A Field Guide to Motorcycle Riders

November 30, 2022

As a new rider, you’re checking a few important boxes: getting trained, getting educated, and getting the right kind of bike and safety gear. What’s left? Getting to know your fellow riders.

The world of motorcycling is full of interesting people with a unique way of seeing the world — just like you. Here’s a fun field guide to the kinds of personalities you’re going to encounter on your journeys.

1. The Ambassador

The most common type of motorcyclist, The Ambassador is always eager to give advice, hear your story, or just shoot the breeze. This is the kind of rider who’s lived this lifestyle for quite some time, and is enthusiastic and eager to help out new riders any way they can. The Ambassador is here to spread the lifestyle.

Where to find them
You’ll find The Ambassador anywhere you find motorcyclists. On long rides. Short rides. At roadside stops and in restaurants and cafes. You’ll find them at speed tracks and off-roading areas. They’re the friendliest kind of rider, and their habitat is everywhere.

What to look for
The Ambassador will signal their presence with a friendly wave, a hey-how-are-ya nod of the head, and a willingness to engage in conversation. They could appear on any type of bike—street, dirt, touring, anything. The Ambassador is a great source of information on riding, and can evolve into a riding companion and friend.

Who they ride with
The Ambassador rides with everyone.

2. The Pack Leader

This type of rider is usually a parent or grandparent, most recognizable by the pack of family members who are riding along with them. Pack Leaders are most concerned with the members of their own pack, occupying themselves with teaching, safety, and overall fun. Like The Ambassador, this is an inherently friendly rider.

Where to find them
Most packs of family riders are dirtbike riders, so you’ll find them out on trails or in designated wilderness riding areas. You’ll typically find them congregated by trailers, at trailheads, or gathered together eating snacks so the younger riders stay powered up for the excitement.

What to look for
Smaller riders are the first indication that you may encounter a Pack Leader. Watch for the Leader at the head of the group, providing instruction and guidance for the younger riders. A Pack like this represents the future of riding and is really a great thing to see.

Who they ride with
The Pack Leader typically rides with their own pack, but will ride with others, too.

3. The Bohemian

In other times and other cultures, The Bohemian would go by other names: the cowboy, the loner, the iconoclast. Like all motorcyclists, The Bohemian is drawn to riding because of the freedom it offers. More than this, though, The Bohemian considers motorcycle riding to be a core part of their individuality. It’s what makes them them.

Where to find them
Most often, you’ll encounter The Bohemian when you’re on a lengthy trip of your own. Out on the open road, or up amid the switchbacks of an out-of-the-way trail—this is where The Bohemian feels most comfortable. Their eyes are always on the horizon.

What to look for
There’s no set of visual cues to identify The Bohemian. You’ll know you’ve encountered one by the feeling you get from them—they typically carry a self-assuredness and a vibe of understated competence.

Who they ride with
The Bohemian typically rides alone, or with a close companion.

4. The Modernist

We live in unusual times, and The Modernist knows it. This rider has figured out that riding a motorcycle is an end-run around a typical life that can also provide a practical alternative to problems of the modern world. Traffic. Fuel costs. Efficiencies in parking and garage storage. The Modernist knows that motorcycle riding is the equivalent of taking the fast lane through the modern age.

Where to find them
Typically an urban/suburban rider, The Modernist is most often seen navigating traffic on the avenues of cities and larger towns. You won’t find this one out on the dirt track or in the hills.

What to look for
During your rush-hour commute, The Modernist is most recognizable because they’re the only ones enjoying being out in all that traffic.

Who they ride with
The Modernist can be seen riding solo or with a group.

So there you have it — four types of riders you’ll encounter as part of the riding community. Which type are you? And are there more types to discover? There’s a lot of road out there, so the answer is definitely “yes.” But don’t take our word for it — get started riding and enjoy all there is to explore.

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