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The age of biking vicariously

Badass lives through a computer screen

It struck me the other day, whilst watching my kids play computer games that involved mundane everyday tasks like washing the car and going shopping, that 'virtual life' – or living vicariously via a computer screen – seems to have crept up on us as some new kind of normality.

Perhaps I am more sensitive to this shift as my work is mostly laptop-based; but applied to the world of custom motorcycles, this slide from the simple reality of riding bikes and having adventures to watching other people ride bikes and have adventures doesn't seem healthy to me.

In the days before the Internet, tales of bravado and craziness were exchanged over a beer outside the pub. Now we don't even have to lift ourselves off the sofa to see what other bikers are up to on their choppers; they've probably got a mate with a phone/drone/camera who is capturing every kickstart/repair/ride for our entertainment.

And whereas we could only imagine what went on behind the doors of a patch club's clubhouse, now everything is laid out conveniently for us to wonder over and comment upon by those with the money to prise these old timers' 1%er memories and mementos from them before they pass on.

This isn't a snide attack on people I don't believe are 'real bikers', whatever that means. I, along with thousands of others, peruse Facebook, Instagram and the rest of the apps that seem to have replaced real experiences in our lives, looking for content to amuse and inspire.

But I am going to challenge myself this year to ride my bike without capturing every event for the eyes of others; and as a journalist whose living depends on doing just that, it's going to be hard.



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  • Rich Ostrander February 6, 2018 5:31 pm

    I want a t-shirt that has an illustration of one of those new phone/computers on the back with the red circle around it and the red line through it with the phrase don't do drugs around it. They're the new heroin. Yes, I have a flip phone and I check old fashioned blogs and have to use the computer to order thing from time to time but I don't get the have to have that thing as a natural extension of my arm with the now almost naturally bent neck to walk out into traffic, hold up traffic at the light, or never view the doors you keep running into. Life goes by fast enough never to see it in real time. life is not a small screen event folks. it's real. it comes but only once. and this is not a rehearsal. They should be used as a tool like a hammer, pencil, etc. Riding done a country back road by yourself and leaving the go-pro and selfy stick is the real deal. The smell of the new mowed fields, the sound of the gurgling stream, the sun rays through the trees hanging over the road. My God! Will your device give you that. God help us if it does. Will be doomed for sure. Wheels roll round and round. Doc Sprocket over and out!

  • amen thee brethren!

  • At last the voice of sanity !.