Biker Clothes, Patches, and Attitude: Biker Culture in America

The concept of true biker culture is hard to pin down in America today. Motorcycles are becoming more widely used by average, everyday people;  all from  an incredibly diverse cross-section of society. There was a time when biker culture was once considered to be something directly tied in with rebellion and anarchy. While that is still true occasionally, biker culture has opened up a great deal and diversified over the last decade. Today, we can see many influences of biker culture in our society; television shows like ‘Sons of Anarchy’ dramatize the lifestyle thought to be lived by bikers, and motorcycle gear is again gaining popularity in fashion.   But what makes someone a true biker can be just as difficult to pin down as those who live their entire lives on the open road.

Rebellion on the Road

Once, rebellion by those who were a part of biker culture was thought to be negative; this has certainly changed, and may be due to the fact that society better understands that not all rebellion is bad. Rebellion can come in many forms, including the desire to do what’s right, no matter what society thinks. In some cases, this has led to biker groups hosting charity events and helping out in their communities.  Bikers are really just like any other cross-section of society; there may be a few bad apples in the bunch, but most are good, honest, loyal people.

A Question of Loyalty

One of the primary features of biker culture in America today is loyalty, and this is showcased in many of the television shows that support the culture. Often, motorcycle groups form special bonds that last for a lifetime; they tend to see other motorcycle enthusiasts as their families. Just as is to be expected with any family, bikers will defend and protect their families from harm whenever necessary. This is really no different than any other family in America today, and often, it simply reflects the high level of family values found within biker culture.

Clothing in Biker Culture

Many people wear biker clothes with elements found in biker culture, which has always had a direct influence on popular culture as well. Biker clothes and accessories like sunglasses, bandanas, and jackets are all found frequently throughout popular culture. However, this influence hasn’t really always gone both ways. Simply due to the fact that motorcycling requires leather for protection when on the road has meant that much of the styles have remained the same over time, with trends and changes in the fashion being crafted of the same basic fabrics. To this day, denim or leather clothing and protective biker accessories are still the most widely preferred and well-represented items  in motorcycle culture, and this is because they tend to be better at protecting riders when on the road.

A Way To Connect

Biker clothing, patches, signs, and other cultural representations have usually served a second purpose as well; they serve as a way for those who enjoy the lifestyle to find one another and connect. Part of life on the open road is the understanding that people may come and go in life, and new friends can always be found when traveling. By wearing cultural representation in the form of clothing, bikers never feel too far from their families because they know more “family members” will be just past the next turn. It is this unspoken bond between riders that has been the source of fascination and attraction for many.

The lifestyle of a biker can be just as varied as the lifestyle of those who don’t partake and enjoy it. However, the basic biker values come in a standard list; they include a fierce loyalty to loved ones and friends, the desire to be a supportive part of a community, and the understanding that nothing in life is ever permanent. Rather than making these people outsiders, it has allowed bikers to carefully craft their own culture, complete with supportive friends and loved ones, fashion, and values that are often handed down to their children. The biker culture has much to teach about freedom through the open road, and is considered by many to be a true philosophy.