I’ve never liked bikes. Two-wheelers of any kind, actually – it has to do with being scared of falling off things. But of all two-wheelers, I think motorbikes are the worst! Because you’re so far away from the ground when you’re on the pillion of one…

But I don’t want to crib about riding bikes today. I just wanted to reflect on something BikerBoy and BikerGirl squabble about – their respective bikes. BikerBoy rides a motorbike, and BikerGirl rides a scooterette. BikerBoy calls BikerGirl’s bike a toy, and they exchange rude comments about each other’s mode of transport for a while. Well, now I have a theory about why boys and girls like different bikes.

Girls see their bikes as a means of transport. It has wheels, it gets me from place to place, it has space for my handbag and my books. Boys see their bikes as instruments in their control, which let them exercise control over their milieu (I think that’s how boys see most things, but let’s not start on that!) Sometimes, just by intruding into the space around them (remember the noisy bike that fellow guns up outside your window?), but also in much subtler ways.

Let me explain. As a pillion-rider, I mean. BikerGirl’s bike is a friendly little thing. It’s fairly comfy to sit on, and the fact that I can reach the ground with my feet reassures me no end. BikerBoy’s bike is a whole different story. I have to climb on to it. Take both my feet off the ground, and trust that he can hold it up while I put all my weight on that flimsy footrest. Even when I’m sitting on it, I have to hold on to the bike with all of myself, I can’t just sit on it.

What does that say? Apart from my paranoia about falling off, when I’m on BikerGirl’s bike, I am not relinquishing control to her. I am, in a way, but a very non-threatening way. She doesn’t have to overtly support me. When I’m on BikerBoy’s bike, I have to relinquish control. I have to trust that he can keep that thing on its two wheels. On a bumpy road, there’s nothing to hold on to except him. At an intersection, I can’t put my feet on the ground; again, it’s he who has to keep the darn thing straight, and I can only pray he can.

See what I mean about control?


7 Responses

  1. Not with you on that one…I have a BikerBoy and a BikerGirl too. And Boy’s motorbike is infinitely better…especially on a long highway-ish road, when it smells like it’s going to rain and you’re ‘ripping’ (I think thats what they call going really really fast) with your eyes closed and the wind in your hair. You should try it…. My BikerGirl’s learning how to ride the motorbike too.
    Though I can see what you mean about having to hold on to people. My BikerBoy has a nice little bar-thing at the back that you can clutch when the road gets bumpy.
    Sometimes losing control can feel great….

  2. Hey,
    HUH? Girls draw pretty flowers on their bikes all the time and give them cute “betty” type names to befriend them. If you think boys see bikes as an instrument of control, surely girls must see scooterettes as potential “house” playmates.

    Owning a vehicle is hugely liberating regardless of the gender of its owner. I suppose all kinds of freedoms can be seen rather grandly as the “exercise of control over one’s mileu”, and so may this one. There is not, however, a qualitative difference between the way women on bikes control their mileu from the way that men do.

    If you’re looking for theories on why girls and boys seem to like different bikes, maybe you needn’t look further than the way they are each encultured into their respective gender roles. So just like mother culture tells us that women are feebler and more emotional than men, it also tells us things like bikes are for boys and scooterettes are for girls.

    You could interject with a mediate proposition that mother culture dictates that women favour utility and men want to control. But then I know many grown men who drive scooterettes. I know young girls who drive Bullet motorcycles.

    Apart from sqabbling over respective bikes, bikerider and bikegirl also squabble about everything else from politics to planetary positions. Maybe we should just call them fighter cocks and leave it at that.

    As Aristotle once said, “You dont like motorcycles” not equal to “Guys like motorcycles. Girls like scooterettes. Guys want control. Girls simply minding business. Girls all nice. OH btw, YOU A GIRL!”.

  3. bikes are cool. and sexy. maybe enjoying the loss of control is cave(wo)man instints coming to the fore! 😉 strong macho male and all that! but i enjoy riding bikes too! it is a bit like taming the monster. now which age can i atrribute that to? 😀

  4. Oh, I agree with the two of you – bikes can be cool and sexy, and losing control can feel great… just that the ‘BoyBike’ is the one that gives the rider control – it is about control – and that is so very ‘the way boys relate to the world at large’, isn’t it?!

  5. Hey,
    In the immortal words of Aristotle “You dont like motorbikes” not equal to “Guys like bikes. Girls like Scooterettes. Girls simply minding business. Guys after power and world domination. Girls very super. Oh btw, YOU A GIRL!”.

    Short guys pillion riding my bike are relinquishing control to me in the same way and consequently their lives are threatened equally. This does not alter/affect/signify prevailing power/gender equations in society.

    In addition to squabbling over bikes, Bikerider and bikergirl will squabble over everything from politics to planetary positions. This connotes mutual belligerence of parties more than it does deep rooted “Men from Mars, Women from Venus” rift.

    Your feeble attempt to blacken the name of pillion seats on motorbikes (by alleging centrality in conspiracy to disempower women) has failed.

  6. Oh! How personally you take things, BikerBoy! I am not alleging motorbikes (or motorbike riders) are central to a conspiracy to disempower women. At least, not in this post. I am merely saying that the bikes we label as ‘BoyBikes’ or ‘GirlBikes’ are just reflective of boys’ and girls’ attitudes to their respective bikes, which is in turn reflective of their attitudes to the world in general!

    And you knew that.

  7. Stop making exotic excuses and learn to drive. 🙂

    My next pair of wheels will have to be a road roller.

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