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32 months ago

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Love my motorcycle but do I love Sturgis? A New Yorker at Sturgis

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Jamie Lauren Keiles, the author of this week’s Sunday Read, bought their first motorcycle during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I thought I was just purchasing a mode of transportation — a way to get around without riding the train,” they wrote. “But after some time on the street with other riders, I started to suspect I’d signed up for a lot more.”

Read the story in the NYTimes Magazine

A New Yorker who started riding during the pandemic travels to the heart of biker culture.

A New Yorker who started riding during the pandemic travels to the heart of biker culture.

Jamie was aware of biker culture, but had decided that these tropes — choppers, leather jackets — “were all but contentless by now, mere tchotchkes on the wall in the T.G.I. Fridays of American individualism.”

However, Jamie was shocked to discover that not only did this strain of biker culture still exist, but that they existed within it. So, curious about what remained vital at its heart, Jamie set out for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Here's an excerpt from the article that does may put Sturgis in context for you:

"Everyone was in the outlaw spirit, preparing to hit the open road in the lawless territory where Wild Bill Hickok was shot, a state with no adult helmet laws. Since the first Harley-Davidson was sold, in 1903, the motorcycle in America has intertwined itself with the two types of liberty: freedom to (wander, skip town, enjoy life), and freedom from (the mainstream, the desk job, social mores). These tensions reconcile in all sorts of biker cultures — the urban dirt biker, the cafe-racing yuppie — but Sturgis is unique in selling the fantasy of a subculture based on the dominant one. Here, middle-aged riders of $20,000 American-made motorcycles gather for 10 days of controlled rebellion: to wander paved roads, buy Harley merchandise and rage against the reality of their milieu’s waning cultural relevance. The mood of rebellion felt doubly high in light of the whole pandemic situation. According to research published in The Southern Economic Journal, the 2020 Sturgis Rally — “the largest public gathering to take place in the country since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic” — was responsible for between 115,283 and 266,796 new Covid cases nationwide, generating up to an estimated $8.7 billion in health care costs. This year already, the media was warning of the four bikers of the apocalypse."

You can hear the Podcast version of the story on Spotify. This story was recorded by Audm https://www.audm.com.

I Fell in Love With Motorcycles. But Could I Ever Love Sturgis? The Daily Podcast

I Fell in Love With Motorcycles. But Could I Ever Love Sturgis? The Daily Podcast

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undrmywllz

26 months ago

More like raging against her elitist subculture. Sounds like an itch. Just sayin.

Willmarth

31 months ago

"Rage against the reality of their milieu’s waning cultural relevance."  Do I really need to be subjected to this woke BS?