What About The Gay Sportbike Rider?

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What About The Gay Sportbike Rider?

Ever stop at one of the sportbike watering holes such as Newcomb’s Ranch or Alice’s, see a group of guys arrive, and something you just could not put your finger on seemed different about them? Big bikes, small bikes, loud bikes, quiet bikes, tall guys, short guys, thin guys, fat guys. All the same as you, but in some way…not.  Well, you may have just crossed paths with my tribe, the Gay Sportbike Riders.

Full disclosure: I am, in the somewhat dude-ish formulation, a dude who digs dudes (DWDD). You might be too, but, statistically at least, you most likely aren’t.  As such, your personal attitude towards DWDD is hopefully blasé, but could also include feelings ranging from curiosity to deport-them-all-to-Russia. Whatever. It’s not a lifestyle, it’s a life, and it’s the only one I’ll ever have.

Currently it’s a Street Triple and a dual-sport, but before that it was a BMW GS, and before that a literbike, and before that a supermoto, and etc. back to when I was eight-years-old. Many, including my husband, would argue that I’m much better at the whole bike thing than I am at the whole gay thing.

Bikes aren’t a hobby, they’re a part of who I am, much as they are for most readers of RideApart. Also sharing space in the garage, for you fans of stereotype, is a first-gen Miata. Who wouldn’t want to go around corners like a lizard down a drainpipe and work on their tan at the same time? But I digress.

RideApart asked me to write a guest article about my tribe and my bikes, after a somewhat snarky comment I posted in 10 Reasons You Should Not Date A Motorcyclist. So here, I’ll respond to Jon Langston’s list along with a few things from Heather McCoy’s article, and even came up with a few of my own. Now, without further ado, here are the reasons why the Gay Sportbike Riders are a crowd worth cultivating, regardless of your persuasion.

  1. We might be wearing jeans, but much more likely leather.
    Because we think road rash is icky. And, in some subsets, riding a bike is an excuse to wear leather in public everywhere, all the time.
  2. If we are around, we are late.
    Of course we are. Punctual Gay is practically an oxymoron.
  3. Boogers.
    “I’m only human, flesh and blood, a man…..” And, because Jonny Langston insisted it stay on the list. Still, I’ll say that Kleenex is everyone’s friend.
  4. We’re observant.
    You gotta give us this one. If you spent your life looking for the minutest non-verbal cues that would mean the difference between a beating and a date, you’d be observant, too.
  5. We’re dedicated to riding.
    If you don’t ride, and you’re thinking about dating one of us, don’t expect us to stop because of you. And don’t even think about asking us to stop riding, much less demanding that we do. On the other hand, we’d consider it a win if you had a pastime of your own that occupied similar amounts of passion, time and dedication.
  6. We’re connected.
    We tend to form into very close-knit, beehived communities of friendship and shared interests. The good news, it’s very easy to make like-minded friends. The band-of-brothers camaraderie is just off the charts. The bad news, after the breakup, he’s still around.
  7. We’re, generally, quite well behaved.
    “You boys aren’t like the bikers we usually get around here. You’re so handsome, polite and quiet!” Double the testosterone = double the trouble? So not true.
  8. Fast, yes, but prudent, too.
    In a world where racing is safe and sex is dangerous, we tend to be fairly well educated and rational about the true nature of risk. But, then, we would, wouldn’t we? Most of us have at least some formal, advanced rider/racing training. We like track days, too.
  9. We all think we’re cool. Only some of us are.
    The culture drivers known as Big Gay like to perpetuate the stereotype that we’re all well-dressed, fashion-forward, articulate, sensitive, go-getter, high-functioning success stories. Total myth. Just like anyone else, we reserve the right to dress like slobs, waste a day lying on the couch watching Top Gear, and all sorts of other well-intentioned misbehavior.

But, more than anything, we love our bikes, and we love riding.  The Gay Sportbike Riders are often banished to the back of the pack in gay pride parades (TV commentator: “The only thing colorful about you guys is your bikes.”) We’d rather be on Mulholland Drive anyway.

  • imprezive

    I’ve never really thought of gay bikers as a thing. One of the nicest parts about riding is at least in my area no one seems to discriminate. People of all races and ages just mingling together.

    • Stephen Shuman

      Believe me. It’s a thing.

    • the antagonist

      Agreed. Down here in Atlanta it’s sadly still a very segregated city. But at bike nights and weekend rides we have people of all races, religions, income levels, and sexual orientations coming together over a common obsession. The openness and acceptance of motorcycling is one of it’s better features.

  • C Mad

    The common ground of motorcycling has lead me to befriend people I wouldn’t necessarily seek out in non motorcycling life. It really is a beautiful thing. One a side note: I have found meeting beautiful women is infinitely easier while hanging with gay friends. Find these guys and tag along…

  • Davidabl2

    I’m wondering if this will turn out to be be a late entry into the “Most Controversial Stories of 2013″…

    • http://www.RideApart.com/ Jen Degtjarewsky

      If it does, that’s a sad because this really should not be that big of a deal. The more people that enjoy the sport and expand the circle, the better for all of us.

      • Adam

        Scanning the comments this seems to be the opposite of controversial. Perhaps the mods are deleting homophobic comments, but everything I see seems to be very welcoming or, at a minimum, indifferent (“I dont care if you’re gay, you’re just another rider”).

        Nice to see a comment section free of hate and vitriol. Rarer than it should be.

        • http://www.RideApart.com/ Jen Degtjarewsky

          I was thinking the same thing. I keep checking in, but its all clear skies. Neither Wes, nor I have removed a single post. We have good people here.

          • Ben Mcghie

            We’re seeing what riders really find important, like we didn’t already know. :)

          • Davidabl2

            “an indicator of how much prejudice has or hasn’t declined.” Prejudice HAS declined, or so it seems.

      • Davidabl2

        The question interests me because it’d be an indicator of how much prejudice has or hasn’t declined.
        Besides, it seemed like a catchy thing to say;-)

  • Guest

    Just curious, why was that picture chosen as the banner for “The Gay Sportbike Rider” ?

    • http://www.RideApart.com/ Jen Degtjarewsky

      It’s a snap of the author that he provided to RideApart to accompany the story.

  • Gordon Pull

    I just think of every rider as a rider. No need to put a label on it. We all look the same with our helmets on…

    • http://www.RideApart.com/ Jen Degtjarewsky

      Right on.

    • http://johnnygear.net Johnny Gear

      The only other people I ever see riding with helmets are my gay sportbiker friends…

  • Dubknot

    You guys are really running with this theme, huh? Good read though. It’s something I’ve never really thought about. Now what I have wondered is; is Rossi really gay?

    • http://www.RideApart.com/ Jen Degtjarewsky

      Last one ;-)

      • Dubknot

        No problem. It’s a really fun topic (:

    • Clint Keener

      He had topless girls on his yacht.

      • Dubknot

        I’m just teasing. I’ve heard so much speculation about Rossi(I’m a fan), it’s just funny to me.

  • Sentinel

    Why segregate yourself and form such an exclusive group in the first place? I don’t care if you’re gay, and as long as you don’t care that I’m not it’s all good then, right? Why segregate?

    • phoebegoesvroom

      It’s not about segregation, it’s about finding others that with whom you share similar stories and backgrounds. It’s about forming a tribe, which is something all humans do.

      • Piglet2010

        Tribalism leads to human suffering. The sooner we grow out of it, the better.

        • phoebegoesvroom

          I would agree with you; in certain circumstances, yes it does. Unfortunately, I don’t see us moving away from tribalism anytime soon. I think it’s simply human nature. I’m certainly no sociologist, though.

  • dniq

    I have to admit, though, being a gay biker myself: the combo (“gay” and “biker”) is a rather… Ummm… Inconvenient one, if I may say so. At least in my case. It’s hard to find a good partner as it is, but to find a partner who also likes bikes is twice as hard :(

    • Rich

      Like being straight.

      • dniq

        It’s not really a question of “like”. It’s a question of who you are ;)

        • Justin McClintock

          I think Rich’s point is that finding a good partner who likes bikes is pretty darn difficult for straight folks too. Wes posted some numbers before, but there’s something like 8 million registered street bikes in the country. Meanwhile, there’s something like 300 million people. It’s hard for ALL of us to find somebody who gels with us and is down with riding.

          EDIT: On a related note though, I wonder what it’s like for Lesbians trying to find a partner who rides. Not a ton of women ride to begin with. And it’s not like there’s Lesbians on every street corner (at least in most places). So finding that combo would seem incredibly difficult.

          • dniq

            Ahh, my bad :)
            As it happens, I know quite a few riding girls. But unfortunately (for me ;) ) not a lot of gay bikers :( The irony… :)

            • Adam

              Same thought to both of you…if there arent enough people riding motorcycles of your preferred sexual orientation and gender create one who is interested! Wear your leathers and ride your bike to a coffee shop/cafe/bar/gay bar then make yourself available to chat. Helmet sitting on the table, halfheartedly reading the paper while you “rest” in the midst of a long ride, smiling and making eye contact with strangers, inevitably one will approach and ask the near rhetorical question “Do you ride a MOTORCYCLE? I’ve always thought that would be so much fun…” Maybe you get lucky and you’re helping that person buy their first bike in a few months. Perhaps just 2 up riding. Perhaps just a few dates.

  • Brian

    to dovetail a little on your #6 with the sentiment that has been mentioned by a few other folks of people that ride moto’s being looked at as just riders without an association of sexual preference other than “yes”. One of the fascinating things about the moto community is whom you can and probably will meet. This activity spans all manner of cultures, religions, careers, and wealth. From the guy that rehabbed an abandoned EN500 to the guy that is sporting the Ducati Superleggerra. From the hipster scrub wannabe to Jay Leno ( regardless of their sexual orientation). The gay community has some quite plugged in and rather affluent people. Connections that could mean a wealth of networking potential if you were to find your new product to launch, or other venture to launch. Closing that door off is a veritable suicide in certain respects. That door works both ways though, worthy of consideration. So that segregation as mentioned could be a double edged sword. Consider both sides when you associate your identity in your recreation in regards to your personal preferences.

    • Brian

      and for the record, @LouWillsea and @JenDegtjarewsky ( if she edited it) GSR to me means gun shot residue( at least, it is what comes up to my mind automatically)…but perhaps that is due to the number of cops I have been hanging around with…

      • http://www.RideApart.com/ Jen Degtjarewsky

        Brian – As an avid reader of crime novels, that’s what I think of first too. However, Lou informed me its also the acronym of their group, so there you go!

  • William Connor

    Good article. Always funny to get different perspectives on the same subject. I think the most interesting point was #8 and that most of your group has had advanced rider training and track days. I wonder if that holds true say here on the East Coast or if it is a byproduct of location?

  • Pablo Perez

    I’m not entirely sure what role -if any- sexual orientation plays when it comes to riding. I’m guessing there might be a gay MC or two out there, but I’ve never heard of them. As for a bunch of gay dudes that like to ride together, cool deal.

    • Art Dahm

      Just because you’ve never heard of them, that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. One of the first things I do when I move to a new city is check out the local gay biker groups. I’ve rarely been disappointed and there’s usually more than one group. As for the role of sexual orientation, I just feel more comfortable riding with other gay people. Although I have to admit that the few token straight people we have in our group are pretty cool too. :-)

  • mms

    A close friend of mine is a DWDD. I got him into riding a couple years ago– he’s really got the bug now, and is about to buy his 3rd bike. And yet, to my utter shock and dismay, he still refuses to wear chaps. Way to not perpetuate a stereotype! SO disappointing. He did say to me once that it’s awkward because all he has to do is park and women (but never other DWDDs) start throwing their panties at him. I said hey look on the bright side, free panties.

  • markbvt

    For what it’s worth, most of the gay motorcyclists I know defy pretty much all the gay stereotypes, to the point that people who don’t know them would never guess they’re gay. In fact, I know quite a few straight motorcyclists who seem more likely to be gay. Point is, a person’s sexual orientation is one of many traits, and often doesn’t play any greater role in determining who that person is than eye color does. The one more obviously gay motorcyclist I know is really serious about keeping his bikes spotless and pristine (I think he details them after every ride); but is that a gay stereotype? Some might see it that way at first, but I also know more than a few straight motorcyclists who are just as concerned with keeping their bikes spotless. At the end of the day, people are people, and these stereotypes we’ve built up to try to pigeonhole them into different categories are pointless and more than a little insulting. The only thing that should matter is the content of a person’s character… and of course that (s)he likes motorcycles.

  • susannaschick

    rad! Now if only some major sports figures could come out of the closet. I’d admire Rossi just as much if he was married to Uccio as I did when I thought I had a chance with him. Even more, actually, as that would take real courage.

  • PeteN95

    Great article, anybody that rides is OK with me. And at bike nights, the more diverse the crowd, the more fun!

  • Roland Straylight

    I suspect that we exist is mostly hidden by reality filters (normalcy bias). Being at least two apparently conflicting stereotypes is just too much for many to cope with. Note the crossover between S&M / Fetish items as fashion amongst some rock scenes. Plenty of great ways to meet people with similar interests. The same normalcy bias can keep hookups really discrete, very few notice a couple of dudes leaving a club or a pub at the same time having apparently failed to get noticed. I have not failed to notice how much attention the bike and the associated gear gets.

  • Dan Sciannameo

    I’m straight but I ride every year in a local (Asbury Park NJ) Gay Pride Parade with the Empire City (gay) Motorcycle Club. Its funny because at this house I only keep my vintage vespas and not my motorcycles. So I am the straight guy on a robin’s egg blue 1964 VBB Vespa or a 1964 white GS160 in the midst of Harleys, Victory and other big liter bikes. A nice group.

  • ChiMagic

    We all are a bit gay with leathers. I’m very comfortable with it. I think I look good! :)

  • Chris S

    Wait… did you or your husband own an SV650N at one point?

    And as a DWDD transplant from Central CA to Chicago, this is an accurate and fantastic article!

  • roma258

    So…DWDD vs. GayBros? Is one a subset of the other, or two totally separate things? In any case, interesting perspective. Fwiw, even though motorcycling has a somewhat conservative reputation, it’s probably one of the most open communities around when it comes to mixing race/class/gender/etc…

  • Joel Leggett

    There are lots of gay men who ride motorcycles. I happen to be openly gay and ride a Royal Enfield Bullet EFI. But its never really been much of an issue even in Texas. If you are on two wheels and aren’t a jerk, most folks on two wheels are glad you are around. The more riders the better.

  • phoebegoesvroom

    I’m not sure how you inferred that from my comment, though I do get the feeling that whatever I say isn’t going to help you understand, so no further comment from me.

  • ThinkingInImages

    Motorcyclists are motorcyclists to me. I like meeting them. We have a common ground. The rest is details.

    Nice list, Lou. It’s interesting to see how much we all have in common on these lists. Number 4 on your list hit me as pretty sad, though. Unless I’m approached by a true jackass, I just take it as a compliment. It’s the gracious thing to do. Unfortunately “jackass” can be male or female in this context. Damn.

  • socalutilityrider

    Gay men have given us the remarkable gift of gin and tonics in a pint glass for like four bucks in their bars along with fun music while populated by straight girls out to have a good time. Enough said. Oh, and a lot of them are into bikes.

  • Scott Dabson

    Riding motorcycles go beyond boundries of gender, sexuality and race. If the whole world were like that, it would be a better place!!

  • AHA

    The thing I have against gay bikers is that (stereotype warning) they are so often dressed way smarter and cooler than me. Off the bike, I’ve long grown used to being shown up by well groomed metreosexuals but in biking circles, it’s the same damn thing all over. I nearly fell off my bike in rage & envy the first time I saw a rider wearing knee length Lewis boots (http://www.lewisleathers.com/productinfo.html?code=boo-191) like something out of Electra Glide in Blue but in the middle of London. Guys..it’s soooo annoying! Just get away from me. Next to 90% of bikers, I look well turned out – right up until some DWDD shows up (probably on some ratty ZX crotch rocket) looking like something from a Nick Ashley collection http://www.high50.com/style/nick-ashley-a-design-classic. I’m not happy about it at all.

  • CruisingTroll

    right. This is SO important because the first thing I want to know about another rider is sexual orientation.

    Is RA going to be soliciting an article title What about the Catholic Cruiser Rider?

    When will we see “Othodoxy on a Bike, the Serbian/Greek/Russian view” (no offense to Orthodox Jews intended, of course)

    Or that classic, “Hermits, will your riding group welcome them?”

    “Pedophiles and sidecars, are they a good match”?

    “Sidecars, the latest riding craze in the polygamist community”

    “10 Reasons Cosplay and Riding complement one another”

    • Art Dahm

      I’d be interested in reading a few of those. Thanks for the suggestions! If RA only consisted of articles that appealed to absolutely everyone, there would be no articles.

      • Ulysses Araujo

        The best gear for Cosplay without looking either a pirate or a power ranger would be particularly interesting.

        • http://paulthepcphysician.com Paul M Edwards

          Back when my wife was still riding the 2007 H-D V-Rod VRSCAW and my 2008 Buell 1125R was running, I really wanted to get her a nice Harley Quinn costume and myself a batman suit so I could chase her around town on Halloween. That would have been EPIC!

        • http://paulthepcphysician.com Paul M Edwards

          Back when my wife was still riding the 2007 H-D V-Rod VRSCAW and my 2008 Buell 1125R was running, I really wanted to get her a nice Harley Quinn costume and myself a batman suit so I could chase her around town on Halloween. That would have been EPIC!

  • Tom N

    In re:#7 – The waitress never quite figured out what to think but that place had the best burgers EVER!

  • LiberalNightmare

    I suppose its too easy to just ride the motorcycle and not have to give a crap about who or what else you might be riding?

  • AzAcer1 .

    Thank you. We are out there riding in more numbers than you may think. Great article!

  • Art Dahm

    Actually, the person who doesn’t wear leather on a bike is the one who’s into pain.

  • A P

    When I count up the LGBT people I know, half of them ride. No, I’m not part of that community but the riding community I belong to accepts them as-is. Guess it helps I don’t live in the United States of Homophobia.

    • Pablo Perez

      You could have made your point without taking a swipe at the states.

  • atomicalex

    You are clearly NOT the people a friend of mine and I ran into an Newcomb’s a couple of years back……

    • John

      I don’t think they’re the same people from the South Park episode either…..

  • John

    10. “We really know how to customize a bike…….”

  • Drek

    Cheers to being out and proud, Lou. Ride on.

  • DailyBikerDan

    Finally had the courage to respond via a post of my own Lou, hope you like the reindeer :)


  • http://paulthepcphysician.com Paul M Edwards

    Don’t worry about the H-D posers. Many of them are just into it for the image.
    I’ve ridden about 100,000 miles on 5 bikes I’ve owned (including a 2007 H-D V-Rod) since July 10th 2007 when I bought my first bike (2007 Buell XB12R) and I flash a “peace” hand signal at anyone on <4 wheels, even scooters. I've noticed that the guys on H-Ds are the least likely to reciprocate. We all have to deal with the same idiots in cages trying to kill us. If anything scooter riders deserve MORE respect for getting it done with less (power, brakes, etc.)!

  • Woggy64

    And why does Lou’s bike in the pic above remind me of a Minion from Despicable Me?

  • Motorcyclebuddy

    Great article Lou! From your fellow GSR and DWDD!

  • Mirrory

    I’m so manly, I fuck MEN.

  • Josh Jensen

    You hit the nail on the head. Being a gay rocket rider, no pun intended, has it’s own set of challenges especially living up in Wisconsin when a majority of riders are toting around with Harley hags on the back, or bros gloating about the multitude of gals they knocked up over the past weekend. but the small group of gay riders I have come to know and share experiences are some of the best people I have met and I cant wait to make more memories with them. And also meet more fellow riders who are generally just awesome people.