Motorbike gangs: a wasted culture?

It’s been a week since white men blue with tattoos all over their bodies descended on Marina di Massa, formerly a peaceful Tuscany coastal town.


Most of the tattoos preach love, kindness, and concern about the human condition.

Of course I am joking. Think of something criminal. Now think of Valhalla, Vikings, silicone girls, sculls, and flames. Imagine all this in a single image. Yes, you got it.


Teenagers look at them with the awe of visitors to a shark tank.

I myself dreamt of getting a motorbike from the age of 10 to 13. I had a bicycle and it was a million times less cool than having a bicycle with an engine, which today would be called a scooter. A proper motorbike was the ultimate dream. Pretty girls paid attention only to boys with bikes with an engine. The most pretty girls actually dated guys with bikes, or so I thought.

I got cured from this bike obsession when I managed to secure a proper date without the motorbike back-up. At 13.

Most of the adult bikers must have repeatedly failed in the dating department. Oh, don’t take me wrong: I am talking of “ganged” bikers, the ones that belong to gangs with hellishly named MCs on their uniform jackets, not the ones who simply ride bikes instead of cars. The latter are perfectly adequate, and often admired adventurers albeit with a shorter life expectancy. 

The Bandidos MC gang descended onto Italy to celebrate whatever it is men, who don’t take a spare pair of underpants with them when they travel, love to cheer about.

The US and Canada recognise the Bandidos MC as a criminal organisation, a bunch of racketeers, pimps, and drug-traffickers. Yet, Europe – despite the Bandidos have been leaving a trail of gangster activity and murders across the EU – is remarkably tolerant. The group here is mostly German, but there are a few NL, FR, and FI license plates as well; even some Thai and Vietnamese “brothers” have been spotted, but I guess they didn’t flow in with their bikes.

Grown-ups, especially the ones with access to Wiki, seem to be less enthusiastic than their teenage sons.

“My god, they do smell”, is a popular complaint on the beach these days. If nods that the comment is “harvesting” were ‘Likes’, it would be all over Facebook. It is the smell of men who believe taking shower is beneath them, and deodorants are for sissies.

Occasionally, the Bandidos ride out in a solemn procession just to ride back half an hour later to get a re-load of beer. Empty bottles and cans are dropped on the pavement in picturesque arrangements with cigarette stubs. Garbage bins are for sissies too.

They don’t smile at people who are not Bandidos. The way they look at people can bruise an unsuspecting passerby. Relaxed vacationers carrying a can of beer or other valuables pick up speed when they see a Bandido.

As I take out a bottle of Nastro Azzurro from my minibar fridge, I decide to drink it before I venture out.

The Harvey Song blares out from loudspeakers in the garden. It rhymes “tight- night”, “one-sun”, “wild-child” and “me-me”. Oh, I left out “baby-baby”. Of course, it was in there.

I could do it. Easy. Here’s your Beginner Biker Blues.

I got meself a helmet.
I got meself a bike.
I swear like a bandit,
A real biker, like.


OK, another try. The Advanced Biker Ballad, sang to his “back warmer” (this is a biker term for a girlfriend).

I dreamt a scary dream, my baby:
I had a head-on with a lorry.
I woke up all sweaty-beady
But that is not the whole story.

When brothers buried me proper,
They all got drunk, and you got laid, 
Next day you traded them my chopper
Asking the price I LIED I’D PAID!

I have concerns if my pun will reach its intended target though. Do ganged bikers – who love presenting themselves as gravely serious folks – have any sense of humour at all? I googled up “biker humour” and all I could find were old jokes about drivers where “driver” was replaced with “biker” (I don’t count jokes created by drivers about bikers). I failed to locate examples of any reciprocal response of the same quality.

Come to think of it, “ganged” bikers have never produced anything except CO2. They’ve invented nothing besides new ways to paint sculls on their helmets. They are not about progress or advancement that would have any value for Mankind.

In all its history, the ganged biker culture has produced nothing but crime, and deafening noise.

I’ve googled “biker art”, of course, hoping to see the creative fruits of collective freedom allegedly dispensed in limitless quantities to proud members of biker gangs.


David Mann, their topmost achievement, almost a saint among them, is the author of these Neanderthal icons with juicy bums and shiny bikes.

saturdaynightsundaymorning-5001-635x388 skinnydippin

Why are bikers so fixated on female bums? Is it a side-effect of humping a rumbling engine for hours on end? Or is it a by-product of too much pimping?

I’ve heard an opinion that these “brotherhoods” are friendly-spirited unions of alienated, but otherwise good-natured urban men, who love to slap each other on the back and to party at exotic locations.

They do a lot of slapping, that’s true.

This is how they describe their party on the beautiful Garda lake in Italy (comes from their blog, all spelling errors properly copyrighted):

“The venue was directly at the Garda Lake, a party with oldschool style. The event was hosted by the chapter Meran and the brothers did a great job.

Because of the position it needed nothing more then a teint, drinks and nice italian food. The brothers behind the bars filled the longdrinks with much alcohol and the beer was icecold and tasty.

Late at evening a girl was dancing between the tables and little by little she throw away her clothes. All visitors were full of atmosphere and enjoyed the time.

The special feature of this party was that prevalent brothers with there Ol`Ladies took part and they spent a few days of vacation together.

All will come back next year.”

Isn’t it almost as exciting as watching a colony of slipper animancule growing its numbers? “Brothers behind the bars” is the only thing linguistically disturbing.

Perhaps, I’ve fallen victim to the public cliche view of OMG members (organised motobike gangs, just sharing the acronym with Oh My God). If you know examples of biker art that surpasses Mr Munn’s iconography, please let me know.


On a second thought, if your summer plans included a stay at the Garda lake, you may want to reconsider.

P.S. I know this post is a strange mix of childhood dreams, minibar contents, overheard conversations, music, and a bit of what some people call biker art. This is what happens when a post is written little-by-little over five days of a vacation week somewhat ruined by the rumble of motors.


  1. Lots of motorcycle clubs in the USA do charity work. They may be a people that don’t feel comfortable in “society”, but that doesn’t mean they’re all bad. Some do take it to extreme’s, mostly showing how ‘bad’ they are because they’ve been treated badly in the past.
    BTW the motorcycle artist name is David Mann and I think he’s the Norman Rockwell of the counterculture bike world.

    1. Thank you for raising the charity issue! Yes, indeed, they do charity work. Italian mob does a lot of charity work too, and the Bandidos were directing part of their criminal earnings towards charity as well. I am OK with diversity until that diversity knocks on my door with a dozen deafening engines that rumble outside my wondow through the night. I am not arguing that David Mann (thank you!) is their icon, I am just saying this sub/counterculture has negative value because it propagates ameoba values, violence, and outlaw/criminal behaviour. Being “treated badly in the past” is their lawers favourite argument, but I (and criminal courts) don’t find it is sufficient for mitigation )

It would be grand to hear from you now!

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