Notes: Bikers in Hong Kong (Pt 3)

Tuesday 7 February 2012, 3.00pm HKT

From Part 2

4. Hong Kong bikers come in two (and only two) flavours:

  • those who ride as working transport (deliverymen, couriers, repairmen, etc)
  • those who ride for ‘image’

Let’s skip the working-transport bikers. There’s nothing interesting to write about them, other than that they’re the best drivers on the road.

If you’re a ‘one percenter’ (i.e. outlaw biker), I highly recommend you give these hardworking folks a wide berth. Obstruct their livelihood and you’ll receive a manually applied ‘facial UNrecognition software installation,’ namsayin’?

Only the ignorant, the socially isolated, the intellectually geared, and the media-driven fool with too much time on their respective hands imagine there is biker gang stereotype applicable to Hong Kong.

There is NO biker gang ‘thing’ in Hong Kong — read on to find out why. Stop being such a pretentious ignoramus noob.

Believe it or not, there are lots of people here who don’t know what a Ferrari is, much less what the hell a biker is — let alone what a biker gang is. Råtta encountered just such a Ferrari-challenged person in a job interview yesterday.

(I find people who tend to use the word ‘sustainable’ rather frequently tend to think there is a biker gang ‘thing’ in Hong Kong. Just something I noticed, and I’m not particularly arsed to find out why.)

Here’s a short story on MSNBC about Hong Kong bikers that should show you why we have no biker gangs, thank you very much. And another short story by one local university on the makeup of our homegrown biker gangs, if you can call them that. Both make for embarrassing reading.

Our kind of ‘biker gang’


5. Our bikers know but don’t ‘get it’ about the biker image. Not really.

Our ‘image’ bikers try very hard to emulate that ‘easy rider’ look or counterculture feel so famously portrayed in the 1969 movie “Easy Rider.”

And they get it mostly wrong.

It's Car City here - even with a 120% tax rate

Which means these people aren’t very observant or know how to watch a movie properly. (Now you know why 80% of any Chinese person you meet wear spectacles.)

They know what and where to get customisation parts for their machines — usually for four times the original American or British price.

They know what gear to wear — again, mostly from Tokyo for seven times the original American or British price.

But, again, there’s always something not quite right about their parts and wearables — something’s always a bit off.

That’s because Hong Kong is a ‘car’ city. We’ve never really had ‘real’ bikers to begin with because officialdom long prevented the popularity of motorbikes in favour of the higher tax revenue obtainable from cars.

Which leads to hearing this kind of conversation taking place:

Him: Darling, be my girlfriend. I will buy you a nice car, so you have something better and not have to drive that motorcycle and eat dust.

Her: So, a car is bigger, so it must be better than a bike, right?

Him: Bigger has to be better, of course!

Her: Then why don’t you buy me a bus?! Bigger is better, right?

(An actual convo. I just LOL’d in front of them just to rub it for the guy’s embarrassment. Muahahahaha!!!)

He ain’t an ‘easy rider,’ I’m telling you, man


6. That’s a Death Metal Goth look you’ve got there, dimwit.

We actually believe The Right Look is that of Alice Cooper having gotten a Bangkok-style sex change at a 7-Eleven run by AC/DC on barbituates covering Michael Jackson on speed. Srsly.

Telltale signs:

  • Black T-shirt with goth or death-metal insignias
  • Punk zip-up boots with 2-inch platform soles
  • Black ‘drainpipe’ cargo pants with red tartan embellishments
  • Chrome wallet chains and safety pins.
  • Mod-style leather jackets with knitted cuffs and bottoms (huh?!)
  • Prada and Louis Vuitton bags (what the—?!)

About the only thing Hong Kong bikers sort of get it right are the Ray-Ban shades. But, again, you’ll see people barely out of their 20s wearing them, when everybody knows Ray-Bans are for dudes and dudesses over 40, preferably 50.

Why? (You have to ask why?!?) Because our received biking wisdom chiefly comes from Japan, a.k.a. The Land That Gave Us ‘Weird’ Since 1957.

That should tell you everything you need to know about our Hong Kong biker culture. The real biker stuff from America, Britain, Australia or wherever just go right over our heads, to be perfectly honest.

Personally, I wear two types of biker shades. For fun, it’s the Janis Joplin-style cryospheres from the Sixties. For cool, it’s the smaller, fully circular Dickensian types from the Seventies — like the ones worn by John Lennon. Both are the Real McCoy flavours for non-gang chopper riders who are skinny and scrawny (me!) or big-sized. Don’t wear them if you’re fat (and fat means fat in my book.)

Be nice, be right — she’s a bike babe, not a race queen


Carry on to Part 4

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.

Images: Biker gang via Greenpeace ♦ Luxury cards via EwhoKnow ♦ Gang biker via Hair in the Wind ♦ Bike babe via Phuket-info.

4 Responses to “Notes: Bikers in Hong Kong (Pt 3)”

  1. Ed Hurst said

    I seem to recall during my stay in Europe, there were gangs of stupid youthful thugs, but they all rode mopeds.


    • Yeah, I know what you’re talking about. They’re “Mods” (modernists) – the subculture that originated in London in the 60s, fighting with the punks, skinheads, rockers and teddy boys in the 70s, and transformed in the “chavs” in the 90s or 2000s.

      They’re the bunch that rode mopeds and scooters, and wore anoraks with that RAF emblem on the back. They’re worse than the patch club bikers because they’re mostly out of control even without the aid of criminality or drugs.

      I don’t really know about the patch club guys in America, but the patch club types in the UK at least would eff off when told to eff off by little old (white) ladies who run small businesses.


  2. Ed Hurst said

    Some of my friends from days past were members of such patch bearing clubs. I think they would leave the old lady alone unless they had a bone to pick in the first place. That’s unless, of course, there is some reason to play head games with her. They quit looking for trouble a long time ago, probably sometime in the mid-70s. The core members became middle-aged and rather middle class. But they do guard their turf with alacrity and a nastiness we could hardly imagine, even worse than their previous famous exploits in the field of violence.


    • Hmm, that sounds a heck of a lot like the Brit patchers, especially the bit about becoming middle-classy. I think what really ‘did in’ the Brit patchers was seeing their kids turn first into punks (the subculture that patcher hate intensely) and then finally into chavs (which they hate and are scared of even more intensely). And then it scared them even more to hear themselves complain, “What’s wrong with kids today?!”


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