I never expected this place to be a Harley place. Tells you how much I know about this world. Brazil is new territory for me.
I am in Rio de Janeiro and they are everywhere, parked on pavements, squeezing in between dense rows of traffic and roaring along the beach front late at night.
This is Barra de Tijuca, a noble suburb of Rio de Janeiro. It is young and it is rich and it is always warm, mostly sunny: A perfect place to own a bike. But the crime rate being as high as it is, it makes you wonder how on earth they manage hold on to their machines.
The bikers seem as artificial as this place full of high rise flats and hotels along the vast stretch of white sand and blue water. I sat in front of a bar with a tattoo studio the other night and the local MC turned up, one after the other. All shiny new Harley-Davidson models parked in a row. The guys sat down and their colours were as shiny as their exhausts. Brand new.
Owning a Harley-Davidson and wearing colours seem the necessary ingredients for life in one of the most intriguing cities in the world. It seems to go with the mentality of showing what you’ve got that seems an integral part of all areas of Brazilian life.
In a way a motorbike is equivalent to a new handbag or expensive shoes. Show-off material to let others see you are cool and you’ve got the means.
The upper middle class is taking over. At least in Harley city.
I feel the need to suffer. Not in a masochistic sense or anything of the sexual kind. Pain is part of being a biker, needs to be.
There is a definite need to suffer so you can enjoy. How can you explain that to somebody who isn’t a biker?
The destination you want to reach isn’t the most important thing. It is the way you reach it that plays a vital role in the enjoyment of achievement.
You do not hang a trailer on your expensive car and put the bike on it. You do not drive when you ride.
My opinion, quite obviously these days not one shared by many. In summer these guys shirk long distances. Now, as autumn approaches, it is rain and cold they do not find too appealing.
Using a car to transport a bike is not only ridiculous, it is missing the point so completely and utterly it could be funny really. But I do not find it funny. Annoying is the word that hits the target here.
These middle-aged and middle class bikers annoy me because I feel they have no right to be part of this group. Trailing their bikes!
Their hands in their gloves never felt so cold that they couldn’t use the front brakes anymore. Their feet were never so wet that they were swimming in their boots. The pain in their backs never stopped them from sleeping at night.
So they are comfortable and cozy and annoying.
The point of riding a bike is riding it.
Easy as that boys!