Women Riders

As Seen on TV

Written by  September 1, 2012

I have noticed that there is a commercial on TV that shows “stereotypical” bikers, including women, ogling a particular truck and nodding in approval before roaring off to the local watering hole. The final image is a row of motorcycles with the truck among them in front of said watering hole. I have a couple of issues with this commercial. One will never, ever be Sam Elliot’s voice-over, however.

My first issue is with the look of the bikers. I know the gist of the commercial is that the truck will appeal to tough, against-the-grain types who eschew mediocrity. But while there is certainly a fair share of these “Hell’s Angels” types, I have always had a problem with perpetuating any kind of stereotype, particularly of bikers.

I originally wanted to write about the so-called “biker lifestyle,” a term that gets bandied about, but in researching what exactly it might be, there were too many differences of opinion. It was agreed upon by various bloggers and columnists that the “biker lifestyle” assumes a sense of being anti-establishment and giving the middle finger to otherwise constraining life choices. What was not agreed upon was if there really was a significant amount of riders who completely embrace the perceived lifestyle, and to what extent did it truly exist as it is portrayed on TV?

Let’s face it, we all have obligations, jobs and bills, people who depend on us and love us. As much as we would love to tell everyone to “Shove it, I’m going riding for the rest of my life,” we don’t or can’t. The true “biker lifestyle,” to me in my observations, is people who choose their bike over their cage to get to work, even if the weather isn’t perfect; they truly know how to ride, whether in groups or alone; they have good hearts, spending their time on weekends with their friends at charity rides or lending a hand to a stranded motorist or fellow biker or helping out a neighbor. Look at many of the MCs and you will find most do community charity work, helping veterans or children. They know how to let loose, but they know how to help, too. Bikers know how to work on their rides to various extents, from building a bike from scratch to just changing the oil. They put miles on their bikes, not yards. They have scars and great stories to tell about how they got them. And now, apparently, they sell trucks.

My second issue with this particular commercial is the end shot--a row of bikes and a lone truck parked in front of what appears to be a bar. I don’t have to go into detail on that one, do I?

There is another commercial featuring a young woman on a street bike racing down a lonely stretch of road. You know the one; they “replay” the scene to show her lifting her face shield and looking at another biker before once again speeding off in a blur. Way to promote safe riding, folks! There have already been a lot of reports concerning these bikes and the way in which younger, less experienced riders are risking their lives speeding, stunting and being generally reckless. So let’s make a commercial highlighting all that.

True bikers know who they are. And they don’t need television commercials to erroneously tell the world who they are not.

By Louise Reeves