I was riding through Ormond Beach, Florida yesterday when a fellow biker pulled up next to me and asked for directions to St. Augustine. Of course I assisted, but as he rode away I noticed the stickers on his helmet and his saddle bags.
His helmet had a picture of a hand giving the finger, with the word “Islam” under in. Another sticker said “Speak English….ASSHOLE.” His saddle bags were decorated with USMC stickers and “kill them all and let God sort them out” stickers. His jacket was over-decorated with American flags.
As I looked him over, I realized that aside from being a fellow biker, I had nothing in common with this man. In fact, he was so much the polar opposite of me that I could conceive of no situation where he and I would ever speak to one another outside the context of two riders on the street. That got me to thinking about what it is to be a Binary Biker.
The Binary Bikers are a small group of riders. We don’t have an official patch jacket patch yet. We don’t have meeting minutes. We don’t have regular meetings. We don’t have regular rides as a group. We DO have a t-shirt, though.
What really ties us all together is a similar worldview. We are many things, us Binary Bikers. We ride cruisers and we ride street bikes. We are Christian, atheist, and agnostic. We are nerds, jocks, and musicians. We are writers, divers, and astronomers. We are surfers, runners, and couch potatoes. We are critical thinkers, students of logic, and study philosophy. We are chefs, programmers, and teachers. We are single, married, and divorced. We come from the school of hard knocks and we have advanced college degrees. We are civilians, active duty military, and children of career military parents.
One thing every Binary Biker can do is understand and answer this question accurately:
The Binary Bikers are a lot of things, but there are a few things we are NOT.
A Binary Biker is Not….
a blind follower. We pride ourselves on our critical thinking skills and can back up any position we take with facts, logic, and sound reasoning. Bikers are traditionally seen as non-conformists who don’t follow the path of most people. How odd it seems to us that the Binary Bikers are non-conformist and most bikers nowadays are just loudly voicing an over-stereotypical opinionated view of the world shared by a majority of ignorant people in the nation.
tolerant of intolerance. We detest the hypocrisy of “Fuck Islam” stickers and the mentality of people who proudly wear such inane and inflammatory garb. We understand that, regardless of your personal belief system, that people, not religions or gods, are responsible for the atrocities in the world today and that people must fix them.
a bigot. We support marriage equality, harbor no ill will against anyone based on color, creed, sexual orientation, religious background, or nationality. We fight for equal rights and rally against the fear-based, narrow-minded, exclusion and segregation that exists at so many levels in our nation today.
politically ignorant. We are, all of us, American citizens, and we take our responsibilities as citizens seriously. We love our country and support the founding principles of this nation. This means we protest vociferously government infringement on our rights and support initiatives that raise up and protect every member of our nation, especially those who have no voice or can’t speak for themselves.
afraid to stand apart. We didn’t form the Binary Bikers for solidarity; we organically came together as a group of like-minded individuals who happen to ride motorcycles. We don’t need the group for validation of ourselves – we have all the validation we need in ourselves and don’t look for it elsewhere. We stand together because we are not afraid to stand apart.
blindly patriotic. We don’t feel the need to wear flags or proclaim American superiority or to belittle other countries to bolster our view of our own. Our patriotism is not disposable or transient based on who is leading our country. Our patriotism is not for sale on a coffee mug, t-shirt, jacket patch, or bumper sticker. We do not cheapen it thusly.
close-minded. We all have opinions and beliefs, but we are not so foolish as to think we have all the answers. Nor are we afraid to express an opinion and be wrong. We don’t dismiss those who feel or believe differently than us, but neither are we gullible enough to insist that every opinion is equally valid. We are open-minded, but demand those who interact with us be logical and consistent in their actions and beliefs, even if we don’t understand or agree with them.
A Binary Biker is a reasoned and educated man or woman. We do not hate or exclude in order to define ourselves. We define ourselves through inclusion, tolerance, and open-mindedness. The biker who asked me for directions to St. Augustine yesterday was not a candidate for being a Binary Biker; he obviously defined himself through hatred, intolerance, and exclusion. He had nothing in common, save a love of riding, with any of the Binary Bikers.