Are you a Biker, or a Motorcyclist?

A Waiter or a Server? A Stewardess or a Flight Attendant? Titles have always been important, but can changing the wording of a title, change the way people view you or your profession? Does it label you as a type of person beause of the image it may be associated with?



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I attended a clinic this past weekend hosted by USA Boxing. At one point I had a question about the topic we were discussing. I asked, “do the fighters get to see this?” I was immediately corrected by the man leading the clinic. He said, “boxers, not fighters.” It made me think about the importance of titles, and how they have changed over the years. Granted, some are no longer socially acceptable, and never should have been. But does calling a competitor a” boxer” or a “fighter”, alter the way you view the sport? Does being a competitive boxer command more respect than being a competitive fighter? Does it make the sport seem more brutal, therefore less socially acceptable?

The funny thing is, I have been calling myself a motorcyclist since I began riding. If anyone makes the mistake of calling me a biker, I immediately correct them. I have been asked before what the difference is, and it is a bit hard to put into words. It is more of an image I have in my mind.

The image I have of a biker is a helmetless, middle aged man (yes, man), with long hair and a beard, lots of tattoos, wearing sunglasses, a sleeveless shirt, black leather vest, black jeans, riding a Harley Davidson, and is probably heading to a bar to watch NHRA drag racing.



Of course I know that that is not what defines a biker, but I can’t help that that image is imbedded into my mind, and always will be. Though I have a feeling I am not alone.

The image I have of a motorcyclist is a helmeted rider, with stylized motorcycle clothing (color coordinated with the motorcycle of course), who rides multiple brands and styles of motorcycles, and is probably heading to a cafe to show off the bike and watch MotoGP.

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Is there anything in between? Yes, my brother confessed that he calls himself a rider. I like that, no vivid image came to mind when he used that word, just someone riding a motorcycle.

Based on your own definition of the word, what do you call yourself, a Biker a Motorcyclist, or a Rider? Why?






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  • I am a Biker and a Motorcyclist. I am also a Motorcycle Rider. defines a biker as "a person who rides a bicycle, motorcycle, or motorbike, esp. in competition or as a hobby." A motorcyclist is the same thing.

    Now Sarah I had a look at your profile and what is in your garage. You are a biker if I ever saw one :)

    If you are ever out in California let me know, and I will show you some great rides out here.

    Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq.
    California Biker Lawyer

  • In reply to BikerLawyer:

    Norman, does that mean I have to get a tattoo now?

  • I feel the same way when I hear "biker." It's too bad it rolls off the tongue better than "motorcyclist." I tend to correct people by saying "I'm not a biker but I do ride motorcycles." So, I guess I don't really call myself either. I like "rider," except as a woman, too many people would assume that means I ride on the back.

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    In reply to kmclennan:

    I do ride on the back---at least for now. I think I'm called a backpack or back warmer, right?

  • a very good question and i believe a biker , motorcyclist or a rider are all very different with the exception of one commonality "the motorcycle"
    my take on this
    the term rider is not well used am not sure why maybe because it does not seem to define anything as you mentioned Sarah it does not conjure up and images....but just a word that says you ride a bike .
    biker i have all ways wondered where all these bad ass bikers go in the winter .. do they hibernate or some thing?
    most bikers see them selves one way and the public see them entirely different.
    motorcyclist love to ride to ride.. doesn't matter what it is you ride ..could be a vespa ,dual sport or a cruiser....... but you can tell by how that person looks on it and how comfortable they are on it ... like being molded into the bike.
    no fancy clothes or brand names all over, just every day people.
    my take

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