I have to own up to a dark period in my life. I now live a seemingly respectable existence, but there was a time when I lived as an outlaw biker…a rebel. Yes, all of the trappings of the outlaw life were there.
I was initiated. I rolled with a pack of renegades. I wore the colors. I spent hours at the clubhouse. I even lived a life of crime. I can’t say I’m proud of this former life, but it is part of what I am.
The initiation was intimidating but thrilling. To attain membership, one had to perform several acts of daring. The tasks varied. They could involve jumping from the top branches of a tree overhanging the river, or the nabbing of a candy bar from the local market. The initiation process could even involve taking a puff of tree bark rolled in newspaper, or jumping a bike over an irrigation ditch.
We had to have a place to hang with our biker brothers, so we spent days building that sanctuary we called the clubhouse. It was not a pretty thing, but that rough structure that we built in the branches of that tree was our place. On any Saturday, you could find a line of similar bikes parked in a line under that clubhouse. No one but members of our group could hang out there.
Yes, we rolled as a pack. Some rode Schwinn Apple Krates, others rode Grey Ghosts. Some even rode custom built Stingrays. However, if you didn’t ride a Schwinn, you were not welcome. If you pedaled up on a Huffy, you could be in for a beating.
The colors? We wore them everywhere. We wanted everyone to know that we were a pack, and those colors were an intimidating symbol of our overall badness. You see, we all played on the same Little League team. Those who had attained an All-Star patch were in the top echelon of our club. For the record, if we caught a member of another team wearing his jersey in our neighborhood, there would be trouble.
Yes, I was an outlaw biker – but I outgrew it at the age of 12. I am told there are some who never outgrow it. Interesting.