Vilnius University Faculty of Communication Emilija Marcinkevičiūtė, Archyvistika , I group , I course

Bikers subculture

I polled few people about bikers subculture. According to respondents, real bikers are inseparable from the motorcycle and a good motorbike is the most important thing for them. Some people had positive opinion about this subculture, so they claimed that many bikers propagate freedom and life on the wheels. Others had negative opinion, for example, one person said: “ In my opinion, bikers don‟t respect women, because women are just a jewel for them.” All respondents indicated that bikers mostly wear leather or black clothes: “They wear expensive, leather jackets, boots and even trousers !.” Furthermore, some people said that bikers always have sunglasses, helmets and kerchiefs: „„Kerchiefs are vivid, colorful and bikers usually tie up it on their heads.” According to respondents, many bikers can have long or short hairs. Some people said that they can‟t imagine a real biker without a beard: “ To my mind, many bikers must have a beard because it makes them extraordinary.” The majority of respondents indicated that bikers age can be from 25 to 35, but some people claimed that sometimes bikers can be elder. One person said : ‟‟ There are not only green youths in bikers subculture, but also educated, well-paid elder people.”

There are many different opinions about this subculture movement . So, this report goal is to analyze bikers subculture.

Bikers movement
Bikers movement started in the twentieth century fourth decade. Over the years it has became more and more popular, therefore nowadays we can meet a lot of followers, who are known as bikers . Many people think that mostly bikers are dirty, with leather clothes or shaggy beards covered in the road dust. The truth is that most bikers are not trouble-makers and are in fact honest and joyful people, who want to be free from rules. Among bikers there are people, who are from different layers of society , so if you want to be a biker it does not matter how much money you earn and where you work or study. But there are some rules that all bikers should follow. Now I am going to present special motorcyclist clothes, which helps to recognize bikers.

About bikers appearance
Firstly, if you want to be a neat biker you should have a special motorcycle jacket. Of course protective jacket should be made from qualitative leather, which is quite expensive. Secondly, you should buy a motorcycle trousers, which should be made from leather or nylon. Many people think that jeans look much better but they are not strong enough to stand constant rubbing. Thirdly, you need to have boots without heels. The best idea is to buy ankle boots or high leather boots. Also it is impossible to imagine a real biker without a steady helmet. Some people prefer to wear full face helmets, but others like half face motorcycle helmets. Furthermore, you shouldn‟t forget about leather gloves. The choice of biker armor is the matter of taste or other individual preferences. It is known that this subculture movement is impossible without motorbikes. Here is a quote, which reveals that for many bikers a motorcycle is the most important thing: “They worship their motorcycles. They take them inside their homes at night. They sleep on grease-caked beds, but their bikes are spotless.”

A Los Angeles cop, 1965

The most popular motorbike brand, which is especially beloved by bikers , is Harley Davidson. Motorcycles, which are made by this brand, are known for their loud exhaust, large amount of chrome and relaxed riding position. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts cover various towns. Of course, there are others(also very popular among bikers) motorcycle brands like Kawasaki or Ducati. “Only when you have a good motorbike, you are ready to conquer the roads.”

Bikers tattoos
Another interesting thing, which helps to recognize real bikers are tattoos. Many bikers think that their body is an empty place ,which provides an opportunity for individual expression. There are a few images and designs that are most commonly used by bikers. Firstly, the most popular image is the skull or a skeleton. This design has a number of possible variations, including the addition of flames, red eyes, snakes etc. Another very popular image used in biker tattoos is an eagle , because it is known that an eagle is a symbol of freedom and independence.. Sometimes biker tattoos can send a specific message ,for example, Harley Davidson tattoos demonstrate a passion for Harley Davidson motorcycles. Biker tattoos are becoming increasingly popular as the popularity of motorcycle riding also increases.

Bikers in Lithuania

Motorcycle is the most important thing to bikers. So , when the first motorbikes appeared in Lithuania? The first news of the motorcycles were found in Lithuanian Central State Archive protected documents. One of the first records were detected in the Citizen Defense Department documents, which indicated information about registered vehicles up to 1922 years. The documents showed that in Ukmergė ,Panevežys and Šiauliai cities were registered only 3 motorbikes , at the

same time in Vilkaviškis district were registered even 5 motorbikes and the "record" belonged to Kaunas town and district because there were 8 motorbikes! According to the information, we can say that motorbike was an unusual and rare vehicle in the beginning of twentieth century third decade . However, after four years, in 1926, in all Lithuania ( including and Klaipėda) were registered even 201 motorbike. Two hundred motorcycles in the first half of twentieth century in our country is more than respectable number , because cars in 1926 years were recorded 424. An interesting detail is, that in the temporary capital Kaunas in 1926 there were only 27 motorbikes , and in 1928 years - even 109 motorcycles, it means - four times more! During two years(19261928) in all Lithuania motorcycles number doubled from 201 to 441! It is worth to say , that the interest of two-wheel motorized vehicles could be much higher but the first motorcycle prices and living standards in Lithuania didn't allow to buy this "technical wonder" for a simple person. It was certainly a luxury item, which could buy only wealthy people. For a clarity, we can present a popular and quite eloquent comparison - then a cow cost 200 Litas, and a motorcycle - about 1,800 Litas. It was difficult to understand for agrarian country and rural society. However the bikers movement grew, furthermore grew the general affairs and interests, which needed to be represented in our country. In the twentieth century fourth decade the motorbike, due to its features and

capabilities have become increasingly attractive. Motorbikes were extremely prevalent in the West, moreover appeared larger models, so due to a competition and a huge popularity, motorcycles became available for middle classes and, therefore, became a mass phenomenon. So, in a relatively short period in our country, motorcycles became not only popular vehicle but also a form of a leisure.

An interesting detail is that in 1928, the first time in Lithuanian history of motorcycling was drawn up a list , which reflected not only the number of motorbikes , but also showed what motorcycles brands were the most popular. Furthermore, a list showed that there were registered even 36 brands of (manufacturers) motorcycles. A variety was surprising and amazing.

Here is an information,which indicate what was the most popular brands in 1928( TOP 10 from largest to smallest). In the first place there was a brand, which was obviously detached from the closest competitors: 1) „ Harley Davidson“ – 77 motorbikes 2)„Douglas“ – 41 motorbikes 3) „Indinan“ – 31 motorbikes 4) NSU 5) DKW 6)„Triumph“ 7)FN 8) „Snob“ 9) „Wanderer“ The last place goes to a German-made brand: 10) „ Stock“ Despite the fact ,that in the top of the table there is "Americans" - "Harley Davidson (1) and India (3) and" the British "Douglas (2), the majority of the motorcycle was made by European producers (the vast majority in Germany).

In conclusion, we can state that over the years , the motorcycle has became available thing to all people.

About bikers clubs
The first bikers clubs were established in the beginning of the last century, in the U.S. One of the oldest - Yonkers MC, which was established in New York, in 1903. After a year in San Francisco appeared the San Francisco MC, which was very popular. Both these and other clubs which

appeared later in the U.S shared their love of motorcycles and road romance, while to the arena invaded the '' Hell angels". According to the Federal Investigation bureau description - it is one of the four major currently operating criminal bikers gangs, in which account are number of serious crimes ,which were committed during the period from gang establishment in the sixth decade, up to now. Nowadays a gang has a lot of departments in America and at least fifteen in other countries . Its members are counted in thousands . Not much better reputation can boast another gang of bikers - Bandidos. But in fact, most American biker clubs such as the Iron Pigs, the Nam Knights, Blue Knights and the Red Knights, are not very militant. They remain faithful for their idioms and philosophy of freedom ,moreover they adore the legendary Harley Davidson motorcycles . It is estimated , that now there are more than 200 bikers clubs in the U.S and these clubs unite almost 300,000 members. In Europe, in the beginning of the last century, in such countries like Great Britain, Germany and Sweden also appeared bikers clubs. However, mostly it was just some popular mark of motorcycle owners unions or national bikers confederations. Only after the Second World War in Europe appeared similar type American bikers clubs, so now the local “Hell Angels“,“ Bandidos“ clubs are almost in every European country.

Bikers clubs in Lithuania
The first club in Lithuania were established in 1928, June 11. The club was named "Lithuanian bikers club". Of course, none of its works didn't remind a contemporary bikers feats. During the Soviet years, there weren't official clubs in Lithuania but when our country regained an

independence, bikers clubs started quite active establishments. One of those - perhaps the earliest established club - "Crazy In The Dark". Now in our country there are almost forty bikers clubs, which depend for Lithuanian bikers Congress.

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