Long-haired, dirty denims, member of a gang. That’s how the Oxford English Dictionary used to explain the word “biker.” No idea where they originally got that from. Perhaps some editor once mistook a motorcyclist’s glimpse as a stare-down, nervously took the long way round to his small office cubicle and decided to pen that description. Or perhaps he was a closet Hells Angel.
That editor has retired, it seems, because OED recently changed the description of “biker” to read: a motorcyclist, especially one who is a member of a gang or group. He probably was replaced by a junior associate who once noticed a person clad in ATTGATT greeting other people in similar attire. Or also is a closet Hells Angel.
ATTGATT means All The Gear All The Time. Not gearbox gears but motorcycle clothing that provides riders with some protection against elements of all kinds – bad weather and bad motorcar drivers.
On average, research shows, those “bikers” would be 30-something and work in IT and the motorcycle would be more expensive than a cheap Chinese car. That would probably be the car – those with the handling characteristics of a broken triangle vase – that the Oxford Dictionary refers to when it gives an example of “biker” in a sentence: a biker was involved in a collision with a car.
MacMillan’s dictionary gives the definition of a “biker” as a motorcyclist, especially one who belongs to a group and the Farlex Free Dictionary simply says a “biker” is One who rides a bicycle or a motorbike but gives the informal meaning as a member of a motorcycle gang.
Group is one thing, gang is another. Be that as it may, the fact is, as The Telegraph pointed out, that 65% of motorcyclists spend the majority of their time riding alone. Which probably shocked the hairless dictionary editors.
At least dictionary.com has an accurate, biker-friendly explanation of “biker” – a person who rides a bicycle, motorcycle, or motorbike, especially in competition or as a hobby.
Typical biker: 30-something IT guy. The bike is a Kawasaki W800.