u s s i o n o f "Machismo".  the For  now, we note t h a t t h e r e were v e r y few women r i d i n g m o t o r c y c l e s ( u n l e s s Women's l i b . i s p r a c t i s i n g somewhere I d o n ' t know a b o u t ) ,  and f o r the most p a r t  "FUN" i s what t h e y g o t  out o f i t . . . o r what they say they got out o f i t . . . o r what they are a l l o w e d to say they got out o f i t . . . Another f a c e t o f t h i s theme i s the r a t h e r d i s t i n c t i v e meaning elements a s s o c i a t e d w i t h " t o u r i n g " , l o n g d i s t a n c e  52  t r a v e l , u s u a l l y with connotations i t easy" by m o t o r c y c l e .  of "vacationing" or "taking  Mechanical  t h i s a c t i v i t y t o those who  own  considerations confine  the l a r g e r machines ( f o u r  hundred and f i f t y c.c.'s out o f a p o s s i b l e t w e l v e  hundred,  i f you l o v e c u t t i n g p o i n t s , but t h e r e are e x c e p t i o n s : had  a. f r i e n d who  "I  c r o s s e d the R o c k i e s on a 250 Yamaha, once.  Coasted most t h e way  down the o t h e r s i d e . " ) .  They can  be  found anywhere between any two g e o g r a p h i c a l l y d i s t a n t p o i n t s i f the weather be good. and  P i l e d h i g h w i t h one o r two  people  a p p r o p r i a t e doses o f knapsacks, b e d r o l l s , t a r p s , t e n t s ,  d a n g l i n g f r y i n g pans, bandaids and o i l ;  t o u r i n g alone o r i n  "packs" o f a hundred or more ( a b s o l u t e l y t e r r i f y i n g to meet on a freeway; u n s p e a k a b l e on some l o n e l y back r o a d ) , o f f f o r t h e l o n g weekend o r " I don't know...forever I g u e s s . . . o r t i l l our money runs but.','  One  couple t r a v e l l e d i n h i g h  s t y l e , towing  a tent t r a i l e r .  A m e a n i n g f u l element here i s  t h e "romantic  Gypsy" s t a n c e , the camp-push on-camp-push on  ("even i f i t ' s o n l y f o r our h o l i d a y s " ) p r o c e d u r e d e s i g n e d " r e a l l y get you  away from i t a l l " ;  j u s t " l o t s a gas  to  stops,  not many f o o d s t o p s , a l i t t l e money...and n o t h i n ' e l s e but what you One  can t i e on".  That's t o u r i n g .  f i n a l c l u t c h o f elements i n adumbration o f t h i s  theme, v o i c e d by a few, were the e c o l o g i c a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . In t h e t o n e s o f a l i v e i s s u e and the terms o f n e s s , some s u b j e c t s r e p l i e d t h a t the m o t o r c y c l e  eco-consciouswas  a less  53  p o l l u t i n g form o f ( p r i v a t e ? ) t r a n s p o r t , speed.  the l a z y man's t e n  I n v a r i a b l y , they were people who had o n l y  purchased the machine.  recently  More seasoned c y c l i s t s d i d not f e e l  o b l i g e d to c i t e these meanings i n t h e i r defense.  This facet  o f the theme, r a t h e r uncommon f o r t h e moment, could more f r e q u e n t l y  crop up  i n the near f u t u r e , what with the g e n e r a l  growth o f eco-consciousness, and the i n s i d i o u s e f f e c t s o f 4  the 1972 model a d v e r t i z i n g .  CHAPTER THREE  IT'S  A JOB  54 There are those f o r whom the m o t o r c y c l e i s a way o f making a l i v i n g , , and t h e i r u s u a l r e p l y to our q u e s t i o n was, quite n a t u r a l l y , " I t ' s thematic structures  a job."  T h i s i s one o f t h e few  that p a r t i t i o n s a c l e a r l y i d e n t i f i a b l e  p o r t i o n o f the t o t e l p o p u l a t i o n , though i n each and every response  n e c e s s a r i l y , not  i n which i t was g i v e n .  That  group o f m o t o r c y c l i s t s f o r whom t h i s was the s t o c k r e p l y was,  a g a i n , as might be e x p e c t e d , t h e urban m o t o r c y c l e  police patrol.  C e r t a i n l y t h e r e were o t h e r groups and i n d i -  v i d u a l s i n o t h e r m o t o r c y c l e - d e p e n d e n t o c c u p a t i o n s who made t h i s r e j o i n d e r , but i n t h e s e s i t u a t i o n s i t was not t o be t h e o n l y theme to which they would r e f e r .  so.likely  F o r the  moment, however, l e t us c o n s i d e r the p l i g h t o f o u r t w o wheeled m i n i o n s o f t h e l a w . The c o n s t a b u l a r y o f the d r a f t y c h a r i o t s , when they deigned t o r e p l y at a l l (and t h e r e were a d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e number o f i n s t a n c e s o f ,  "None o f your godamn b u s i n e s s ! " ,  f o r r e a s o n s we r e a l l y have not adequately d e t e r m i n e d ) ,  stated  s i m p l y t h a t t h i s was how t h e y made t h e i r l i v i n g and t h a t was about a l l t h e r e vas t o i t , o r "What e l s e s h o u l d I s a y ? " , " T h a t ' s a l l I'm g o i n g t o t e l l y o u , s o n . "  The q u e s t i o n  or  arises:  were they r e v e a l i n g a l l o r a n y t h i n g t h a t they g o t out o f i t ? I s t h a t a l l i t means t o them ( m e a n i n g f u l as t h a t may be) ? We are f o r c e d to r e p l y t h a t , l i k e " j u s t T r a n s p o r t a t i o n " , d i d not always wash.  it  P a r a l i n g u i s t i c information , p a r t i c u -  55  l a r l y t h e r a p i d assumption o f a s t a n c e o f smug b e l l i g e r e n c e (arms f o l d e d , s i t t i n g back t a l l  i n the saddle,  c r u e l lower  l i p c u r l i n g s l o w l y i n t o a g r i n . . . m a y b e even f o n d l e the g e a r shift  with a calm, lea.ther-gauntleted  unspoken elements o f Machismo. paranoid i n t e r p r e t a t i o n ,  but  they reminded t h i s r e s e a r c h e r  hand),  suggested  So maybe i t i s o n l y our own  at t h i s p o i n t i n the  encounter  o f n o t h i n g so much as the h a r d  core 3iker.^ On r a r e o c c a s s i o n s , a p o l i c e m a n would v o l u n t e e r / l e t drop t h a t he got a " k i c k " out o f r i d i n g b i k e s f o r a l i v i n g , o r t h a t he l i k e d " l o o k i n g a f t e r  the m a c h i n e " .  S i n c e they  are n o r m a l l y on downtown t r a f f i c duty most o f the day, no one made remarks about  "the f r e s h a i r " , except i n j e s t .  In  t h o s e few i n s t a n c e s where elements o f o t h e r themes s u r f a c e d as m e a n i n g f u l a s p e c t s o f o n - t h e - j o b felt  b e h a v i o u r , the  subjects  c o n s t r a i n e d to r e t u r n to t h e c o n f i n e s o f the r o l e o f  p a t r o l m a n by s t r e s s i n g t h a t "the most i m p o r t a n t t h i n g it  i s d o i n g the  about  job".  F r e q u e n t l y one f i n d s t h a t the motor m i n i o n h a s a p r e h i s t o r y of motorcycle related behaviours, r i d i n g bikes i n the army o r even as a hobby b e f o r e  j o i n i n g the f o r c e .  patrolman must r e q u e s t m o t o r c y c l e d u t y ; he i s not to i t o t h e r w i s e ,  and " p r e v i o u s e x p e r i e n c e " g r e a t l y  h i s chances o f g e t t i n g the assignment.  The  assigned increases  There i s a s u r f e i t  56  of hopeful v o l u n t e e r s .  But even i n the cases where  s u b j e c t has chosen a l i n e o f work he e n j o y s , the i s on r e m a i n i n g i n the p u b l i c s e r v a n t back at the g a r a g e , the p u b l i c , it  the o u t s i d e r e s e a r c h e r  emphasis  Over c o f f e e , i s s t i l l one o f  and cannot r e a d i l y c r a c k t h i s facade ( i f indeed  i s a facade,  won't;  role.  the  wash).  w h i c h , f o r many, i t may not be; but i t  In " d o i n g i t f o r a l i v i n g " t h e p o l i c e m a n c o n -  forms t o an e l a b o r a t e  set o f e x p e c t a t i o n s ;  those o f  "the  p u b l i c " , f e l l o w o f f i c e r s , and s u p e r i o r s , t o g l o s s o v e r matter.  Y/hich i s t o s a y , he i s f i r s t  (appropriate)  still  and foremost  the  p o l i c e m a n , and must behave a c c o r d i n g l y .  a m o t o r c y c l e p o l i c e m a n does not g i v e him a f r e e r e x p r e s s i o n and b e h a v i o u r than o t h e r p a t r o l m e n .  the  Being  range o f On t h e  c o n t r a r y , s u b j e c t s f e l t c i r c u m s c r i b e d by a c o m p a r a t i v e l y narrow s e t o f p e r m i s s i b l e a c t i o n s .  Much o f m o t o r c y c l e  p a t r o l l i n g i s s t i l l m o d e l l e d on the mounted c a v a l r y u n i t , where o r d e r s are r e c e i v e d en masse, by word o f mouth, from a (comfortably patrol-carred)  "commanding o f f i c e r "  before  a n v t h i n g can be done. A p p a r e n t l y , the o n l y h i g h l i g h t s are parade d u t y , they escort  where  e v e r y t h i n g from v i s i t i n g heads o f s t a t e t o  r a d i c a l marches - " queens t o queers" as one young mustachioed o f f i c e r a patient  put i t ; mercy r u n s , on the r a r e o c c a s s i o n s when  i s rushed from one h o s p i t a l to a n o t h e r ,  the ambu-  l a n c e preceded by a f l y i n g wedge o f c y c l e s ; and " c h a s i n g  57  speeders who g i v e us a run f o r i t " .  The s i t u a t i o n s  where  such " K i c k s " are p e r m i s s i b l e / e x p e c t e d b e h a v i o u r a l themes are few and f a r between.  "Mostly i t ' s  a helluva boring job".  R i d i n g m o t o r c y c l e s i s not a l l o f what you might e x p e c t ;  it  i s o n l y one s m a l l way o f making a l i v i n g . It men.  i s worth n o t i n g t h a t not a l l m o t o r c y c l e p o l i c e are  In San F r a n c i s c o (at l e a s t )  motor p a t r o l . duty.  women are a s s i g n e d to  However, they are g i v e n o n l y t r a f f i c  They cannot,  the  ticket  f o r example, apprehend s p e e d e r s , nor  can they l e a v e the machine to t a k e on the d u t i e s o f a beat patrolman.  In a word, they are "metermaids".  Technically,  t h e y are not even m o t o r c y c l i s t s , f o r they are i s s u e d a H a r l e y 45 motor t r i c y c l e , and " u n t i p p a b l e " . w i t h about  renowned as " s l o w " ,  "unbreakable"  T h i s i g n o m i n i o u s t r a f f i c duty t h e y s h a r e  sn e q u a l number o f "metermen".  work" and r i d i n g the r e a l p o l i c e  Tne " r e a l p o l i c e  m o t o r c y c l e s goes e x c l u s i v e l y  to policemen. Elements o f t h i s b a s i c a l l y economic theme are  also  l i k e l y t o emerge among c e r t a i n o t h e r r e a d i l y - i d e n t i f i a b l e o c c u p a t i o n a l g r o u p s , though,  as we mentioned e a r l i e r ,  it  is  seldom the sum o f t h e r e p l y , and does not p a r t i t i o n our subjects  so c l e a r l y .  (Hher s u b j e c t s  were p r o f e s s i o n a l r a c e r s , a l l encountered en m i l i e u ,  stuntmen,  who gave t h i s salesmen,  reply  and shopmen,  some o n , some o f f the j o b .  For  58  a l l o f t h e s e (and p r o b a b l y o t h e r s whom we d i d not t u r n up) t h e m o t o r c y c l e i s one o r the p r i n c i p a l means o f s e c u r i n g a livelihood,  though i t a l s o meant a g r e a t d e a l more,  c i a l l y f o r the f i r s t two groups mentioned, w i t h v a r i a t i o n s i n t h e elements o f t h e i r r e p l i e s . q u e n t l y , the b a s i c " J o b " r e s p o n s e ,  appropriate  Not i n f r e -  coming from t h e s e  v i d u a l s , was c l e a r l y a p u t - o n , a l l u d i n g to the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f the o t h e r b e h a v i o u r a l themes.  espe-  indi-  preponderent S i n c e we  s h a l l have cause to r e f e r to t h e s e people e l s e w h e r e , s h a l l not i l l u s t r a t e our p r e s e n t their replies.  we  theme w i t h elements o f  When, i n a d d i t i o n t o meaning something e l s e ,  the m i l i e u i s also remunerative,  i t w i l l be s e l f  evident.  The elements o f the employment theme do not appear t o be correlated themes.  w i t h the i n c i d e n c e and d i s t r i b u t i o n o f t h e  Our s t o c k , workaday datum, " I t ' s  and a l o n e ; few s u b j e c t s  other  a j o b " s t a n d s drab  were i n the p o s i t i o n t o mention i t  i n the f i r s t p l a c e , and no one c a r e d t o expand on i t much. T h i s might prove f a s c i n a t i n g f o r the student  of occupations,  but s i n c e i t forms o n l y a s m a l l , p a r t i t i o n a b l e segment o f m o t o r c y c l i n g , and s i n c e our s u b j e c t s d i d not e l a b o r a t e p o i n t , we s h a l l e x p a t i a t e i t no  further.  the  INTERJECTION  SOME NOTES ON CLUSTERING  59  L o o k i n g back over the l e s t two themes t h e r e a d e r may be s t r u c k by t h e d i s t i n c t i m p r e s s i o n t h a t t h i s has a l l been p r e t t y wishy-washy s t u f f ;  i f t h o s e are the k i n d s o f answers  p e o p l e gave w e ' l l never get t o the gang rape s c e n e s o , and we may as w e l l break t h e news r i g h t now:  Quite  THERE IS  NO GANG RAPE SCENE IN THIS THESIS ( c a p i t a l s f o r t h o s e o f y o u who may be s k i m m i n g ) .  Now, to c o n t i n u e .  Tne elements we have  been d e a l i n g w i t h so f a r are indeed q u i t e l i m p i d , b o t h i n comparison w i t h what i s to come and i n the manner i n which t h e y were a r t i c u l a t e d by the r e s p o n d e n t s -  Responses o f t h i s  s o r t , o r t h e s e p o r t i o n s o f r e s p o n s e s were g e n e r a l l y l a n g u i d and l e n i s .  Tney are i m p o r t a n t answers, n o n e t h e l e s s ,  forming  a s i g n i f i c a n t p o r t i o n o f t h a t which i s m o t o r c y c l i n g . The m o d u l a t i o n o f the r e s p o n s e s i s an i m p o r t a n t f a c t o r t o be c o n s i d e r e d i n i n t e r p r e t i n g them.  I t i s not j u s t a  m a t t e r o f what was s a i d , , t h e r e i s a l s o t h e manner i n which was p r e s e n t e d .  it  I n t o n a t i o n i s one o t h e r element o f respondent  meanings, and, as might t h e r e f o r e be expected i s l i n k e d i n p a t t e r n e d ways w i t h t h e a b s t r a c t meanings/responses.  conceptual content o f those  F o r the purposes o f a n a l y s i s t h e n , we may  t i t l e the T r a n s p o r t a t i o n and Job themes "Wishy-Washy", f o r t h a t i s e x a c t l y what t h e y were.  '  T h i s w i l l a l s o s e r v e to d i s t i n g u i s h them from the n e x t group o f t h r e e themes:  M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e , K i c k s and Machismo.  The meanings r e p r e s e n t e d by t h e s e t h r e e were a l l p r e s e n t e d i n  60  an e n t h u s i a s t i c manner, again, both i n themselves comparison  with the p r e v i o u s group o f c o l l a t e d  They are a l l f o r t i s , of  energy  strongly  and i n  responses*  a r t i c u l a t e d with a g r e a t d e a l  and emotional i n t e n s i t y . .  S u b j e c t s exuded  vitality,  o f t e n u n r e s t r a i n e d vehemence, i n e x p l i c a t i n g these motorcycle meanings.  A c c o r d i n g l y , l e t us e n t i t l e t h i s next  group  " E n t h u s i a s t i c " , and proceed with an examination o f the f i r s t *  CHAPTER FOUR MECHANICAL BRIDE  61  A s i z e a b l e p o r t i o n o f the r e s p o n d e n t s i n d i c a t e d i n d i v e r s e ways t h a t they were "men who l o v e m o t o r c y c l e s " . Prom such r e p l i e s we have drawn a theme, and c h r i s t e n e d  it  " M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e " , f o r t h i s phrase c a p t u r e s the essence o f very important, ings.  very prevalent  motorcycle associated  mean-  The theme can be broken down f o r purposes o f d i s c u s -  s i o n i n t o t h r e e major components,  o r groups o f  w hich ve s h a l l c o n s i d e r i n t u r n .  These are the  T  the a f f e c t ,  and t h e o b j e c t  motorcycles r e s p e c t i v e l y .  components,  elements, subject,  o r , men, l o v e , and  Together they c o n s t i t u t e  our  e x p l a n a t o r y p r i n c i p l e o f a l a r g e range o f m o t o r c y c l e behaviours,  examples o f which w i l l be p r o v i d e d .  contention then,  It  related i s our  t h a t t h e r e are t h o s e s u b j e c t s f o r whom, i n  given situations,  the m o t o r c y c l e  railueu  i s n o t h i n g so much  as a M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e . We have i m p l i e d t h a t t h e s u b j e c t  component o f  this  theme c o n s i s t s o f elements t h a t are c o m m o n l y / c u l t u r a l l y defined  as male.  T h i s i s not to a s s e r t t h a t o n l y men embody  t h e meanings o f t h e M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e ;  a few women (few,  in  p a r t because female respondents as a whole were few i n number) manifested ation.  affect-object  elements o f m e c h a n i c a l i n f a t u -  We s h a l l c o n s i d e r t h e i r r e p l i e s s h o r t l y .  asserting  Nor are we  t h a t the theme o f the M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e i s d i s p r o -  portionately masculine. disproportionately,  On the c o n t r a r y ,  i f anything i s  o r at l e a s t n o t i c e a b l y male dominated,  62  it  i s c o n t i n e n t a l c y c l i n g taken as a w h o l e .  theme has a m a s c u l i n e s u b j e c t it  This p a r t i c u l a r  component p r o b a b l y by d e f a u l t ;  i s no more c h a u v i n i s t than the r e s t (and f a r l e s s  v i n i s t than some a s p e c t s o f c y c l i s t b e h a v i o u r * ) .  chau-  One might  s p e c u l a t e t h a t t h i s theme i s one immediate source o f f e m i nine underrepresentation,  but t h a t would t a k e one i n t o  the  r e a l m o f h i s t o r i c a l / c a u s a l a n a l y s i s , areas t h a t are beyond the immediate d e l i n e a t i v e concerns o f t h i s S e c t i o n . We are s t u c k w i t h i t :  l o v i n g motorcycles i s a t h i n g  t h a t men do and/or a m a s c u l i n e t h i n g to d o .  Having e s t a b -  l i s h e d t h a t , l e t us t a k e a l o o k a.t who t h e s e people are  (in  a t y p i c a l , not a t y p o l o g i c a l s e n s e ) . The' most common r e s p o n d e n t , j e c t s most commonly responded,  o r the r o l e i n which s u b was the  "weekend w a r r i o r " .  T h i s i s t h e p o p u l a r term f o r the m o t o r c y c l i s t who m a n i f e s t s elements o f the M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e theme " i n . . . ( h i s ) . . . s p a r e time".  This part-time devotion constitutes  requirement  for a subject  the base l e v e l  to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the  from which our theme i s d e r i v e d .  meanings  I f t h i s i s what he g e t s  out o f i t , then he i s someone who c o n s c i o u s l y a p p o r t i o n s t h a t which he d e f i n e s  as l e i s u r e t i m e to " g e t t i n g o f f on  messing around w i t h b i k e s " .  Ai the o t h e r extreme are t h o s e  men who devote t h e i r e n t i r e p r o f e s s i o n a l and much o f t h e i r p r i v a t e l i v e s to b i z a r r e two-wheeled a r t i f a c t s  tha,t r e m o t e l y  63  qualify  as m o t o r c y c l e s ( t h e y are seldom even  "street-legal").  In t h e s e a i r y r e g i o n s we have the m o t o r c y c l i s t as "customi z e r " , o r es " r a c i n g / s c r a m b l e s / m o t o c r o s s , e t c . champion". These men are few and f a r berween; we never encountered  a  genuine example, though the c u r r e n t t i t l e h o l d e r s , George B a r r i s and B a r t M a r k e l r e s p e c t i v e l y , as w e l l as a number o f up and coming c o n t e n d e r s ,  were f r e q u e n t l y a t o p i c o f c o n v e r -  sation. Between the h i g h e s t  and the l o w e s t r i d e s a v e r i t a b l e  host o f s u b j e c t s f o r whom the M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e r e p r e s e n t s an i m p o r t a n t fa.cet o f what the m o t o r c y c l e m i l i e u means t o them.  S u b j e c t s do tend to c l u s t e r towards t h e lower end,  f o r p u r e l y p r a c t i c a l ecomonic r e a s o n s ; a r i c h man's game.  b e i n g "che b e s t "  O f t e n the b e s t our s u b j e c t s  could  is  attain  was to i n c o r p o r a t e t h e i r l o v e o f m o t o r c y c l e s i n t o t h e i r w o r k i n g and weekend l i v e s by such means as tne d o i n g odd jobs on f r i e n d s '  following:  b i k e s " f o r a case o f b e e r ,  a few  b u c k s " , h i r i n g out as a p a r t - t i m e "custom p a i n t e r . . . w e l d jockey...parts hustler",  o r ( t h e hope o f many a weekend  w a r r i o r ) b e i n g employed by a m o t o r c y c l e r e p a i r and s a l e s shop.  ( A l t e r n a t e l y , one can a s p i r e t o w r i t e f o r any o f  C a l i f o r n i a based c y c l e magazines which c a t e r to t h i s o f m o t o r c y c l i n g above a l l o t h e r s , most r e s p e c t a b l e . )  p r o b a b l y because  the  aspect  it is  the  There i s a l s o some c o n s i d e r a b l e o p p o r -  t u n i t y f o r advancement  i n t h e " f l y by n i g h t " new and used  64  o a r t s and t o o l s t r a d e , milieu thefts  at l e a s t on the West Coast where  are q u i t e h i g h and p r o s e c u t i o n r a t e s v e r y l o w .  Por such s u b j e c t s ,  m o t o r c y c l i n g i s a s o u r c e o f remuner-  a t i o n , though g e n e r a l l y not the s o l e s o u r c e .  However, t h e r e  i s a v e r y i m p o r t a n t d i f f e r e n c e between t h e i r r e p l i e s and t h e s o r t s o f answers which gave r i s e to our I t ' s  a Job theme.  Por t h e s e are the men who " l o v e " m o t o r c y c l e s ; i t i s M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e , not merely a s o u r c e o f income.  their  Since t h i s  i s a c r i t i c a l t h e m a t i c d i s t i n c t i o n , and one w h i c h , t o a . • c e r t a i n extent,  does p a r t i t i o n the p o p u l a t i o n ( s i n c e most  p o l i c e m e n d i d not v o l u n t e e r elements o f the M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e o r o t h e r themes),  we s h a l l f o c u s t h e d i s c u s s i o n on the p  affect  component o f t h i s theme.  How does a man l o v e a  motorcycle? An i m p e r f e c t analogy ( s i n c e the analogous f i e l d  i s not  so e x c l u s i v e l y m a s c u l i n e ) can be drawn between m o t o r c y c l i n g and g o l f .  Wnat g o l f means to a g o l f n u t ,  m o t o r c y c l i n g means  t o those who responded w i t h elements o f t h e M e c h a n i c a l Bride.  To q u a l i f y as " a b i k e n u t " one does not s i m p l y  m o t o r c y c l e s , the m i l i e u ,  and a n y t h i n g / e v e r y t h i n g connected  w i t h m o t o r c y c l i n g , one i s not merely a t t r a c t e d to m o t o r c y c l e s .  like  The a f f e c t  by o r  attached  component i s much more than a  s t a t e o f m i l d e m o t i o n a l enjoyment.  "You g o t t a l o v e ' e m . "  S u b j e c t s a c t i v e l y woo the c o n t r a p t i o n s ;  they m a n i f e s t v a r y -  65  i n g degrees o f d e v o t i o n , o f s t e a d f a s t thousand-miles s e r v i c e . Mechanical B r i d e i s to interest  l o y a l t y and e v e r y -  To be under the i n f l u e n c e o f the evince  elements o f a v e r y g r e a t  i n m o t o r c y c l e s , to take great pleasure or d e l i g h t  i n a machine. the affect  In what ( m a s c u l i n e ? ) , ( b i z a r r e ? ) ways does  component m a n i f e s t  The f i r s t f e a t u r e  itself  among the p o p u l a t i o n ?  to note i s t h a t the m o t o r c y c l e p r o -  d u c t i o n and r e l a t e d i n d u s t r i e s are geared s p e c i f i c a l l y t h e m e a n i n g s / b e h a v i o u r s t h i s theme r e p r e s e n t s .  to  The b u s i n e s s  end o f m o t o r c y c l i n g s e r v e s t o support a s e t o f b e h a v i o u r s by p r o d u c i n g a range o f m o t o r c y c l e m i l i e u a r t i f a c t s . p u s h i n g / p u r c h a s i n g t h e s e a r t i f a c t s our s u b j e c t s  By  (most o f  whom were not i n the b u s i n e s s end o f t h i n g s ) f o s t e r  meanings  t h a t we would d e s i g n a t e  elements  o f t h i s theme.  as c o n t a i n i n g a f f e c t - o b j e c t  Me cannot o f f e r any e x h a u s t i v e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n  o f these a r t i f a c t s  and the b e h a v i o u r s t h a t are commonly  a s s o c i a t e d w i t h them.  However the meanings f i e l d  o r g a n i z e d by the people i n v o l v e d i n the relationship.  T h i s much at l e a s t  i s loosely  production-purchase  w i l l prove e n l i g h t e n i n g .  C o n c e r n i n g the c y c l e s o n l y , t h e r e are at p r e s e n t  one  hundred and t h i r t y - s o m e - o d d s t o c k p r o d u c t i o n models t h a t can be purchased as i s , over t h e c o u n t e r , major m a n u f a c t u r e r s . basic artifact f i e l d  from a h a n d f u l o f  No two are d i r e c t l y comparable, so the and the meanings a s s o c i a t e d w i t h  the  66  act o f purchase  are c o r r e s p o n d i n g l y d i v e r s e .  Still  f i n i n g o u r s e l v e s to the b e h a v i o u r a l f o c u s o f the but moving beyond the b a s i c s , and a s s o c i a t e d  milieu,  artifacts  a c t i o n s are acknowledged as f a l l i n g  o f two c a t e g o r i e s motorcycles:  the " n o n - s t o c k "  of non-production,  "show", and " g o " .  those e l a b o r a t e l y  i n t o one  customized or modified  "Show" d e s i g n a t e s c h i e f l y  chromed c o n t r a p t i o n s  c i r c u i t of cycle association  con-  e x h i b i t e d on the  "shows", though some "show"  c y c l e s never get o f f the s t r e e t end i n t o the d i s p l a y  circle.  "Go" i s a broader  forms  category,  i n c l u d i n g any o f s e v e r a l  of sanctioned or unsanctioned  competitive racing,  though,  a g a i n , many a "hot machine" never sees a t r a c k o r a t i m i n g light.  B r i d g i n g t h e gap between the " s t o c k e r " and t h e  custom/hauler" tries,  are a range o f a c c e s s o r y  indus-  o f f e r i n g a r t i f a c t s , t h e owner can b o l t on h i m s e l f ,  p r o f e s s i o n a l m o d i f i e r s he can h i r e . of  and s e r v i c e  "full  But t h e b u s i n e s s  "the c y c l e boom" o f the l a t e s i x t i e s and e a r l y  or  end  seventies,  c a t e r i n g as i t does t o the M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e meaning complex, extends beyond mere m o t o r c y c l e s .  The o t h e r  artifacts  of  the.  e v e r - e x p a n d i n g m i l i e u are a l l o f f e r e d f o r purchase o r h i r e . Again, exhaustive c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i s p o i n t l e s s , themselves  for  cyclists  have s e t t l e d on a few b e h a v i o u r a l p a t t e r n s t h a t  we may o f f e r  as i l l u s t r a t i v e / t y p i c a l .  U s u a l l y a helmet i s p u r c h a s e d , w h i t e egg to a chrome N a z i h e l m e t .  a n y t h i n g from an a u s t e r e Next on the l i s t o f  67  p r i o r i t i e s comes f o o t w e a r : are b e t t e r ,  o l d shoes w i l l d o , combat b o o t s  b u c k l e B i k e r boots are " c l a s s " , and r e i n f o r c e d  r a c i n g b o o t s are f o r the r i c h . it  Moving a l o n g another n o t c h  i s a t o s s up between s p e c i a l c l o t h i n g and t o o l s , w i t h a  p r i c e range f o r every p o c k e t .  L a s t on the l i s t ,  f o r the v e r y d e d i c a t e d few are "the c o l o u r s " .  and r e s e r v e d  These i n c l u d e  a c l u b j a c k e t and emblems (which may be " A . M . A. s a n c t i o n e d " o r hard core "grease") snaps,  and p e r s o n a l touches l i k e  gauntlet  s l o g a n p a t c h e s , beer openers and chromed c h a i n b e l t s .  Studs are on the way o u t , they "ehow your h e a d ' s  as are t a t o o s  i n the f i f t i e s " .  and e a r r i n g s , This, then,  because is a  q u i c k o u t l i n e o f the v i s i b l e p h y s i c a l m a n i f e s t a t i o n s o f t h e M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e theme, when and v/here i t i s e v i n c e d . e x a c t l y i s g o i n g o n , though, i n our s u b j e c t s '  heads;  What what  d i d they say i t meant to them? There are a number o f i n t e n s e , t y p i c a l l y m a s c u l i n e d e l i g h t s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the above-mentioned f a c e t s o f the milieu.  We s h a l l e x p l i c a t e t h e s e elements under the  o f p u r c h a s e , m a i n t a i n e n c e , and m o d i f i c a t i o n .  headings  The most b a s i c  o f t h e s e i s p u r c h a s e ; one r e a l l y has t o a c q u i r e a m i l i e u enjoy i t .  to  The p r o c e s s b e g i n s w i t h window s h o p p i n g , v i s i t i n g  d e a l e r s h i p s , p e r u s i n g the want ads, s p e c i f i c a t i o n sheets, information.  a c q u i r i n g pamphlets,  and t i d b i t s o f " e x p e r t . . . i n s i d e "  The c l i m a x comes v/hen, f o r b e t t e r  o r f o r worse,  68  t h e purchase  i s made;  This e n t i r e experience i s best  des-  c r i b e d as "a head t r i p " ; i t i s the f i r s t phase o f " r e a l l y g e t t i n g i n t o b i k e s " ; i t i s remembered f o n d l y l o n g a f t e r o r i g i n a l machine has been t r a d e d away. and i n f o r m a l l y e l a b o r a t e  the  The i n s t i t u t i o n a l l y  s a l e s p r o c e s s c a t e r s to the  pre-  v a l e n t mania f o r owning, the d e s i r e to possess t h i n g s new and u s e d .  We v / i l l not go as f a r as t o p o s t u l a t e  f a c t i o n o f an " a c q u i s i t i v e i n s t i n c t " , but the  the  power/meaning-  f u l n e s s o f the purchase e x p e r i e n c e s h o u l d not be H a v i n g a c q u i r e d at l e a s t whatever  satis-  understated.  the b a s i c s o f the m i l i e u  at  " s t o c k " x e v e l one c a n / w i s h e s to a f f o r d (and t h e r e  i s an immense range o f f e r e d )  one can q u i t t h e r e ,  s u p p l e m e n t i n g the m i l i e u o c c a s s i o n a l l y , a r t i f a c t i n order to re-experience frequently  the purchase phase.  just by  artifact,  Subjects  expressed t h e i r g r e a t j o y i n the t y p i c a l l y mascu-  l i n e N o r t h American s t a t e o f b e i n g i n charge o f , o r i n the presence ful  o f , o r even i n t e r e s t e d  i n a p i e c e o f complex power-  machinery. T h i s can d e v e l o p i n t o a p e c u l i a r s t a t e o f a f f a i r s .  The  i n d i v i d u a l w i l l b e g i n to " i d e n t i f y " w i t h h i s machine,  ascrib-  i n g to h i m s e l f , by v i r t u e o f h i s a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h t h e  milieu,  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s t h a t were i n i t i a l l y  arti-  facts  alone.  Thus, we have the  attributes  o f the  " H a r l e y Davidson K a n " , to  name but one, a phenomenon wherein c e r t a i n g r o u p s / i n d i v i d u a l s  69  w i l l purchase  a H a r l e y ( u s u a l l y the most  74 P l e c t r a G l i d e or " d r e s s e r " ) because i t finest/the  most/whatever".  expensive/elaborate i s "the  best/the  Then comes t h e t w i s t .  The  g r o u p / i n d i v i d u a l w i l l begin s p o r t i n g Karley jackets T - s h i r t s , H a r l e y j e w e l l r y , H a r l e y (anywhere)  and  otickers,  H a r l e y f l a g s i n o r d e r to more f u l l y p a r t i c i p a t e  and  i n a man-  machine myth o f i n d e s t r u c t i b i l i t y / m e c h a n i c a l e x c e l l e n c e / "Performance"/  whatever.  This basic manifestation of  the  M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e i s done not so much f o r the show as f o r t h e pure l o v e o f i t .  Iu i s an act o f d e v o t i o n to a d e v i c e .  "You can get r e a l f a r  into  Not  it."  everyone i s content  to q u i t t h e r e .  Optional/addi-  t i o n a l d e l i g h t s await he who choses to m a i n t a i n h i s own milieu.  T h i s can be as s i m p l e as t w i c e - m o n t h l y wash and  wax or as e l a b o r a t e as a w i n t e r motor r e b u i l d .  We have  a l r e a d y mentioned "the r i t e s o f s p r i n g " i n which most . cyclists participate.  The o p e r a t i n g  masculine/cultural  f a c t o r here i s t h e j o y o f w o r k i n g w i t h t o o l s and o n e ' s own hands.  Scores o f s u b j e c t s s t a t e d t h a t they " l o v e d to  tinker/mess  around/fix/tune/  Sooner o r l a t e r little".  f i d d l e with"' t h e i r  bikes.  they succumb to the urge t o "work on i t  Prom t h e n on " i t ' s  a  a l o t l i k e eating peanuts".  The m o t o r c y c l e would seem a l o g i c a l p r o g r e s s i o n f o r  the  " m e c h a n i c a l l y i n c l i n e d " boy who d i s m a n t l e d b i c y c l e s and lawnmowers i n h i s e a r l i e r d a y s . '  Also,  "It  ain't  as c o r a p l i -  70 0  cated as a c a r . "  The c y c l e i s p e c u l i a r l y s u i t e d to men  who  l o v e machines; i t i s a n e a r l y i d e a l Mechanical B r i d e . But why  q u i t there?  went the whole way.  A s m a l l f r a c t i o n o f the s u b j e c t s  Por "show" or "go"  uhey  "modify/custom-  ize/hop up" a s t o c k motorcycle m i l i e u with purchased fabricated suits. of  or  a r t i f a c t s , e v e r y t h i n g from f u e l i n j e c t o r s to  fire  The r e s u l t s are the epitome o f t h i s theme, products  pure d e v o t i o n .  In the post-Nader  e r a when the  automobile  i n d u s t r y i s g e a r i n g f o r s a f e t y standards and economic r e c e s s i o n , motorcycle s a l e s go on booming, n o t a b l y i n the more " e x o t i c " reaches. those who  M o t o r c y c l i n g has become the haven f o r  would f o r m e r l y have been "hot rod e n t h u s i a s t s " .  Motorcycle shows and r a c i n g meets p r e s e r v e a l l the f l a v o u r of  a late f i f t i e s  custom car c r a z e , with acres o f chrome,  blondes, b i k i n i s , c o l o u r e d s p o t l i g h t s and angel h a i r . T h i s , then, i s the essence o f the a f f e c t  component o f  the b e h a v i o u r a l meaning theme we have dubbed the Bride.  Mechanical  "The whole t h i n g i s , you g o t t a spend a l o t t a time  your b i k e . "  The  investment  of time, money and e f f o r t by  on men  i n widely v a r i e d areas o f m o t o r c y c l i n g , s o l e l y because they delight ings.  i n doing i t ; t h i s i s the key to these s o r t s of meanIn doing so, they p l u g i n t o a range of c u l t u r a l  f a c t s / e n c u l t u r a t e d experiences that are t y p i c a l l y and n e c e s s a r i l y  raachine-oriented.  There  arti—  masculine  are o n l y three  71  minor p o i n t s l e f t to e x p l i c a t e : what about r i d i n g the what about the women, and what about the o b j e c t  things,  component?  The r e a d e r may have s u r m i z e d c o r r e c t l y t h a t M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e b e h a v i o u r s seem to have a l o t ot do w i t h "shop" o r "down t i m e " a c t i v i t i e s and not too much t o do w i t h what d e v i c e i s e v e n t u a l l y i n t e n d e d to d o . c o n t e x t o f t n i s b e h a v i o u r a l theme,  How i m p o r t a n t ,  the  i n the  are r i d i n g smoothly from  p o i n t A to p o i n t B on a w e l l tuned s t o c k e r , t a k i n g b e s t i n show w i t h n i n e hundred pounds o f chrome and m e t a l f l a k e p a i n t , o r h a v i n g the l o w e s t E . T . ? critically  important,  They c e r t a i n l y are not  at l e a s t not i n t h e sense t h a t i f  s t i l l w i l l not r u n o r does not w i n , t h e c y c l i s t w i l l l o v e i t anymore.  and l a b o u r .  i t may be . f r u s t r a t i n g  u n k i n d words f o r t h e i r b e a s t s ) , fun  of t r y i n g ,  age bear t h i s o u t .  (some s u b j e c t s  come  had some v e r y  but i t does not s p o i l  the  efforts  more o f a " K i c k " ,  Two s i g n s i n a p a r t s l i t t e r e d  gar-  "Old b i k e r s . . . ( l i k e o l d g o l f e r s ) . . . n e v e r  "You can swear at  When o n e ' s  I f one's e f f o r t s  and i t a p p a r e n t l y does not put a p e r s o n o f f  motorcycles completely.  die."  not  The onus i s on the p r e p a r a t i o n , on i n v e s t -  ing the time, resources t o naught  it  'em, but you c a n ' t  come t o f r u s t r a t i o n , rather  swear o f f  the e x p e r i e n c e  'em." is  than something which i s n e c e s s a r i l y  i n v o l v e d i n the " M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e " . What about the women?  W e l l , t h i s may come as more bad  72-  news f o r Women's L i b . , but o f those v e r y few female  respon-  d e n t s who m a n i f e s t e d elements o f t h i s theme, o n l y one r e g a r d e d i t as a n a t u r a l t h i n g to be d o i n g ( t h a t i s , she d i d not f i n d  i t i n a p p r o p r i a t e f o r her t o l o v e messing around  with machinery).  The r e s t q u a l i f i e d t h e i r b e h a v i o u r i n much  t h e f o l l o w i n g manner.  " I ' m d o i n g i t t o prove t o my husband/  my b o y f r i e n d / m y s e l f t h a t a woman can do t h e s e t h i n g s . " •Nuff  said. F i n a l l y we come t o t h e o b j e c t component o f t h i s  It  i s i m p o r t a n t t o examine how elements o f s u b j e c t  c h a r a c t e r i z e d the m i l i e u a r t i f a c t s ship.  First  and f o r e m o s t ,  theme. responses  in this "love" r e l a t i o n -  we must s t r e s s t h a t t h e m o t o r c y c l e  and i t s a t t e n d a n t o b j e c t s remain as o b j e c t s , aforementioned cases o f " i d e n t i f i c a t i o n " .  even i n the  There i s no n o t i o n  o f a personal/human r e l a t i o n s h i p between a man and the manufactured.  More i m p o r t a n t l y , our theme i s v o i d o f any s e x u a l  connotations.  A man's d e v o t i o n t o h i s m o t o r c y c l e , as we have  encountered i t , i s not to be u n d e r s t o o d i n any q u a s i - F r e u d i a n sense^ o f p e n i s e x t e n s i o n o r s u b l i m a t e d s e x u a l g r a t i f i c a t i o n . Though, as we s h a l l see i n S e c t i o n T h r e e , i t has  important  i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r s u b j e c t b e h a v i o u r , most c y c l i s t s are not q u i t e t h a t "hung u p " . In p o i n t o f f a c t ,  we encountered o n l y one such "problem  c a s e " i n the course o f t h i s s t u d y , a r a t h e r  sad s o u l named  73  B r i a n who spends h i s days and n i g h t s i n p u b l i c a s t r i d e immaculate w h i t e H a r l e y , as an e l a b o r a t e cover f o r black leather  fetish.  is,  literature?  any s e x u a l i n v o l v e m e n t , we are  w i t h the s t e r i l e M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e . a term,  perhaps b e s t u n d e r s t o o d  diligence,  left  " M i s t r e s s " i s too  and too l o a d e d w i t h i m p l i c a t i o n s o f g u i l t .  Por the investment  his  A l s o by" the b y , c o u l d someone e x p l a i n  why t h e B.M.W. b u l k s so l a r g e i n homosexual H a v i n g renounced  an  sexual  Bride i t  i n the sense o f " b r i d e p r i c e " .  o f a c e r t a i n sum, i n d o l l a r s , days and  a man can o p e n l y a t t a i n  immense  satisfaction.  CHAPTER FIVE  KICKS  74  Of a l l p o s s i b l e t h e m a t i z e d / u n t h e m a t i z e d r e s p o n s e s t o question,  "What do you get out o f i t ? " , t h i s was by f a r  away the most r e c u r r e n t .  We have brought t o g e t h e r  the  and  in this  theme elements o f l i t e r a l l y hundreds and hundreds o f r e p l i e s * The t i t l e i t s e l f  i s a w e l l - w o r n respondent term f o r  the  b e h a v i o u r a l meanings we w i l l be e x a m i n i n g ; i t cropped up i n c e r t a i n l y the greater w i l l present  p o r t i o n o f a p p r o p r i a t e answers.  We  some i n i t i a l d i s c u s s i o n o f the g e n e r a l conno-  t a t i o n s o f the theme as w e l l as the l i m i t s w i t h i n which a p p l i e s , then move on to an e x p o s i t i o n o f i t s  it  elemental  features. The  f i r s t t h i n g t o n o t e i s t h a t " k i c k s " are not t o be  confused w i t h " g o o d - c l e a n - f u n " . frolic, ment. ing.  Pun denotes t h e  gay amusing e n t e r t a i n m e n t ,  sportive  the pleasures o f m e r r i -  T h i s i s d e f i n i t i v e l y not what our s u b j e c t s were i m p l y Pun i s f a r too p r i s t e e n ,  and d u l l by c o m p a r i s o n .  This  i s not t o say t h a t r e s p o n d e n t s d i d not use the word " f u n " i n d e s c r i b i n g t h e i r e x p e r i e n c e s ; what we are a s s e r t i n g i s t h a t t h e y d i d not use i t t o any o f t h e l i g h t effects  o u t l i n e d above.  and l i l y - w h i t e  They were e x t o l l i n g the p l e a s u r e s o f  something much more p o w e r f u l than P e p s i . The b e s t s c h o l a s t i c / b e h a v i o u r a l homology f o r the term is  a " s t a t e o f e x c i t e m e n t " , v a r i a t i o n s on t h i s b e i n g a c l o s e  runner up t o " k i c k s " i n the f i e l d of  also.  " I get a k i c k out  i t . . . i t ' s an e x c i t i n g e x p e r i e n c e . . . a g a s . . . c h e a p  thrills."  75  It  i s excitement,  g e n e r a l l y i n the p a s s i v e s e n s e s ;  subjects  were not roused t o g r e a t e r endeavours by m o t o r c y c l i n g , e x cept i n a b s t r u s e senses t h a t are not r e l e v a n t h e r e .  A kick  i s f i r s t o f a l l an e x p e r i e n c e , one t h a t arouses s t r o n g i n g s , g r e a t energy i n the r e s p o n d e n t . kick w i l l shakin*  Anything that i s a  induce a s t a t e o f a g i t a t i o n .  a l l over."  "Man, I get  Such t h i n g s / a c t i o n s  c a l l y i n t o x i c a t i n g f o r the s u b j e c t s .  feel-  to  are m e n t a l l y / p h y s i -  They are  titillating  (but not i n the sense o f b e i n g c o e q u a l w i t h a c t i v e s e x u a l i t y ) . "Sometimes i t can be l i k e c o m i n g . " The b e h a v i o u r s i n q u e s t i o n were v a r i o u s l y d e s c r i b e d  as  "electrifying...racy...dramatic...high...sensational...soul stirring...spine tingling...breath taking...hair raising... r i p r o a r i n g . . . a scream".  The net e f f e c t  seems to be a n y t h i n g  t o do v i t h m o t o r c y c l i n g t h a t g a l v a n i z e s a respondent h i s boredom/present  out o f  s t a t e to a r e l a t i v e l y higher l e v e l o f  excitation. There do not appear to be d i f f e r e n t  types of k i c k s i n  t h e sense t h a t t h e r e are a number o f q u a l i t a t i v e l y d i s t i n guishable transient different  s t a t e s which are r e g u l a r l y a t t a i n e d  t i m e s and/or by d i f f e r e n t  subjects.  Each  at  individ-  u a l had about the same r e l a t i v e l y " h i g h e r " s t a t e i n mind i n d i s c u s s i n g t h e s e meanings o f m o t o r c y c l i n g . absolute  It  is  l e v e l o f t h e e x p e r i e n c e t h a t v a r i e s most  the widely:  76  a g i v e n b e h a v i o u r may be more o r l e s s s u c c e s s f u l i n p r o d u c i n g the d e s i r e d e f f e c t ;  some i n d i v i d u a l s seem t o g e t more o f a  k i c k out o f i t than o t h e r s ;  different  i n d i v i d u a l s have u n d e r -  gone d i f f e r e n t  ranges o f e x p e r i e n c e s .  F o r the purposes o f  t h i s argument,  we- can adopt one commonplace c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n  o f such v a r i a n c e and s t a t e t h a t the b e h a v i o u r s and t h e i r a s s o c i a t e d meanings go from " m i l d " t o " w i l d " . 1  T h i s would  c o v e r t h e range o f r u n o f t h e m i l l events from " a Sunday s p i n " t o "heavy j a m m i n " , r e l e g a t i n g a few e x t r a o r d i n a r y 1  k i c k s , such as raup jumping, t o somewhere o f f t h e " h i g h and wild"  end. How i s t h i s theme d i s t r i b u t e d a c r o s s t h e p o p u l a t i o n ?  Once a g a i n , most everywhere, e x c l u d i n g o n l y t h e p o l i c e m e n and the r i d e r s o f t h e s m a l l e s t machines ( o h , poor m a l i g n e d Honda 9 0 1 ) , though, s i n c e t h i s was t h e most p o p u l a r o f themes,  the  t h e r e were some e x c e p t i o n s i n b o t h o f the above  C o n c e r n i n g the s m a l l e r machines, we s h o u l d a l s o n o t e  cases.  the  c u r r e n t p r o l i f e r a t i o n o f " m i n i - b i k e s " , machines o f l o w s t a t u r e and m i n i s c u l e d i s p l a c e m e n t .  o  They are  apparently  emerging as a new K i c k i n m o t o r c y c l i n g , as w e l l as b e i n g t h e stamping grounds o f t h e v e r y y o u n g .  We have d i g r e s s e d .  Almost anyone was l i k e l y t o p r o f f e r some elements o f t h i s theme i n t h e c o u r s e o f r e p l y i n g t o our q u e s t i o n ; o f a l l t h e themes t h i s one i s the l e a s t  l i k e l y t o be r e l a t e d t o any  77  p o s s i b l e " t y p o l o g y o f m o t o r c y c l i s t s " , u n l e s s some " e x t e r n a l " ' measures v/ere c o n s i d e r e d t o o .  To narrow i t down  a  bit  though, we can n o t e t h a t p a r t i c u l a r i n d i v i d u a l s may t h e i r own  have  f a v o u r i t e times/spaces: f o r i n d u l g i n g i n k i c k s .  cannot attempt an e x h a u s t i v e  a n a l y s i s of the  We  temperal/spacial  r e l a t i o n s i n v o l v e d here, s i n c e we d i d not s u b s t r u c t  the  r e s p o n s e s o f s u b j e c t s a c c o r d i n g t o t h i s scheme. N e i t h e r  can  we be c e r t a i n of where such i n d i v i d u a l s would s i t i n r e l a t i o n t o the e n t i r e p o p u l a t i o n ,  IT seems f a i r l y o b v i o u s t h a t such  d i s t i n c t i o n s as day or n i g h t , s t r e e t or highway, r o a d  or  c r o s s c o u n t r y or t r a c k would be r e l e v a n t tirae/space s i t u a t i o n a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s f o r an a c t i v i t y such as m o t o r c y c l i n g , we would agree t h a t t h i s i s so, at l e a s t f o r c e r t a i n i n d i v i d uals/groups;  i n what manner i t i s g e n e r a l l y f u n c t i o n i n g i s  not y e t known.  In t h e c o n t e x t o f t h i s theme, we would a s s e r t  t h a t some r e s p o n d e n t s d i d a l i g n t h e m s e l v e s w i t h p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n s where t i m e / s p a c e f a c t o r s were o v e r t l y o p e r a t i n g ( r a c i n g , t o name but one), t h e o b j e c t b e i n g to get the maximum  " k i c k " , out o f i t .  We have d i g r e s s e d even f u r t h e r .  R e t u r n i n g t o t h e how focused  and the wherefore o f  e x c i t a t i o n , we n o t e t h a t whereas the  B r i d e " was  motorcycle"Mechanical  concerned w i t h the more s t a t i o n a r y m a n i f e s t a t i o n s  -of m o t o r c y c l i s t s * , b e h a v i o u r ,  " K i c k s " i n v a r i a b l y i n v o l v e s some  movement on the p a r t of our p o p u l a t i o n . i s the s u b j e c t who  The  e x c e p t i o n here  g e t s a k i c k out o f t a k i n g the b e s t i n show  78  trophy f o r h i s customized c r e a t i o n .  He has not moved an i n c h .  However, we would argue t h a t t h i s has v e r y l i t t l e d i r e c t l y t o do w i t h m o t o r c y c l i n g , and a g r e a t d e a l to do w i t h a more g e n e r a l form o f o r g a n i z e d c o m p e t i t i o n . more r e l e v a n t  to t h e theme we are  At i t s s i m p l e s t l e v e l ,  Winning a r a c e i s much  considering.  i n the sense t h a t i t . g i v e s one a  " m i l d k i c k " , r i d i n g around on t h e m o t o r c y c l e g i v e s one a sense o f something to d o . " r e l i e v e s boredom".  I f nothing else,  subjects said  it  The same might be s a i d f o r g e t t i n g a k i c k  out o f " x i n k e r i n g around w i t h my motor", but we have i n c l u d e d t h e s e under the p r e c e d i n g theme s i n c e a s t a t e o f tremendous a g i t a t i o n h a r d l y seems to be t h e end i n v i e w . therapeutic  effect  Herein l i e s  of "just going for a s p i n " .  Subjects  cited  t h e rhythm o f the b a s i c r i d i n g a c t i v i t i e s as w e l l as  the  "change o f scenery" as the o p e r a t i n g f a c t o r s  level.  at t h i s  R i d i n g a m o t o r c y c l e r e q u i r e s b o t h hands and both f e e t , w e l l as v a r i a t i o n s i n p o s t u r e ; f o l d e d i n an u n i n t e r r u p t e d ,  the  as  the w o r l d i s c o n t i n u o u s l y u n -  n e a r s p h e r i c a l panorama.  It  is  much more o f "something to do" than g o i n g f o r a walk o r r i d i n g in a car. A s l i g h t l y s t r o n g e r k i c k i s the sense o f  accomplishment  involved i n c o n t r o l l i n g a s m a l l , mobile b i t of one's e n v i r o n ment.  This i s the intense  s a t i s f a c t i o n o f m a s t e r i n g the  o f r i d i n g to the degree t h a t one f e e l s  " i n command".  skills  Here a l s o  79  i s the end r e s u l t o f . t h e M e c h a n i c a l S r i d e a c t i v i t i e s , p r o o f o f t h e p u d d i n g " , as i t were. it!  The damned t h i n g w o r k s ! "  "the  A f t e r much e f f o r t ,  "I d i d  More than one i n d i v i d u a l men-  t i o n e d tha.t t h i s was the s o r t o f k i c k t h a t he d i d not o b t a i n i n h i s workaday l i f e . creative recreation,  M o t o r c y c l i n g i s f o r many a form o f r e f o r i t p r o v i d e s more than "something t o  d o " ; i t g i v e s a sense o f " g e t t i n g something d o n e - . always count on my b i k e . or i t doesn't.  I k i c k i t over,  I built it.  " I can  and i t e i t h e r  I take care of i t .  starts  i l t h e r way,  i t s my d o i n g . " 1  Moving out o f t h e m i l d i n t o t h a t which i s w i l d we e n c o u n t e r what i s o f t e n l a b e l l e d "the m o t o r c y c l e e x p e r i e n c e " i n a d v e r t i s i n g copy and respondent  ravings a l i k e .  T h i s i s one  o f t h e " t e a l h i g h s " e x p e r i e n c e d by a g r e a t number o f At t h i s l e v e l , p r o p e r t y ,  s p e c i f i c a l l y the m o t o r c y c l e m i l i e u ,  i s recognized/overtly u t i l i z e d titillation.  subjects.  as an i n s t r u m e n t o f  self  We r e t u r n a l s o t o some more s p e c i f i c c o n s i d e r a -  t i o n o f t h e f a c t o r s o f time and s p a c e . Actually,  i f one were t o read o n l y the a d v e r t i s i n g c o p y ,  one would c o n c l u d e t h a t the " m o t o r c y c l e e x p e r i e n c e "  consisted  i n e a s i n g t h e mind; i f you own a m o t o r c y c l e you can "get from i t a l l " at a moments n o t i c e ,  away  jsxamples o f t h i s s o r t o f  p u b l i c i t y i n c l u d e Honda's -two-wheeled freedom- and Yamaha's "sometimes freedom i s j u s t knowing i t ' s there"';'!' here a g a i n we have an i n d u s t r y g e a r i n g i t s e l f  to a p r e v a l e n t  behavioural  80  theme.  However, w i t h P u r i t a n and work e t h i c hangovers  cannot go so f a r  they  as to mention such a p o w e r f u l p o t e n t i a l l y  u n c o n t r o l l a b l e e x p e r i e n c e as " K i c k s " ; they have to employ i t i n terms o f " g e t t i n g out from under i t  all"*  Not s u r p r i z i n g l y , t h e n , t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s * v e r s i o n s o f t h e m o t o r c y c l e e x p e r i e n c e p r e s e n t q u i t e another iors.  s e t o f behav-  Responses c o n t a i n i n g such q u a s i " f u n " elements as  above were r e l a t i v e l y few i n number.  The r e a l  the  excitement  does not c o n s i s t i n the pseudo freedom o f t e m p o r a r i l y g e t t i n g out from under; self,  o r at the v e r y l e a s t  of a c t i v i t i e s . one,  thatwould n e c e s s i t a t e a c t i v e l y f o o l i n g  one-  an a i r t i g h t compartment a l i z at i o n  The e x p e r i e n c e as i t e x i s t s i s an i n t e g r a l  i t m a n i f e s t s no such elements o f s e l f d e c e p t i o n o r  cumscription.  I n s t e a d o f " e a s i n g the m i n d " , the  t r i e s to " c l e a r h i s h e a d " .  It  i s another case o f  cyclist re-creation,  "a t u r n o n " .  "You put e v e r y t h i n g down, and you go out  for  H e l p s you t h i n k  a while.  cir-  j'ammin'  straight."  To d i s t i n g u i s h t h i s l e v e l o f k i c k from the m i l d e r v e r s i o n s , t h e r i d e r becomes a c t i v e l y p r e o c c u p i e d not s i m p l y w i t h the h a n d l i n g o f s t i m u l i ; t h a t would be " j u s t to d o " .  something  N e i t h e r i s he p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h n o v e l ways o f h a n d l i n g  t h a t i s the k i c k t h a t comes w i t h t h e sense o f accomplishment and t h e development o f r i d i n g s k i l l s .  Instead,  o c c u p i e d w i t h the h a n d l i n g o f n o v e l s t i m u l i .  he i s  pre-  To e x p l i c a t e :  81  i t goes w i t h o u t s a y i n g t h a t the r i d e r i s p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h what he i s d o i n g .  A l l l e v e l s of k i c k s e n t a i l t h i s e x c i t a t i o n  to h i g h e r energy l e v e l s . thing else)  A l s o , r i d i n g (end j u s t  about  any-  can be c o n c e i v e d o f as a process o f h a n d l i n g  stimuli.  "You g o t t a pay a t t e n t i o n man, o t h e r w i s e you f u c k  up, H a l "  But what, prey t e l l ,  For t h e  do we mean by new s t i m u l i ?  answer, v/e s h a l l have to d i g r e s s from our  i n t o an a b s t r a c t d i s c u s s i o n o f a c t i v i t i e s i n g e n e r a l .  data Sub-  j e c t s d i d not f e e l up to any such t h e o r e t i c a l s e l f m u t i l a t i o n " J e e e z u z , man!  I s t h a t a l l you wanna do?  Talk, t a l k ! " ; so,  we have had to do i t on our lonesome. C o n s i d e r the set  " a l l a c t i v i t i e s " , d e f i n i n g an a c t i v i t y  as any b l o c k which a s u b j e c t  can., c o n s i s t e n t l y s u b s t r u c t  the t o t a l i t y of h i s experience. i s one such a c t i v i t y .  from  "The m o t o r c y c l e e x p e r i e n c e "  Now, o b v i o u s l y , t h e r e i s no clear,,  d i v i s i o n between " s t a t i c "  and "moving"' a c t i v i t i e s , but  t h e purposes o f t h e a n a l y s i s we may say t h a t most are more o r l e s s s t a t i c  for  activities  and i n v o l v e c o m p a r a t i v e l y l i t t l e i n  t h e way o f p h y s i c a l d y n a m i c s .  They a r e , f o r example,  o f as o c c u r r i n g i n a c e r t a i n ( s i n g l e ) p l a c e . o c c a s i o n s : do have a r e q u i s i t e  spoken  However, some  v e l o c i t y , b e g i n n i n g somewhere  around " t a k i n g a w a l k " , and e x t e n d i n g up to (and t h e o r e t i c a l l y past)  "the f a s t e s t man a l i v e " .  Going f o r a r i d e to l o o k at  the scenery i s a moderately slow o c c a s i o n , . f o r I n t e r e s t i n g l y , enough,  example.  a l o t of c u l t u r a l l y r e - c r e a t i v e  activ-  82  i t i e s seem to i n v o l v e moving from p l a c e to p l a c e . Kore s p e c i f i c a l l y , r i d i n g gates/enables uli,  one  around on  a motorcycle  to handle a r e l a t i v e l y novel form of s t i m -  v a r i a b l e s p a t i a l inputs.  T h e environment no l o n g e r  mains f i r m l y i n p l a c e while time marches on. move by t o g e t h e r ,  in a direct  be r e g u l a t e d at w i l l .  The  S =V/T  Time and  motorcycle  experience  as r e q u i r e d i n order to c l e a r the head with ent p e r c e p t u a l / b e h a v i o u r a l  re-  space  r e l a t i o n s h i p t h a t can •. i s an  i t y t h a t respondents could t u r n on, moderate, and  the v e l o c i t y one  obli-  orderings.  activ-  turn o f f  entirely  Of course,  differ-  the  greater  can manage, the b i g g e r the k i c k , but more of  t h a t anon.  " S i t back and watch the road, groove on the t r e e s  going by."  "Get  r e a l mellow." Un my one  way  who  out  and r i d e around f o r a w h i l e . "  "It's,  " R i d i n g i t to work s e t s me up f o r the  home 1 can f o r g e t .  can r i d e ,  : :  day..  i h i s much i s a v a i l a b l e to any-  and t h e r e i n probably  l i e s the reason  that  i_icks i s the most widespread' o f our themes.  ± or the g r e a t  mass, m o t o r c y c l i n g means a w i l d t h i n g to do.  'Everybody  to get out  and  i n the realm  stop t h e r e .  of h i g h e r  theme becomes romantic  l a s t great  thrill  R i d i n g at  L i k e Machismo, the  i n i t s upper reaches,  into a s i n g l e reply.  daredevils",  The  and h i g h e r speed.  breakneck pace i s "a f a n t a s t i c charge".  blend  loves  r o a r around once i n a w h i l e . "  However, i t does not begins  :  T h i s i s where one  and the may  "the speed demons", p r o f e s s i o n a l and  two  find  "the  amateur  a  83  r a c e r s , and many an a s p i r i n g "weekend w a r r i o r " and "sidewalk commando".  E v e l K n e i v e l i s t h e best known l i v i n g  archetype,  the product o f motorcycle r e l a t e d i n d u s t r i e s p u b l i c a l l y a t t a c h i n g themselves to t h e most e x o t i c m a n i f e s t a t i o n s o f a prevalent object  behavioural  theme..  At t h i s l e v e l the g e n e r a l  i s t o v i o l a t e any o r a l l r u l e s o f t h e road/common  sense/self preservation, ultimate kick".  and, i n so doing,  o b t a i n "the  CHAPTER S I X  MACHISMO  84  At l a s t we have come to i t , the theme e v e r y b o d y ' s been waiting for,  "Machismo".  By t h i s term we i n t e n d more t h a n  s i m p l y m a s c u l i n i t y , f o r the theme i n c l u d e s elements would s u l l y Superman.  that  The essence o f machismo, o r macho,  m a l e v o l e n t m a n l i n e s s , m a s c u l i n i t y w i t h a mean, n a s t y  twist.  The c y c l i s t who e x p e r i e n c e s medio f e e l s more o f a Satan a superhero.  Machismo i s v i r i l i t y  t h e t w i n embodiment o f manhood and Next t o " K i c k s " , b e h a v i o u r themes.  than  stained with v i r u l e n c e , evil.  t h i s i s the most p e r v a s i v e o f c y c l i n g  I t s elements  c i t i z e n ' s worst dreams:  are the n i g h t b e a s t s o f  the s e x , the s a d i s m , the  the s a t a n i c f a n t a s t i c f i e n d s ;  v o i c e d by a l l manner o f s u b j e c t s , belligerently.  It  the  savagery,  and, we c o n t e n d , i t l u r k s i n  the b l a c k h e a r t o f many a m o t o r c y c l i s t .  boastfully,  is  The theme was  furtively,  leeringly,  i s much o f what a g r e a t many  get out o f m o t o r c y c l i n g . "Machismo" i s a l s o one o f the few b e h a v i o u r a l themes t h a t c l e a r l y p a r t i t i o n s the p o p u l a t i o n , but i n a r a t h e r u n i q u e way. it,  Though t h e r e were many who e v i d e n c e elements o f  t h e r e are c e r t a i n i n d i v i d u a l s ,  i d e n t i f i a b l e as a c l a s s  on t h i s and o t h e r grounds we s h a l l c o n s i d e r , who v/ere b e s t a b l e to express the a s s o c i a t e d meanings complex, who were the b e s t ( i a l )  embodiment o f t h i s theme.  They have even  p r o v i d e d us w i t h the name, machismo, u s i n g i t w i t h much t h e  85  same c o n n o t a t i o n s as ve d o . and they c o n s t i t u t e , ideal type.  They a r e , o f c o u r s e , t h e  f o r our p u r p o s e s ,  Bikers,  a walking t a l k i n g  There i s no need to improve, r e f i n e , o r modify  t h e i r behaviours.  They are the p e r f e c t m a n i f e s t a t i o n s o f  t h i s theme, the s t u f f t h a t n i g h t m a r e s and m o t o r c y c l e movies are made o f . Iu i s not a s i m p l e matter t o i d e n t i f y a " t r u e B i k e r " . Thanks l a r g e l y to American I n t e r n a t i o n a l , endless chain of cycle f l i c k s ,  perpetrators  the p o p u l a r c u l t u r e  contains  a set o f s i g n s and symbols t h a t the average c i t i z e n use t o "spot the b a s t a r d s " . fire  can/does  i n c l u d e s such s u r e -  emblems as c l o t h e s , c r u d , and cop h a s s l e s . Unfortunately,  man,  This set  o f an  c l o t h e s do not n e c e s s a r i l y make the macho  l a r g e l y because the B i k e r s have t h e i r i m i t a t o r s .  C h o i c e t e l l the s t o r y o f what happened to " a r e a l  Satan's  straight  dude" they caught w e a r i n g an i m i t a t i o n o f the Vancouver Chapter's colours.  "Har!  They c a l l him t h e Moron now!"  was a l s o a l l e g e d , but d i f f i c u l t purchase o r prepare  a full  to v e r i f y ,  t h a t some c y c l i s t s  s e t o f "gang" i n s i g n i a f o r which  t h e r e i s no such o r g a n i z a t i o n .  In a r e l a t e d v e i n , we d i d  encounter one f e l l o w i n the near p e r f e c t  d i s g u i s e of a Van-  couver motor p a t r o l m a n , complete w i t h b l u e s h i r t , helmet,  aviators, leather gauntlets,  striped britches,  It  and a f u l l  white  b e l t s and jump b o o t s ,  d r e s s r e d D u o - G i i d e w i t h bubble  86  gum b u l b .  M i s s i n g were V.P.D. i n s i g n i a , s i r e n , p o l i c e r a d i o ,  and gun; o n l y the i n c r i m i n a t i n g items t h a t would "impersonating  an o f f i c e r " .  s c a r i n g people s h i t l e s s " . that i t is d i f f i c u l t  He s a i d he "got  constitute  a charge oux o f  At any r a t e , the r e a d e r can  to t e l l what you are l o o k i n g  at.  C o n c e r n i n g c r u d , i t i s another " w e l l known f a c t " B i k e r s are " g r e a s e r s " , u s i n g i t  in their hair,  see  that  and h a r d l y  ever washing i t o f f t h e i r s k i n / c l o t h e s .  A l s o , those  ruffians  are always i n t r o u b l e w i t h the p o l i c e .  Unfortunately,  nei-  t h e r o f t h e s e s i g n s are adequate e i t h e r . tires  throw a l o t o f d i r t  Chains, cases,  and o i l , so we met a l o t o f  and  people  who were a w f u l l y cruddy but who t u r n e d out not to be macho; more o f t e n , .  they were s u b j e c t s who were deeply i n t o  Mechanical B r i d e .  A l s o , i t turns out,  the  a f t e r t a l k i n g to a l o t  o f c y c l i s t s and g o i n g through i t c o u n t l e s s  times  ourselves  i n the c o u r s e o f the f i e l d work, t h a t owning a l a r g e  motor-  c y c l e , p a r t i c u l a r l y a "chopper" makes the p o l i c e shakedown an every d a y / n i g h t h a z a r d . trouble  The p o l i c e have j u s t as much  i d e n t i f y i n g a r e a l B i k e r f o r t h e i r own p u r p o s e s - a t -  hand. We are f o r c e d to the c o n c l u s i o n v i s i b l e c r i t e r i a or m i l i e u a r t i f a c t Biker.  t h a t t h e r e i s no s i n g l e that i d e n t i f i e s  the macho  N e i t h e r i s the d i s p l a y o f machismo s u f f i c i e n t  s i n c e , we c o n t e n d ,  t h i s b e h a v i o u r a l theme i s v e r y  sign,  widespread.  87  I T : i s no l o n g e r a q u e s t i o n o f a s a t i s f a c t o r y  research  it  i n t h e words o f  i s a matter of the s u b j e c t s '  life  style:  test,  a member o f the v e r y A n g e l s ,  "Man, we d o n ' t h a f t a check 'em  o u t , we j u s t r e c o g n i z e ' e m . "  The B i k e r i s an i d e n t i f i a b l e  strain,  at l e a s t  as f a r  is his entire l i f e to that l i f e  as o t h e r B i k e r s are c o n c e r n e d .  s t y l e that i s s e l f - e v i d e n t ,  It  and the key  s t y l e seems to be a v e r s i o n o f the  following:  "The most i m p o r t a n t t h i n g i n the whole w o r l d to me i s my bike.  You can-do a n y t h i n g you want, but d o n ' t t o u c h my b i k e . " That i s what i t means to be a hard core B i k e r ,  i s the way o f i d e n t i f y i n g o n e . style.  His i s a "motorcycle" l i f e  M i l i e u a s s o c i a t e d b e h a v i o u r s are the major  and prime d e t e r m i n a n t sufficient  and t h a t  o f h i s day to day e x i s t e n c e .  ingredients I t i s not  f o r our purposes t h a t someone p r e s e n t s h i m s e l f as  a B i k e r and/or t h a t o t h e r B i k e r s (so d e f i n e d )  concur.  There  are " B i k e r gangs" whom o t h e r c y c l i s t s acknowledge are mere "chickenshits". others,  The B i k e r must c o n t i n u a l l y demonstrate to  as w e l l as to h i m s e l f , t h a t t h e r e i s n o t h i n g as  as h i s m o t o r c y c l e .  vital  The t a l e s o f such s e l f - e v i d e n c i n g f e a t s  are l e g i o n ; two examples w i l l prove  interesting.  "Charger ( a l i a s Charger C h a r l i e t h e C h i l d M o l e s t e r ) busted h i s l e g o n c e . Dumped i t and smashed h i m s e l f a l l u p . H i s s c o o t was s t i l l r u n n i n g so he rode back to the coach house, b l o o d so a k i n ' through h i s l e g an' e v e r y t h i n g . He made s u r e i t was l o c k e d away r e a l good b e f o r e he l e t 'em t a k e him to the h o s p i t a l . A broken l e g won't s t a r t to h u r t f o r a c o u p l a hours anyway."  88  "We were down i n C h i n a t o w n . T h i s hack d r i v e r t e l l s Gus t o move h i s chopper o u t t a the t a x i s t a n d , and Gus d o n ' t l e t on he h e a r s him y e l l i n ' . Then the a s s h o l e g i v e s t h e b i k e a h i t w i t h the f e n d e r , pow, l i k e t h a t , s e e . Show him he means i t . Gus bombs o v e r . Punches him i n t h e mouth, Powi He-oils him r i g h t out t h e window and we stomped the f u g g i n ' a s s h o l e r i g h t t h e r e i n the s t r e e t . " An i n d i v i d u a l , o r a group o f i n d i v i d u a l s who c a l l s e l v e s B i k e r s , but who f a i l life  style,  many w i l l  to measure up i n terms o f  are "marshmallows".  them' their  A g a i n , two examples from  suffice.  " G e o r g e ' s o l d l a d y was b i t c h i n ' at him when he got out o f t h e slammer t h e second t i m e . H e ' s got k i d s and a house. So he s o l d h i s garbage wagon. Now he t e l l s everybody h e ' s b u i l d i n g a d r a g wagon i n the g a r a g e . " "You know t h o s e Gypsy Wheelers t h i n k t h e y ' r e so f u c k i n ' tough. But Animal and L a r r y they went o v e r and k i c k e d t h e p r e s ' s b i k e over i n f r o n t o f the C e c i l . Hoofed i t over, l e a k i n ' gas, b a t t e r y out. The C h i c k e n s h i t s d i d n ' t , do n o t h i n ' . J u s t s t o o d t h e r e l i k e a bunch o f f u c k i n dames. R e a l marshmallows." 1  Having p i n p o i n t e d the B i k e r s , t i o n o f the t h e m a t i c c o n s t r u c t  we can b e g i n an e x a m i n a - -  "Machismo".  t h a t make i t up are the b e l l i g e r e n t B ' s : broads,  and b e e r " .  The major  elements  "my b i k e , my b u d d i e s ,  We s h a l l examine them i n a s l i g h t l y r  m o d i f i e d o r d e r , b e g i n n i n g w i t h the m a s c u l i n e base o f "Macho". V/hen the B i k e r speaks o f "my buddies",, he i n t e n d s simply h i s f r i e n d s ,  but at l e a s t  not  the f e l l o w members o f h i s  m o t o r c y c l e c l u b / g a n g , who may o r may not be h i s f r i e n d s , who must be h i s buds.  The i m p o r t a n t  t h i n g i s the  but  companion-  s h i p o f o t h e r men, however a m i c a b l e / i n i m i c a l t h a t may be  at  89  any g i v e n t i m e .  The t y p i c a l c l u b m o t t o , sometimes  i n c l u d e d i n the s t a t u t e s o f t h e c l u b c h a r t e r ,  officially  w i l l be some  v a r i a t i o n on " a l l f o r one, one f o r a l l " ; f o r example: "Angels f o r e v e r , forever Angels", Right",  " A Commanchero i s Always  "Brothers".  These are the men w i t h whom the E i k e r his l i f e life  shares/creates  s t y l e , whom he is_ p r e p a r e d to defend w i t h h i s ovm  (or so i t i s s a i d ; t h i s o f t e n extends  as g e t t i n g busted f o r the same o f f e n c e ) .  at l e a s t  ing,  More  a B i k e r spends h i s time d r i n k i n g , r i d i n g ,  pool, eating,  s l e e p i n g (Yes V i r g i n i a ,  it's  far  I t goes w i t h o u t '  s a y i n g t h a t they are a l l men who r i d e m o t o r c y c l e s . prosaicly,  as  shooting  a l l true),  party-  " g e t t i n g up s c r a t c h " , , and " j u s t b u g g e r i n g around" w i t h  members o f h i s c l u b , o r some o t h e r c l u b w i t h whom they on f r i e n d l y terms,  the l a t t e r  are  circumstance being comparatively  r a r e . ' He i s l o a t h t o pass the hours i n the company o f "citizens",  t h a t i s , non-members who are non B i k e r s and  u s u a l l y n o n - c y c l i s t s . Elements o f t r i b a l i s m and  ingroup-out-  group d i s t i n c t i o n s , aside,"*" the p o i n t we are making i s t h a t those whom the c y c l e gang member r e g a r d s as f e l l o w human beings are, v i r t u a l l y without e x c e p t i o n , male. T h i s i s not to h i n t at h o m o s e x u a l i t y , o r to p o s t u l a t e f r a t e r n i t y of p h a l l i c extensions.  Our respondents  a  like  "Droads", but on about the same l e v e l as they l i k e b e e r .  It  90  i s the company o f men, Robin Hood i n t e n t on ..gang r a p e , i s i m p o r t a n t to the B i k e r .  that  Such elements o f meaning form  t h e m a s c u l i n e base f o r Machismo. have more t o say i n a moment.  Of malevolence we s h a l l  In any e v e n t ,  among the com-  pany o f men, B i k e r s c o n t i n u a l l y r e a f f i r m t h e i r m a n l i n e s s , by engaging i n m a s c u l i n e a c t i v i t i e s , m a s c u l i n e t a l k , and by d o i n g the o r d i n a r y (and e x t r a o r d i n a r y )  everyday t h i n g s  that  B i k e r s / p e o p l e do i n the. c o n s c i o u s l y / c o n s p i c i o u s l y e x c l u s i v e company o f men.  By t h i s means, our "Machismo" theme i s  g i v e n a s t a r t l i n g preeminence i n the l i f e o f the B i k e r . b a s i s f o r macho b e h a v i o u r i s almost always p r e s e n t . t h e y are a near p e r f e c t  The  Hence,  ideal type.  Some i d e a o f the meaningfulness o f t h i s  all-inclusive  " b o y s ' c l u b " phenomenon may be g a i n e d from t h e  initiation  ceremonies t h a t form an i m p o r t a n t p a r t o f t h e m o t o r c y c l e gang o r g a n i z a t i o n .  The a r c h e t y p e f o r t h e s e " r i t e s de  passage" seems to be t h e w e l l known H e l l s A n g e l s ' of "prospectives". severe,  treatment  The p r o c e e d i n g s are n e c e s s a r i l y , q u i t e  but each c l u b i s f r e e t o d e v i s e i t s own depraved  d e t a i l s , sometimes c l o a k i n g the r i t e s i n " m y s t i c s e c r e c y " . However, the p a t t e r n  i s common enough to i l l u s t r a t e the  A p r o s p e c t i v e w i l l r i d e w i t h the c l u b on o f f i c i a l unofficial  o u t i n g s f o r a p e r i o d o f two weeks, a f t e r  point. and  which  t i m e h i s name i s brought up at the next g e n e r a l m e e t i n g .  If  91  he  i s voted  any  i n (that  specific  i s , " r e c o g n i z e d " ; he h a s n o t u n d e r g o n e  "test" during this  time)  the i n i t i a t i o n  com-  mences. During t h e meeting collected. the bucket only  a pail  o f u r i n e and f e c e s h a s b e e n  Tne p r o s p e c t i v e dons h i s new c l u b c o l o u r s , and i s dumped o v e r t h e whole w o r k s .  the jacket  i s doused, then  (Alternately,  trod underfoot  cerned b e f o r e t h e p r o s p e c t i v e can c l a i m i t ) .  by a l l c o n After the  ceremony, t h e new member may s c r u b h i m s e l f , b u t n o t t h e jacket.  The c o l o u r s a r e worn t h a t  We come n e x t nant one  to the wellspring  i n t h e B i k e r machismo:  state of intoxication  beer.  Actually,  Then and o n l y t h e n merely  are v a r i o u s l y or i n c i p i e n t  traditional All  and one o f t h e c h e a p e s t  such  substances  typal  B i k e r i s concerned,  which  i s t o say they horrible  chemistry/culture  they  beer  toxemia  probably  a  i s produced. best.  Beer i s  because  i t is  as f a r as o u r a r c h e -  as "ways t o g e t y o u r  induce  as  of the l o t .  are designed  who  i s but  assimilated u n t i l  a r e a means/an e x c u s e  to everyone  i s malig-  broadly c l a s s i f i e d  a r e gang members a t t h e i r  t h e most p o p u l a r p o l l u t a n t ,  they r o t .  o f much t h a t  o f a whole u n i v e r s e o f s u b s t a n c e s ,  "booze and dope-, t h a t  ally  way u n t i l  head b a d " ;  f o r being  gener-  i s n o t "one o f t h e b o y s " . aggression, atrocity,  e r y , r a n c o r , rowdyism, pachydermatous punchouts,  By  debauch-  and a l l  92  those o t h e r rightfully  "groovy good t i m e s " f o r which B i k e r s are so famous.  Without "something to fuck up o n " ,  machismo i s not h a l f the fun i t s h o u l d b e .  Hence,  "D.F.F.L."  badges (Dope F o r e v e r , F o r e v e r l o a d e d ) are p o p u l a r among c y c l e gang members. milieu: man.  P s y c h e d e l i c s are t r a n s f o r m e d i n the m o t o r c y c l e  " D o n ' t gimme none o f t h a t  I do i t to get l o a d e d . "  'peace and l o v e '  bullshit,  Or, " I ' l l take anything.  g i v e me some p i l l s . " I g o t t a get  Just  wasted."  I f one i s smashed out o f o n e ' s mind, one has  the  l i c e n s e / i n c l i n a t i o n t o perform any and a l l m o t o r c y c l e s i t u ated b e h a v i o u r s which we would d e s i g n a t e  as "Machismo".  g e t t i n g t h e i r heads bad i n the company o f o t h e r men, were a b l e t o e x h i b i t v i r u l e n t , v i r i l e b e h a v i o u r . example o f t h i s i s the "punchout",  By  subjects  The b e s t  which i s any memorable,  v i o l e n t c o n f r o n t a t i o n between B i k e r s o r between B i k e r s and c i t i z e n s i n which some o r a l l o f the c y c l i s t s were p r e d i c t a b l y not i n t h e i r r i g h t minds. I t ' s a F r i d a y n i g h t at the Anchor. Three w e l l - l u b r i c a t e d members o f The S l a v e s are perched around a t a b l e , and one o f them, a b i t l o u d e r than the r e s t , i s a t t e m p t i n g t o get a r i s e out o f "the f u c k i n g l o n g h a i r s " who a l s o f r e q u e n t the e s t a b l i s h m e n t . When v e r b a l h a s s l i n g d o e s n ' t work he g r a b s a p a s s i n g s o u l by t h e b u c k s k i n f r i n g e , s p i n n i n g him onto t h e i r t a b l e and u p s e t t i n g the unfinished beers. The v i c t i m , v i s i b l y t e r r i f i e d , s t i l l t r i e s t o s c r a b b l e h i s way our o f the s i t u a t i o n w i t h o u t losing his cool. H i s a t t a c k e r b e r a t e s him f o r " w a s t i n g good b e e r , you c r e e p ! " T h i s i s s u f f i c i e n t s i g n a l / p r o v o c a t i o n f o r the two o t h e r S l a v e s , end a l l t h r e e gang members s e t upon the u n f o r t u n a t e f r i n g e d f e l l o w , t h r o w i n g him to the  93  ground and " p u t t i n g the b o o t s " to h i m . The bouncer does n o t h i n g ; adjacent p a t r o n s g i v e them p l e n t y o f room. S a t i s f i e d t h a t he has been "stomped", and' s e e i n g t h a t t h e y ' r e not g o i n g to get a r i s e out o f anyone e l s e , the three B i k e r s l e a v e , a l b e i t a l i t t l e u n s t e a d i l y , f o r where t h e i r snoops are p a r k e d . I t ' s looking l i k e a good F r i d a y n i g h t . F i n a l l y we get to t h e b r o a d s .  In the a r e a o f t h e i r  r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h women, as everywhere e l s e , B i k e r s m a n i fest  elements o f m a l i g n a n t m a n l i n e s s .  A c a p s u l e assessment  o f the s i t u a t i o n would be t h a t our s u b j e c t s t o keep t h e " p i g " i n male c h a u v i n i s m .  seemed d e t e r m i n e d  One v e r y i m p o r t a n t  t h i n g t h a t they get out o f r i d i n g a m o t o r c y c l e i s a p r e s c r i b e d way o f r e l a t i n g t o f e m a l e s .  I n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, t h i s  a p p l i e s t o females of. almost any p o s t - p u b i c age;  "  "grossing  out g r a n n i e s " i s c o n s i d e r e d a r e a l l a u g h , and " c h i c k l e t chompers" are  f a i r game t o o .  Our s a t a n i c c y c l i s t  is  able  to i n i t i a t e / m a i n t a i n / t e r m i n a t e a c o n v e r s a t i o n / l i a s o n / m a r r i a g e i n a s p e c i f i c manner s o l e l y by v i r t u e o f h i s b e i n g "one o f the b o o r i s h v u l t u r e s " ,  "a regular  brute".  Macho extends f a r beyond b e i n g a b l e to " p i c k up c h i c k s because you r i d e a b i k e " .  Iz n e c e s s i t a t e s  interacting with  women not as another human b e i n g , nor as " a man", but as a Biker:  one who t r u l y v a l u e s o n l y t h e company o f o t h e r men,  and who r e g a r d s women as o b j e c t s o f p l e a s u r a b l e abuse.  In  t h e company o f women, the m o t o r c y c l e i s a symbol and g u a r antee .of a s u b j e c t ' s v i r i l i t y  and b r u t a l i t y .  I o was a  94  common B i k e r a s s e r t i o n plaint), it  (and an e q u a l l y common female com-  tha.t they are " o n l y i n t e r e s t e d  i n one t h i n g " when  comes to women, and t h a t t h a t one t h i n g " a i n ' t the k i n d  the c i t i z e n g e t s " . only.  Women are f o r s e x u a l and s o r d i d  purposes  Such i s Machismo; a few examples are i n o r d e r . B l i n d Bob i s a member o f the S a t a n ' s C h o i c e who enjoys s i t t i n g on h i s chrome g l o r y wagon u n t i l some g i r l he l i k e s "gets w i t h i n s t r i k i n ' r a n g e " . Then he r e a c h e s i n t o h i s s i l v e r studded l e a t h e r s a d d l e bags and p u l l s out a l o n g b l a c k b u l l w h i p , nicknamed " R a t t l e r " . He t o y s w i t h i t l o v i n g l y u n t i l he sees t h a t the. young l a d y i n q u e s t i o n i s w a t c h i n g , then snaps o u t , s i x f e e t o r more, c a t c h i n g her about m i d - t i e - d y e - T - s h i r t . Laughing l i k e a l u n a t i c , he h a u l s her i n , and i f she h a s n ' t h o l l e r e d cop by now, he h e f t s her onto the p i l l i o n , s t i l l wrapped up i n " R a t t l e r " . P i r e s up the g l o r y wagon; and r o a r s o f f , c l e n c h i n g t h e whip h a n d l e i n h i s consumately obscene g r i n . Now t h e r e s t o f t h e boys stand around t e l l i n g a t r o c i t y s t o r i e s about what happens n e x t . They c o n s i d e r i t h i g h l y e n t e r t a i n i n g .  "Pussy s c a r f i n g " i s a f a v o u r i t e macho s t u n t o f Los B r a v o s , t h e i d e a b e i n g to " g r o s s out the c h i c k y o u ' r e p u t t i n g t h e make o n . " Iggy, a l s o known as P i g P e n , i s h u s t l i n g a f a i r l y s t r a i g h t l o o k i n g g i r l l a t e one J u l y n i g h t i n Memorial P a r k . S h e ' s t a l k i n g to h i m , j u s t g e t t i n g over her n e r v o u s n e s s , when Iggy slams her on both shoulders. She goes over backwards, and Iggy g r a b s her b e h i n d the knees, h o i s t s her u p s i d e down and b e g i n s chewing on t h e c r o t c h o f her l e v i ' s . S h e ' s s c r e a m i n g ; h e ' s s w i n g i n g her around and g o i n g , "Mmmmmmmmmam g o o d ! " F i n a l l y , he puts her down w i t h mock g e n t i l i t y . S h e ' s o f f i n t o h y s t e r i c s and the d a r k ness. A f t e r w a r d s , he says h i s o n l y r e g r e t was t h a t she wasn't wearing a d r e s s . Finally,  l e t us c o n s i d e r the m o t o r c y c l e and i t s  dant m i l i e u , the s i n e qua non, f o c u s ,  atten-  and p r i n c i p a l p r e c c c u -  95  p a t i o n o f the t r u e B i k e r ' s e x i s t e n c e .  It  i s one t h i n g to  a s s e r t t h a t the b i k e i s the most s i g n i f i c a n t t h i n g i n o n e ' s life;  many o f our hard core respondents  was s o ,  maintained that  this  and we have advanced i t i n a p r e c e d i n g s e c t i o n as  part of a r e l i a b l e i d e n t i f y i n g procedure.  However, i t  q u i t e another matter t o s p e c i f y what meanings are  is  attached  t o / d e r i v e d from the m i l i e u under t h e s e c i r c u m s t a n c e s .  We are  i n t e r e s t e d here i n d e l i n e a t i n g those elements o f m a l e v o l e n t m a n l i n e s s t h a t the i d e a l / t y p i c a l B i k e r s u b j e c t g e t s out o f his bike. First, life  style.  t h e r e i s the matter o f the m o t o r c y c l e - c e n t e r e d . Tne aay to day e x i s t e n c e o f the " b i k e bum"' must  be u n d e r s t o o d b o t h i n terms o f what i t d i r e c t l y embodies, and i n the c o m p a r a t i v e c o n t e x t o f o t h e r s u r r o u n d i n g styles.  life  We have a l r e a d y touched on the immediate c u l t u r a l l y  m a s c u l i n e c o n t e n t m a n i f e s t e d by gang membership.  It i s  also  a "manly'' t h i n g t o be i n the presence o f a p o w e r f u l machine, e i t h e r alone w i t h i t o r i n the company o f o t h e r The B i k e r i s seldom f a r from h i s b i k e . keep them i n t h e i r l i v i n g rooms.  men/machines.  S e v e r a l claimed to  A l t e r n a t e l y ; a l l or a  p o r t i o n o f a c l u b w i l l l i v e i n "the coach house", eating together  on a l a r g e o i l y f l o o r  m o t o r c y c l e s and m i l i e u a r t i f a c t s .  i n s i d e a jumble o f  These elements o f the  s t y l e are c o n s c i o u s l y regarded as e s t a b l i s h i n g the e v i d e n t m a n l i n e s s o f the B i k e r s '  sleeping/  existence.  self  life  96  It  i s i n the comparative c o n t e x t t h a t the  implied/  i n t e n t i o n a l malevolence o f t h i s m a s c u l i n e c y c l e - c e n t e r e d e x i s t e n c e comes o u t .  In comparison to what he might have  been t h e S i k e r r e g a r d s h i m s e l f / i s commonly r e g a r d e d sociable, s e l f i s h , unstable, cessful,  as u n -  self-sufficient, filthy,  d e g e n e r a t e , " a fuck u p " .  Such  unsuc-  elements/attributes  be at t h e h e a r t o f the B i k e r - c i t i z e n dichotomy so. o f t e n r e f e r r e d to by our s u b j e c t s to o u t s i d e r s i s regarded  i n o r d e r to e x p l a i n themselves  and to each o t h e r .  The m i l i e u based l i f e  as u n i q u e , the B i k e r s ' own and o n l y the  style  Bikers'.  P a r a l l e l s are acknowledged, f o r example, i n names such as "Gypsy W h e e l e r s " ,  "Gypsy J o k e r s " ,  but "Nobody can t o u c h u s . ers."  "Commancheroes", "Hobos";  We're the ones,  the one  percent-  The a t y p i c a l i t y i s c o n s c i o u s l y chosen, s e l e c t e d from  the range o f o t h e r  available l i f e styles,  "I c o u l d g e t  a job  tomorrow,, but I w o u l d n ' t be h a p p y . " At l e a s t  i t i s c o n c e i v e d o f as b e i n g c o n s c i o u s l y chosen  B i k e r s , f o r t h e most p a r t , w i t h o u t any h a r d and f a s t appear t o be t h a t which would be d e s i g n a t e d  measure  as " l o w e r " c l a s s  coming from u n s k i l l e d backgrounds,  possessing l i t t l e  way o f job market q u a l i f i c a t i o n s .  Those who do work, when  they do, f i n d lines,  employment i n u n l i c e n s e d g a r a g e s ,  in"the  assembly  construction labour, seasonal/occassional help,  housing, etc.  ware-  Few can ( o r want t o ) p r a c t i c e even a " t r a d e "  on any r e g u l a r o r p a r t t i m e b a s i s .  However, t a i s i s but a  97  q u i c k a p p r o x i m a t i o n , and i s q u i t e b y - t h e - b y , subjects' such  apprehensions  since  the  o f the s i t u a t i o n do not i n c l u d e any  measures. Coming up on the c e n t r a l p o i n t , t h i s l i f e s t y l e i s more  than an a l t e r n a t i v e to o t h e r It  i s an open a s s a u l t  " s t r a i g h t " forms o f  on t h e c i t i z e n s ' way o f l i f e .  c i t i z e n i n c l u d e s "everybody e l s e , h i p p i e s , c o p s , you name i t " . group.  existence. The  storekeepers,  Counter c u l t u r e i s h a r d l y a term f o r  this  T h e i r own m o n i k e r , " O u t l a w " , i s more to the  The l i f e  s t y l e i s manly and m a l e v o l e n t .  Our  point. apprentices  o f Satan r e g a r d c i t i z e n s as "a bunch o f namby-pamby g r e a s e balls",  and wish them c o l l e c t i v e l y to the d e v i l .  day to day e x i s t e n c e i s one p r o t r a c t e d else";  and w i t h o u t everybody to o f f e n d ,  affront  The B i k e r s '  to  "everybody  i t p r o b a b l y would not  be the same.  The d i r t , the n o i s e , the r a u n c h i n e s s ,  sponsibility,  and the tremendous l e v e l s o f h o s t i l i t y and  v i o l e n c e axe by and l a r g e the c a l c u l a t e d a n t i t h e s i s t h i n g they n o t i c e around them.  the  of every-  When not out i n p u b l i c  a c t i v e l y " c a l l i n g c i t i z e n s down" by t h e i r b e h a v i o u r ,  they  are busy " r u n n i n g them down" i n p r i v a t e c o n v e r s a t i o n s . this latter  In  behavioural realm a s p e c i a l place i s reserved  "the Man", t h e supremely s a l i e n t lesser  irre-  straight  for  a u t h o r i t y symbol o f a l l  forms o f e x i s t e n c e .  S u b j e c t s can swap a near  e n d l e s s l i s t o f s t o r i e s o f "what t h e . . . ( B i k e r s / C o p s ) . . . d i d to  98  the...(Cops/Bikers)... ".  These elements o f machismo  are  not to be confused w i t h the s i m p l e theme " M a l i c e " to be d i s cussed s h o r t l y .  The tone and content o f "Macho" t a l e s  quite different;  they are t o l d w i t h g r e a t g u s t o ,  and i t  t h e B i k e r s who always seem to g a i n the upper hand, f o r the d u r a t i o n o f t h e s t o r y . i s crested  The B i k e r s  1  life  are is  i f only  style,  and n u r t u r e d i n the ongoing c o n f r o n t a t i o n  with  t h e r e s t o f the s o c i e t y as they e n c o u n t e r / c o n c e i v e o f T h i s c o u l d be one e x p l a n a t i o n f o r the f a c t t h e  then,  it.  motor-  c y c l e gangs are an e x c l u s i v e l y urban phenomenon, c i r c u l a t i n g p r i m a r i l y i n the c o r e o f l a r g e r c i t i e s .  A fair  approximation  o f t h i s s t a t e o f a f f a i r s would be; the more c i t i z e n s t h e r e are t o o f f e n d , the more macho the m o t o r c y c l i s t .  S m a l l town  "gangs" are p r e t t y s o r r y l o o k i n g by comparison; the E a s t and West Coasts o f the U n i t e d S t a t e s can boast t h e g r e a t e s t c o n c e n t r a t i o n o f hard c o r e " c y c l e s a v a g e s " ,  b e i n g the domains o f  t h e p r i n c i p a l c h a p t e r s o f the " B r e e d " and the " H e l l ' s respectively..  Angels"  Canada's most m a l e f i c group i s u n d o u b t e d l y  the M o n t r e a l c h a p t e r o f t h e " S a t a n ' s C h o i c e " .  Other s o c i o -  l o g i c a l e x p l a n a t i o n s might be advanced f o r the c u r i o u s t h a t o n l y the b i g c i t i e s can b o a s t o f "the t r u l y bad  fact  ass  b o y s " , but we f e e l t h a t t h i s one w i l l s u f f i c e f o r our needs s i n c e i t forms an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f our s u b j e c t s consciousness.  meanings/  Making t h e m i l i e u t h e most i m p o r t a n t  thing  i n o n e ' s l i f e o b l i g a t e s o n e / g i v e s one the o p p o r t u n i t y to be  99  a m o b i l e c r i t i q u e o f a l l more e s t a b l i s h e d , life  less  masculine  styles. So much f o r the c y c l e l i f e  is a bit  style in general.  The t o p i c  a b s t r a c t and i n t a n g i b l e , even f o r t h o s e who l i v e  it.  Elements o f Machismo s u r f a c e d f a r more commonly i n more p a r t i c u l a r i s t i c d i s c u s s i o n s o f the m o t o r c y c l e m i l i e u .  To i l l u s -  t r a t e t h i s , we o f f e r some b r i e f d e s c r i p t i o n o f the p e c u l i a r v e r s i o n o f the m i l i e u u t i l i z e d by the  Bikers.  "To j o i n a r e a l C h a p t e r , you h a f t a ovm a H o g . "  The  B i k e r b e g i n s w i t h a n e w / u s e d / s t o l e n H a r l e y 74, l a r g e s t o f t h e p r o d u c t i o n m o t o r c y c l e s , and proceeds to " s t r i p i t " , moving such a m e n i t i e s as seat s p r i n g s , bumpers,  side bars,  s a d d l e bags,  t a i l l i g h t s , gas t a n k s , the front  wagon".  the f r o n t f e n d e r ,  1  absorbers,  t u r n i n g s i g n a l s , head and  w h e e l , and numerous o t h e r  T h i s i s known as " r i p p i n  shock  re-  the f r o n t  'Unnecessary"  a l l the u s e l e s s  brake,  items.  s h i t o f f a garbage  Then, to t h e l i m i t o f o n e ' s r e s o u r c e s / k n o w m o w / s k u l -  duggery, t h e s k e l e t o n c y c l e i s r e b u i l t .  A "peanut t a n k "  is  b o l t e d on/"bondoed" ($) onto t h e frame, g i v i n g one a maximum gas range o f e i g h t y to one hundred m i l e s , something t h a t subjects  o f t e n bemoaned but which the would not dream o f  changing. "springer",  A m a s s i v e l y extended f r o n t  end, p r e f e r a b l y a  but "a g l i d e and seven over s l u g s " w i l l d o ,  welded on to g i v e the b i k e i n c r e a s e d "rake and x r a i l " ,  is and  100  i n c i d e n t l y making i t tremendously d i f f i c u l t  to s t e e r .  This  g i v e s the machine the c l a s s i c "chopper" s t a n c e ' p r i z e d by B i k e r s and b i k e f e a k s a l i k e .  I f t h e r e i s any money l e f t  by t h i s t i m e , custom u p h o l s t e r y , custom p a i n t ,  over  and chromed,  e v e r y t h i n g are the o r d e r o f t h e day, w i t h t h e r e s u l t  that  B i k e r s are o f t e n b u s t e d under an obscure C a l i f o r n i a law t h a t p r o h i b i t s any v e h i c l e m o d i f i c a t i o n s t h a t c o u l d " d a z z l e " an oncoming d r i v e r .  F i n a l l y , t h e minimum number o f l i g h t s ,  m i r r o r s (an i r o n c r o s s shaped m i r r o r i s one c u r r e n t l y p o p u l a r model) ».nd o t h e r s a f e t y d e v i c e s are r e l u c t a n t l y a t t a c h e d o r d e r t o make the c r e a t i o n " s t r e e t Now, on to the r e s t o f the  legal".  wherever p o s s i b l e :  There you have  it.  milieu.  The " p r o s p e c t i v e " must a c q u i r e b o o t s : great f o r stompin' heads".  in  "with s t e e l  caps,  He must a v o i d w e a r i n g a helmet  many c l u b s have t h e i r own "amusing" s t o r y  o f what happened to the l o n e , o v e r z e a l o u s p a t r o l m a n who attempted to t i c k e t t e n o r more o f them f o r such a minor fraction  as t h i s on a v e r y d e s e r t e d s t r e t c h o f r o a d .  undergoing i n i t i a t i o n ,  the d e d i c a t e d B i k e r w i l l  After  always wear  t h e c o l o u r s i n the presence o f o t h e r c l u b members/when r i d i n g h i s Hog.  The " c l a s s i e s t " c o l o u r s are a denim j a c k e t  with  t h e s l e e v e s c r u d e l y r i p p e d out and p r o f e s s i o n a l l y prepared c l u b emblems and -top and bottom r o c k e r s c a r e f u l l y sewn on the back. was.  The b l a c k l e a t h e r  j a c k e t i s not as macho as i t once  With the e x p a n s i o n o f p r o f e s s i o n a l and amateur c y c l e  101  r a c i n g i t has come t o denote  a (too) high regard for  s a f e t y o f o n e ' s ovm s k i n i n the event o f a s p i l l .  the  However,  l e a t h e r pants and o i l - s t a i n e d l e a t h e r g l o v e s are s t i l l prized.  That about c o v e r s the b a s i c m i l i e u ;  highly  anything else  i s u s u a l l y o p t i o n a l , and the o v e r a l l e f f e c t w i l l v a r y from chapter to chapter,  c l u b to c l u b .  With t h i s p i c t u r e  firmly  i n mind, we can b e g i n to e x p l a i n what the m o t o r c y c l e and a l l i t s a s s o r t e d p a r a p h e n a l i a means to our B i k e r First,  t h e r e i s the f a i r l y o b v i o u s matter o f ' t h e  p a r a t i v e context o p e r a t i n g here, the l i f e  subjects.  style.  com-  as i t d i d i n the case o f  Not o n l y i s the B i k e r s '  b e h a v i o u r more mas-  c u l i n e and m a l e v o l e n t than the l i v e s o f those who s u r r o u n d him (at l e a s t  i n the eyes o f the B i k e r ) ,  cycle with a l l i t s  attendant a r t i f a c t s .  p e c t e d s i n c e the m i l i e u and the l i f e  so i s h i s motorT h i s i s to be e x -  s t y l e are so  inextri-  cable/interwoven for t h i s p a r t i c u l a r class of subjects.  It  i s w o r t h w h i l e (and e n t e r t a i n i n g ) xo examine elements o f the eanings w i t h which t h e s e o b j e c t s ere i n v e s t e d . the m i l i e u comes  In the end,  out f a i r l y d r i p p i n g w i t h machismo.  The terms a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the m o t o r c y c l e m i l i e u virile  and v i r u l e n t .  blown,  a n i m a l i s t i c , s w i n i s h ; or i t i s a "chopper",  are  The m o t o r c y c l e i s " a Hog", huge, o v e r with  connotations of aggressiveness, v i o l e n c e ; or a "scoot", b l e of great speed.  S u b j e c t s would g l e e f u l l y  wrap t h e i r  capa-  102  tongues around t h e p o l y p h o n i c s t r i d u l a t i o n s o f t h e o f m o d i f i c a t i o n s t o t h e Hog:  lexicon  " s t r o k e d , p o r t e d and blownV...  "seven over slugs"..."chrome s p r i n g e r " . . . " j o c k e y s t i c k " . . . "suicide  clutch"..."strutter"..."panhead"..."shovelhead"...  "hard t a i l " . . . a n d so on, ad  infinitum.  Of c o u r s e , we rnust c o n s i d e r t h a t i n t h e f i r s t p l a c e , i t i s a motorcycle,  and not an a u t o m o b i l e ,  w i t h the  implication  t h a t the B i k e r has g r e a t e r s k i l l s i n the a n c i e n t and art  manly  o f "horsemanship" than your average commuter; but where  does he s i t i n r e l a t i o n t o the v a s t numbers o f f e l l o w cyclists?  W e l l , t h e B i k e r s c l a i m , and i n most cases  f u l l y so, t h a t they r i d e "the b e s t " .  right-  T h i s i s not "the b e s t "  i n t h e r e l a t i v e l y innocuous sense o f t h e " H a r l e y Davidson  Man"  which we d i s c u s s e d p r e v i o u s l y ; though t h e r e i s  undoubtedly  some o f t h a t M e c h a n i c a l  Indeed, t h e  B r i d e element p r e s e n t .  p u b l i c tends t o confuse t h e two, for  and A.M.P. has been  plagued  y e a r s w i t h the image t h a t o n l y cops and H e l l ' s Angels  t h e i r products.  A Hog,  however, i s "a d i f f e r e n t breed  rod  of  bike". A H e l l ' s Angels' chopper, t o take the extreme, i s r e garded by i t s owner as "the most p o w e r f u l m o t o r c y c l e streets".  The  engine  i s " b u l l e t p r o o f " ("highly  would sound too c i t i z e n i s h ) .  i n the  reliable"  It, i s huge... a monster... a r e a l  mother...a h a u l e r . . . a stump p u l l e r .  To a c e r t a i n e x t e n t  this  103  is true,  f o r the b a s i c model has f o r y e a r s been the  production motorcycle i n legendary.  largest  the w o r l d , w i t h l o n g e v i t y t h a t  Of l a t e though, Honda, "those t i t - h e a d e d  is  Jappos",  have produced a model t h a t has proved e q u a l l y as " p o w e r f u l " and " b u l l e t p r o o f " .  Not s u r p r i s i n g l y , these are f a s t  becoming  h i g h l y m o d i f i e d choppers i n the U n i t e d S t a t e s and Canada. Among m o t o r c y c l e gangs t h i s t r e n d has t a k e n an twist.  interesting  B i k e r s are not renowned f o r t h e i r l i b e r a l v i e w s ; a  q u i c k assessment would be t h a t t h e i r i d e o l o g y i s d e c i d e d l y "redneck".  C o n s e q u e n t l y , they are not u s u a l l y mixed a l o n g  e t h n i c l i n e s , and r i v a l r i e s can form a c c o r d i n g to t h e s e situationally significant distinctions. gangs,  I o i s the " m i n o r i t y " .  and not the Angel w h i t e s , who are a d o p t i n g the Honda  750 to t h e i r n e e d s .  T i ^ e and some s t a t i s t i c s  may o r may not  bear t h i s o u t , but the t r e n d has been n o t i c e a b l e i n the  course  o f t h i s study p a r t i c u l a r l y among the Negro and Chicano c l u b s . R e t u r n i n g to the a r c h A n g e l s , t h e i r most  masculine/potent  Hog i s used v e r y a g g r e s s i v e l y , p r o d u c i n g b e h a v i o u r we would term machismo.  Two examples o f t h i s , one an i n d i v i d u a l  " s t r e e t d r a g g i n " , and the o t h e r 1  rade",  s h o u l d prove  a mass event,  "the  effort,  i r o n pa-  entertaining.  S t r e e t d r a g g i n g i s a b l o o d s p o r t , enjoyed wherever anybody i s f o o l i s h enough to be a t a k e r . You p i c k up your i n t e n d e d v i c t i m by p u l l i n g up to a s t o p l i g h t t o g e t h e r . Sometimes g l a n c e s are exchanged, but b r i e f c o n v e r s a t i o n o f t h r o t t l e r o a r i n g i s a l l t h a t ' s r e q u i r e d . No l e a n i n g f o r w a r d , no fancy t a c t i c s , j u s t remain consumately c o o l . Ooze c o n f i d e n c e , not so much t h a t you s c a r e the c o m p e t i -  104  t i o n o f f , but j u s t enough to r a t t l e  him.  You ease the c l u t c h , the l i g h t changes, then you wipe h i s ass o f f . You win. Don'o look back, he should have known b e t t e r . I o ' s as simple as t h a t .  Los Bravos stage t h e i r a r r i v a l s at the park with consumate showmanship. The best performance o c c u r s at dusk when, without warning, Memorial Boulevard f i l l s up with p a i r s of h e a d l i g h t s . The evening a i r p u l s a t e s with the d i s t i n c t i v e chunka-chunka rumble of twenty Harley V-twins. T h e r e they squat, s p o t l i g h t s i n the darkness, w a i t i n g f o r the l i g h t at the entrance to the park; running t h e i r engines up and down, up and down; laughing. Green. They're o f f , s p i l l i n g a l l over the s t r e e t i n wheelstends and the blue haze of tire'smoke. The herd a c c e l e r a t e s i n t o the p a r k i n g l o t u n t i l the pres c o o l y holds up h i s hand. I t ' s brakes on i n a hideous s q u a l l . S t r a n g l e d engines s p i t f i r e up those l o n g , unmuffled skyscraper p i p e s . Everybody's watching by now, w a i t i n g to see how t h e y ' l l s o r t t h i s t a n g l e o u t . But s o r t i t out they do, l a u g h i n g and screaming. Cakewalk the b e l l o w i n g beasts backwards i n t o neat, d i a g o n a l rows. Then the t h r o b b i n g d i e s , switched o f f one by one a f t e r a f i n a l p u l l on the t h r o t t l e , and the mammas d i s mount. There they are, a s t r i d e chrome, more chrome, and m e t a l f l a k e ; the absurd angles; naked moving p a r t s . S t r e e t l i g h t s wink o f f a thousand shiny unknown t h i n g s . People begin to t u r n away, going back to what they were doing, g i v i n g the b a r b a r i a n s p l e n t y o f room. The boys dismount i n the comparative quiet of y e l l s , b e l c h e s , and the engine's c o o l i n g p i n g . I t ' s i n t e r m i s s i o n . The show w i l l resume l a t e r t h i s evening and the whole movie w i l l run i t s e l f out i n r e v e r s e when the pres g i v e s the order t o , " R o l l 'em, boys." A l l of the p r e c e d i n g m i l i e u meanings are f a i r l y  obvious,  s i n c e they c o n s t i t u t e part o f the p u b l i c p r e s e n t a t i o n of the motorcycle gangs. cated without  T h i s much, at l e a s t , might have been  asking them what they got out of i t .  expli-  However,  105  ask ve d i d , and i n the course o f the encounters we a l s o u n covered some meanings o f the m o t o r c y c l e m i l i e u t h a t not have been f o r e s e e n .  could  Repeatedly, r e p l i e s contained  ref-  erences t o / elements o f a p a r t i c u l a r k i n d o f e x p e r i e n c e t h a t was not p a r t of t h e o b t r u s i v e p u b l i c / p r i v a t e b e h a v i o u r o f t h e Bikers.  V/hen asked s p e c i f i c a l l y what the m o t o r c y c l e meant  them, gang members would o f t e n b e g i n w i t h ,  "It's  t r i p . " A c c o r d i n g l y , we have o r g a n i z e d the major  to  a power transsubjec-  t i v e elements o f t h i s m e a n i n g / b e h a v i o u r / e x p e r i e n c e and c h r i s tened them the "Power T r i p " . To b e g i n w i t h our own, and the r e s p o n d e n t s '  use o f t h e  terra i s not to be confused w i t h another more comman c o n n o t a t i o n which t h i s nonce word has a c q u i r e d . t i m e s s a i d o f someone t h a t ,  Thus, i t i s some-  " T h e y ' r e on a power t r i p " , o r ,  " T h e y ' r e power t r i p p i n g / a power t r i p p e r " , trip]"-  or simply,  These are the p e j o r a t i v e u s e s o f the p h r a s e ,  i n g t h a t someone i s l o r d i n g / a t t e m p t i n g to l o r d t h e i r ( r e a l o r imagined) over someone e l s e .  "Power indicatauthority  T h i s i s t a k e n as a  p r i m a f a c i e r e p r e h e n s i b l e a c t i o n , and the p r e c e d i n g c r i e s  are  the r e a c t i o n o f the b y s t a n d e r s / v i c t i m s .  T h i s i s not the  sense  i n which ve are u s i n g the word, n e i t h e r  i s i t l i k e l y that  the  respondents  were i n t e n d i n g any such opprobrium i n  to manner i n which they i n t e r p r e t t o them.  Instead,  reference  t h a t which i s near and dear  we have d i s t i l l e d e n t i r e l y another meaning  o f the term from the  responses.  106  The s e t o f e x p e r i e n c e s  i t r e f e r s to are not to be e q u a t -  ed w i t h elements o f the p r e v i o u s theme, " K i c k s " , means o f p r o d u c i n g the tv/o d i f f e r e n t be i d e n t i c a l :  The  either.  s o r t s of experience  ohat i s , one has a m o t o r c y c l e ,  can  and t h e r e  c e r t a i n b e h a v i o u r p a t t e r m s t h a t one goes through w i t h  are  this  d e v i c e i n o r d e r to produce a s t a t e o f b e i n g t h a t i s , by d e f inition,  o t h e r than n o r m a l ; but the s t a t e s t h a t are  produced  are q u i t e d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e , ' p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the case o f B i k e r s , where we have come to expect  the  elements o f machismo.  The P o w e r . T r i p i s not something t h a t i s s i m p l y e x c i t i n g o r enjoyable;  i t has i t s b l a c k e r s i d e , both i n terms o f how we  shall explicate/evaluate experience/express  it.  it,  and how the  subjects  themselves,  The two p r e c e d i n g q u a l i f i c a t i o n s o f  the term w i l l beco e c l e a r e r  as we r e c o n s t r u c t  the  behaviours,  so l e t us b e g i n our e x a m i n a t i o n o f the major elements o f power t r i p p i n g . F i r s t o f a l l , a. power t r i p o c c u r s because o f / i n mental p r e s e n c e o f the machismo c o n n o t a t i o n s  the  which are g i v e n  to the m o t o r c y c l e m i l i e u , p a r t i c u l a r l y to the c y c l e  itself.  Thus, the b i k e i s c o n c e i v e d o f as a b r u t a l l y powerful d e v i c e , the embodiment o f raw m e c h a n i c a l power, c a p a b l e o f p r o d u c i n g irruptive physical effects. o f the power t r i p .  This i s a necessary  N e x t , the s u b j e c t  precondition  places himself,  m e n t a l l y o r p h y s i c a l l y , i n the immediate presence o f locus of primal force.  T h i s can be as s i m p l e as  either the  sitting  107  a s t r i d e the machine when i t i s r u n n i n g .  Then the power  trip  can b e g i n . Power t r i p p i n g i s p r i m a r i l y a mental e v e n t . r e a l head t r i p " rip u  ( t o o ) . . . a mindfucker."  out on the c y c l e " .  "It's a  The s u b j e c t b e g i n s to  He f o r m u l a t e s an e x t r a v a g a n t f a n -  t a s y , a sequence o f i m a g i n a t i v e mental images t h a t are g r o t e s q u e and u n r e s t r a i n e d , about h i m s e l f / t h e machine.  As  dis-  t i n c t from mere i m a g i n a t i o n , t h i s " t r i p " i s a more e l a b o r a t e and b i z a r r e mental voyage o r daydream s t a t e .  As  distinct  from pure f a n t a s y , i t i s always an inward, s u b j e c t i v e sequence about o r c o n c e r n i n g t h e s e l f / t h a t which i s near and dear t o the s e l f .  S u b j e c t s employ t h e n e o l o g i s m " t r i p " t o  call  a t t e n t i o n t o t h e t r a n c e - l i k e , inward l o o k i n g q u a l i t y o f t h e behaviours/meanings  under d i s c u s s i o n .  So f a r i t a l l sounds s l i g h t l y s t r a n g e , but harmless.  We come t o the c r u n c h .  relatively  Since the extravagant  f a n t a s y b e g i n s i n / n e a r a macho o b j e c t , the t r i p t a k e s a s a g u i n a r y t u r n ; i t becomes a power t r i p , c o n t a i n i n g images of  b e h a v i o u r s / e v e n t s t h a t one would r e c o g n i z e as elements  machismo.  of  A c t u a l l y , "Power T r i p " i s more a p p r o p r i a t e than  "Macho T r i p " because t h e s t a t e can be c h a r a c t e r i z e d as somet h i n g more than g r o t e s q u e i m a g i n i n g s o f v i r u l e n t and behaviour. to  virile  A r e a l p a r t i c i p a n t " t h e o r y " o f s o c i a l power seems  be i n v o l v e d h e r e .  The t r i p s are p a t t e r n e d on a common  108  theme:  the s u b j e c t  forms a s e r i e s o f e x t r a v a g a n t  mental  images about h i m s e l f as b e i n g v e r y " p o w e r f u l " , t h a t i s ,  as  b e i n g a b l e t o command o r change the b e h a v i o u r o f o t h e r s d i r e c t l y i n accordance w i t h o n e ' s w i l l .  T h i s can be  as  s i m p l e as i m a g i n i n g t h a t by b e i n g a s t r i d e t h e s t e e d one i n s p i r i n g dread  i n . those who are w a t c h i n g .  t e n d to phantasmagorias  of malefic  Or i t may e x -  proportion.  Here we may see c l e a r l y the d i s t i n c t i o n between and the "Power T r i p " .  The l a t t e r  i s not s i m p l y the  ment o f c o n t r o l , o f t u r n i n g the t h r o t t l e experience.  areas-.  as w e l l as e f f e c t s  excite-  and t u r n i n g on an  I t c o n t a i n s imagined e f f e c t s  on t h e s e l f ,  o f naked power.  on  and i t t a k e s no r e g a r d  t h e (imagined d e s i r e s o f ) t h o s e o t h e r s .  instrument  "Kicks"  Io i s an i m a g i n a t i v e s t a t e t h a t shades over  "non-throttle"  fantasy  It  others, for  P r o p e r t y has become not merely an  o f s e l f - t i t i l l a t i o n , but o f phantasmal  To t r i p o u t ,  into  is a bizarre  aggression.  N e i t h e r does i t r e q u i r e the a c t u a l motive presence o r motorcycle.  is  the  a B i k e r d i d not have to be r i d i n g ,  he o n l y had to b e g i n t h i n k i n g about t h e machismo An example or t h r e e i s i n o r d e r ,  contraption.  and then we may move from a  d i s c u s s i o n o f B i k e r s to t h e c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f the  manifestap  t i o n s o f the Machismo theme i n the p o p u l a t i o n as a w h o l e . "When I t h i n k about what i t i s to own t h i s chopper, I f i g u r e I can do a n y t h i n g I want. A n y t h i n g , you know? L i k e I can go where I want to go, screw around, and nobody can s t o p me. I t ' s a g r e a t t r i p . "  109  " I t h i n k about my b i k e a l l t h e t i m e . I t ' s g r e a t , f e e l s r e a l g o o d . Even s i t t i n ' i n the s h i t t e r . ^ (laughter). P e e l m y s e l f go i n ' t h r o u g h the changes boomin' ciown t h e s t r e e t r i g h t i n f r o n t o f a l l the c i t i z e n s . . . a n d t h e chicks, (xaughter).  "When a b r o t h e r g e t s h u r t , I get r e a l l y mad. I get on my chop and r i d e around by m y s e l f . T h i n k i n g about i t . F i g u r i n g out j u s t what w e ' r e gonna do when we c a t c h the dude t h a t d i d i t , see? Have to work out a l l the details. Maybe f i r s t we'j.1 c u t h i s b a l l s o f f , t h e n hang him up by the thumbs. I f he's carrying a piece, w e ' l l shoot him i n the mouth w i t h i t . Justice. Gotta have i t a l l worked out ahead o f t i m e . " There are a number o f o t h e r i d e n t i f i a b l e p o p u l a t i o n t y p e s who a l s o e x h i b i t e d elements o f "Machismo" i n our e n c o u n t e r s w i t h them, though n o t , o f c o u r s e , to t h e  degree  which t h e B i k e r s embody t h i s theme.  individuals/  A l l o f these  groups are r e c o g n i z a b l e on o t h e r grounds t h a n t h e i r presentations  because they c a r r y on t h e i r person some mark  of these alternate these,  response  identities/affiliations.  and the h a r d e s t  The f i r s t o f  t o r e c o g n i z e , we s h a l l c a l l the  W o l f " , s i n c e t h a t t e r m , o r some v e r s i o n o f i t , i s o f t e n respondent's  "Lone the  own name f o r the r o l e .  The Lone Wolf, l i k e h i s namesake,  i s apparently a van-  i s h i n g b r e e d , a c a r r y o v e r from "the f i f t i e s " .  We met v e r y  few o f them (though they may always have been c o m p a r a t i v e l y few i n number), a l l advanced i n y e a r s as f a r as m o t o r c y c l i s t s go.  They embody meanings t h a t are no l o n g e r p o p u l a r i n motor'  c y c l i n g as a w h o l e .  They go by names such as:  "Mad D o g " ,  110  "Hermit",  "Bull",  "Rogue" (as i n rogue e l e p h a n t ) .  The way  to spot one i s to l o o k f o r such t r o g l o d y t i c t i t l e s on the backs o f t h e i r c y c l e j a c k e t s ;  the n a m e / s e l f - s t y l e d  designa-  t i o n g e n e r a l l y l i e s about where t h e top Club r o c k e r would be on a s e t o f c o l o u r s .  There i s u s u a l l y no c e n t r a l emblem,  though one f e l l o w d i d s p o r t head;  a - b e a u t i f u l l y embroidered w o l f ' s  and the bottom Chapter r o c k e r (which i n t h i s case could  only give a point of o r i g i n ,  s i n c e no f o r m a l o r g a n i z a t i o n i s  b e i n g invoked) i s u s u a l l y a b s e n t . b o o t s , helmets  force  something no l o n g e r a v a i l a b l e .  This sort of subject as f a r  gauntlets,  and g o g g l e s w i l l o f t e n be army o r a i r  issue leathers,  least  The j a c k e t s ,  i s the s e l f  as m o t o r c y c l i n g g o e s .  styled recluse,  at  He wants no p a r t o f any  f o r m a l / i n f o r m a l o r g a n i z a t i o n s l i k e the A.M.A. o r a g a n g . T h i s makes him a c a r r y o v e r from t h e days when t h e s e two s o r t s o f groups v/ere p u b l i c a l l y competing f o r the g i a n c e o f the c y c l i n g p u b l i c . g i v e a damn about e i t h e r not t h e r e f o r e  (alleged)  alle-  Today most c y c l i s t s c o u l d not  s o r t o f o r g a n i z a t i o n , but they do  become Lone Wolves by  These r e s p o n d e n t s were p a t e n t l y  default. i n t o a number o f  other  themes such as " K i c k s " o r the " M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e " ( a l l o f t h o s e whom we encountered  at any l e n g t h e i t h e r owned o r  possessed b e a u t i f u l l y r e s t o r e d / m a i n t a i n e d  m o t o r c y c l e s from  days gone b y ) , but we have chosen to d i s c u s s them h e r e because  Ill  Machismo i s such a c r i t i c a l p a r t o f t h e i r everday t i o n of  presenta-  self.  The Lone Wolf would t a k e p a i n s to communicate, o f t e n by means o f t a l e s o f "what I d i d to so and so back i n such and s u c h " , t h a t he was someone who i s p o t e n t i a l l y v e r y macho, no m a t t e r how n i c e he may seem at t h e moment. fuss  i f left  He w i l l r a i s e no  a l o n e , but when provoked he w i l l r e a c t  w i t h manly m a l e v o l e n c e .  What would provoke him i s  violently, difficult  to s a y , but we c o u l d h a z a r d a guess t h a t a n y t h i n g which c o u l d be d e f i n e d as t h r e a t e n i n g h i s a n a r c h i s t i c m i l i e u b e h a v i o u r s would i n v i t e h i s v i r u l e n t w r a t h . p r i s i n g , then, ter  situated  I t i s not  t h a t a Hermit would b e g i n and end the  with a snarled,  "What's i t to y o u ? "  encoun-  We can o n l y c o n c l u d e  t h a t our u n o b t r u s i v e s t a n c e was not s u f f i c i e n t l y to t u r n them a l l o f f .  sur-  threatening  Note p a r t i c u l a r l y t h a t t h e s e s o l i t a r y  c y c l i s t s manage to c o n v i n c e themselves and o t h e r s o f p o t e n t i a l l y m a s c u l i n e and m a l e v o l e n t n a t u r e w i t h o u t  their constant-  l y / e v e r b e i n g i n the company o f o t h e r i d e n t i c a l l y - m a n i f e s t i n g men.  On the o t h e r hand, o r , perhaps because o f t h i s ,  seldom i f ever have to e x h i b i t such macho b e h a v i o u r s .  they A  strange breed. Another r a r e but f a s c i n a t i n g v a r i e t y o f b i k e r i s s m a l l - t i m e , s t u n t man.  the  These i n d i v i d u a l s can u s u a l l y be found  t o u r i n g with the cross country f a i r s .  We say " s m a l l t i m e "  1121  o n l y because t h a t i s where the i n d i v i d u a l s we v/ere a b l e to  .  d i g up s t a n d i n r e l a t i o n to the r e s t o f m o t o r c y c l i n g ' s dare devils,  and because t h e y  more than .the o t h e r . v a r i e t i e s of- e n -  c o u n t e r e d s t u n t e r s oozed machismo.  The v e r y s m a l l t i m e and  t h e one b i g t i m e s t u n t man q u e s t i o n e d were i n t o " K i c k s " and the " M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e " i n s t e a d .  We s h a l l r e t u r n t o our  m i d d l e range dare d e v i l s i n a moment, a f t e r d i s c u s s i n g / dragging i n the p o l i c e again.  The reader i s c a u t i o n e d t o  remember t h a t we are i l l u s t r a t i n g some a d d i t i o n a l f a c e t s o f a b e h a v i o u r a l / r e s p o n s e theme;  we are c e r t a i n l y not  asserting  t h a t a l l Lone Wolves, E x h i b i t i o n S t u n t e r s o r M o t o r c y c l e P o l i c e are p o t e n t i a l l y m a l i c i o u s men. R e c a l l t h a t as a f i e l d  worker we o f t e n had the  feeling  t h a t our P o l i c e respondents v/ere n o n v e r b a l l y e v i n c i n g e l e ments o f Machismo. of subjects  a s s e r t e d t h a t the p a t r o l m e n were on "some k i n d a  w e i r d power t r i p " , sense.  Add to t h i s the f i n d i n g t h a t a l l manner  t h a t i s , power t r i p i n the  pejorative  The same d e r o g a t o r y a s s e r t i o n was sometimes made w i t h  r e f e r e n c e to the B i k e r s , when t h e s u b j e c t was s p e a k i n g o f gang b e h a v i o u r s t h a t ve have a n a l y z e d i n t e r n a l l y as embodying elements o f the f a n t a s t i c f a n t a s y power t r i p .  Finally,  it  appears t h a t n e i t h e r , the p o l i c e , not the p r e v i o u s l y mentioned s t u n t r i d e r s were t a l k i n g ,  a.t l e a s t not about Machismo.  t h e y b o t h s i t , t a l l i n the s a d d l e , of a malefic l e e r ,  arms f o l d e d ,  There  the b e g i n n i n g s  a s t r i d e "the w o r l d ' s most p o w e r f u l m o t o r -  113  cycle".  What can be made o f i t ?  I s i t the same s o r t o f  t h i n g t h a t the B i k e r s were w i l l i n g and a b l e to d i s c u s s ? the stuntman and the patrolman on a power t r i p ?  Are  Is part of  what they get out o f i t meanings t h a t are v e r y , v e r y macho? We cannot say w i t h any measure o f c e r t a i n t y ; but we do n o t mind a s s e r t i n g t h a t t h e r e were times. w hen i t sure as  hell  7  seemed l i k e i t .  I f i t i s the case t h a t t h i s i s what i s  g o i n g o n , t h e n our a n a l y s i s o f the encounters would go as follows:  both t h e m o t o r c y c l e p o l i c e m a n and t h e s t a t e  fair  s t u n t r i d e r have the c a p a c i t y / o p p o r t u n i t y , one because o f h i s on duty l e g i t i m a t e d a u t h o r i t y p o s i t i o n , and t h e o t h e r i n t h e carryover r o l e of death-defying e x h i b i t i o n i s t , to manifest something which o t h e r s cannot/do n o t , smug machismo. As i s t h e case w i t h l o n e Wolves, we have here i n s t a n c e s o f i m p l i e d t h e m a t i c meanings, n o n - d e m o n s t r a t i v e machismo* So much f o r t h e i d e n t i f i a b l e p o p u l a t i o n t y p e s .  Fasci-  n a t i n g as they may be, i t i s t i m e t o g i v e some ( c o m p a r a t i v e l y ) c u r s o r y c o n s i d e r a t i o n t o t h e s i g n i f i c a t i o n s o f machismo among t h e g r e a t mass o f respondents whose l i v e s are not q u i t e so exotic.  This i s , after  a l l , something o f an ethnography,  not j u s t  a b i t of teratology.  To b e g i n w i t h , l e t us examine the more mundane  instances  o f t h e s e m o t o r c y c l e a s s o c i a t e d meanings which we d i s c u s s e d under t h e headings " B u d s . . . B r o a d s . . . B i k e s . . . a n d B e e r " ,  114  e x c l u d i n g f o r the moment any d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e "Power T r i p " . We have a l r e a d y p o i n t e d out i n s e v e r a l c o n t e x t s the masculine overrepresentation Indeed,  this entire thesis,  i n m o t o r c y c l i n g as a w h o l e . seen from another  perspective,  i s a m a l e - o r i e n t e d s c r u t i n i z a t i o n o f . t h i n g s manly. just  massive  as i t was i n t h e case o f t h e B i k e r s ,  Ergo,  any man r i d i n g a  m o t o r c y c l e i s engaging i n a c u l t u r a l l y v i r i l e endeavour; i s alone w i t h a p o w e r f u l machine or i n the company o f men/machines,  and one would suspect  he  other  t h a t elements o f machismo  might b e g i n to t a k e r o o t i n such m a s c u l i n e mulch among t h e population-at-large.  Our own c o n c l u s i o n , a f t e r  a l o t o f people shoot t h e i r mouths o f f , the case.  l i s t e n i n g to  i s that t h i s i s indeed  We have found t h a t many o f the m o t o r c y c l e a s s o c i -  ated meanings which the h a r d - c o r e B i k e r m a n i f e s t s by the c y c l e - s i t u a t e d c i t i z e n . rode t h e f a i r Certainly,  shared  I n t o t h e v a l l e y o f Macho  researcher. i t was n o t h i n g matching the s c a l e o r  o f the c y c l e gangs' b e h a v i o u r . Vfo e r s " . ^  are  B i k e r s are,  after  severity  all,  "the  I f a s i z e a b l e p r o p o r t i o n o f our r e s p o n d e n t s went  around a c t i n g l i k e t h a t , m o t o r c y c l i n g would l o o k a l o t e r e n t than i t now does.  diff-  Respondents who v o i c e d elements o f  a watered-down machismo were not i n t o t h e l i f e s t y l e o f Biker,  the  and c o n s e q u e n t l y d i d not f e e l the l i c e n s e / o b l i g a t i o n  t h a t goes w i t h t h e b i k e gang e x i s t e n c e . evidence was t h e r e ,  Nonetheless,  the  and i t formed an i m p o r t a n t p a r t o f motor-  115  cycling-in-general. Machismo c r o p s up i n many o f t h e q u a s i / n o n - B i k e r o r "chickenshit" organizations.  I t i s as s i m p l e as "meeting  t h e boys and r a i s i n g a l i t t l e , h e l l " . i s , of course,  " S t i r r i n g up t r o u b l e "  sn a c t i v i t y o f many g r o u p s / o r g a n i z a t i o n s ,  just the motorcycle c l u b s . r a i s i n g " can be p a t t e r n e d  Among t h e c y c l i s t s , after  though,  not "hell  s p e c i f i c a l l y Biker behaviours.  F i g h t s w i t h r i v a l clubs, over " t u r f " o r home t e r r i t o r y seem t o appeal t o the younger " g r e a s e b a l l s " ;  i t i s one more  aggres-  s i v e a s s e r t i o n o f manhood brought on i n . t h e presence o f o t h e r males.  Clubs w i t h an o l d e r membership t a k e d e l i g h t i n f e a t s  of c o l l e c t i v e daring-do. involved here;  More than t h e k i c k s o f r i d i n g  are  t h e events are d e s i g n e d t o prove o n e ' s own/ .  t h e c l u b ' s machismo.  R e g u l a r l y scheduled "runs"  one o r more c l u b s are u t i l i z e d  involving  as m a s c u l i n e arenas f o r com-  petitive/combative behaviours. T u r n i n g from "Buds" t o " B e e r " , beer d r i n k i n g i s almost a c l i c h e among c y c l i s t s everywhere.  Whenever two o r more  c y c l i s t s are g a t h e r e d t o g e t h e r f o r any noteworthy m o t o r c y c l e o c c a s s i o n , beer i s t r a d i t i o n a l / m a n d a t o r y .  "Working on b i k e s ,  you d r i n k a l o t t a b e e r . "  "At t h e c l u b ' s l a s t p i c n i c ,  drank e i g h t y - o n e c a s e s . "  T h i s much i s i n n o c u o u s , but i t can  go as f a r as " g e t t i n g drunk and r o a r i n g a r o u n d " .  they  Intoxication  becomes t h e excuse f o r a g g r e s s i v e , v i o l e n t m o t o r c y c l e f o c u s e d  116  behaviours.  The b e l l i g e r e n c e , and the rowdyism w h i l e under  the i n f l u e n c e  are not n e c e s s a r i l y a c o n s c i o u s i m i t a t i o n o f  m o t o r c y c l e gangs;  i t may o n l y be one s m a l l p a r t o f the macho  c u l t u r a l ethos t h a t surrounds a l c o h o l , p a r t i c u l a r l y beer drinking bouts. was t h e r e ,  Consider the E n g i n e e r s .  Nonetheless,  it  and i t was r e g a r d e d as an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f m o t o r -  c y c l i n g by our s u b j e c t s ,  so we o f f e r i t i n t h i s  context.  Much the same can be s a i d f o r the c y c l i s t s * to " B r o a d s " .  relationship  Our r u n - o f - t h e - m i l l respondent may o r may n o t  have been a p i n g t h e a c t o r s i n the l a s t Savage Seven movie he saw, but t h e macho r e s e m b l a n c e s , r e p l y , were q u i t e s t r o n g .  i n terms o f elements o f h i s  R i d i n g a m o t o r c y c l e i s acknowledged  as "a good way to p i c k up c h i c k s and get l a i d " . you f o r a r i d e . against y o u . "  Yuu go r e a l f a s t  "They ask  and t h e y jam t h e i r boobs  T h i s male c h a u v i n i s m a p p a r e n t l y does not  a t t a i n / a s p i r e to t h e macho extreme o f t h e B i k e r s * i n i m i t a b l e " g r o s s o u t s " , but m o t o r c y c l i n g i s at l e a s t this c u r r e n t o f many an a s p i r i n g Cagney, Bogart o r iNewman.  " P a u l Newman  i s macho, man."_ I n a d d i t i o n , t h i s b e h a v i o u r was at e x p r e s s l y modelled on the f e a t s o f the c y c l e gangs. saw t h o s e Breed guys p i c k up c h i c k s , get me a H a r l e y . If  refuge  times "When I  I j u s t had t o go out and  It works."  a l l t h i s seems a b i t wishy-washy and s p e c u l a t i v e  (would you admit you were a f r u s t r a t e d H e l l ' s A n g e l ? ) ,  the  117  theme i s more a p p r e h e n s i b l e milieu.  i n the case o f the m o t o r c y c l e  P a r t o f m o t o r c y c l i s t s ' "members' knowledge" i n c l u d e s  the acknowledgement t h a t a Hog, t h e p r i d e and c r e a t i o n o f m o t o r c y c l e gangs, far-fetched  " i s the supreme b i k e " .  Ix, i s not at a l l  t o "bet t h a t e v e r y b o d y ' d g i v e an arm and a l e g t o  have one"; but not everybody c a n / d o e s , t h e money i n v o l v e d . bills;  the main r e a s o n b e i n g  "une o f t h o s e b a b i e s can r u n you  and the i n s u r a n c e ,  shit!"  C o n s e q u e n t l y , our  fifty  respon-  d e n t s d i d the b e s t they c o u l d , which u s u a l l y meant b u y i n g biggest/fastest/meanest/best bike I could afford".  necessity/  c i r c u m s t a n c e o f the b i k e becoming the most impor-  tant thing i n one's l i f e . 500 c . c . ' s ,  "the  The i d e a  i s t o come as c l o s e as one p o s s i b l y c a n , w i t h o u t the unfortunate  the  it  is s t i l l  A l s o , s t u c k w i t h something around  p o s s i b l e to add some o f the  "extras"'  o r to perform some o f t h e "custom t o u c h e s " o r i g i n a l l y d e v i s e d by t h e c y c l e gangs.  Iron crosses,  springers,  a l l t h e s e abound among t h e h o i p o l i o i ;  denim c u t o f f s ,  and they are  often  acknowledged as " b a l l s y . . . m o t h e r i n g . . . m a c h o " m i l i e u However, even t h i s i s t e n t a t i v e ,  and as o f t e n  artifacts. as not  Buds, B r o a d s , Beer and B i k e s would mean something o t h e r  than  the m a l e v o l e n t m a n l i n e s s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h our machismo  theme-  Y e t , way back at the b e g i n n i n g o f t h i s d i s c u s s i o n we  asserted  t h a t t h e theme l u r k e d i n the b l a c k h e a r t o f many a n o n - B i k e r . If it  appears o n l y o f f and on (but  we are s u r e o f )  i t does appear, t h i s much  i n t h e s e f o u r areas o f r e l e v a n c e ,  where does  118  the b u l k o f i t l i e ? Trip".  The answer i s , o f c o u r s e ,  This experience,  i n the  rampant among the B i k e r s ,  among the c i t i z e n c y c l i s t s t o o .  "It's  "Power  abounds  a power t r i p " was an  a s t o n i s h i n g l y common r e p l y . The parameters o f the e x p e r i e n c e  seem t o be the same as  t h o s e o u t l i n e d by our hard c o r e r e s p o n d e n t s must be regarded  The m o t o r c y c l e  as a l o c u s o f tremendous f o r c e . -  Hence, n o -  body on a Honda 90 mentioned elements o f the t r i p . ject  aligns himself closely with t h i s p o t e n t i a l l y  d e v i c e ; the r e s u l t a n t inward e x p e r i e n c e m o t o r c y c l e i n some c a p a c i t y .  The s u b irruptive  always i n v o l v e s  I t may be as remote as  i n mind t h a t one owns a m o t o r c y c l e .  the  keeping  Under t h e s e c o n d i t i o n s ,  power t r i p p i n g can and does o c c u r i n even t h e most  harmless,  looking subjects.  bizarre  The same e x t r a v a g a n t f a n t a s i e s ,  i m a g i n i n g s , g r o t e s q u e inward sequences o f v i r i l e behaviour,  t h e y are a l l t h e r e .  and v i r u l e n t  As one female put i t  a l l u d i n g to t h i s curious f a c t ,  "Motorbike r i d e r s  in  are i n a  strange space." As might be e x p e c t e d ,  the c i t i z e n s are not so open  about t h i s s o r t o f t h i n g as the A n g e l s ; v i o l e n c e i s r e p r e s s e d / frowned u p o n / t i n g e d  with g u i l t .  Some s u b j e c t s were  quite  proud o f i t , but the m a j o r i t y o f r e f e r e n c e s t o a s u b j e c t ' s own power t r i p p i n g b e h a v i o u r were round about, furtive,  o r b l u r t e d out  after  pondents were a l s o r e l u c t a n t  sometimes  a great deal of hedging. to go i n t o a g r e a t u e a l o f  Res^lurid  119  detail.  The mere a d m i s s i o n o f "power t r i p p i n g " was i n many  cases enough t o e s t a b l i s h and cover the s u b j e c t . o f them mentioned i t at  Why some  a l l i s a puzzle; t h i s issue i s d i s -  cussed more g e n e r a l l y i n S e c t i o n T h r e e .  In any e v e n t ,  this  aspect o f Machismo i s p r e s e n t , perhaps more o f t e n t h a n i t was acknowledged.  I t i s at l e a s t more s i g n i f i c a n t f o r c y c i i s t s  t h a n the b e l l i g e r e n t * B ' s we have e x p l i c a t e d p r e v i o u s l y . c l o s e o f f the c h a p t e r  To  some examples are i n o r d e r .  "I r e a l l y get my r o c k s o f f r i d i n g my f a t b o b , you know. Whenever I'm hot about something i t comes out.. Knowing I ' v e got i t i s r e a l l y i m p o r t a n t . "  " B e f o r e I got my second b i k e I ' d l i e awake at n i g h t and f e e l m y s e l f making the s h i f t s , popping the c l u t c h and s q u e a l i n g away w h i l e everybody was w a t c h i n g . And t h e i r jaws would drop down t o h e r e , get i t ? (laughter) It was g r e a t . "  Everybody does i t at one t i m e o r a n o t h e r . You s t a r t t o dream about what y o u ' r e gonna do t o somebody. You r o a r up on y o u r chopper. E v e r y b o d y ' s s c a r e d h a l f out o f t h e i r gourds. Then you whip out y o u r chrome c h a i n b e l t w i t h t h e hand t o o l e d b u c k l e . Take somebody's head o f f with i t . Then you put the b e l t back o n , s t i l l d r i p p i n g , and you zoom away. B i k e s are w e i r d t h a t way. They make you mean." 1  INTERJECTION  FURTHER  NOTES  ON  CLUSTERING  120  L o o k i n g back over the l a s t f i v e c h a p t e r s one c o u l d assess t h e i r tonus, fairly positive. are,  whether v a p i d or vehement,  as b e i n g  They are a l l concerned w i t h meanings  that  i n the minds o f the r e s p o n d e n t s who e v i n c e d them,  things".  L e s t t h e r e a d e r doubt t h i s ,  "good  e s p e c i a l l y i n the  o f machismo, we w i l l emphasize t h a t a l l t h e response  case  displays,  o r p o r t i o n s o f d i s p l a y s which gave r i s e to these themes were fairly felicific.  T h i s h o l d s t r u e even f o r the boredom o f  the p a t r o l m a n and t h e b e l l i g e r e n c e o f a tsiker (even demonic may be eudaemonicj.  the  I n and o f themselves t h e s e  are  p o s i t i v e elements o f meaning, and we s h a l l r e f e r t o them as s i m p l y tha.t:  ohe " P o s i t i v e " themes.  They are a l s o p o s i t i v e i n comparison w i t h t h e next themes.  A l l o f the r e s p o n s e s which gave r i s e to t h e s e  systematizations  are " N e g a t i v e " i n tone..  emotive a s p e c t s as we s h a l l s e e ,  T h e y  latter  vary i n other  but they do share an element  o f "bad t i m e s " , t h a t forms an i n e x t r i c a b l e p a r t o f the display.  four  response  .Bearing t h i s a n a l y t i c / p h e n o m e n a l d i s t i n c t i o n i n m i n d ,  l e t us examine the f i r s t o f t h e s e  themes.  CHAPTER SEVEN WEATHER  121  The f i r s t , though not n e c e s s a r i l y the foremost c o n s i s t s o f a l l elements c o n c e r n i n g the t o p i c season/climate", c o m p l a i n t about. encounter,  "weather/  something which most respondents E i t h e r r i g h t o f f the b a t ,  subjects  gripe  had some  or l a t e r  i n the  would get around to g r u m b l i n g about "how  m i s e r a b l e i t i s / w a s / w i l l be t o r i d e i n  rain/fog/smog/sleet/  snow/hail/Los Angeles/the b l i z z a r d of *71".  Sometimes t h e r e  v^s an added element o f f o o l h a r d i n e s s or b r a v a d o , as i n , " r i d i n g up t o T r a i l when i t was c o l d enough to f r e e z e  the  n a t e s o f f a b r a s s baboon", but u s u a l l y the tone o f the c o n v e r s a t i o n never r o s e much above o r sank much below the  level  o f the d a i l y g r i p e . I n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, s u b j e c t s  seldom mentioned how  n i c e i t was to be r i d i n g on a warm/sunny/smogless d a y .  The  man at the gas s t a t i o n might say t h a t , w i t h envy i n h i s v o i c e , but i t was not a t o p i c o f c o n v e r s a t i o n ajnong c y c l i s t s . If  i t happened t o be a b e a u t i f u l day, o r i f the s u b j e c t  was  e x t o l l i n g the p l e a s u r e s o f r i d i n g on what must have been a warm/sunny/smogless d a y , h i s speech f o c u s e d on the j o y s o f motorcycling.  The c o n v e r s a t i o n would not then get hung up  o n , o r d e g e n e r a t e i n t o a d i s c u s s i o n o f the v a g a r i e s o f weather,  season and c l i m a t e .  A l l i n a l l , m o t o r c y c l i s t s are q u i t e s e n s i t i v e to q u a l i t y o f the atmospheric e n v i r o n m e n t ^  the  but i n a p r e d o m i -  122  n a n t l y n e g a t i v e way.  Thus, i n so f a r  ss he t h i n k s / w i l l  i t i s l a r g e l y a q u e s t i o n o f how i t  talk  about  it,  inconveniences  him.  That i s what he g e t s out o f i t , t h a t i s what i t means  to h i m , v a r y i n g degrees o f " a p a i n i n the ass".-  we have  p  a l r e a d y c o n s i d e r e d why t h i s s h o u l d be so .  In so f a r  weather be good, our respondents i g n o r e d i t ,  and  as  the  concentrated  on the m o t o r c y c l e focused a s p e c t s o f the e x p e r i e n c e . " At most, someone might g r i n and acknowledge, " B e a u t i f u l day f o r it."  The r e s t o f the time i s spent " g e t t i n g down to  it".  Only a h a n d f u l o f r e s p o n d e n t s were w i l l i n g o r a b l e to d i s c o u r s e on what d i f f e r e n c e s  o f c l i m a t e meant to them,  we mention i t o n l y i n p a s s i n g . much worse i t  Here a g a i n , t a l k was o f "how  is...(here/there)...than...(there/here)."  A f a r more p r e v a l e n t  complaint than,  o f a day?" c o n c e r n s the t o p i c " w i n t e r " . a continental perspective, peculiar.  so  "Ain't  it a bitch  H e r e , i f one t a k e s  m o t o r c y c l i n g b e g i n s to l o o k a b i t  We have mentioned t h a t the raw numbers o f c y c l i s t s  d e c l i n e d r a s t i c a l l y wherever t h e r e i s a w i n t e r , d e s p i t e  the  f a c t t h a t the worst o f Nevada's w i n t e r can be a n i c e M a n i t o b a summer's d a y .  I f mere m e t e r o l o g y was w i n t e r t i d e ' a  measure then c y c l i n g would seem too s e a s o n a l to be However, i t i s our s u b j e c t s '  true.  conception of winter that  i m p o r t a n t f o r m o t o r c y c l i n g , i r r e s p e c t i v e o f what the man has to s a y .  is  weather  Winter i s a s i g n i f i c a n t season f o r t h e g r e a t  123  mass o f m o t o r c y c l i s t s , and,  in general,  o f minor to m i d d l i n g mental  misery.  A r i t u a l i z e d s e r i e s of behaviours " w i n t e r w i t h d r a w a l " , and "the r i t e s meaningful,  we d e t e c t e d elements  i s involved here:  of s p r i n g " .  though p r e d o m i n a n t l y d i s t a s t e f u l  A very  p a r t o f motor-  c y c l i n g i s " p u t t i n g your baby away f o r the w i n t e r " .  This  p r o l o n g e d a b s t i n e n c e ( t h r e e months as a minimum), broken o n l y by o c c a s s i o n a l t r i p s to the garage o r "a peek under the  tarp  to see t h a t s h e ' s a l r i g h t " , makes t h e next s e a s o n ' s r i d i n g t h a t much more e n j o y a b l e . into play.  Here the  " r i t e s o f s p r i n g " come  Along about March our p i n i n g r i d e r can b e g i n  c h a r g i n g b a t t e r i e s , changing o i l , c h e c k i n g t i r e s ,  pricing  o  accessories,  i n d u l g i n g i n the p l e a s u r e s o f the " M e c h a n i c a l  B r i d e " theme. first  A l l t h i s time he l o o k s f o n d l y f o r w a r d t o  b i g s p r i n g r i d e , savouring the  "Kicks" i t w i l l  And a l l the w h i l e he can grumble about how m i s e r a b l e w i n t e r has  bring. the  been.  So much f o r the w e a t h e r . remonstrations?  that  Now, what o f m e c h a n i c a l  CHAPTER EIGHT  MECHANICS  124  like theme. time  in  will  anyone  have of  some  this  is  who h a s  public  mechanical  time,  pet  SproingI  an e n t i r e Tranny this  theme  with...(the place,  was  virtues  of  "Lemme t e l l  to  their  own/somebody this  ent  meaning,  elements  discussion there the  of  the  is  no  such  case  of  the  seems  (i,o u s )  of  fact  anything r e a l l y of  the  colourful lead us  to  milieu.  classify  There  them  shits,  common  what  of man.  version  went  wrong  the  wrong  did  whole  to.be  theme.  extol  class  a very  of differ-  include  Note  also  in  a  that in  theme.  h o r r i b l e to  end e x t e n s i v e ,  faults  combination paralleled  A f i n d i n g which surprised us'at had  the  w h i c h we w o u l d  enthusiasm/gripe  springer'  on t h e  subjects  else's/a  "Mechanical Bride"  "Weather"  my  point  department)".  complaints,  However,  of  parts  of  what  that  middle o f . . . ( e x a c t l y  nearest  these  at  are  you  length  precisely  Another  :  response  beasts.  'cause  "Trumpets  the  machinery. sort  shop  s e i v e . !*'  from the  a counter  the  a dissertation  the  any  the  frome  a fuckin' saga,  for  own c o n t r i v a n c e  motorcycles,  widget)...in  miles  As the  like  to  widespread  about  ranged  into  Har H a r l " ;  brand of  leaks  it  riding  peeve  carping  "I hadda take  a fairly  been  wrong w i t h a r e s p o n d e n t ' s  went  of  preceding,  Almost  Elements was  the  were  but as  say  first about  was the  complaints,  nothing of elements  of  the  that  nobody  central  and t h e y order  that  a "Bummer".  artiwere would There  125  are some e x c e p t i o n s t o t h i s ; not a l l a s p e c t s o f the are so c h a r i t a b l y r e g a r d e d . theme " M a l i c e " . motorcycles,  milieu  We s h a l l d i s c u s s t h i s under  the  On t h e whole, s u b j e c t s spoke p o s i t i v e l y o f  e s p e c i a l l y when one b a l a n c e s t h e s e monor g r i e v -  ances a g a i n s t the t h r e e more p o w e r f u l ,  enthusiastic  themes.  T h i s f i n d i n g c o u l d be regarded as a b e h a v i o u r a l t a u t o l o g y : p e o p l e l i k e what they do and/or do what t h e l i k e ; if  further  e x p l i c a t i o n was r e s t r i c t e d t o the p a r t i c u l a r  b e h a v i o u r s from which the f i n d i n g was deduced. pose the q u e s t i o n :  I n s t e a d , we  Why i s i t t h a t m o t o r c y c l i s t s (say t h e y )  l i k e the damned t h i n g s ? answer,  but o n l y  I n S e c t i o n Tnree we attempt  one  Por the moment, however, l e t us l i m i t d i s c u s s i o n  t o the t h e m a t i c a s p e c t s o f t h e s e g r i e v a n c e e l e m e n t s . I t appears t h e n , t h a t once a g a i n p a r t o f what our s u b j e c t s get out o f m o t o r c y c l i n g i s a s m a l l " p a i n i n t h e  ass",  and t h a t such minor g r i e v a n c e s about the f o i b l e s o f g a d g e t r y are most a k i n t o c o m p l a i n t s about t h e c l i m e s . i s an e x p l a n a t i o n f o r t h i s assessment  o f the  The f o l l o w i n g matter.  "'Weather" and "Mechanics" are but two i n s t a n c e s o f t h o s e t h i n g s t h a t "everybody t a l k s about", t h i n g about). set:  (but nobody does any-  They are the l o w e s t common denominator o f the  possible topics of conversation with a  stranger  i n a public place.  f o r the weather;  stranger/near  T h i s would seem f a i r l y o b v i o u s  everybody has done i t a hundred t i m e s . We  126  have, t h e r e f o r e ,  noted the p a r t i c u l a r m o t o r c y c l e b e h a v i o u r  meanings a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t h i s most g e n e r a l t o p i c , as w e l l t h e c o m p a r a t i v e l y h i g h importance and o v e r a l l n e g a t i v e c y c l i s t s as a c l a s s g i v e t o the s u b j e c t .  tonus  The case does not  seem n e a r l y so o b v i o u s f o r the m e c h a n i c a l g r i e v a n c e s . c o n s i d e r i n g i t as "shop t a l k " ,  as  Try  and ask y o u r s e l f what two  t h i n g s c o u l d two r e l a t i v e l y u n a c q u a i n t e d members o f t h e s o c i o l o g y department  ( u n a c q u a i n t e d , i n t h e sense t h a t a l l  t h e y know about each o t h e r i s t h a t they are both s o c i o l o g i s t s : t h e y have no i d e a about the o t h e r ' s p o s i t i o n on i s s u e s o f tenure,  c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y , headship, s t a t i s t i c s ,  etc.)  about coming up i n t h e Angus b u i l d i n g e l e v a t o r ? weather/sociology of course.  talk  Why, t h e  T n i s i s p r e c i s e l y our  assess-  ment o f t h e schematic s t a t u s o f b e a s t b i t c h r e s p o n s e s t o our question.  S u b j e c t s were s i m p l y " t a l k i n g shop" w i t h someone  who was o n l y / a t l e a s t  another m o t o r c y c l i s t .  I n as much as  t h i s s o r t o f r e p l y o r p o r t i o n o f a r e p l y was f a i r l y common, t h e n t h a t much o f our d a t a was j u s t shop t a l k ; but shop i s s t i l l up at l e a s t  an i m p o r t a n t p a r t o f m o t o r c y c l i n g .  e q u a l l y as o f t e n between s u b j e c t s  talking Ix cropped  and b y s t a n d e r s  engaged i n " m o t o r c y c l i s t " c o n v e r s a t i o n s . A much more p u z z l i n g f a c t  i s the f o l l o w i n g : ,  i n addition  t o the two " s a f e " themes, why d i d we r e c e i v e so much more, and so much more t h a t was v i t a l i n r e p l y to our q u e s t i o n ? Why d i d s u b j e c t s ,  when approached by a v i r t u a l s t r a n g e r  with  127  an u n u s u a l , though u n o b t r u s i v e q u e s t i o n , not c o n f i n e speech t o the safe t o p i c s ? replied,  their  C e r t a i n l y , some d i d , and o t h e r s  "None o f your godamn b u s i n e s s " ,  but the  majority  ha-d a l o t to say and s a i d a l o t t h a t ws.s m e a n i n g f u l . Furthermore,  i t seldom seemed t h a t we were b e i n g "put o n " .  Our p r o f f e r e d e x p l a n a t i o n w i l l be found i n S e c t i o n T h r e e .  INTERJECTION  PINAL NOTES ON CLUSTERING  128  Our f i n a l  emotive c l a s s i f i c a t i o n groups t o g e t h e r  p r e c e d i n g two c h a p t e r s ,  the  and d i s t i n g u i s h e s them from the  two " N e g a t i v e " s y s t e m a t i z a t i o n s on the b a s i s o f t h e elements t h a t are i n h e r e n t i n the p r e s e n t a t i o n s  last  following  o f the  themes.  As we have a l r e a d y e x p l a i n e d , "Weather" and "Mechanics" are both " G r i p e s " .  They c o n s i s t i n minor c o m p l a i n t s and g r u m b l i n g s  about two common t o p i c s o f c o n v e r s a t i o n . i s generally unstressed.  Their  presentation  S u b j e c t s were not plunged i n t o  l u g u b r i o u s m e l a n c h o l i a at t h e thought o f r a i n o r r e p a i r s .  Like  t h e "Wishy-Washy" themes, t h e s e are l e n s i c meanings we are d e a l i n g w i t h , though o f c o u r s e the g r i p e s are n e g a t i v e i n tone. In c o n t r a s t t o t h i s , t h e f i n a l themes c o n t a i n elements t h a t are b o t h n e g a t i v e and f o r c e f u l .  To d i s t i n g u i s h them from  "Gripes." l e t us c a l l them "Bummers".  In r e s p o n d i n g w i t h  elements o f t h e s e l a t t e r decidedly dolourous.  s y s t e m a t i z a t i o n s our s u b j e c t s  were  A l l i n a l l , t h e y appeared t o be h a v i n g a  m i s e r a b l e , though e x t r e m e l y m e a n i n g f u l t i m e o f i t . b e g i n an e x a m i n a t i o n o f the f i r s t o f t h e s e somber  L e t us themes.  CHAPTER'NINE  MALICE  129  The f i r s t t h e m a t i c "Bummer" i s c o n s t i t u t e d by many recurrent  elements o f m a l i c e i n s u b j e c t r e s p o n s e s ,  other  t h a n those a l r e a d y c o n s i d e r e d under the h e a d i n g "Machismo". The reason f o r making t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n i s t h a t t h e r e are two q u i t e d i f f e r e n t response p r e s e n t a t i o n s  involved.  Machismo  was a s u b j e c t i v e l y e n j o y a b l e s t a t e o f a f f a i r s ; but even v e r y s i m i l a r c i r c u m s t a n c e s c o u l d produce a bummer w i t h m a l i c e as the appropriate/attendant  reaction.  In t h e course o f the  encounter t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n was not d i f f i c u l t  to o b s e r v e ,  p a r t i c u l a r l y because o f p a r a l i n g u i s t i c "macho" communications which were o r were not brought i n t o p l a y . .  In a d d i t i o n , e l e -  ments o f m a l i c e . w e r e f a i r l y randomly d i s t r i b u t e d a c r o s s  the  p o p u l a t i o n , not c o n s t e l l a t e d as was t h e case w i t h machismo. By " M a l i c e " , we (and t h e s u b j e c t s )  i n t e n d a c t i v e i l l • '..  w i l l d i r e c t e d at o t h e r p e o p l e / a c t i v i t i e s / t h i n g s .  Responses  e v i n c i n g such elements were most t y p i c a l l y t h e o n g o i n g "What t h e fuck can you do about i t ? " heavy b i t c h .  Very o c c a s s i o n -  a l l y t h e y c o n t a i n e d some more programmatic elements,  such as  a l l e g e d p l a n s f o r r e v e n g e , but such r e s p o n s e s were l i k e l y become more e n t u s i a s t i c , "Machismo".  to  and s t r a y e d i n t o the p r o v i n c e o f  In any e v e n t , our s u b j e c t s were v o i c i n g / g i v i n g  vent t o a r e a l h a t r e d o f something d e f i n e d as e x t e r n a l to the s e l f .  We encountered no one who a c t i v e l y d e t e s t e d  him-  s e l f / s o m e aspect o f h i m s e l f i n a m o t o r c y c l i n g c o n t e x t ,  nor,  as ve noted p r e v i o u s l y , were m o t o r c y c l e s t h e o b j e c t s o f i l l  130  intent.  The o b j e c t o f m a l i c e , t h e n ,  the s e l f / t h e effect  near and dear to s e l f ,  o f someone e l s e ' s  worst f o r t h e weather,  actions.  i s something o t h e r and i t  i s the  than  product/  (Hence, no one wishes  the  except i n the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n o f  the  weatherman.) I f t h i s sounds v e r y much l i k e the respondent  we d e s c r i b e d  as a l o n e Wolf, r e c a l l t h a t we are d e a l i n g here w i t h somet h i n g t h a t i s p r i m a f a c i e " a bummer... a r o y a l p a i n i n the ass".  The c y c l i s t i s assuming the s t a n c e o f i n d i g n a n t  t i m o f something/someone v e r y "manly" s t a n c e ,  else's  actions.  vic-  This i s hardly a  however m a l e v o l e n t i t may be.  It  i s not  m e r e l y an a v e r s i o n f o r o r g a n i z a t i o n , "the r u l e s and r e g u l a tions" either, The c y c l i s t  though t h a t c e r t a i n l y p l a y s a p a r t i n i t .  i s r e a c t i n g to any and a l l forms o f " a c t i o n " ,  anything that "hassles" him.  T h i s i s b e s t c l a s s i f i e d by  examples, so l e t u s g i v e some c o n s i d e r a t i o n t o the r o s t e r o f d i s p i c a b l e e x t e r n a l phenomena.  For a g r e a t many p e o p l e ,  t h e s e s p e c i f i c c o m p l a i n t s are p a r t o f what m o t o r c y c l i n g means.  Each o f them i s a bummer, and s u b j e c t s  protestations  of active  evinced  ill-will.  Heading the l i s t o f t h i n g s t h a t any and every can h a t e are h e l m e t s , milieu.  cyclist  most maligned o b j e c t o f the m o t o r c y c l e  By f a r t h e most p r e v a l e n t  and p e t u l a n t  complaint  about m o t o r c y c l i n g - a s - i t - s t a n d s was, "Helmets are a goddamn  131  n u i s a n c e / a p i s s o f f / a headache/good f o r s h i t / c h i c k e n s h e l l s / a fuckin'  drag."  The s t a t e o f C a l i f o r n i a has f o r  h o s t e d a r u n n i n g b a t t l e between the government and  years free  s p i r i t s over the i s s u e o f compulsory helmet l e g i s l a t i o n .  To  d a t e , the c y c l i s t s have emerged u n c o v e r e d , and r e s i s t a n c e  to  any such e d i c t has e s c a l a t e d to a permanent w i t n e s s e d a more spontaneous  l o b b y . Winnipeg  d i s p l a y o f i l l - f e e l i n g when  t h e p r o v i n c i a l l e g i s l a t u r e attempted t o push t h r o u g h t h i s ruling.  In the space o f t h r e e days a p r o t e s t  was " o r g a n z e d " ,  at l e a s t t o t h e e x t e n t where at an a p p o i n t e d t i m e  thousands  o f g r u m b l i n g c y c l i s t s converged on the M a n i t o b a l e g i s l a t i v e grounds.  Naturally, this attracted  standees. hopeful,  While the mood o f t h e crowd was not p a r t i c u l a r l y the e l e c t e d r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s ,  chised barbarians bill  an even l a r g e r crowd o f  was. dropped  d i s c o v e r i n g the  enfran-  at the v e r y g a t e s , f l e w i n t o a p a n i c .  The  instantaneouly.  T h i s i s the o n l y a r e a i n which c y c l i s t s have " r e a l l y got t h e i r s h i t t o g e t h e r "  i n response to o u t s i d e  aggrevation.  The mood i s d e f i n i t e l y not macho, no one s e r i o u s l y s u g g e s t s l y n c h i n g the l e g i s l a t o r s ; but i t i s e v o l v i n g beyond a s i m p l e malice,  i n the near f u t u r e  i t m a y . c o n s t i t u t e something u n -  precedented i n m o t o r c y c l i n g b e h a v i o u r : resistance.  r a t i o n a l l y organized  As f o r the r e s t o f our s u b j e c t s '  c o n t a i n no such p r o p o s a l s f o r a c t i o n .  squawks,  they  Kost c l o s e l y r e l a t e d  t o t h e helmet i s s u e , but w i t h o u t the elements o f o r g a n i z a t i o n ,  132  were t h e odd c o m p l a i n t s about compulsory l i a b i l i t y l i c e n s e and r e g i s t r a t i o n f e e s ,  insurance,  speed l i m i t s , h o s p i t a l  zones  and r e s t r i c t i v e v e h i c l e i n s p e c t i o n c r i t e r i a ( M a n i t o b a has r e c e n t l y banned "ape h a n g e r s " , restrict  "springers"  h i b i t s any "frame Next  C a l i f o r n i a i s attempting  and "extended g l i d e s " , Colorado, p r o -  alterations".).  on the l i s t o f most o d i o u s t o p i c s o f c o n v e r s a t i o n  are t h e p o l i c e , and c l o s e r u n n e r s up they were. tered  to  We encoun-  a hundred d i f f e r e n t v e r s i o n s o f t h i s c o m p l a i n t .  I~t i s  a common t h i n g f o r m o t o r c y c l i s t s t o l o a t h t h e m i n i o n s o f j u s t i c e , be they mounted o r n o . At t i m e s q u i v e r i n g w i t h r a g e ,  " I ' d l i k e to see  'em stuffed..'*'  r e s p o n d e n t s would d i s c l o s e how  s p e e d i n g t i c k e t s / h o w they had t o spend a  they got t h e i r l a s t  n i g h t i n t h e tank/how two o f f i c e r s i n a squad c a r r a n him o f f the r o a d / e t c ,  etc.,  etc..  There i s o b v i o u s l y a r e a l  need f o r some s o r t o f c o m p a r a t i v e d a t a h e r e ;  nonetheless,  in  t h e c y c l i s t s ' own e s t i m a t i o n , they are " s i n g l e d out f o r a '. hard t i m e " . A f t e r the p o l i c e come t h e p r o p r i e t o r s the m o t o r c y c l e s a l e s  and s e r v i c e t r a d e .  k i e s got you over a f u c k i n ' d e s c r i b e d as "incompetent  barrel."  ana mechanics i n "Those g r e a s e mon-  They were v a r i o u s l y  assholes...theiving gypsies...only  out f o r a f a s t b u c k . . . c r u m m y . . . b i k e s t r i p p e r s " . the c y c l e shop "burns" go t h e i l l e g a l  "ripoffs".  Along w i t h Thefts  133  were a t t r i b u t e d to a l l manner o f i n d i v i d u a l s and groups, and they are o f very urgent concern to the m o t o r c y c l i s t . i s very v u l n e r a b l e  to t h i s s o r t o f crime, so a quota o f r a n -  cor i s d i r e c t e d at the " r i p o f f a r t i s t s " , i s reserved slashing  and another p o r t i o n  f o r the p e r p e t r a t o r s o f vandalism, "those seat  punics"*  l a s t on the l i s t , but r e g r e t t a b l y s t i l l "the o l d l a d y " . that  on i t , comes  The consensus among these respondents was  "women j u s t don't understand".  subject's  A bike  L i k e the policeman, a  " c h i c k " or h i s "mama" i s e l e v a t e d to the s t a t u s  of a b l o c k i n g f i g u r e and becomes one more o b j e c t o f a motorcyclist's  malice.  CHAPTER TEN  ANXIETY  134  The second t h e m a t i c "Bummer" i s c o n s t i t u t e d by a l l r e c u r r e n t elements o f a n x i e t y i n the s u b j e c t r e s p o n s e s .  There  is  par-  an u n d e r s t a n d a b l e c o n v e r s a t i o n a l l i n k w i t h " K i c k s " ,  t i c u l a r l y i n t h e uppermost reaches o f t h a t theme..  Also,  most b e l l i g e r e n t "Machismo" b e h a v i o u r s w i l l be i n v o k e d , pending as they do on t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f c o n f l i c t .  the de-  However,  we have d e v i s e d a s e p a r a t e theme f o r the elements o f m i s g i v i n g because i n i n s t a n c e s where they o c c u r r e d t h e c o n v e r s a t i o n took a d e c i d e d l y n e g a t i v e t u r n ; another whole range o f m o t o r c y c l e meanings had been i n t r o d u c e d i n t o the  encounter.  By t h e term a n x i e t y we i n t e n d a s t a t e o f b e i n g u n e a s y , a p p r e h e n s i v e , or " w o r r i e d about what w i l l happen".  Iii i s a  bummer, but i t i s not an e n t i r e l y n e g a t i v e e m o t i o n a l s t a t e . T y p i c a l l y , one f i n d s a few p o s i t i v e e l e m e n t s , bid  f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h danger, h e l d i n t e n s i o n w i t h  apprehensions. event, is  such as a morsubject  A b i t o f bravado might even i n t r u d e .  I n any  a n x i e t y i s a t e n s i v e s t a t e ; t h e o v e r a l l emotive e f f e c t  an " u n p l e a s a n t  malice involved. nonbalefully,  ache".  I n a d d i t i o n , t h e r e i s no element o f  Subjects reacted to threatening  stimuli  p r o b a b l y because o f t h e d i f f e r e n c e s i n how  t h e s e e x t e r n a l f a c t o r s were c o n c e p t i o n a l i z e d .  Malice  d i r e c t e d at t h e product o f someone e l s e ' s , a c t i v i t i e s : are a h a s s l e " .  Anxiety focuses a respondent's  the near and dear m i l i e u :  "I'm scared s i l l y  i n t o an a c c i d e n t on t h i s t h i n g ; i t ' s  is "Cops-  a t t e n t i o n on  aboxit g e t t i n g  dangerous."  135  S u b j e c t s expressed v a r y i n g degrees o f f e a r  at the  pre-  sence o f t h e dangerous m i l i e u , but t h i s d i d not appear to be i n any way r e l a t e d t o d i f f e r e n t f a c e t s o f t h e i r b e h a v i o u r , as was t h e case w i t h " m i l d / w i l d " k i c k s .  A l s o , they d i d not  ela.bora.te on t h i s theme t o any g r e a t e x t e n t , it  p r o b a b l y because  i s not a p a r t i c u l a r l y "manly" t h i n g t o m a n i f e s t  anxiety.  N o n e t h e l e s s , we i n t u i t e d t h a t t h i s was an i m p o r t a n t o f what m o t o r c y c l i n g means. if  L  was i m p o s s i b l e t o  any o r a l l o f the respondents  aspect  determine  who e x p r e s s e d f e a r were  just  g e n e r a l w o r r y w a r t s , or perhaps people who had a c t u a l i z e d their latest  anxiety i n a p h y s i c a l object,  and, i f s o , how  t h e s e s u b j e c t s would be r e l a t e d t o the r e s t o f the p o p u l a t i o n .  There are some r a t h e r o b v i o u s examples which might be t a k e n as e v i d e n c e o f such g e n e r a l i z e d m i s g i v i n g : j e c t s s p o r t i n g the t a t t o o e d / b a l l p o i n t  some s u b -  i n s c r i p t i o n "born t o  l o s e " o r "born l o s e r " , o r the a s m i s s i o n "I'm a f u c k u p " , o r t h e predominance o f d e a t h imagery i n B i k e r and n e o - B i k e r m i l i e u s ; but such cases were few i n p r o p o r t i o n t o t h e p r o p o n e n t s o f t h e g e n e r a l theme,  and t h e s e respondents  n e c e s s a r i l y e v i n c e any ( o t h e r )  d i d not  elements o f a n x i e t y .  we can be c e r t a i n o f i s t h a t t h e apprehensions  are  A l l that present  among the p o p u l a t i o n as a whole, and t h a t they are c l o s e l y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t h e o b j e c t s o f t h e m i l i e u and the motorcycling behaviours.  respondents'  136  Many elements o f m i s g i v i n g were r a t h e r non "fuzzy w o r r i e s " *  specific,  R e p l i e s might never proceed beyond t h e  a s s e r t i o n t h a t " m o t o r c y c l e s are d a n g e r o u s " .  At o t h e r  times  t h e d i s c u s s i o n c o u l d f o c u s q u i t e s p e c i f i c a l l y on the two g r e a t e s t f e a r s o f the c y c l i s t : context,  i n j u r y and d e a t h .  In t h i s  t h e r e does not appear t o be any " a c c i d e n t d i s t r i b u -  t i o n " ' such t h a t one might d e c i d e whether most m o t o r c y c l i s t s blame t h e i r e n v i s a g e d d i s a s t e r s else's  error.  on t h e i r own o r on someone  R e c a l l . t h a t t h e emphasis i s on the danger .  i n v o l v e d , not the a s s i g n a t i o n o f blame. " f a v o u r i t e a c c i d e n t s t o t a l k about", e i t h e r on the r e s p o n d e n t ' s  There a r e , o f c o u r s e ,  but t h e s e are based  own e x p e r i e n c e ,  "Lemme t e l l you  about t h e t i m e I . . . " , or upon whatever a c c i d e n t t h e y chanced t o r e a d ,  "Left turns,  t h a t ' s the  statistics  killer...".  S p e c i f i c a l l y not i n c l u d e d i n t h i s theme i s the members' knowl e d g e t h a t automobile d r i v e r s "are out to get y a ; c o u p l e o f m a r t i n i s under t h e i r b e l t s a H e l l ' s Angel."*.  and t h e y f i g u r e ' I ' m gonna g e t me  T h i s forms p a r t o f the " M a l i c e " theme*  We mention i t here because  as a p i e c e o f ( a s t o u n d i n g l y ) w i d e -  spread m y t h i c a l knowledge, i t f u n c t i o n e d as the s i n g l e most common i n t r o d u c t i o n to the much t o u c h i e r t o p i c o f  "Anxiety".  I n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, i n j u r y and death are b r o a d l y c o n c e i v e d o f as " a c c i d e n t s " ,  and not more s p e c i f i c a l l y  ( r e p r e h e n s i b l e ; r e s u l t o f some p a r t i c u l a r mistake. .  as the  individual's.,  This i s t r u e i n the c u l t u r e - a s - a - w h o l e ;  the  task  137  o f a f f i x i n g blame i s l e f t to a few s p e c i a l i s t s , the  police,  t h e c o u r t s and the i n s u r a n c e , companies, who are o n l y i n v o k e d after  the f a c t .  It  i s c e r t a i n l y true i n m o t o r c y c l i n g i n the  c o n t e x t o f our a n x i e t y theme,  a l l the more so because  acci-  d e n t s formed a p e c u l i a r l y p o p u l a r t o p i c o f c o n v e r s a t i o n . D i s c u s s i o n s about d a n g e r / i n j u r y / d e a t h mistic,  even f a t a l i s t i c .  were d e c i d e d l y p e s s i -  The onus i s on the omnipresent  i n s c r u t i b l e "chance" f a c t o r s .  Ouce a g a i n , as was t r u e o f  and the  elements o f " M a l i c e " , we have the m o t o r c y c l i s t as v i c t i m ; t h i s t i m e t h e pawn not o f a n o t h e r ' s but o f uncensured  repro.achable  actions,  fate.  "Everybody has a bad one sooner o r l a t e r . Just c a l l y o u r s e l f l u c k y i f you l i v e t h r o u g h i t . Sometimes come out a v e g e t a b l e though, and t h a t ' s b a d . " .  " A l o t o f t h e guys have bought i t . Snake never knew what h i t h i m . He c o u l d n ' t have seen i t coming.. B l o o e y I He used t o t a l k about i t a l o t , about how i t ' d happen, and what p e o p l e s h o u l d do a f t e r he was gone. We had a b i g p a r t y ^ j u s t l i k e he s a i d . "  "Three s t e e l p i n s , n i n e t y - s e v e n s t i t c h e s : I take i t e a s i e r now; i t c o u l d be the one coming around the n e x t c o r n e r . You never know when y o u r number's u p , t h a t ' s a fact."  CHAPTER ELEVEN  CREEPY PEELINGS  138  We come now t o t h e f i n a l investigations.  " f i n d i n g " o f our i n i t i a l  field  I t i s i n t h i s c h a p t e r t h a t the personage o f  t h e r e s e a r c h e r f i g u r e s most p r o m i n e n t l y , though we have t r i e d throughout t o keep o u r s e l v e s i n some c o r n e r o f the p i c t u r e . Our l a s t  "fact  : :  c o u l d be d i s m i s s e d f o r t h i s r e a s o n as an a  p r i o r i r e s e a r c h b i a s , o r a mere b i t o f f a n c y ; but we have p r e f e r r e d to present phenomena.  i t as an i n t u i t i v e i n s i g h t i n t o  the  More p r e c i s e l y (but not much more), " I ' v e g o t  c r e e p y f e e l i n g about the "Bummers", e s p e c i a l l y the l a s t  a  one."  R i g h t away, the r e a d e r w i l l see t h a t t h i s i s g o i n g t o be a rather d i f f i c u l t  one t o e x p l a i n .  g i v e i t a t r y , because i t was t h e r e ,  N o n e t h e l e s s , we s h a l l because i t i s i m p o r t a n t  f o r S e c t i o n T h r e e , and because i f i t had n o t been f o r creepy f e e l i n g t h a t s o m e t h i n g ' s g o i n g on t h e r e " ,  "the  there prob-  a b l y would have been no S e c t i o n Three, and v/e would have s e t t l e d f o r a s c h e m a t i z a t i o n o f elements o f s u b j e c t (for better  or f o r worse).  Here t h e n ,  responses  i s something w h i c h ,  l i k e "None o f y o u r goddamn b u s i n e s s ! " , does not f i t  the  schema, and f o r which we s h a l l have t o g e n e r a t e some s o r t o f account. In the c o u r s e o f a s k i n g a l a r g e number o f m o t o r c y c l i s t s what t h e y got out o f i t we r e c e i v e d a range o f answerstime we began t o know what s o r t s o f r e p l i e s t o e x p e c t ; we d e v i s e d a s c h e m a t i z a t i o n o f e l e m e n t a l themes, o r you are l i k e l y t o h e a r " .  Over hence,  "things  Moreover, the d a t a g a t h e r i n g  situ-  :  139  a t i o n was the f a c e t o f a c e e n c o u n t e r ,  a two-way t h i n g , and  we g r a d u a l l y became aware o f the t y p i c a l e x p e c t a t i o n s which r e s p o n d e n t s might have o f u s .  We come t o t h e f i n d i n g *  No  s i n g l e e x p e c t a t i o n or common t y p e o f e x p e c t a t i o n s t r u c k us so f o r c i b l y  as t h i s :  That  when respondents  e v i n c e d elements,  o f m a l i c e / a n x i e t y they were r e p l y i n g "one b i k e r t o w i t h t h e a n t i c i p a t i o n / a s s u r a n c e t h a t we, the  another",  researcher,  would most c e r t a i n l y u n d e r s t a n d "what i t a l l means".  "You  know what I ' m s a y i n g . " ' As e x p l a i n e d i n S e c t i o n One, we c o n s c i o u s l y c a l c u l a t e d the f e l l o w m o t o r c y c l i s t stance throughout,  but nowhere, n o t  even among t h e B i k e r s , d i d t h i s i d e n t i t y s e r v e us i n such good s t e a d as i n t h e i n s t a n c e s o f the t h e m a t i c "3ummers". That i s our judgment o f t h e m a t t e r , not much more.  a "creepy f e e l i n g " ,  and  B e f o r e we b e g i n S e c t i o n T h r e e , what can we  make o f i t w i t h what we a l r e a d y have, t h e v e r y r e s p o n s e s  that  gave us t h i s f e e l i n g ? We have assumed t h a t a l l responses t o our q u e s t i o n represent  something t h a t i s m e a n i n g f u l t o our s u b j e c t s . .  respondents,  most n o t a b l y the B i k e r s ,  a l s o a r t i c u l a t e d some  o v e r t measure o f importance f o r t h e i r meanings. son w i t h the o t h e r themes,  Some  By c o m p a r i -  "Bummers" r e p l i e s may seem r e l a -  t i v e l y non-complex, and m i g h t , f o r t h i s r e a s o n be i n t e r p r e t e d as not n e a r l y so i m p o r t a n t i n the o v e r a l l b e h a v i o u r a l c o n t e x t . I t would be easy t o c o n c l u d e t h a t t h e y were " j u s t s c a r e d " or  140  "just pissed o f f " .  Y e t , i n t u i t i v e l y a g a i n , when the c o n v e r -  s a t i o n turned to t h i n g s unpleasant, pression that a subject  we had the d i s t i n c t i m -  was c o n v e y i n g something t h a t was  v e r y m e a n i n g f u l t o him, something t h a t s h o u l d not be l i g h t l y r e g a r d e d f o r a l l the p r o p o n e n t ' s  inarticulateness-  A c c e p t i n g t h i s . p o s s i b i l i t y f o r the moment, we mentioned t h a t t h e s e s t r o n g l y n e g a t i v e themes came out i n the context,  "one b i k e r t o a n o t h e r " .  o f "group c o h e s i v e n e s s " , and c l u b s .  overt  We are r e f e r r i n g to any form  t h e e n t h u s i a s t i c s o l i d a r i t y o f gangs  I f t h a t were the c a s e ,  them we might have e x p e c t e d  t h e p o l i c e , the o n l y o t h e r e x t e r n a l l y o r g a n i z e d subset o f p o p u l a t i o n , t o respond i n t h i s manner, which they did not. ity,  the  definitively  We are d e a l i n g w i t h a v e r y l o o s e form o f communal-  the simple possession o f a motorcycle m i l i e u -  a p p a r e n t l y s u f f i c i e n t b a s i s f o r a respondent  i h i s was  to assume  that  h i s Bummers would be i n t e l l i g i b l e t o and s e r i o u s l y r e g a r d e d by t h e l i s t e n e r . organized l o t .  By and l a r g e , m o t o r c y c l i s t s are not an The f o r m a l l y s t r u c t u r e d groups are a minute  p o r t i o n s o f the t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n .  The r e s t , the g r e a t mass  o f m o t o r c y c l i s t s , do not even "get t o g e t h e r "  informally.  Yet  subjects- were p a t e n t l y assuming some s u f f i c i e n t communality o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g under t h e r u b r i c o f our l a s t two themes. I t was not s i m p l y t h e case t h a t t h e "Bummers", e s p e c i a l l y the elements o f a n x i e t y , were the h a r d e s t  ones t o e x p l a i n  ( f o r many they u n d o u b t e d l y w e r e ) ; i t was a l s o assumed t h a t  141  they r e q u i r e d the l e a s t  amount o f e x p l i c a t i o n .  Only the v e r y  s i m p l e n e g a t i v e elements and the e m o t i v e l y p o s i t i v e ones merited/required a long-winded r e p l y . Finally,  i t \iss our d i s t i n c t i m p r e s s i o n t h a t t h i s a l l  had something most d i r e c t l y t o do w i t h m o t o r c y c l i n g .  We were  not s i m p l y expected .to u n d e r s t a n d , one r e a s o n a b l y homologous human b e i n g t o a n o t h e r ;  we are not d e a l i n g w i t h any u n i v e r s a l  "death c o n s c i o u s n e s s " .  Y e t , n e i t h e r are we i m p l y i n g t h e  o t h e r extreme, t h a t " o n l y a b i k e r would get i t " . . were expected t o u n d e r s t a n d ,  because we were another m o t o r -  c y c l i s t , r e g a r d l e s s o f whether o r not anyone e l s e share the i n t e n d e d meanings.  However, we  can/does  To quote from our f i e l d  notes:  " I t seems t o me t h a t we are v e r y c l o s e t o the h e a r t o f the m a t t e r , Watson. I t i s something i n v o l v e d w i t h "bad t i m e s " , at l e a s t i n so f a r as t h a t ' s the c o n t e x t i n which i t i n v a r i a b l y a r i s e s ; but i t i s no morbid p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h b e i n g "bummed o u t " . There i s something about m o t o r c y c l i n g - a s - a - w h o l e which g e t s at t h i s / t h i s s o r t o f . t h i n g g e t s a t / t h e y get out o f i t as' c y c l i s t s . " What i s t h e r e about the .cummers t h a t c o u l d account f o r t h i s respondent  expectation?  In t h i s thematic context  it  seems t o be the " v i c t i m " s t a n c e , t h e m o t o r c y c l i s t as f e c k l e s s pawn c e d i n g t o f a t e  and foe a l i k e ,  xhere i s a tone o f r e s i g -  n a t i o n t h a t r u n s t h r o u g h a l l such r e s p o n s e s ,  a sense o f o n e ' s  i n a b i l i t y t o do a n y t h i n g about i t a l l , e x c e p t , p e r h a p s ,  to  w i s h someone i l l . nespondents f e e l t h a t they are u n a b l e t o cope when somebody/fate " i s out t o get y o u " . t h e r e i s s o l i d a r i t y i n such n e g a t i o n s .  Apparently  142  Perhaps t h i s i s u n d e r s t a n d a b l e  f o r " M a l i c e " i n the  p o l i t i c a l terms o f a " c l a s s " c o n s c i o u s n e s s .  Here we have  fragmented communality o f the "downtrodden". t h a t such a c o n s c i o u s n e s s came t o be We as r e s e a r c h e r s  felt  quasithe  Y e t , how i s  it  produced/disseminated?  a p o w e r f u l o b l i g a t i o n not o n l y to  accede t h a t m o t o r c y c l i s t s are m i s t r e a t e d ,  but t o  acquiesce,  as m o t o r c y c l i s t s , "What the f u c k can you do about i t ? " more p u z z l i n g i s t h e case o f a n x i e t y .  Still  Why s h o u l d i t be t h a t  m o t o r c y c l i n g i s n e c e s s a r i l y the p r o v e n i e n c e o f p h i l o s o p h i c a l fatalism?  "I'm s t i l l  around, y o u ' r e s t i l l  around..  Why do we  b o t h t a l k as i f ve w o n ' t be here tomorrow? S e c t i o n TWO c o n t a i n s a number o f open  questions/unex-  p l a i n e d phenomena, o f which t h e p r e c e d i n g i s but o n e . were not a b l e t o u n r a v e l them i n the c o u r s e o f out "What do you get out o f i t ? " e n c o u n t e r s .  We  initial,  On t h e o t h e r  we d i d manage to d e v i s e and e x p l i c a t e a schema t h a t much t h a t i s m e a n i n g f u l f o r m o t o r c y c l i s t s .  hand,  recounts  In an e f f o r t  to  make sense out o f the residuum o f conundrums, we went back i n t o the f i e l d  and asked our s u b j e c t s ,  "What the h e l l i s g o i n g  on here anyway?", c a l l i n g t h a t procedure " c o n s u l t a t i v e f e e d back".  S e c t i o n Three c o n t a i n s o u r / t h e i r  these p u z z l e s .  answers t o some o f  To c l o s e o f f S e c t i o n Two and t o  illustrate  t h e p e r p l e x i n g and p e s s i m i s t i c s o l i d a r i t y w i t h which l a s t c h a p t e r has been c o n c e r n e d , we o f f e r the vignette.  this  following  143  A l l n i g h t l o n g t h e b i k e r s have been p a c k i n g i n , c r a s h i n g where t h e r e ' s a p l a c e , s t a n d i n g around when t h e r e ' s none and nobody they know. Some heard too l a t e , o t h e r s have been delayed by d i s t a n c e , breakdown, s t a t e p a t r o l s and the f r e e z i n g weather; t h e y ' l l p r o b a b l y go on a r r i v i n g l o n g a f t e r Eddy i s l a i d away. The f u n e r a l i s n ' t u n t i l e l e v e n . It 's quiet. The b a r s a r e n ' t open y e t , and e v e r y b o d y ' s w a i t i n g on a common time. Grandpa Eddy was an o l d t i m e b i k e r , one o f t h e ones who came back to C a l i f o r n i a a f t e r t h e war and got a H a r l e y i n s t e a d o f a j o b . He o r g a n i z e d the Gypsy S l a v e s , then a f t e r t h e y disbanded worked h i s way up to p r e s i d e n t o f t h e Vagos, r e t i r i n g i n 1968. The Vagos a r e n ' t an o u t l a w c l u b , but they a r e n ' t s a n c t i o n e d by t h e A . M . A . e i t h e r , and some say t h a t Eddy was t h e b e s t p r e s they ever h a d . Eddy bought i t i n mid-November. Side-slammed by some b a r - c l o s i n g c i t i z e n , and he d i e d i n the s t r e e t w h i l e the d r i v e r s k i p p e d . He was f o r t y - e i g h t y e a r s o l d , w i t h one c h i l d by a m a r r i a g e t h a t broke up a l o n g time ago. Nobody knows where h i s w i f e i s , but h i s s o n , A r n i e , w i l l be r i d i n g E d d y ' s chop at t h e head o f the f u n e r a l r u n . They got the b i k e back t o g e t h e r , t h e Vagos and some friends. Iu was a t o t a l wreck, but today t h e y ' v e got i t r u n n i n g j u s t l i k e Eddy always kept i t . Somebody s a y s i t ' s l i k e h a v i n g Eddy back w i t h u s . A few minutes b e f o r e e l e v e n t h e h e a r s e p u l l s out o f t h e f u n e r a l home, and a b l o c k up the s t r e e t , i n a p a r k i n g l o t , the run b e g i n s . T h e r e ' s almost a hundred and f i f t y o f them now, not c o u n t i n g the p o l i c e e s c o r t , and t h e y ' l l p i c k up more a l o n g t h e r o u t e . I t ' s s l o w g o i n g t o the cemetary, but n o b o d y ' s i n a h u r r y , no l e a p f r o g g i n , no s t u n t s . I t ' s Eddy's last run. A l l a l o n g the way t h e p r o c e s s i o n p i c k s up more b i k e s * Some are s t r a g g l e r s , s t i l l knapsacked and b a c k p a c k i n g ; o t h e r s p r o b a b l y d o n ' t even know who's b e i n g b u r i e d . The c o r t e g e j u s t comes n a t u r a l , everyone knows how i t ought to f e e l . The s p e c t a t o r s are a l i t t l e more c o n f u s e d . On the s i d e w a l k s , i n c a r s , they f o l l o w with t h e i r eyes. A few on b i k e s l o o k l i k e they might hang i n , but then d e c i d e not t o . T h e r e ' s no h o n k i n g , no h a s s l e s . B i k e r s are s t r u n g out an unbroken h a l f m i l e now, s t o n e f a c e d . Above the u n n e r v i n g bedlam o f t h e engines a t a c i t s i l e n c e t h u n d e r s .  144  At the cemetery t h e r e i s n ' t room to park t h e c y c l e s and minor pandemonium e r u p t s at the t a i l o f the p r o c e s s i o n when p o l i c e herd choppers o f f t h e grave s i t e s - Par i n f r o n t A r n i e has found o r p i c k e d s i x p a l l b e a r e r s , and they l u g Eddy t o the edge. Tne b a r b a r i a n s g a t h e r around. Someone u n s t r a p s a s i x pack and the p a l l b e a r e r s douse the c o f f i n between s l u g s . As t h e box i s b e i n g l o w e r e d p e o p l e ere a l r e a d y d r i f t i n g away, r u n n i n g t h e i r engines up and"down, c u r s i n g when they w o n ' t kick over. E d d y ' s t i m e i s done. The c h a i n i s one l i n k shorter.  145  FOOTNOTES FOR SECTION TWO  CHAPTER TWO 1.  So much s o , i n f a c t , t h a t s u b j e c t s n o t e d " I t ' s - a l o t more comfortable t o walk i f i t ' s not t o o f a r . "  2.  F o r example, i n s u r a n c e companies g i v e t h e c y c l e d r i v e r j u s t a b o u t one c h a n c e o u t o f two o f s u r v i v i n g a m a j o r c o l l i s i o n ; t h e c y c l e passenger gets f r a o t i o n a l l y poorer odds. Injury i s a v i r t u a l certainty.  3.  Now y o u know where y o u f i t , Howard; t h a t i s , i f y o u were t e l l i n g t h e t r u t h . . . a n d i f I r e a d y o u c o r r e c t l y . . . and i f  4.  A r e f e r e n c e t o t h e " l e s s s o u n d more g r o u n d " c a m p a i g n , p l e a / p l u g f o r more e f f e c t i v e / e x p e n s i v e mufflers.  CHAPTER  a  THREE  1.  Drunk on a u t h o r i t y i n s t e a d o f b e e r , p u r v e y o r s o f l e g i t i m a t e f o r c e i n s t e a d o f s a t y r s o f n a k e d power?  2.  Each patrolman i s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r i n s p e c t i n g h i s motorc y c l e d a i l y b e f o r e r i d i n g i t , and f o r r e q u e s t i n g any a d j u s t m e n t s o r r e p a i r s h e deems n e c e s s a r y ; so i n a d d i t i o n to K i c k s elements o f Mechanical Bride appear.  3.  H o t so s t r a n g e l y enough, t h e P o l i c e Academy t r a i n s women f o r r e a l p o l i c e w o r k , b u t no women a r e a s s i g n e d t o p a t r o l duty.  CHAPTER FOUR 1.  See Machismo,  the discussion  of Bikers.  2.  T h i s may a l s o e x p l a i n why some g a s s t a t i o n s w i l l h a v e n o t h i n g t o do w i t h c y c l i s t s o t h e r t h a n s e l l i n g g a s ( t h e y do n o t even s t o c k t h e c o r r e c t o i l s , t h o u g h i t w o u l d c e r t a i n l y p r o f i t them t o do s o ) . The m e c h a n i c s a r e q u i t e capable o f catering t o the cycle trade, possessing a l l t h e n e c e s s a r y t o o l s and s k i l l s , b u t t h e y do n o t l o v e b i k e s . E v e n t h o u g h i t w o u l d be a j o b t h e y r e f u s e t o h a v e a n y t h i n g t o do w i t h i t . . C y c l i s t s a r e a t t h e b e n e v o l e n t mercy " o f dedicated c y c l e mechanics".  146  CHAPTER POUR 3.  See the Appendix on The M o t o r c y c l e Syndrome.  CHAPTER F I V E 1.  How about H a r l e y D a v i d s o n ' s l a t e s t out o f a w o r l d you never made"?  effort:  "A t i c k e t  CHAPTER S I X 1.  These would make a f a s c i n a t i n g study i n t h e m s e l v e s , but we had n e i t h e r t h e t i m e nor the o p p o r t u n i t y t o examine, t h e s e groups more c l o s e l y . I t would be d i f f i c u l t , i f •not i m p o s s i b l e t o do so from any " o b s e r v e r " s t a n d p o i n t .  2.  T h i s b e h a v i o u r has t o be seen t o be b e l i e v e d . For a f i l m e d v e r s i o n o f i t see t h e movie " A l t a m o n f o .  3.  Anal r e t e n t i o n t h e o r i s t s take h e a r t .  4. -  A c t u a l l y , t h e y are f a r l e s s than 1$.. By a rough and c o n s e r v a t i v e e s t i m a t e , one p e r c e n t would y i e l d some f o r t y t o f i f t y thousand unwashed b a r b a r i a n s at l a r g e a l l a c r o s s the A m e r i c a s , which i s d e f i n i t i v e l y not the c a s e . There i s no cause f o r a l a r m ; t h e Huns are not at t h e g a t e .  CHAPTER SEVEN 1.  I n t e r e s t i n g l y ..enough few people had any c o m p l a i n t s o r p r a i s e f o r t h e c o n d i t i o n s o f the r o a d s , perhaps because t h e y are r a t h e r . l e s s v a r i a b l e , but a l s o b e c a u s e , u n l i k e the weather, t h e y are r e m o t e l y w i t h i n the r e a l m o f human control. They do not c o n s t i t u t e such a s a f e t o p i c o f conversation.  2.  See T r a n s p o r t a t i o n .  SECTION THREE  147  We b e g i n t h i s S e c t i o n w i t h a summation o f the major features  o f e l l the i n i t i a l d a t a g a t h e r i n g encounters.  We  must be c e r t a i n about what t r a n s p i r e d b e f o r e we can f i g u r e out what t h e h e l l i s g o i n g o n .  TO b e g i n w i t h , t h e r e are two  i n t r a c t a b l e f a c e t s o f the i n t e r a c t i o n which v / i l l n o t comfortably with the rest..  One i s the b a l d - f a c e d r e j o i n d e r  "None o f y o u r goddamn b u s i n e s s ! " ' ,  the o t h e r i s t h e  i n v o c a t i o n o f the b r o t h e r h o o d o f b e l e a g u e r e d b i k e r s . tunately,  sit  arcane For-  such t u r n s o f a f f a i r s are the e x c e p t i o n to the r u l e .  Most o f the encounters went q u i t e " n o r m a l l y " ; t h e y c o n s i s t e d i n t h e f a c e t o f a c e exchange o f m u t u a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t s y m b o l s , prompted by a q u e s t i o n , and c o n t i n u i n g to the mutual s a t i s f a c t i o n o f both p a r t i e s .  L e t u s c o n s i d e r the g e n e r a l fear-  t u r e s o f t h e s e more p e l l u c i d s u b j e c t  behaviours.  To b e g i n w i t h , they answered the q u e s t i o n .  There was  no n e c e s s i t y t o say a n y t h i n g upon b e i n g b u t t o n h o l e d on t h e street,  n e i t h e r was t h e r e any need to s t i c k t o the  question.  I t would have been a s i m p l e m a t t e r to i g n o r e the o v e r t u r e , o r t o change t h e s u b j e c t .  In f a c t ,  at the s t a r t we had some  doubts about whether the man on the s t r e e t t e c h n i q u e would work at a l l , but i t d i d ; i t worked v e r y w e l l . S e c o n d l y , s u b j e c t s s a i d a .'very g r e a t d e a l . least  e l a b o r a t e responses  information. carefully  Even the  contained large q u a n t i t i e s of  There was no guarantee  t h a t the  question,  c o n s i d e r e d as i t was, would s t r i k e a r e s p o n s i v e  148  chord i n t h e s u b j e c t s .  We had hoped f o r some s o r t o f  some p i t t a n c e on which to c o n s t r u c t  a thesis.  f a r more than'we c o u l d ever have a n t i c i p a t e d . distinct  answer,  We r e c e i v e d Iu was our  i m p r e s s i o n throughout t h e s e h i g h l y p r o d u c t i v e e n -  c o u n t e r s t h a t not o n l y had s u b j e c t s thought about t h i s  sort  o f q u e s t i o n b e f o r e h a n d , but t h i s was the v e r y q u e s t i o n t h a t t h e y had been d y i n g to  answer.  So much f o r the i m m e d i a t e l y a s t o n i s h i n g f e a t u r e s o f i n d i v i d u a l encounters.  What can be s a i d about t h e s e i n c i d e n t s  i n a more c o m p a r a t i v e c o n t e x t , by v i r t u e o f a n a l y t i c h i n d sight? common.  First,  the responses c o n t a i n e d a g r e a t d e a l t h a t was  The same w ords, the same p h r a s e s , T  congruent  thought  f o r m s , the s e l f - s a m e meanings cropped up a g a i n and a g a i n . For t h e moment we can o n l y s p e c u l a t e about t h e o r i g i n o f such m u t u a l i t y , s i n c e i t was not f e a s i b l e t o a r r e s t i n f o r m a t i o n and ask,  the f l o w o f  "Where d i d you l e a r n t h a t ? "  T h i s much  was o b v i o u s , though; a l l f i f t e e n hundred o f them had n o t g a t h e r e d t o g e t h e r beforehand t o l e g i s l a t e t h e i r  responses.  They had not a l l seen the same m o v i e s , r e a d t h e  identical  b o o k s , o r been t o g e t h e r  i n one p l a c e at any one t i m e ;  had t h e y t a l k e d about i t among themselves t o any g r e a t  neither extent.  They have not "got i t t o g e t h e r " w h i l e en m i l i e u i n even t h e remotest  sense o f t h e t e r m , y e t they shared much t h e same  meanings f o r t h e i r b e h a v i o u r . S e c o n d l y , t h e s e common meanings formed a v e r y l a r g e and  149  very was  important  part of t h e i r  a wealth of purely  responses.  Certainly, there  subjective information  characteristic of  and  The  individuality-communality  proportion of  from  subject  icant that  to  unique to  subject. a  p o r t i o n of  of the  e n c o u n t e r s was we. had  ( w o u l d b e ) . . . o n h i s own In t h i s significant  subject  responses.  Two  schema, r e p r e s e n t s cycling  would  predictability behavioural  Nine  Por  part  the  purists in  examination of motorcycle  v e r s i o n o f / s t o r y about what t h e One  sampling,  hell  phenom-  phenomena; i s going  reasonably  a much g r e a t e r v a r i e t y o f m e a n i n g s among a g r o u p o f  whose o n l y  a priori  mutual  characteristic  was  major  look for"' i n  the  might  this  motor-  nine  consociated  o f p e r s p e c t i v e on  of  the  about The  c o n s t i t u t e "things to  i s a p r e t t y s m a l l number.  have  elements  o f what  a l l suitable cautions  kind  this  o f m e a n i n g s , we  g e n e r a l i z a t i o n of r e s u l t s .  one  of  i n asserting that  important  America.  reasonably  light  feel  append  They p r e s e n t a r e one  i n the  We  justified  "subjec-  degree-  a schematizat ion of shared  themes c o u l d  subsequent  and  signif-  "everybody...  a much g r e a t e r  distribution  a l a r g e and  and  to  vary  meanings  The  to  means i n N o r t h  a u d i e n c e we  also  equally  f a r l e s s than might  context,  conjoint social  Section  for  an  both  respondent -  would  anticipated that  trip"  comparative  devoted  they  However, a t l a s t  was  " t y p i c a l " r e p l y would c o n s i s t o f  h a v e been e x p e c t e d ;  ena.  each i n d i v i d u a l  were common among r e s p o n d e n t s - a s - a - w h o l e .  tivity"  any  that  the  on. look  persons  possession  of  150  xhat which was b r o a d l y d e f i n e d as a m o t o r c y c l e m i l i e u  (ignor-  i n g f o r t h e moment t h a t we are a l l a l i e n a t e d - Americans i n the l a t t e r  stages of c u l t u r a l c o l l a p s e , e t c . ,  Accordingly.  etc.,  etc.).  v f e e l c o n s t r a i n e d t o account f o r both t h e  n  manner end h i g h degree o f s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n ; we must come up w i t h another s t o r y , one t h a t e x p l a i n s b o t h the c o n sensus and, i f p o s s i b l e . t h e two d i s c o r d a n t f e a t u r e s c h a r a c t e r i z e some o f the  which  encounters.  T h i s , t h e n , was the s t a t e o f a f f a i r s as we p r e s e n t e d t o our hundred-odd r e p r e s e n t a t i v e  respondents  o f second g e n e r a t i o n e n c o u n t e r s .  The f i r s t f i n d i n g at  it  in a series this  l e v e l o f t h e . i n v e s t i g a t i o n was t h a t t h i s h i g h degree o f consensus,  i t s manner and form was something w i t h which  they v/ere a l r e a d y f a m i l i a r ,  or,  at t h e v e r y l e a s t ,  some-  t h i n g t h a t they had l i t t l e t r o u b l e " p i c k i n g up on" and r e l a t i n g t o t h e i r own conceptions, o f t h e m a t t e r .  I t v/as  not s u r p r i s i n g t o them t h a t c o n t i n e n t a l m o t o r c y c l i n g waso r g a n i z e d i n t h i s manner.(or c o u l d be c o n c e i v e d o f as b e i n g o r g a n i z e d i n t h i s manner - i t makes not a j o t o f d i f f e r e n c e here) o r to t h i s  degree.  What i s i m m e d i a t e l y suggested by t h i s  end the  previous  f i n d i n g s i s the e x i s t e n c e o f some i n h e r e n t u n d e r l y i n g p r i n c i p l e of behavioural organization.  We are not  referring  to any s e t o f e x t e r n a l " s t r u c t u r a l c o n s t r a i n u s " which might be o p e r a t i n g on the p o p u l a t i o n as a w h o l e . ..Such  151  a c o n c e p t i o n o f t h e m a t t e r i s f o r e i g n to our s u b j e c t s ' hence, our own way o f t h i n k i n g about the matter..  and,  "It's, got  something to do w i t h m o t o r c y c l i n g . "  Other a n a l y t i c a l l y  "external" perspectives/explanations  o f the m a t t e r  are by  no means i m p o s s i b l e / u n i n t e r e s t i n g , but t h a t has not been our approach.  We s h a l l e x p l a i n t h e b e h a v i o u r s from t h e e x p e r i -  ence o f t h o s e who produce i t .  A c c o r d i n g l y , we began w i t h a  r e a n a l y s i s o f the themes: as they s t o o d to see i f we might distill  some e s s e n t i a l p r i n c i p l e s f o r t h i s o r g a n i z a t i o n o f  t h e phenomena.  ,•  •  -  We b r o k e our themes, down i n t o n e g a t i v e and p o s i t i v e , weak and s t r o n g , because at the t i m e i t seemed " a s e n s i b l e t h i n g to do"*  These a n a l y t i c d i s t r i b u t i o n s seemed to o r g a n -  i z e very r e a l differences  i n t h e response d i s p l a y s ,  event-  u a l l y becoming p a r t o f t h e p r o c e d u r e by which e l e m e n t s , o f a p a r t i c u l a r theme c o u l d be r e c o g n i z e d . feedback  A f t e r r e c e i v i n g some  about t h i s i t appears t h a t , , i n the f i r s t  place,  t h e r e i s something common t o t h e s t r o n g p o s i t i v e and negat i v e themes which i s m i s s i n g from the w i l t e d ones.  A crude;  statement o f t h i s u n d e r l y i n g b e h a v i o u r a l d i s t i n c t i o n i s t h a t t h o s e who e v i n c e a m a j o r i t y o f weak elements are " j u s t not i n t o b i k e s " . . More s p e c i f i c a l l y ,  in their  replies  i n terms o f  t h e c o n t e n t o f t h e themes i n q u e s t i o n , the weak p o s i t i v e themes are "not where c y c l i n g i s r e a l l y a t " .  '•Transportation"  and a "Job"' are not the prime c u l t u r a l c o n n o t a t i o n s o f a  152  m o t o r c y c l e i n the e s t i m a t i o n o f the m o t o r c y c l i s t s , and t h e s e themes are not so c l o s e l y a l l i e d to the b a s i c p r i n c i p l e s which s t r u c t u r e  the e x p e r i e n c e o f m o t o r c y c l i n g .  Similarly,  the weak n e g a t i v e themes are not "what i t ' s r e a l l y a l l about"'. As we c o n c l u d e d i n S e c t i o n Two, they are j u s t t o p i c s o f c o n versation,  xhe i n f o r m a t i o n compounded i n "Weather" and  "Mechanics" i s c o r r e s p o n d i n g l y l e s s i m p o r t a n t f o r the  distil-  l a t i o n o f the e s s e n t i a l a s p e c t s o f m o t o r c y c l i n g b e h a v i o u r . On the b a s i s o f t h e s e d i s t i n c t i o n s which the  partici-  pants themselves are able t o make, and which e v i d e n t l y f i g u r e i n t h e u n d e r l y i n g o r g a n i z a t i o n o f t h e meanings o f m o t o r cycles, let  us p l a c e the i m p u i s s a n t responses on the  phery o f the i n v e s t i g a t i o n . the i n t e n s e themes,  We must f o c u s our a t t e n t i o n on  the enthusiasms  c h a r a c t e r i z e our s u b j e c t s '  and the bummers which  behaviours.  are v i g o r o u s l y p o s i t i v e i n t o n e : and Machismo*  peri-  C o n s i d e r those  which  uhe M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e ,  In g e n e r a l , they are a l l concerned w i t h  c o n t i n g e n t on t h e u t i l i z a t i o n o f a c o l l a t i o n o f g a d g e t s , motorcycle m i l i e u .  Kicks rewards the  The e x p e r i e n c e s t h a t may be had by v i r -  tue o f owning a m o t o r c y c l e are v e r y r e w a r d i n g , and produce enthusiasm/are  endowed w i t h s t r o n g p o s i t i v e meanings i n t h e  minds o f our s u b j e c t s ; ing, stealing)  but owning ( r e n t i n g , b e g g i n g , b o r r o w -  a m o t o r c y c l e i s the s i n e qua non f o r  enjoyment o f t h o s e e x p e r i e n c e s .  the  " M a l i c e " and " A n x i e t y " , on  the o t h e r hand, are concerned w i t h bummers t h a t are  associated  153  w i t h t h e ownership o f the m i l i e u and which stem from t h e o w n e r ' s i n a b i l i t y to cope, e i t h e r s o c i a l l y o r p h i l o s o p h i c a l l y , w i t h some o f the a t t e n d a n t  experiences.  What t h i s c o n c e p t i o n o f the m a t t e r suggests taken together,  is that,  t h e i n t e n s e b e h a v i o u r a l themes are a l l m a n i -  f e s t a t i o n s o f some degree o f a s o c i a b i l i t y  .  If this is  the  e x p l a n a t o r y p r i n c i p l e which we are s e e k i n g , t h e n u t i l i z a t i o n o f t h e c o l l a t i o n o f gadgets s h o u l d be a s s o c i a t e d w i t h a d i s i n c l i n a t i o n t o seek company.  M o t o r c y c l i n g w i l l be  character-  i z e d by a d e a r t h o f o c c a s s i o n s f o r a g r e e a b l e c o n v e r s a t i o n and f r i e n d l y mutual exchange w i t h o t h e r s .  we would expect a  s i g n i f i c a n t p o r t i o n o f m o t o r c y c l i n g b e h a v i o u r s t o be n o n g r e g a r i o u s , u n c o m m u n i c a t i v e , n o n c o n v e r s a t i o n a l , and g e n e r a l l y i n a c c e s s i b l e f o r face to face i n t e r a c t i o n ,  l e t us l o o k f i r s t  at t h e themes and t h e n a t ' m o t o r c y c l i n g b e h a v i o u r s i n g e n e r a l t o see o f t h i s i s the c a s e . another u s e f u l account o f the  I f i t i s , t h e n we have produced matter.  Note t h a t t h e p o w e r f u l l y p o s i t i v e themes can be thought o f as l y i n g on an unwrought continuum o f a s o c i a b i l i t y * i n d u l g i n g i n the p l e a s u r e s o f t h e M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e , must f o c u s h i s whole a t t e n t i o n on a p h y s i c a l o b j e c t * i n t e r r u p t me.  I d o n ' t wanna b o t c h t h i s . "  While  a subject "Doh'u  Por h o u r s at a  s t r e t c h and weeks/months/years at a t i m e o u r  respondents  c o u l d remain h a p p i l y l o c k e d up i n a basement,  garage o r shop.  154  For  t h o s e who seek t h e t i t i l l a t i o n o f K i c k s the f o c u s o f  a t t e n t i o n i s the s e l f .  Wnether g r a t i f i e d by the m i l d  o f boredom o f by t h e w i l d e s t r i s k s ,  relief  s u b j e c t s were p r i m a r i l y  concerned w i t h e n j o y i n g the d i r e c t p h y s i c a l s e n s a t i o n s o f r i d i n g en m i l i e u .  F i n a l l y , Machismo i s t h e most o v e r t l y  s o c i a l o f t h e themes, depending as i t does on t h e presence o f someone e l s e t o o f f e n d / b r u t a l i z e w i t h o n e ' s v i r i l i t y .  However,  we can h a r d l y c o n c l u d e t h a t macho b e h a v i o u r s are t h e r e b y g r e g a r i o u s o r c o n d u c i v e to f r i e n d l y  social intercourse.  rhey  are s o c i a l l y s i t u a t e d , more so than the two p r e v i o u s themes, but t h e i r i n t e n d e d meanings are more p r o f o u n d l y a n t i - s o c i a l Even t h e B i k e r s , t h o s e most c o n v i v i a l o f a l l c y c l i s t s ,  and  "the ones who are most i n t o b i k e s " , are s o c i a b l e i n a r a t h e r r e s t r i c t e d sense. own k i n d " ,  They a s s o c i a t e " o n l y w i t h . . . ( t h e i r ) . . . .  and o n l y by v i r t u e o f s e g r e g a t i n g t h e m s e l v e s from  commerce w i t h "everyone e l s e "  0  T u r n i n g to a c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f the p o w e r f u l n e g a t i v e themes,  i t w i l l be seen t h a t M a l i c e i s l i k e w i s e  asocial.  C y c l i s t s do not g e n e r a l l y c o n f r o n t the supposed s o u r c e s o f "the h a s s l e s " ,  e i t h e r i n t h e hope o f r e s o l v i n g them o r s i m p l y  t o "blow o f f steam"o  The s i n g l e most commonly a s s o c i a t e d  b e h a v i o u r i s l i t t l e more t h a n the inward n u r t u r i n g o f i l l w i l l after  the f a c t .  I f one i s plagued w i t h A i x i e t y ,  the  immediate b e h a v i o u r a l e f f e c t does not appear to be c o n s o c i ation.  The f e a r o f death o r i n j u r y i s t h e l e a s t  articulate  155  o f t h e s e two p r i m a r i l y inward m e a n i n g - s t a t e s . o p t i o n would be a noncompanionable  One* a o n l y  r a i l i n g a g a i n s t the  Or c o n s i d e r the case o f the two n o n - t h e m a t i z e d o f the i n t e r a c t i o n d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r o f your goddamn b u s i n e s s ! "  gods.  features  in this Section.  "None  immediately suggests that there  must be an a s o c i a l q u a l i t y to the b e h a v i o u r a l meanings we were s e e k i n g .  The p r i n c i p l e would a l s o e x p l a i n the f a c t  the p o w e r f u l l y n e g a t i v e less explication. understanding  S u b j e c t s r e l i e d h e a v i l y on an  because the meanings  nature nonconsociative. can t a l k  themes, e s p e c i a l l y A n x i e t y ,  i n question  that  merited  assumed  are by t h e i r  " T h a t ' s not the k i n d o f t h i n g you  about."'  I u i s e x t r e m e l y important with a thematization are not a s s e r t i n g ,  to r e a l i z e t h a t we are  o f meanings,  dealing  not o f m o t o r c y c l i s t s . .  by any s t r e t c h o f the i m a g i n a t i o n ,  m o t o r c y c l i s t s are a s o c i a l , s e c l u s i v e t r o g l o d y t e s .  We  that  I t may o r  may not be the case t h a t our r e s p o n d e n t s are e r e m i t i c ,  either  i n terms o f t h e i r own b e h a v i o u r or i n comparison w i t h some other s p e c i f i a b l e population;  we are i n no p o s i t i o n to  say  one way or the o t h e r , except perhaps by an arduous p r o c e s s o f extrapolation. meanings  What we are a r g u i n g , however,  associated  i s that  w i t h the m o t o r c y c l e m i l i e u ,  the t h e m a t i c a l l y c e n t r i c ones, may be u n d e r s t o o d the u n d e r l y i n g a s o c i a l p r i n c i p l e . the p a r t i c i p a n t  perspective,  Further,  the  particularly i n terms o f  s i n c e we s t r e s s  t h e r e must be something  about  156  m o t o r c y c l i n g as i t stands which c o u l d account f o r presence o f t h e s e l e s s than g r e g a r i o u s  the  meanings.  What i s i t t h a t our s u b j e c t s do w h i l e en m i l i e u ? ever i t  i s we would n a t u r a l l y expect t h a t i t would be  t o what t h e y say they get out o f i t , i o u r a l themes.  Further,  related  and hence t o our  behav-  we would expect t h a t whatever  t h a t they do w i l l have some c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the  it  I u seems  almost to the p o i n t o f b e i n g b a n a l , t h a t the  most  " m o t o r c y c l e " t h i n g t h a t m o t o r c y c l i s t s do w h i l e eh m i l i e u r i d e around on m o t o r c y c l e s . subjects'  is  asocial  p r i n c i p a l t h a t u n d e r l i e s the most i m p o r t a n t themes. obvious,  What-  is  That i s , i n our own and our  e s t i m a t i o n o f the m a t t e r , the p r i n c i p a l b e h a v i o u r /  meaning a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the m i l i e u . everyone g e t s out o f i t ,  "a ride"..  That at l e a s t  T h i s p o i n t i s so p a t e n t  t h a t i t was seldom used as a r e p l y , except importance o f i t i s not t h e r e b y d i s c o u n t e d ; v e r y t h i n g we are a f t e r .  i s what  in jest.  The  i t may be  the  From f i e l d o b s e r v a t i o n we may  e x p l i c a t e the major f e a t u r e s o f a t y p i c a l r i d e . To b e g i n w i t h ,  "They d o n ' t t a l k much, H a l " , i f at a l l .  R i d i n g i s a m o b i l e a c t i v i t y , i t i s , l i k e the K i c k s  considered  i n S e c t i o n Two, an a c t i v i t y which has a d e f i n i t e " v e l o c i t y " to i t .  Now, i t seems g e n e r a l l y t r u e - o f moving a c t i v i t i e s  t h a t as the speed o f the o c c a s s i o n i n c r e a s e s , of that occassion d e c l i n e s .  the s o c i a b i l i t y  A s o c i a b l e o c c a s s i o n i s one  c h a r a c t e r i z e d - by o r a f f o r d i n g the o p p o r t u n i t y f o r  agreeable  157  conversation.  At a t e a p a r t y , where everyone i s  standing  around, p a r t i c i p a n t s are d i s p o s e d t o h o l d f r i e n d l y  inter-  c o u r s e , t o engage i n the mutual exchange o r communication of i d e a s .  A cocktail party,  along w i t h whatever e l s e i t may  (or may n o t ) b e , i s a m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f g r e g a r i o u s n e s s . a s o c i a b i l i t y we i n t e n d , o f c o u r s e , sociability.  By  a comparative l a c k of  this  Another p o i n t to be noted about the v e l o c i t y o f  o c c a s s i o n s i s t h a t t h e r e i s a p o i n t at which f a c e t o i n t e r a c t i o n , t h a t most g r e g a r i o u s o f a l l forms o f drops o f f v e r y s u d d e n l y .  face  sociability,  The mere d e c i s i o n t o go f o r a walk  o b l i g a t e s one t o c a r r y on c o n v e r s a t i o n i n p a r a l l e l .  When one  goes f o r a d r i v e i n t h e f a m i l y car t h e r e i s no p r o v i s i o n f o r the p a r t i c i p a n t s t o s i t f a c e t o f a c e .  These are c o m p a r a t i v e l y  asocial occassions. This b a s i c feature (presumably c o r r e c t )  o f m o b i l e a c t i v i t i e s i s based on t h e  assumption t h a t a c t o r s have a f i n i t e  c a p a c i t y f o r h a n d l i n g incoming s t i m u l i . .  Again, the  faster  you g o , the more you have t o pay a t t e n t i o n t o where and how. f a s t you are g o i n g , " o t h e r w i s e y o u ' l l fuck u p , H a ! " . C o n s i d e r the m o t o r c y c l e r i d e r . .  The o n l y form o f t w o -  person i n t e r a c t i o n which i s p r o v i d e d f o r i s a taadera ment.  In t h e words o f one o f the few passengers  tered,  "It's  arrange-  we encoun-  a drag j u s t s t a r i n g at the back o f h i s  helmet."  (Obviously, there i s the p o s s i b i l i t y f o r d i f f e r e n t i a l i n v o l v e ment i n the b e h a v i o u r a l meanings we have a l r e a d y examined.)  158  This b r i n g s us to another p o i n t : passenger^  C y c l i s t s do not  t u n i t y f o r over the s h o u l d e r may b e .  t y p i c a l l y t h e r e i s no  a v a i l themselves  o f the  oppor-  c o n v i v i a l i t y , l i m i t e d as t h a t  N e t i h e r do they r i d e much i n g r o u p s .  Clusters of  c y c l i s t s are the e x c e p t i o n to t h e r u l e ; most o f our were s o l i t a r y r i d e r s . riders,  Where t h e r e are groups o f two o r more  the o p p o r t u n i t y f o r p a r a l l e l i n t e r a c t i o n  duced, but t h i s  i s i m m e d i a t e l y c a n c e l l e d by two  n o i s e (which i s a l s o o p e r a t i v e and t h e n e c e s s i t y  entirely different  N o i s e and d i s t a n c e  one's fellow motorists  A l s o , much o f one's a t t e n t i o n  also  distance effec-  as w e l l as  the  standing.  are s e a t e d on  i s t a k e n up by I t would seem t h a t  a l a r g e number o f p h y s i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s  t y p i c a l r i d e which p r e c l u d e forms o f i n t e r a c t i o n .  any i n t i m a t e / h i g h l y  Of c o u r s e ,  o f the  sociable  one might ask which came  t h e purchase o r the r e a l i z a t i o n , but t h a t would t a k e  us i n t o t h e realm o f m o t i v a t i o n a l a n a l y s i s . can s a f e l y c o n c l u d e t h a t the it  seating)  l e v e l s , which i s h a r d l y c o n d u c i v e to a  the r e q u i r e m e n t s o f g e t t i n g moving a g a i n .  first,  factors:  t h a t t h e y are moving and b y s t a n d e r s are  Even at s t o p l i g h t s ,  t h e r e are  intro-  i n the case o f tandem  t i v e l y i s o l a t e t h e c y c l i s t s from n o n - c y c l i s t s ,  tete a tete.  is  of maintaining a less-than-sociable  between the moving m i l i e u x .  obvious fact  subjects  In any e v e n t , we  a c t i v i t y o f m o t o r c y c l e r i d i n g as  stands i s a comparatively a s o c i a l one. However, i t  a l s o seems o b v i o u s , i f not b a n a l ,  that  motor-  159  c y c l i n g i s not a t e r r i b l y n o n s o c i a l hard p r e s s e d  a c t i v i t y (one would be  to imagine j u s t what an a b s o l u t e l y  nonsocial:..  o c c a s s i o n might be l i k e - g h a s t l y p e r h a p s ) .  I f i t was,  would p r o b a b l y not be so smoothly i n t e g r a t e d  w i t h o t h e r more  s o c i a l motorcycle associated I f they are not g r e g a r i o u s , behaviour;  behaviours  as i t p r e s e n t l y  they are s t i l l  it  is.  engaged i n s o c i a l  t h e r e i s some form and degree o f communication  t h a t must o c c u r i n o r d e r to c a r r y the a c t i v i t y o f f .  An e x a m i -  n a t i o n o f t h i s second most o b v i o u s f e a t u r e may a f f o r d some additional insight convoluted  i n t o what i s r a p i d l y becoming a most  Section.  Where do they r i d e ?  Typically,  i n t h a t which was com-  monly i d e n t i f i e d as " a p u b l i c p l a c e " .  This designation  includes roads,  almost  tracks,  riding situation.  cross country,  any  imaginable  Moreover, i n t h e s e p u b l i c s i t u a t i o n s  the  moving m i l i e u x are r i g i d l y s e g r e g a t e d ( i n c r e a s i n g l y by law) from the more s t a t i o n a r y  activities.  T h i s i s the case i r r e -  s p e c t i v e o f how s o c i a b l e an a c t i v i t y t h o s e who are not r i d i n g are engaged i n , p r o b a b l y due t o the c o n s i d e r a t i o n s i m m e d i a t e l y above:  the m o t o r c y c l i s t i s not able t o  outlined maintain  any i n t e n s e back and f o r t h i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h b y s t a n d e r s anyway.  In a d d i t i o n ,  a l s o as o u t l i n e d above, the r i d e r s  almost e q u a l l y as i s o l a t e d from one a n o t h e r . situational considerations,  are  These s i m p l e  when combined w i t h the  inherent  a s o c i a l p r i n c i p l e t h a t c l e a r l y u n d e r l i e s m o t o r c y c l i n g behav-  160  iours/meanings h e l l i s going  l e a d us to t h e f i n a l  account o f j u s t what t h e  on.  D e l v i n g i n t o the realm o f academic a b s t r a c t i o n , l e t t h e r e a d e r c o n s i d e r f o r a moment t h e t h e o r e t i c a l c o n s t r u c t , Image B e h a v i o u r .  "Behaviour"  form o f human conduct;  seems c l e a r enough, i t i s any  and s i n c e t h i s  i s a sociological  t r e a t i s e , t h e term most l i k e l y r e f e r s t o t h e a c t i o n s o f human beings i n r e l a t i o n .  Image B e h a v i o u r , t h e n , must be some  p a r t i c u l a r form o f s o c i a l b e h a v i o u r .  Having deduced t h a t  much, l e t us assume f o r the purposes o f argument t h a t  any  s o c i a l b e h a v i o u r w i l l i n v o l v e one o r more communicative a c t s , s p e c i f i c a l l y the m a n i p u l a t i o n o f s i g n i f i c a n t symbols.  Without  g e t t i n g too d e e p l y i n t o I n f o r m a t i o n Theory o r Symbolic  Inter-  a c t i o n i s m , . s i n c e t h i s i s o n l y a d e v i c e t o get a c r o s s a p o i n t , we may  s e t up a s h o r t paradigm o f the p r o t o t y p i c a l communi-  cation situation. S o c i a l a c t o r A g i v e s o f f s i g n i f i c a n t symbol X i n the g e n e r a l d i r e c t i o n o f s o c i a l a c t o r B.  T h i s i s the s i m p l e s t  communication a c t , and the " b e g i n n i n g " o f s o c i a l  interaction.  B p i c k s up on i t and r e t u r n s i n k i n d w i t h some o t h e r symbols s i g n i f y i n g g e n e r a l l y , "Yeah, I heard you,  social  and t h i s i s  what I t h i n k o f i t . " T h i s second a c t , from the v i e w p o i n t o f A at l e a s t , c o n s t i t u t e s feedback.  A p i c k s up on B's. r e a c t i o n ,  m u l l s i t over and m o d i f i e s h i s b e h a v i o u r . a c c o r d i n g l y , a l l y s e n d i n g out symbol Y„...etc.  eventu-  161  J a u n d i c e d as t h a t v i e w may be, understanding  the p o s s i b l e forms o f s o c i a l b e h a v i o u r . i n o r d e r  to see where Image Behaviour f i t s proceeds  i t i s a u s e f u l way o f  Interaction  normally  w i t h t h i s two-way exchange o f s i g n i f i c a n t  symbols/  meanings/behaviours.  in.  However, i t i s t h e b a s i c communicative  act o f g i v i n g o f f some symbol t h a t i s s o c i a l , , s i n c e i t immedi a t e l y s e t s up a r e l a t i o n s h i p between two o r more human beings;  t h e feedback  is optional.  The crude d i s t i n c t i o n which  was made e a r l i e r between " s o c i a b l e " and " a s o c i a l " b e h a v i o u r s / a c t i v i t i e s may be u n d e r s t o o d  in this light.  A sociable  r e l a t i o n s h i p i s one c h a r a c t e r i z e d by a h i g h degree o f m u t u a l i t y i n t h e exchange o f s i g n i f i c a n t s y m b o l s .  Asocial  from the v i e w p o i n t o f any s o c i a l a c t o r A, w i l l be  occasions,  deficient  i n o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r e v i n c i n g symbols and/or f o r r e c e i v i n g feedback,  t h u s e f f e c t i v e l y c u r t a i l i n g the two-way f l o w t h a t  characterizes  more c o n v e r s a t i o n a l  situations  By i m p o s i n g a number o f q u a l i f i c a t i o n s on t h e paradigm,  basic  an account o f the mechanics o f "Image B e h a v i o u r i n  the a b s t r a c t " can be g e n e r a t e d .  Suppose t h a t f o r one  o r another A r e c e i v e s v e r y l i t t l e feedback on h i s perhaps almost none; t h e communication p r o c e s s n a n t l y one way a f f a i r .  behaviour,  i s a predomi-  S i n c e t h i s i s not s u i t a b l e f o r  mutual exchange o f i d e a s i t i s an a s o c i a b l e o c c a s i o n , a d d i t i o n , t h i s i s understood state of a f f a i r s ;  as the  reason  the in  normel/nonpathelogical  t h e r e has been no "communication breakdown".  162T  A l e c t u r e would be a good example at t h i s p o i n t , professor  with  the  as A.  F u r t h e r suppose t h a t a l l B has to do to h o l d up h i s end o f the a c t i v i t y i s t o be p r e s e n t ; t h a t i s the minimum f e e d back r e q u i r e d to keep A p e r f o r m i n g .  I t i s not even  necessary  t h a t B pay a t t e n t i o n  to the symbols A i s m a n i f e s t i n g .  a d d i t i o n a l feedback,  beyond c o n t i n u e d p r e s e n c e ,  generated.  No  may ever be  T h i s i m m e d i a t e l y reduces B to the s t a t u s o f  (possibly disinterested)  spectator.of  A's behaviour.  Monday morning l e c t u r e i s a good example o f  A  this.  D e l v i n g i n t o the p h i l o s o p h i c a l f o r a b r i e f moment, us t a k e f o r g r a n t e d t h a t "we are a l l s o c i a l (hummdrummmmmm... ) .  In t h e normal course o f  expect t o l i v e up to the e x p e c t a t i o n s / r e a c t of others.  asleep;  t h e r e they s i t ,  what i s a p r o f e s s o r  and do something e l s e ;  to do?  affairs'we to t h e  i s ) w i l l proceed as p l a n n e d . t o "tune o u t " ,  situation  W e l l , he can s t o p , go on "normal" s t a t e  " i n t e r a c t i o n " ( s u c h as  it  Another o p t i o n might be f o r A  p r o c e d i n g by r o t e w i t h o u t r e a l l y t h i n k i n g about  In t h i s scheme o f t h i n g s ,  o c c a s i o n (as we s p e c u l a t e d  that i s v i r t u a l l y a nonsocial  earlier,  i t can be p r e t t y  s i n c e f o r A and B t h e symbols have become q u i t e It  feedback  a l l B students,  but s i n c e t h i s i s t h e  o f a f f a i r s we must assume t h a t t h e  it.  animals"  Yet t h i s i s c l e a r l y i m p o s s i b l e i n the  we have d e t a i l e d above:  let  ghastly),  nonsignificant.  i s a t h i r d communicative o p t i o n t h a t l e a d s us at l a s t  into  163  t h e r e a l m o f Images:  A may b e g i n g e n e r a t i n g h i s own f e e d b a c k .  By now the r e a d e r must be q u i t e t h o r o u g h l y l o s t . ,  He has  been l e d on a l o n g and t o r t u r o u s r o u t e through two and oneh a l f S e c t i o n s o f a m a n u s c r i p t o n l y to be d e p o s i t e d on the t h r e s h o l d o f some a b s t r u s e  concept c a l l e d "Image B e h a v i o u r " *  Some s o r t o f r e c a p i t u l a t i o n would seem to be i n o r d e r ;  i f we  can see how we got h e r e , t h e n perhaps we might see where we are h e a d i n g . S e c t i o n One o u t l i n e d t h e p r o c e d u r e s t h a t were employed t o g e n e r a t e an account o f "something about m o t o r c y c l i n g " . That much seemed c l e a r ( a t t h e t i m e , anyway).  S e c t i o n Two  ended up p r o d u c i n g a h i g h l y r e d a c t e d t h e m a t i c scheme f o r comprehending the e x t a n t meanings o f m o t o r c y c l e s , t h e n s p o i l e d t h e e f f e c t by i n c l u d i n g two d i s c o r d a n t f e a t u r e s , goddamn b u s i n e s s " ,  "None o f y o u r  and "Creepy P e e l i n g s " , and s u g g e s t i n g t h a t  another s t o r y might be i n o r d e r . hammered out under the s e l f  But i t was S e c t i o n • T h r e e ,  imposed s t r i c t u r e s o f " c o n s u l a t i v e  f e e d b a c k " , which l a i d waste a l l t h e semblances o f ..phenomenal o r g a n i z a t i o n t h a t the reader may have been c l i n g i n g t o . I f you can s t i l l b e l i e v e i t , t h e r e i s a r e a s o n f o r a l l this..  C o n s u l t a t i v e feedback, which i s b e h a v i o u r a l s t u d i e s  t a l k f o r a s k i n g m o t o r c y c l i s t s what m o t o r c y c l i n g i s a l l about, appears t o be a f a i r l y new procedure ( a t l e a s t which may say a l o t about s o c i o l o g y ) .  i n sociology,  We do not p r e t e n d  to  164  understand  a l l o f i t s p r a c t i c a l and n o n - t h e o r e t i c a l  impli-  c a t i o n s , much l e s s have a l l t h e bugs out o f i t y e t ; but we do contend t h a t i t i s a h i g h l y p r o d u c t i v e and f a s c i n a t i n g procedure.  I f n o t h i n g e l s e , you f i n d out t h a t r e a l i t y i s not  n e a r l y so neat as you had i t f i g u r e d .  S e c t i o n Three i s o r g a n -  i z e d i n e x a c t l y t h e o r d e r i n which i t e v o l v e d , save f o r appending o f t h i s r e c a p i t u l a t i o n . serves  Such an arrangement  "the f e e l " o f t h e t e c h n i q u e ,  t h i n g t o do i n i t ' s i n f a n c y .  the pre-  which i s a w o r t h w h i l e  What, t h e n ,  i s t h i s alleged  c o n c e p t u a l o r d e r i n g which has l e d u s so f a r i n t o the n i g h t ? We began w i t h the n o t a t i o n t h a t the b e h a v i o u r a l meanings o f m o t o r c y c l e s were r a t h e r h i g h l y o r g a n i z e d , and t h a t  this  f a c t was not too s u r p r i s i n g t o the people who produced them. We went on to s t a t e t h a t the h i g h degree o f consensus, t h e s e v e r a l extraneous f e a t u r e s g e n e r a t i o n encounters entail;  suggest  of the f i r s t  (note:  plus  and second  suggest,  not  logically  a c o n c e p t u a l l e a p i s i n v o l v e d / p r e s e r v e d here)  t h e r e i s a p r i n c i p l e o f a s o c i a b i l i t y which u n d e r l i e s  that the  b e h a v i o u r s we had been e x a m i n i n g . At the same t i m e , our second g e n e r a t i o n  respondents  encouraged us t o d i s c a r d f o u r o f our l e s s emphatic themes because t h e i r presence away on o t h e r g r o u n d s .  i n the "sample" c o u l d be e x p l a i n e d The r e a d e r w i l l hear l i t t l e more o f  them; t h e i r p r o p e r p l a c e i s i n S e c t i o n Two..  T h i s i s not  to  a s s e r t t h a t they are an i n s i g n i f i c a n t p a r t o f m o t o r c y c l i n g  165  behaviour.  However, they are i n c o n g r u e n t w i t h the p r i n c i p l e  d i s t i l l e d from t h e f i v e r e m a i n i n g themes, seems to l e a d on t o another  a p r i n c i p l e which  account o f m o t o r c y c l i n g a l t o g e t h e r ,  So we took a l o o k at the b e h a v i o u r s most  typically  i n v o l v e d i n m o t o r c y c l e r i d i n g ; up t i l l . t h i s time we had been s u r v e y i n g c y c l i s t s , and p r o b a b l y m i s s i n g the f o r e s t trees.  for  We deduced t h a t t h i s was a p r e d o m i n a n t l y a s o c i a l  a c t i v i t y and t h e c e n t r a l one f o r a l l m o t o r c y c l i s t s . course,  the  This, of  i s what our second g e n e r a t i o n r e s p o n d e n t s had been  t r y i n g to t e l l us a l l along.. By now we t a k e i t as proven t h a t a s o c i a l i t y i s a u s e f u l p r i n c i p l e for understanding motorcycling behaviours.. as r e o r d e r i n g the r e s u l t s o f our man i n t h e s t r e e t  As w e l l  survey  schemata by r e l e g a t i n g f o u r themes to the b a c k g r o u n d ,  it  p r o v i d e s one k i n d o f e x p l a n a t i o n f o r the p a r t i c u l a r form o f consensus which c h a r a c t e r i z e s t h e r e m a i n i n g f i v e  themes,  and i n a l i k e manner i t accounts f o r the two d i s t u r b i n g factors  which c l u t t e r e d up S e c t i o n Two.. However, i n t h e l i g h t  of this' reordering,  and w i t h t h i s a l t e r n a t e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f  t h e r e m a i n i n g meanings, o f paramount by which t h i s consensus c o u l d a r i s e -  concern i s the mechanism We are s t i l l  left  with  the p u z z l i n g degree o f agreement over the meanings o f m o t o r cycles,  and the i n t u i t i o n t h a t i t has something to do w i t h  the o n l y t h i n g which the r e s p o n d e n t s had i n common: t h e a s o c i a l experience of r i d i n g motorcycles.  166  Which b r i n g s us to the c o n s t r u c t  "Image .Behaviour".  The h i g h l y a b s t r u s e d i s c u s s i o n i n terms o f i n f o r m a t i o n t h e o r y which d i r e c t l y precedes the r e c a p i t u l a t i o n was a c t u a l l y hammered out d i a g r a m m a t i c a l l y on a l o t o f t a b l e n a p k i n s , thus r e n d e r i n g i t comprehensible/less laughable to nonacademics.  In g e n e r a l ,  i t i s a form o f b e h a v i o u r which  o c c u r s when an i n d i v i d u a l b e g i n s to manufacture feedback  for  h i s own b e h a v i o u r s i n the absence o f any more d i r e c t r e a c t i o n s from  others.  H a v i n g r e c a p i t u l a t e d , we w i l l p l u g t h i s l i t t l e b i t o f communication t h e o r y back i n t o m o t o r c y c l i n g and proceed w i t h t h e a u t h o r i z e d v e r s i o n o f how consensus c o u l d have a r i s e n . P i c t u r e f o r a moment the a r c h e t y p a l c y c l i s t d o i n g t h a t t h i n g which he does most as a m o t o r c y c l i s t and c y c l i s t s do;  which most m o t o r -  r i d i n g around i n p u b l i c , ne i s , o f c o u r s e ,  r e c e i v i n g v e r y l i t t l e feedback f o r h i s b e h a v i o u r , most p r o b a b l y because no one i s p a y i n g much a t t e n t i o n t o h i m . nowever, and t h i s i s a v e r y important p o i n t , we contend t h a t he i s s t i l l v e r y concerned w i t h how o t h e r s many be ing to h i s m o t o r c y c l i n g b e h a v i o u r s .  As a human s o c i a l  he wants t o u n d e r s t a n d the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f h i s s o c i a l l y ated a c t i o n s (at l e a s t  reactactor situ-  as w e l l as our average r e s p o n d e n t ) ;  seeks ways t o endow h i s b e h a v i o u r w i t h meaning.  he  Nov/, a l t h o u g h  meaning i s a phenomenon o f m i n d , i t i s u s u a l l y t h e product o f minds i n r e l a t i o n ; i t i s s o c i a l l y c o n s t r u c t e d ,  at l e a s t  i n so  167  far  as s o c i a l b e h a v i o u r s are  concerned.  Thus, even w h i l e r i d i n g around i n a l e s s than context,  i t i s u n l i k e l y t h a t he w i l l  gregarious  e a s i l y assume t h a t when  he makes a m i s t a k e no one w i l l n o t i c e , o r t h a t when he does not no one i s w a t c h i n g .  v i s i b i l i t y and the wide v i s i o n o f  the r i d e r are two s t r i k i n g f e a t u r e s The  cyclist  of motorcycle r i d i n g .  i s h i g h l y exposed to h i s p o t e n t i a l a u d i e n c e ,  at some p o i n t o r o t h e r every c y c l i s t can assume t h a t  and  those  o t h e r p e o p l e around him ( i n c l u d i n g , o f c o u r s e , o t h e r c y c l i s t s ) are at l e a s t r e c e i v i n g t h e s o c i a l symbols o f h i s p a s s i n g presence.  I f n o t , he can always get a b i g g e r b i k e , w i t h  lots  more chrome, and no m u f f l e r s . . . Of c o u r s e , even i f t h e r e were any r e s p o n s e s , a b l y c o u l d not get t h r o u g h *  they p r o b -  At any p a r t i c u l a r moment our  c y c l i s t , m u l l i n g o v e r the s o c i a l s i g n i f i c a n c e o f h i s may be s t u c k f o r a r e a c t i o n .  In o r d e r t o  actions*  create/develop/carry  on h i s m o t o r c y c l e b e h a v i o u r s / m e a n i n g s he must have some feed-back r i g h t then and t h e r e . on t h e s t r e e t ;  sometimes I x r y and f i g u r e out what k i n d o f  i m p r e s s i o n I make." Behaviour.  "Yeah, I uhink about how I l o o k  Here we have t h e r u d i m e n t s o f Image.  In o r d e r to c o n t i n u e the s y m b o l i c d i a l o g u e w i t h i n  h i m s e l f he i s f o r c e d t o f a n t a s i z e through/was never t h e r e . .  a r e a c t i o n t h a t d i d not  get  He w i l l t r y and imagine what s o r t o f  meanings another might be g i v i n g t o h i s b e h a v i o u r , then proceed as i f i t had a c t u a l l y o c c u r r e d .  168  Note t h a t t h i s i s not a n y t h i n g l i k e the normal i n t e r a c t i o n p r o c e s s o f A r e s p o n d i n g to B ' s a n t i c i p a t e d r e a c t i o n by v i r t u e o f A b e i n g a b l e to imagine B ' s most p r o b a b l e ponse.  res-  The c y c l i s t i s not l i v i n g up to the e x p e c t a t i o n s o f  any o f h i s s p e c t a t o r s .  W h i l e en m i l i e u he i s not even a n t i -  c i p a t i n g t h a t any feedback w i l l get t h r o u g h . I t f o r p e o p l e not to r e a c t t o the c y c l i s t . t h e o r e t i c a l l y able to f i l l  i s "normal  In f a c t ,  !!  he i s  i n whatever responses he w i s h e s ,  w i t h o u t much r i s k o f e n c o u n t e r i n g any feedback t h a t d i r e c t l y contradicts t h i s .  "When I. c r u i s e the s t r e e t s I know a l l t h e  c h i c k s are w a t c h i n g .  I can f e e l i t . "  Here we have  the  b e g i n n i n g s o f an Image i n the f i r s t sense i n which we s h a l l ~ use t h e  term.  The c y c l i s t has f i l l e d  i n an Image o f the o t h e r ' s : r e s -  ponse, whatever Image s u i t s him b e s t , Image.  and has r e a c t e d t o  that  Minds are not i n r e l a t i o n , but b e h a v i o u r a l meanings  are b e i n g e v o l v e d .  The c y c l i s t has co^e to some f u r t h e r  understanding o f the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f h i s b e h a v i o u r .  He has  o p p o r t u n i t y to s c r i p t h i s own p r e s e n t a t i o n o f s e l f , f r e e any d i s r u p t i v e i n f l u e n c e s .  He has become the s o l e  the  from  interpreter  o f h i s own m o t o r c y c l e b e h a v i o u r s . Thus f a r ,  we would seem to be s t r a y i n g r a t h e r  our i n t e n d e d d e s t i n a t i o n .  widely o f f  I f each c y c l i s t i s a b l e t o e v o l v e  h i s own r e p e t o i r e o f Images, how do we a r r i v e at t h e  para-  d o x i c a l r e s u l t t h a t t h e b e h a v i o u r a l meanings produced by t h i s  169  method are h i g h l y  standardized?.  The s o l u t i o n t o the paradox l i e s i n the t y p i c a l i o u r s o f the c y c l i s t s themselves.  behav-  They are f a c e d w i t h  the  p r a c t i c a l problem o f making sense o f t h e i r own m o t o r c y c l e b e h a v i o u r s i n o r d e r to produce t h e s e b e h a v i o u r s i n the place.  (Meaning and b e h a v i o u r are d i f f i c u l t  a n a l y t i c a l l y , maddening i n p r a c t i c e . )  first  to d i s t i n g u i s h  Yet a major f e a t u r e o f  such b e h a v i o u r s , t h e i r a s o c i a l i t y , p r e c l u d e s the c r e a t i o n o f meaning by any i n p r o c e s s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f e v e n t s . relevant  The  i n f o r m a t i o n on which they base t h e i r c o n v e r s a t i o n , o f  Images i s a c q u i r e d i n nonfeedback s i t u a t i o n s (nonfeedback f a r as the b e h a v i o u r s i t i s used to i n t e r p r e t very remotely).  \  so  are concerned./—  -  The p r o c e s s whereby a m o t o r c y c l i s t a c q u i r e s such an i n f o r m a t i o n base i s b e s t d e s c r i b e d as " s e n s i t i z a t i o n " .  Sub-  j e c t s acknowledged becoming i n c r e a s i n g l y f a m i l i a r o v e r a p e r i o d o f t i m e w i t h what i s g e n e r a l l y known about m o t o r c y c l e behaviour.  O f t e n t h i s p r o c e s s b e g i n s sometime b e f o r e p u r c h a s i n g  "that f i r s t b i k e " ,  and i t never c o m p l e t e l y c e a s e s .  The s o u r c e  o f t h i s r e l e v a n t i n f o r m a t i o n resembles n o t h i n g so much as a "culture sink":  t h e b o o k s , m o v i e s , (but c e r t a i n l y not  the  same ones, not by a l o n g s h o t ) "the t h i n g s everybody knows"', ;  and, most i m p o r t a n t o f a l l , " c h e c k i n g out o t h e r b i k e r i d e r s " . There are c o u n t l e s s examples o f the l a t t e r : t e l l the sound  of a Harley",  b e i n g "able to  " c r u i s i n g t h e i r o n " at the  shops,  170  g i v i n g f e l l o w r i d e r s the once over i n t r a f f i c . festly,  the r e l e v a n t  s i n k ; one  Quite m a n i -  i n f o r m a t i o n i s ohere i n the  need o n l y become aware o f i t  culture  as p a r t o f  s o l u t i o n t o making sense o f o n e ' s own b e h a v i o u r . nonconversational  quality of i t  Despite  a l l , t h e r e i s no  o f s i l e n c e " ; t h e r e are emblematic and s u f f i c i e n t t h i s i s the normal s i t u a t i o n f o r c y c l i s t s -  any r e a l m o f b e h a v i o u r ;  It  the  "conspiracy symbols,  and  However, t h i s  all  seems to be n o t h i n g more than a normal p a r t o f the general process of s o c i a l i z a t i o n .  the  more  c o u l d apply to  almost  i n and o f i t s e l f i t i s no s o l u t i o n  to the mechanism o f c o n s e n s u s . Once a g a i n , t h e r e i s a t r i c k ; motorcycling.  To i l l u s t r a t e :  i t i s something to do w i t h  i f one wants to l e a r n what  it  means to be a p o l i c m a n , one might read the books ( i n c l u d i n g some w r i t t e n by p o l i c m e n ) , watch a l o t o f T . V . , t a l k w i t h people  about i t , l e a r n a l l t h a t i s " g e n e r a l l y known" about  the m a t t e r .  However, the most i m p o r t a n t  would u n d o u b t e d l y be o t h e r - p o l i c e m e n as p o l i c e academies, i n the know";  etc.).  source o f  information  > - ( i n c l u d i n g such  They are the ones who are  things "really  by i n t e r a c t i n g w i t h them one would u l t i m a t e l y  come to some sense o f what i t would mean f o r one to be a policeman.  The c a t c h i s t h a t t h i s i s p r a c t i c a l l y i m p o s s i b l e  i n the case o f m o t o r c y c l i n g . cyclist  The b e s t way to f i n d  a motor-  i s to see one r i d e by; which i s p r e c i s e l y when he  not a v a i l a b l e f o r contact/comment  ( o r so i t i s assumed;  we  is  171  found t h i s not t o be the c a s e , but i n so d o i n g we d i d somet h i n g t h a t was i n e x p r e s s i b l y  "novel"),  x h i s i s The v e r y  reason t h a t m o t o r c y c l i s t s are not a v e r y " t o g e t h e r " S m a l l wonder, t h e n , t h a t few o f our respondents  lot.  listed  " t a l k i n g t o o t h e r b i k e r s " h i g h on t h e l i s t o f s o u r c e s o f i n t e r p r e t a t i o n for t h e i r motorcycle behaviours.  The meanings  o f m o t o r c y c l i n g , though marked by a h i g h degree o f  consensus,  are d e f i n i t e l y not something which m o t o r c y c l i s t s have worked out i n t e r a c t i v e l y among t h e m s e l v e s . Instead,  the c y c l i s t f a l l s back on t h e same s o r t o f  assumption he makes when he i s r i d i n g :  p e o p l e are w a t c h i n g .  T h i s i s an easy assumption f o r him t o make, because spectator  o f o t h e r c y c l i s t s b e h a v i o u r he i s a l s o h i g h l y  s e n s i t i z e d to the s i g n i f i c a n t outputs of  as a  .  As an i l l u s t r a t i o n  t h i s , n o t e the p e c u l i a r b e h a v i o u r o f two c y c l i s t s p a s s i n g  on a s t r e e t . .  As- o f t e n as not (though t h i s custom does v a r y  somewhat w i t h l o c a l e ) uhey w i l l  exchange waves o f t h e hand,  peace s i g n s , v i g o r o u s nods o f t h e h e a d .  They w i l l  i n v a r i a b l y g l a n c e i n each o t h e r ' s d i r e c t i o n .  almost  These a c t i v i t i e s  connote n o t h i n g so much as " I am r e c e i v i n g y o u " . . Whatever i t is can  t h a t i s " g e n e r a l l y known" and whatever e l s e the p i c k up by becoming a s p e c t a t o r  cyclist  (an a c t i v i t y t h a t  is  p e r f e c t l y p o s s i b l e when r i d i n g ) w i l l s e r v e as the b a s i s f o r t h e c y c l i s t ' s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f h i s ovm b e h a v i o u r .  Once a g a i n , s i n c e feedback i s out o f the q u e s t i o n , some  172  n o v e l i n f o r m a t i o n h a n d l i n g procedures process.  characterize  When asked at how they a r r i v e d at the  meanings t h a t they e v i n c e d , s u b j e c t s  the  particular  r e p l i e d w i t h some  v a r i a t i o n o f " Oh I j u s t p i c k e d up on a few t h i n g s I saw happening,  and f i g u r e d the r e s t out f o r m y s e l f . "  procedures  are i n v o l v e d h e r e ;  o f Images.  i m i t a t i o n and the  Two conversation  " E v e r y b o d y ' s on t h e i r own t r i p " , b u t  the end  i s a h i g h l y o r g a n i z e d set o f c u l t u r a l c o n n o t a t i o n s .  result  Wanting  t o l e a r n the c o r r e c t meanings o f m o t o r c y c l e s and o e i n g u n w i l l i n g / u n a b l e to e f f e c t adaptation,  any compromise by i n t e r a c t i v e  t h e neophyte c y c l i s t can do no b e t t e r t h a n  to  i m i t a t e what he a l r e a d y s e e s . At the same t i m e , i n o r d e r to i n t e g r a t e  the p r e e x i s t i n g s y m b o l i c i n f o r m a t i o n w i t h  h i s own e x p e r i e n c e ,  he c a r r i e s on the  dialogues i n h i s mind.  appropriate  E v e n t u a l l y he a c q u i r e s  s e t o f -Image  a full  of s i g n i f i c a t i o n s for h i s motorcycling behaviours, has a.t t h e same t i m e f u l l y  R e c e i v i n g l i t t l e or no feedback f o r  performances  he must  measure t h e i r s u c c e s s  just  that  h i s behaviour  to  The c y c l i s t s o c i a l i z e s h i m s e l f by t h e t e c h n i q u e s o f  i m i t a t i o n and Image It  that  his  against  which i s most v i s i b l e to h i m , and he a l t e r s it.  and  i n t e r n a l i z e d the meanings  were known.  fit  set  feedback.  i s i m p o r t a n t to s t r e s s t h a t s u b j e c t s  v/ere not  i m i t a t i n g , or p a r r o t i n g p i e c e s o f what they  knew. They are more than winnowers s i f t i n g  already  i n the c u l t u r a l  s i n k . The c o n v e r s a t i o n o f Images i s an i n e x t r i c a b l e p a r t  173  of t h e i r behaviour.  Their responses,  t h e i r meaning s y s t e m s ,  were i n c r e d i b l y w e l l o r g a n i z e d and h i g h l y i n t e g r a t e d t h e i r own e x p e r i e n c e .  Yet at the same time t h e y  with  shared  much o f t h e i r s i g n i f i c a t i o n s w i t h o t h e r i n d i v i d u a l s v / i t h whom they had v i r t u a l l y no commerce. O b v i o u s l y , the p r e c e d i n g i s an ongoing p r o c e s s o f s o c i a l i z a t i o n , one t h a t never r e a l l y ends.  But h a v i n g  a r r i v e d at a p o i n t , by such s o l i t a r y means, where he i s more o r l e s s " i n t o b i k e s " , the c y c l i s t w i l l s u r e l y r e a l i z e , i f he has not seen i t c l e a r l y a l l a l o n g , t h a t he too i s a model f o r appropriate motorcycling behaviours. to t h e o t h e r , construct.  We  have come f u l l  circle  more o b v i o u s c o n n o t a t i o n o f the Image B e h a v i o u r  The c y c l i s t ' s - ' - b e h a v i o u r s / m e a n i n g s as they  g e n e r a l l y known c o n s t i t u t e  an Image i n which o t h e r  b e h a v i o u r s / m e a n i n g s are made.  are  cyclists'  H a v i n g a r r i v e d .at some sense  o f h i s own b e h a v i o u r by i m i t a t i n g p r e e x i s t i n g b e h a v i o u r s , and f i l l i n g  i n the gaps w i t h a c o n v e r s t i o n o f Images,  c y c l i s t has a c q u i r e d an Image which he p r o j e c t s  the  in his  behaviour. T h i s r e a l i z a t i o n , whether he i s m a n i f e s t l y i n t o b i k e s or n o t ,  does not a u t o m a t i c a l l y a f f o r d him the o p p o r t u n i t y  to e f f e c t  change on the s t a n d a r d i z e d  by a d a p t i n g them t o h i s own p u r p o s e s . cyclist  behaviours/meanings He i s s t i l l  just  one  among many, w i t h a l l the r e s t r i c t i o n s on feedback  which t h a t e n t a i l s .  1  He w i l l  a l s o r e a l i z e t h a t any e n t i r e l y  174  new  connotations o f c y c l i n g which he would l i k e  w i l l have l i t t l e chance of being understood, have no chance to e x p l a i n them.  to m a n i f e s t  s i n c e he  will  It i s not easy to change  an Image. .Naturally, our major themes can be conceived o f as Images which c y c l i s t s commonly p r o j e c t . to  Our  initial  question seems  have tapped not only the meanings of motorcycles but  process o f Image Behaviour cyclist  as w e l l .  A response  the  i s what a  g e t s out o f i t , but i t i s also what he says he g e t s  out of i t ; the Image i s the behaviour. Image w i l l l i k e l y  c o n t a i n elements  Any one c y c l i s t  any need f o r  Also as one might expect, the important behav-  i o u r a l themes are u n i q u e l y s u i t e d to the s o c i a l i z a t i o n process.. themselves;  ss  of a number of themes, and  g e n e r a l l y they p r o j e c t these themes without questioning..  1  non-gregarious  They are a l l a s o c i a b l e processes i n  one does not attempt  to teach o r a t o r y by  t a c i t u r n methods. Both the major c o n n o t a t i o n s o f Image Behaviour  are  r e q u i r e d f o r an adequate understanding o f the mechanism by which the consensus  arises.  I f our s u b j e c t s had not  "filled  i n a l l the gaps" with a c o n v e r s a t i o n of Images they would not have been so a r t i c u l a t e ; o b v i o u s l y , they had g i v e n the matter  a g r e a t d e a l of thought  beforehand.  At the same time,  i f they were not c o n s c i o u s of having an image to p r o j e c t , how  can we  e x p l a i n t h a t they were "dying" to be asked?  175  H e r e , on a sudden, was a chance to o b t a i n some d i r e c t  feed-  back from another m o t o r c y c l i s t about the meanings they had been e v i n c i n g a l l a l o n g .  K  was "normal" i n t e r a c t i o n i n  every way, but i t was about Images:  my Image i s composed o f  what you s e e / I say I ' m g e t t i n g out o f t h i s . consensus  L i addition, i f  was a c h i e v e d by some o t h e r means e n t i r e l y  (other  than i n t e r a c t i v e agreement, which i s c l e a r l y r u l e d o u t ) , external structural constraints,  f o r example, how c o u l d t h e y  have known the manner and the form i n which t h i s  consensus  exists? Finally,  the n e c e s s a r y  l i n k s between t h e two manifesta^-'  t i o n s o f Image B e h a v i o u r are p r o v i d e d i n the two t y p i c a l motorcycling behaviours:  s e n s i t i z a t i o n and i m i t a t i o n .  Together they form t h e complete mechanism by which the h i g h degree o f agreement among o t h e r w i s e d i s p a r a t e generated,  respondents  r a c k i n g the feedback n e c e s s a r y f o r more  u a l i s t i c i n t e r a c t i v e adaptation p o p u l a t i o n elements,  is  individ-  across a widely v a r i e d set of  motorcycling i s highly standardized  around a few w i d e s p r e a d ,  and i n h e r e n t l y a s o c i a l b e h a v i o u r a l  themes. We have a r r i v e d at another motorcycling.  account o f something  S e c t i o n Two p r e s e n t e d  about  a schemata f o r compre-  hending t h e major e x t a n t meanings o f m o t o r c y c l e - r e l a t e d b e h a v i o u r s ; S e c t i o n Three has produced a p r i n c i p l e o f Image B e h a v i o u r f o r e x p l a i n i n g how t h e s e meanings are o r g a n i z e d .  176  O b v i o u s l y , t h e s e two d i f f e r e n t g e n e r a l phenomenon are r e l a t e d .  ways of. u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e same I t would be u s e f u l t o  return  to the f i e l d  and r e i n t e r p r e t  the m o t o r c y c l i n g behaviours i r  this light.  Por example, the Machismo Power Tx-ip might be  seen as an extended c o n v e r s a t i o n o f Images.  I t would a l s o  be i n t e r e s t i n g to a p p l y the c o n c e p t s o f Image B e h a v i o u r to o t h e r n o n g r e g a r i o u s phenomena, r e f i n i n g t h e p r i n c i p l e and determining i t s  limits.  The p r i n c i p l e i s o p e r a t i v e i n the a r e a o f m o t o r c y c l i n g as an i m p o r t a n t f a c t o r o f b e h a v i o u r . .  I t must be remembered  t h a t i t i s a t o o l f o r comprehending m e a n i n g f u l b e h a v i o u r ; says n o t h i n g d i r e c t about the people who produce t h a t iour.  behav-  C y c l i s t s are n o t , t o our knowledge, any d i f f e r e n t  noncyclists,  it  from  except f o r t h e f a c t t h a t they r i d e m o t o r c y c l e s -  N e i t h e r are we a s s e r t i n g t h a t Image B e h a v i o u r i s o p e r a t i v e at a l l t i m e s / f o r a l l s u b j e c t s .  However, i t i s g e n e r a l l y t r u e  t h a t when r i d i n g s u b j e c t s do withdraw t o a c o m p a r a t i v e l y a s o c i a l l e v e l o f i n t e r a c t i o n , and i t i s here t h a t t h e c o n v e r s a t i o n and t h e p r o j e c t i o n o f Images may t a k e o v e r , p r o v i d i n g access t o a h i g h l y o r g a n i z e d s e t o f meanings f o r b e h a v i o u r -  APPENDIX  177  The  Motorcycle  Syndrome  A. M. N i c h o l i I I American J o u r n a l o f P s y c h i a t r y 126 : 11, May 1970 pp. 1588 - 1595 Nicholi  places h i s  study  i n much t h e same  setting  as o u r own d i s s e r t a t i o n :  the e r a o f themotorcycle  ( t h o u g h he l i m i t s  to the area o f the c o n t i n e n t a l  United  himself  S t a t e s f o r no s t a t e d r e a s o n s ) .  p r o m p t e d by m o t i v e s more  specific  However, he i s  than  something about m o t o r c y c l e - a s s o c i a t e d c o n c e r n s him tiost that  He t a k e s into  number  p s y c h o l o g i c a l ' , ' (15&8).  the  had  all on  as t h o s e u s e r s  (15o8),  a population  diffusely  accidents.  (and, i n c i d e n t l y ,  are nine m o t o r c y c l i s t s , a l l o f whom went  t o g r a d u a t e work, and a l l o f whom m a r r i e d  psychoanalysis  "undoubt-  o f t h e m i l i e u who h a v e r e c e n t l y  s u b j e c t s f o r N i c h o l i ' s study  - with  research  causal factor o f a l l - the  cyclist"  c o l l e g e students  students  usage.  N i c h o l i ' s c a r d i n a l aim i s t o s a y  one o r more s e r i o u s The  and s a f e t y  1588)  " t h e p e r s o n a l i t y and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f  accident-prone  defined  (p.  o f accidents f o r ignoring  e d l y t h e most s i g n i f i c a n t  s o m e t h i n g about  phenomena; what-  i n motorcycle  to task the bulk o f medical  the r i s i n g  the d e s i r e to say  i s t h e "epidemic o f trauma"  h a s accompanied t h e i n c r e a s e  boo^i  the exception instead).  female  graduate  o f one who d r o p p e d o u t i n t o  I n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, N i c h o l i  178  never bothers t o s t a t e d i r e c t l y t h a t a l l o f h i s s u b j e c t s are s a l e .  The aieohod o f the study i n v o l v e s one  to three  y e a r s o f i n t e n s i v e p s y c h o t h e r a p y , i n c l u d i n g two  to three  hour-long followup.  i n d i v i d u a l s e s s i o n s per week and a f i v e  year  Prom the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s common to t h e s e  nine  patient-bikers... N i c h o l i deduces a r e c o g n i z a b l e  clinical  d i s o r d e r which he d e s i g n a t e s  syndrome"  (1589).  as t h e " m o t o r c y c l e  I t i s an aggregate o f • c o n c u r r e n t  symptoms t h a t  s e r v e t o i n d i c a t e the p r e s e n c e and n a t u r e o f a p s y c h i a t r i c disturbance. treatment  N i c h o l i ' s hope i s t h a t the r e c o g n i t i o n and  o f t h i s syndrome w i l l h e l p reduce t h e  injury  and d e a t h r a t e s f o r American m o t o r c y c l i n g i n g e n e r a l . The  author l i s t s and b r i e f l y e x p l i c a t e s what he  c o n s i d e r s to be the n i n e e s s e n t i a l f e a t u r e s o f t h e d i s o r d e r . "1) u n u s u a l p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h the m o t o r c y c l e , 2) a h i s t o r y o f a c c i d e n t - p r o n e n e s s extending to e s r l y c h i l d h o o d , 3) p e r s i s t e n t f e a r o f b o d i l y i n j u r y , 4) a d i s t a n t , c o n f l i c t - r i d d e n r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the f a t h e r and a s t r o n g i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h the mother, 5) extreme p a s s i v i t y and i n a b i l i t y to compete, 6) a d e f e c t i v e s e l f image, 7) poor impulse c o n t r o l , 8) f e a r o f and c o u n t e r p h o b i c i n v o l v e m e n t w i t h a g g r e s s i v e g i r l s , and 9) impotence and i n t e n s e homosexual concerns." (1594) Nicnoli  ohen appends some d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e p s y c h o l o g i c a l  meanings' evoked by the m i l i e u , and v i e w s i t as a d a p t i v e / h e l p f u l and d e f e n s i v e / h a r m f u l subjects.  having  functions for his  He ends w i t h a number of s p e c u l a t i o n s about  179  whether or not t h e m o t o r c y c l e syndrome i s s p e c i f i c t o only the accident-prone c y c l i s t s . N i c h o l i * s id.en.tity as a r e s e a r c h e r i s o b v i o u s l y at v a r i a n c e w i t h our own.  A c a p s u l e statement o f the m a t t e r  would be, "He'.s not i n t o b i k e s . " , at l e a s t not i n the sense t h a t h i s s u b j e c t s , we t h e r e s e a r c h e r , o r a l a r g e p o r t i o n o f our respondents a r e .  C o n s i d e r N i c h o l i on c y c l e s :  The m o t o r c y c l e i s "a p e r v a s i v e symbol o f the 'now generation...a l e t h a l instrument of d e s t r u c t i o n . . . ( p r o d u c i n g ) carnage...(and) a t r a g i c t o l l o f / . i n j u r y and death'.' (pp. 1588 and 1594). " R i d i n g a c y c l e can undoubtedly be f u n . Furthermore, i t i s a f a s t and economical mode of t r a n s p o r t a t i o n . " (1592) 1  :  We can s a f e l y conclude t h a t h i s s u b j e c t s - are not" s p e a k i n g "one c y c l i s t t o a n o t h e r . "  However, d e s p i t e the d i f f e r e n c e  in research i n d e n t i t i e s / p e r s o n a l i t i e s , Nicholi i s after what m o t o r c y c l i n g means t o h i s p o p u l a t i o n i n so f a r as they are w i l l i n g / a b l e t o a r t i c u l a t e i t . s i m i l a r i t y between h i s work and our  T h i s i s t h e major  own.  N i c h o l i ' s s u b j e c t s have a l l d e f i n e d  themselves/been  d e f i n e d as i n d i v i d u a l s i n need o f p s y c h i a t r i c h e l p .  They  are r e f e r r e d t o as " p a t i e n t s " (.1589) who  a  s u f f e r from  " c l i n i c a l d i s o r d e r " (1589), "a d e f e c t i v e s e l f - i m a g e " ( 1 5 9 0 ) , "poor i m p u l s e c o n t r o l " (1590), a " s e r i o u s e g o - d e f e c t " (1592).  In a d d i t i o n to these s p e c i f i c a l l y motorcycle-  a s s o c i a t e d f a c e t s o f t h e i r b e h a v i o u r , they have the  180  ( n o t a b l y n o n - q u a n t i f i e d ) " p r o p e n s i t y " (1590) t o s l e e p , watch t e l e v i s i o n , and use a l c o h o l and drugs t o  escape  from "a monotonous and p a i n f u l r e a l i t y . " (1590).  They  are making p r o g r e s s ( n a t u r a l l y ? ) when they have d e c a t h e c t e d t h e m o t o r c y c l e and i n v e s t e d t h e i r emotion i n o t h e r o b j e c t s and a c t i v i t i e s i n c l u d i n g "graduate work...(and) a g i r l a l s o i n g r a d u a t e s c h o o l " (1590).  Here, t h e n , i s a major  d i f f e r e n c e between N i c h o l i ' s study and our own,  the s u b j e c t s *  s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n / t h e s u b j e c t s as d e f i n e d by t h e r e s e a r c h e r . Our r e s p o n d e n t s , though t h e y might be more o r l e s s happy w i t h t h e i r . s c r i p t e d meanings, r e g a r d themselves o r "not s i c k " o r , at l e a s t , not " a f f l i c t e d "  as  "normal"  (1593).  Prom t h e s e d i f f e r e n c e s i n i d e n t i t y and o u t l o o k f l o w many o f t h e d i s p a r i t i e s i n c o n t e n t / e x p l i c a t i o n / s t o r y between t h e two s t u d i e s .  line  Nicholi's effort contains a large  number o f - t h i n g s t h a t one t e l l s a p s y c h i a t r i s t / a s h r i n k b r i n g s out i n you, i n c l u d i n g :  early childhood experiences,  r e l a t i o n s w i t h f a t h e r and mother, o v e r t l y s e x u a l fears,::, t h e i n a b i l i t y t o compete/succeed, and t h e c a u s a l i t y o f t h e c o n s c i o u s and t h e u n c o n s c i o u s .  S i n c e he i s u s i n g the p r e -  e x i s t i n g c o n c e p t u a l framework o f p s y c h i a t r y / s o c i a l  adapta-  t i o n , N i c h o l i p e r m i t s h i m s e l f t o conclude t h a t h i s s u b j e c t s m a n i f e s t an u n u s u a l p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h the m o t o r c y c l e ( u n u s u a l i n r e l a t i o n t o what/whom?), poor impulse (what i s t h e optimum l e v e l o f impulse c o n t r o l ? )  control and  a  181  h i g h i n c i d e n c e o f a c c i d e n t s and f a t a l i t i e s  (high i n  r e l a t i o n t o what p o p u l a t i o n o f c y c l i s t s / m o t o r i s t s / ? ? ? ; . a h i g h r a t e o f f a t a l i t i e s when they a l l s u r v i v e d p s y c h o t h e r a p y / r i d i n g f o r the f i v e year f o l l o w u p ? ) . that the motorcycle provides f u l l  He s t a t e s  expression of masculinity  "even to the p h y s i c a l .sense o f orgasm" (1591) (orgasm i s the o p t i m a l expression of m a s c u l i n i t y , i t i s n e c e s s a r i l y m a s c u l i n e ? ) , and t h a t g i r l s who are " t a l l ,  broadshouldered...  (and) who i n i t i a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p s by e x p r e s s i n g a d m i r a t i o n for  the m o t o r c y c l e o r by a s k i n g to r i d e i t " (1590) are  s e x u a l l y aggressive, or t h a t the motorcycle m i l i e u  is  harmful when i t r e p l a c e s t h e c o n s t r u c t i v e use o f time w i t h r e l a t i v e l y u n c o n s t r u c t i v e ' a c t i v i t y (who d e f i n e s  constructive/  u n c o n s t r u c t i v e a c t i v i t y ; who determines the degree o f replacement?). Por  a l l these d i f f e r e n c e s  i n content/approach,  Nicholi  w i t h h i s p o p u l a t i o n o f o n l y n i n e i n c l u d e s elements o f a f a i r number o f t h e meaning themes t h a t are at l a r g e among the t o t a l population o f c y c l i s t s .  T h i s correspondence  is  a p p a r e n t l y unknown t o N i c h o l i , which makes i t a moot p o i n t whether some o f t h e major f e a t u r e s o f the syndrome t e r i z e "not o n l y t h e p a x i e n us d e s c r i b e d i n t h i s  charac-  syndrome  but a l s o a l a r g e p o r t i o n o f young people t o d a y " ( 1 5 9 3 ) , or whether some, o f those f e a t u r e s a r e s i m p l y a s p e c t s o f t h e more p r e v a l e n t  eanings o f .motorcycling.  Hence, i t  182  does not that  seem  so "unusual"' i n t h e l i g h t o f our own r e s e a r c h  "the mere sound o f a d i s t a n t motorcycle  stimulates  v i v i d f a n t a s i e s " (1589), or t h a t s u b j e c t s express about i n j u r y and death and "openly t i o n " (1589), t h a t t h e motorcycle with  anxiety  discuss fear of castrashould be a s s o c i a t e d  "the a s s e r t i v e , a g g r e s s i v e , c o m p e t i t i v e p a r t s o f . . .  (the) p s y c h o l o g i c a l makeup" (1591), or t h a t i t g i v e s cyclists  "a sense o f doing something and g e t t i n g somewhere"  (1591) and L'.a- sense o f potency and power" (1591).  He has  even a r r i v e d at mucu tne same " p o s i t i v e - n e g a t i v e " and " e n t h u s i a s t i c - bummer" groupings widespread themes.  f o r elements o f these  "The motorcycle  o b j e c t wioh many l e v e l s o f emotional "The  i s a h i g h l y charged appeal."  macnine both p l e a s e s and t e r r i f i e s .  (1590)  It gives  exhil-  a r a t i n g p l e a s u r e , but p l e a s u r e always t i n g e d with u n d e r l y i n g a n x i e t y . " (1591) One o f t h e major f i n d i n g s o f our own r e s e a r c h was the h i g h degree o f consensus among respondents with regard to the i n f o r m a t i o n e l i c i t e d it  i n the course o f the encounters;  was so s t r i k i n g t h a t an account had t o be generated  f o r i t . T h i s c o n g r u i t y among c y c l i s t s s t a r t l e s a l s o , so much so t h a t he f e e l s j u s t i f i e d p s y c h i a t r i c syndrome.  Nicholi  i n generating a  He r e f e r s to "the remarkable number"  (1589) o f c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s common to h i s p a t i e n t s , and "the s i m i l a r i t y i n t h e conscious f e e l i n g produced by the  183  motorcycle" ( 1 5 9 1 ) .  More to the p o i n t , "As the p l e a s u r e s  and t h r i l l s are d e s c r i b e d i n remarkably  s i m i l a r terms  (from p a t i e n t ot p a t i e n t ) , so too are the a n x i e t i e s fears."  (1591)  On  and  a f i n a l note, one o f N i c h o l i ' s ' o w n  s u b j e c t s has h i n t e d at the mechanism by which t h i s consensus i s generated  when he remarks, "I  the motorcycle p r o j e c t s "  (1592).  l i k e the image  184  A T y p o l o g i c a l Account o f M o t o r c y c l i n g J.  C. Quicker  P r e s e n t e d at t h e annual meetings o f the P a c i f i c Association P o r t l a n d , Oregon, A p r i l 1972. Not  Sociological  s u r p r i s i n g l y , Quicker p l a c e s h i s f t u d y i n the  c o n t e x t o f t h e m o t o r c y c l e boom o f the 1960*s.  The m o t i v -  a t i o n f o r h i s work i s t h e c o n s p i c u o u s l y " n e g a t i v e c o n c e r n " (1) among academics w i t h m o t o r c y c l e - a s s o c i a t e d phenomena. The t a s k i s t o g e n e r a t e a t y p o l o g i c a l account t h a t d e s c r i b e and d e l i n e a t e . t h e  will  e n t i r e f i e l d o f b e h a v i o u r as a  prelude to systematic p r o f e s s i o n a l study.  Accordingly,  Q u i c k e r d e v i s e s a system o f c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s based i n " t h r e e r e l a t e d but a n a l y t i c a l l y s e p a r a b l e  concepts:  xhe t y p e o f  r i d i n g done, t h e r i d e r , and the t y p e o f b i k e r i d d e n . " (2) They i n v o l v e , r e s p e c t i v e l y , two, two, and t h r e e major d i m e n sions.  In Q u i c k e r s . v i e w m o t o r c y c l i n g can be u n d e r s t o o d 1  the p r o d u c t o f the i n t e r a c t i o n o f t h e s e t h r e e  as  concepts.  The t y p e o f r i d i n g done i n v o l v e s the dichotomous d i m e n s i o n "where", s p e c i f i c a l l y five-part  "pavement" o r " d i r t " , ( 3 ) , and the  d i m e n s i o n "purpose",  transportation,  specifically  racing, business,  and s t u n t  These two dimensions g e n e r a t e a t e n - c a t e g o r y  "recreation, riding." (4) typological  p r o p e r t y spa.ce o f the type o f r i d i n g done; some c a s e s disproportionately represented,  others  are  are no more t h a n  185  logical  possibilities.  The  r i d e r concept i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by the dichotomous  dimensions " a b i l i t y " ,  e i t h e r "novice  or " s k i l l e d " ,  and  " p r o f e s s i o n a l s t a t u s " , e i t h e r " p r o f e s s i o n a l " or "amateur",  (8-9).  T h i s generates a typology  which m o t o r c y c l i s t s may there  of four categories  be s o r t e d .  into  In Quicker's o p i n i o n ,  are a l a r g e number of p o s s i b l e dimensions upon which  to c l a s s i f y people (hence, he generates a p o p u l a t i o n i n the f i r s t  plaice, something which we  wish to do);  and t h a t one  s p e c i f i c a l l y d i d not  of the most obvious, age,  a " s i g n i f i c a n t . . . ( o r ) c r u c i a l dimension" (8) of a n a l y s i s .  Quicker i s aware that he  i s not  f o r purposes  "omits" the dimension  o f sex because "the overwhelming m a j o r i t y males".  typology  o f r i d e r s are .  (8)  T h i s i s one cannot take Into  of the major drawbacks of h i s typology; i t account the masculine meanings of motor-  cycling, overlooking icant- b e h a v i o u r a l  what we  have concluded i s a very  theme, Machismo.  of h i s d e s c r i p t i o n i s that i t i s too i n the s e c t i o n Sports  and  Hence, our  signif-  assessment  "sweet" ( i t i s i n c l u d e d  L e i s u r e , which i s , at l e a s t , a  s t a r t ; Devianoe would have bee"  a 'worse beginning).  Quicker  makes, m o t o r c y c l i n g  s o u n d a l o t more " l i l y - w h i t e - f u n " than,  i n our  i t actually i s .  estimation,  He  speaks of  "recreation  186  and l e i s u r e "  (15) more than K i c k s .  An a l l i e d c r i t i c i s m ,  stemming from our advocation o f  c o n s u l t a t i v e feedback proceedures, i s that i s too a r t i f i c i a l ;  Quicker's t y p o l o g y  i t i s f o r e i g n to many p r e v a l e n t s u b j e c t  apprehensions o f the matter, producing such t h i n g s as c a t e g o r i e s t h a t c o n t a i n no cases, or c a t e g o r i e s that apply to j u s t about to for  any c y c l i s t  at some time or o t h e r .  I f one  t y p o l o g i z e the p o p u l a t i o n these are not adequate doing so.  T h i s i s e s p e c i a l l y t r u e o f the s k i l l  wishes  grounds dimension  where Quicker r e s o r t s t o the a r t i f i c e o f more or l e s s than one year or ten thousand m i l e s "whichever  comes f i r s t " . .  (9)  The f i n a l concept, the type o f motorcycle, c l a s s i f i e s the  f o c u s o f the m i l i e u a c c o r d i n g to t h r e e major dimensions:  s i z e , 50-250, 250-450, 450 or over; p o i n t o f o r i g i n or manufacture,  e i t h e r Europe, the U.S.  or Japan;  and  alterations,  e i t h e r s t o c k or m o d i f i e d . T h i s l a s t dimension i s a b i t l e s s analytic,  and at the same time l e s s p r e c i s e i n terms o f our  subjects*  apprehensions'of the matter than our own  show or go  stock -  classification.  Quicker concludes on the note that he hopes h i s t y p o l o g y classifications important  "create a sense of order f o r a nebulous y e t  and i n t e r e s t i n g s o c i a l phenomena where t h e r e  p r e v i o u s l y had been none" (at l e a s t  among academics; t h i s .  187  i s d e f i n i t i v e l y not the case among c y c l i s t s i n our e s t i m a t i o n o f the m a t t e r ) ;  consensual  we share h i s c o n t e n t i o n t h a t  i s "quite a f e r t i l e area f o r s o c i o l o g i s t s . "  it  (1.6)  S i n c e Q u i c k e r ' s paper i s o n l y a b r o a d l y d e l i n e a t i v e .. one, h i s methods are not as r i g o r o u s n o r as s t r u c t u r e d our own o r N i c h o l i ' s .  as  He s t a t e s t h a t h i s d a t a comes from  f o u r t e e n y e a r s o f c o n t a c t w i t h c y c l i s t s i n a wide v a r i e t y of s i t u a t i o n s ,  w i t h a c o r r e s p o n d i n g v a r i a t i o n i n the  at hand over t h a t t i m e . procedures,  Some f u r t h e r  purposes  insight into his  t h e method i n h i s madness, can be g a i n e d from  t h e knowledge t h a t Quicker i s a m o t o r c y c l i s t o f some l o n g standing.  Without b e i n g c r i t i c a l ,  our own e s t i m a t i o n o f  t h e m a t t e r would be t h a t most o f the time he was j u s t himself,  enjoying  and t h a t t h e paper i s an a n a l y t i c c o l l a t i o n o f h i s  ovm "members'  knowledge".  S i n c e he i s a m o t o r c y c l i s t , i t i s not s u r p r i s i n g t h a t Quicker mentions elements o f many o f the major meaning themes.  To be s u r e ,  d a r k e r elements,  t h e r e i s a conspicuous absence o f t h e  most n o t a b l y Machismo.  T h i s may s e r v e  some i n d i c a t i o n o f what Quicker "gets ou-t o f i t " .  as  In  a d d i t i o n , p r o b a b l y because the framework i s a n a l y t i c , t h e r e i s no mention o f consensus  and hence, no mention o f  dynamics o f Image B e h a v i o u r . fically  Indeed,  the  Quicker i s not s p e c i -  concerned w i t h the p a r t i c i p a n t meanings,  shared o r  188  otherwise; he'focuses of  i n s t e a d on the purposes and  professional analysis.  a. Job ( 4 ) ,  Still,  Transportation  (4),  and some o f the K i c k s ( 6 - 7 ) are t h e r e ,  w i t h s e v e r a l touches o f the M e c h a n i c a l B r i d e . Not  proceedures It's  along  ( 1 1 , '13)  s u r p r i s i n g l y , none o f the n e g a t i v e meanings are i n c l u d e d  s i n c e they do not r e l a t e t o any o f the t h r e e major used t o g e n e r a t e the t y p o l o g y .  One f i n a l  concepts  criticism  concerns  h i s statement thaa the m o t o r c y c l e boom o c c u r r e d f o r p r i m a r i l y economic r e a s o n s ( l ) .  As ve have d i s c u s s e d under t h e  heading of T r a n s p o r t a t i o n , is  'j;:/;:  such an a n a l y s i s o f the m a t t e r  f a r too s u p e r f i c i a l , i f not e n t i r e l y m i s l e a d i n g .  

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
http://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.831.1-0302436/manifest

Comment

Related Items