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Hardcore--What does it
mean? The term is bandied
about quite a bit by people who either wish to
define a lifestyle, cause, or phenomenon and also
those who might wish to ascribe to, assimilate or
merely mimic those same lifestyles, causes or
phenomena. I read an article in a non-mainstream
motorcycle periodical that raised this question
and more than intelligently answered it. Allow me
to share what I read and add a bit to it.
Hardcore. So whats it mean anyway?
According to the dictionary, it apparently has no
meaning. My book doesnt list the
word. I read somewhere that the word can be
easily defined by finding the precise meanings of
the two root words it is created from. Hard: firm
and unyielding, difficult to understand or do,
impervious to penetration, resistant to change.
Core: central, immovable, vital, the most
important part. I like that. The term
hardcore as an unyielding, impervious,
difficult-to-understand central vitality.
What do you think of when you see or hear the
term? Usually its used to describe the very
essence, heart and soul, of a committed attitude.
Yeah, I think it is an attitude -- but not like
an attitude that is copped -- its a
commitment that has its roots deep within the
psychological makeup of the true hardcore
believer. What do you think of as a Hardcore
Biker? Sure, inch-deep road grime,
sunburned skin, sweat-salted leather, a huge
hulking man astride an equally impressive machine
-- one that looks as if it's gone a million miles
-- since breakfast, that is. And it probably has.
Those are the outward appearances. Appearances
can be contrived, so lets see the attitude
(which should never be contrived.) These
Appearances conceptions are probably (if you are
an average citizen) linked to some Wild One-esque
image of beer, tattoos, crime, beer, raping and
pillaging, beer, burn-puts, wheelies, and, oh did
I mention the beer? Mention anyone else
associated with the term hardcore. It sends
people into paroxysms of extremist hyperbole.
Hardcore Survivalist? Hmmm, must desire to
overthrow the government and kill all Blacks,
Hispanics and Jews. Hardcore Liberal? Hmmm,
bleeding heart proponent of a welfare state.
Hardcore Christian? Easy: David Koresh;
enough said. I personally havent seen
anything that would lead me to believe he had a
clue as to what the term means. The point
being, that the term Hardcore is usually
derogatory in usage -- and the stereotype or
defining values invariably incorrect.
Are you Hardcore? Probably. First
off, you read an alternative sportbiker
publication such as this. (Actually, I can't
really think of any other truly alternative
sportbiker periodicals out there.) This can only
lead to one or two conclusions about you as well.
One, you dont necessarily follow the norm.
Two, you probably sit at work and think about
your bike -- and then, unlike your soft core
wannabe counterpart you actually go out and ride
when you get home -- until midnight. You
probably rode to work as well. Your weekends?
Spent with a wrench, screwdriver, or possibly a
torch in your hands making that bike just a
little bit better than it was the day before, and
gobs better than as delivered from the dealer.
Three, you dont care what Mr. Smith next
door is riding. Not in the sense that after
seeing his shiny new bike, you just have to run
out and buy one just like it. Yeah, new
technology is great, but you still feel that with
maybe a fork transplant or a port and polish, you
could still kick his rear end on a Sunday morning
flog. Thats all because of your
handiwork as well as, actually more importantly,
your dedication to elevating riding to its
highest art, something Mr. Smith couldnt
really care less about -- as long as he gets his
bacon back and forth to the bar on a Saturday
afternoon (sunny, warm and dry of course) hes
absolutely happy. Mr. Smith probably thinks of
you as an extremist, probably whacko, and
definitely a threat to his nice tame concept of
motorcycling. Sorry to tell all the Mr. Smiths of
the world, but motorcycling is not for the
talented amateur -- unless he or she is just
passing through that stage -- its the
sacred domain of the true elect.
Why the hardcore fervor in my writing? Well,
as I write this, its 1AM and Ive just
ridden home from work. It's forty degrees
(not all that cold) and threatening rain. I
saw at least a zillion cars on the way home, but
not one other motorcycle. Not one. Now
I realize that working the hours I do, most
people (motorcyclists as well, even the hardcore)
are home in bed. But I refuse to believe
that out of all those cars I saw, not one of
their drivers also owns a motorcycle. Couldnt
be, statistically speaking. I mean
somebody besides me must own a bike! There has
been lots of discussion lately about a famous
motorcycle personality stating that motorcycles
are recreational, not transportational. He
was speaking of standard motorcycles -- imagine
what hed have thought if his genre had been
sportbikes. I must admit, the harder-core
the sportbike is, and the less likely youll
find me wanting to ride it in a blizzard. But
on a pretty dry forty-degree night? Im
there. That in and of itself, of course,
does not really make me a Hardcore, but it either
makes me a.) insane or b.) trying to get saddle
time in no matter what may come (just a slight
chill and no precip. -- so I wasnt all that
tough.) Well, at least riding season is here.
Dave and Carol Pahl's Advanced Cycle is open,
which to me is a sure fire indicator, and theyre
not predicting any more snow until Saturday
night! I wont be out riding then.
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2003 Harry G. Pellegrin
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