It Ain't the Center of the Apple, Chester!


A Collection of Articles from the Archives of

Harry G. Pellegrin

Novelist and Musician


Read on, my man!

Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx





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 what’s it mean anyway?  According to the dictionary, it apparently has no meaning.  My book doesn’t 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 it’s 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 -- it’s 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 let’s 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 haven’t 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 don’t 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 don’t 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.  That’s all because of your handiwork as well as, actually more importantly, your dedication to elevating riding to its highest art, something Mr. Smith couldn’t 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) he’s 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 -- it’s the sacred domain of the true elect.

Why the hardcore fervor in my writing?  Well, as I write this, its 1AM and I’ve 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.  Couldn’t 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 he’d have thought if his genre had been sportbikes.  I must admit, the harder-core the sportbike is, and the less likely you’ll find me wanting to ride it in a blizzard.  But on a pretty dry forty-degree night?  I’m 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 wasn’t 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 they’re not predicting any more snow until Saturday night! I won’t be out riding then.


Harry G. Pellegrin


LOW END is Published by Bedside Books, an imprint of American Book Publishing.

ISBN 1-58982-074-6

LOW ENDCopyright 2003 Harry G. Pellegrin

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