Each and everyday I live by "the rules." I get up to the alarm, shower & shave, dress, gather my car keys, cell phone, and lunch, then jump in the car and head off to work. Drive 20 miles to my workplace, walk into the coffee room, fill'r up, head to my desk, and begin by reading emails and checking in with fellow co-workers, and then carry out my duties for the day. Five days a week, 50 weeks a year, spending more than 2100 hours per year at the beckon call of my boss, yielding my life to someone else's vision.
Riding my motorcycle in my free time is my therapy and antidote to all that. So why then would I want to spend any of that precious free time following MORE rules of some Motorcycle Club (MC) or Riding Club (RC)? I wouldn't and I don't. I'm a Lone Wolf Biker. I have been one for most of my life.
The genesis for having lived my life as a Lone Wolf, and a cynical one at that, stems from lessons learned very early in life directly or indirectly from my father and mother and their experiences. My father was a war hero. He walked his way across Europe fighting in numerous battles, and then he was captured in WWII's infamous Battle of the Bulge. Having been wounded in combat and been a prisoner of war where he suffered along with his comrades, he paid a heavy price for me and the rest of us. He mourned his whole life for those of his buddies that never made it home.
But what struck me most about his life's story was when my mom told me that upon his return from the war he applied to work as a postman, but was rejected because he was too short. My dad was, indeed, short, 5'1." I recall seeing a photo of my dad from when he was in basic training in the Army, with him in his khaki uniform projecting a fierce looking face while thrusting his bayonetted M-1 rifle, which appeared as large as he was. He was an infantryman who carried his rucksack, ammo, and M1 as he trudged through harsh winter weather walking across Europe, lived in foxholes and trenches in heavy combat for weeks, and, wounded, witnessed many of his fellow soldiers die one by one. Too short to be a fucking postman?! So, the indelible lesson for me was that one either places his life in the hands of others, who likely have no true vested connection to your life, in other words, "they don't give a fuck!," or you do it on your own, independent and self-reliant.
Simultaneous to this epiphany about my father, in 1969 the TV series "Then Came Bronson" appeared, and it sparked a yearning which to this day lives within me. The series featured actor Michael Parks as the protagonist Jim Bronson, a newspaperman who becomes disillusioned after the suicide of his best friend and, after a heated argument with his editor, "working for the Man." In order to renew his soul, Bronson becomes a vagabond searching for the meaning of life and seeking the experiences life has to offer. Bronson rides a Harley Davidson Sportster motorcycle and, as such, was viewed by some as a modern version of the solitary cowboy wandering the American West.
The TV series inspired my dream to be that Cowboy on an iron horse. But, as an East Coast kid, that dream seemed more like some nebulous vision than a possibility. Of course, today that dream has become a daily reality for me, that I now live in SE Arizona. When I ride alone across the vast landscapes typical of this area I do feel like I'm now living a true adventure. For those of us who have the opportunity to ride the lands of the West, with their cloud piercing snow-capped mountains and unforgiving hot and dry expansive deserts, the experience can sometimes feel surreal. And yet, ironically, the impressing sense of isolation experienced in this vastness leaves me feeling more an integral part of the Universe than any other place that I've been.
One of the other salutary effects of being a Lone Wolf biker is that I have no obligation to any specific group, club, or organization. No need to contend with MC/RC Presidents, V-Ps, Sergeants at Arms, or Road Captains and all the associated politics of such convoluted relationships. Instead, I solely decide where, when, and how I ride. Period.
This leaves me free to unihibitedly explore various opportunities without the burden of projecting or defending some "colors" and its implied prejudice, which can naturally lead others to react defensively to your presence. I can ride virtually anywhere I want, to any bar, rally, or event where other bikers are at, and I don't have to worry about conflicting with some perceived or illusory boundary of some other club's territory, turf, or kingdom. No, I'm just an unassuming loner; no agenda, no threat, no message other than I'm an achromatic Lone Wolf biker out on an adventure. Most other bikers intuitively accept, if not respect, that.
Some members of organized MC's or RC's might retort that a Lone Wolf biker is out there on his own, vulnerable. But, I've never seen that as a problem. Weighing the pros and cons of individuality and freedom vs membership and security, I choose for no shackles. And sometimes I wonder too if not one or more of the serfs of the MC's I've encountered along the way might not wistfully wish that they too had held onto their once independence.
And, lastly, one of the greatest benefits of riding as a Lone Wolf is that the strangers I encounter in my travels seem to be intrigued by my choice to go it alone, so they seem more open to talking to me I believe. More often than not, when I listen carefully, these new friends will share parts of their life's stories with me, leaving me, ironically, with a greater sense of connectedness than ever thought possible for a Lone Wolf Biker.