I live most of the time with my head under a rock.  I hyperbolize only slightly here, but I certainly spend more time drawing than I do even being in the same vicinity as my motorcycle.  I’ve had the ol’ shovel for something like 23 years now, having gotten it as a pile of parts when I was 20 years old.  We were basket cases together for a while…

During that time it seems like the world of motorcycle enthusiasts, bikers, and Harley-philes has changed significantly.  And could easily be just me–I’m really not sure.

When I started riding at the tender age of 19, it seemed biker-dom was populated by a lot more long-haired, bearded, black leather jacketed badasses than it is today.  Again, it could easily be that I’ve simply changed my playmates, but in the late 1980’s there was almost an unwritten code: ride, wrench, party, and live like there’s no tomorrow.

Clearly all these memories are fodder for my imagination in creating the Jones strip.

Now I have kids. And a mortgage. And a pretty respectable job that comes with the trust and support of my community–something I never saw coming.  Anything I have to complain about is directly connected to some amazing blessing in my life, so whenever I get done complaining I find myself returning to gratitude.

Even so, I find that  I have to separate what Jones thinks from what I think, even if we are connected on some weirdly cosmic level.  I think we both have the same set of standards about what it means to be a biker–and yeah, I can dig the idea that most of this lives in my imagination more than in my actions, considering I cut my hair years ago and wear a tie to work several days a week.

Turns out that this probably represents a large portion of the Harley buying and riding public.  Somewhere in the 90’s we saw the rise of the rubbie (sounds like a horror flick), the Rich Urban Biker.  Usually these guys were disguised by the leather and the bike so they looked like anyone else, but you could always tell if the bike was more than chrome-deep on them.  It doesn’t really matter how much money you have, or what you do for a living; once the fever is on, it invades you to the core and you’re never the same.

Which may be me justifying the amazing diversity of riders and builders out there today.  Sure, you still have your old-school dudes who just got older (they look the same to me, but I got older, too), and guys like Arlen Ness and Wink Eller have stayed about the same through the decades.  But there’s a whole new deal out there now. And there are more “uniforms” visible in terms of the biker look and feel.

There’s overlap between the hot-rodder and the biker, like you find in guys like Cole Foster and Chris Richardson of LA Speed Shop, which you see in action by the crowd at Chop Cult and Biltwell.

And you’ll even find a new emerging bike, what I can only describe as the Metrosexual Machinehead.  I’m still not sure what the hell a metrosexual is, but I know one when I see one.  It’s kind of a silly label, but it sounds fun, doesn’t it?  The Metrosexual Machinehead has mad style and doesn’t mind getting his fingernails dirty.  The bikes he digs has sort of Eurostyling, stuff that beckons us back to the fifties, before long hair and leather vests.

And more.

The point isn’t to put folks in boxes–there are so many more boxes to choose from–but to note that there is a greater breadth of expression in the ranks of bikers and builders.  And the one thing that ties us together is simply love of machine and design.