Riding the Wind - The Lure of Motorcycles

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 4:37pm

Motorcycles have long offered a mysterious lure to certain demographics. There is simply something about the motorcycle that sets it apart from other modes of transportation. In fact, it can be argued that motorcycles possess a personality of their own, and often impart that personality on those who own and ride them. Over the years, motorcycle ownership has risen exponentially.

So, exactly what are the numbers? Motorcycle ownership has risen 19% in the last five years. In the recent past baby boomers were the ones most commonly riding motorcycles, and they focused on traditional cruiser type bikes. Today, the ownership of motorcycles has shifted towards younger generations. In fact, since 2003 motorcycle ownership by those in "Generation Y" has increased 63%. Those in the younger demographic, however, are more likely to feel the lure of high-speed, high technology sports bikes. 

Riding a motorcycle, in many circles, is taboo. It is something that exists on the fringe of society. It’s dangerous, people claim, and many would-be riders pass over this adrenaline fix in favor of something a bit more accepted. But, motorcycle riding, by and large, is a safe, fun and incredibly cost-effective way of getting around town. Think about the growing gas prices, and the concern for the environment that consistently makes the news today. What better way to work through these problems than to use a high-efficiency machine to get around town. Regardless of the stigma that surrounds bikers and motorcycles in general, there is no denying that they don’t use as much gas. 

While motorcycle sales, like cars, have struggled due to a down economy, the mainstream nature of bikes has actually risen during sales slumps. In decades past motorcycles belonged to perceived outlaws, or individuals who shirked mainstream society and responsibilities. The media industry painted motorcyclists as gang members, and many movies depicted the rough and tumble lifestyle of motorcycle enthusiasm.

Things are different now, though, in fact, there is a large demographic of riders who are the picture of professionalism during the day. They are suit-wearing, professional degree-holding, family men and women. Their passion just happens to lie in feeling the wind in their hair on the free time. Bob Parsons, an entrepreneur most famous for GoDaddy, is a rider with a successful career, who now owns motorcycle dealerships. Many high level executives and even doctors and lawyers find themselves strapping on a helmet at the end of a work week. So, what makes motorcycles so mysterious? Simply put, the changes that have come to the industry is furthering the mystique of the transportation. 

Bob Parsons, knows better than anyone that the demographics of riders are changing. Long before he found his way into the business he was a fan of riding, but far from the media's picture of a "biker.” The mainstreaming movement has changed how we think about motorcycles and those who ride them. They are mainstream but they still possess a mystery that many people don't understand.