A Segment Of The Motorcycling Scene That Endangers Us All
Squid– Any of an order of cephalopods having eight short arms and two usually longer tentacles, a long tapered body, a caudal fin on each side, and usually a slender internal chitinous support. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Squid– Any of an order of motorcycle riders who have few if any true riding skills, no training, and no common sense. They often wear little or no protective gear, ride extremely recklessly, and crash often. Basically, they possess way more bike and balls than brains. (Rob’s Riding Dictionary)
Returning home from town the other day, I was witness to a “squid” couple on a blacked-out, swingarm stretched, and open-piped Yamaha R1. The “pilot” wore shredded, holey blue jeans with white sneakers, a grinning skull bandana covering his face, and a non-DOT spiked “Kaiser” helmet. His passenger, a rather portly young lady, wore a good full-face helmet (admirable), but tight shorts, a tank top, and sandals (not admirable). They turned right at the light, and nearly lifting the front wheel off the pavement, he loudly rocketed away, his girl clinging for dear life. “Pair of squids,” I grumbled aloud.
The term “squid” appears to be a contraction of the phrase, “squirrelly kid”, often applied to reckless young bucks and chicks who ride high-powered sport bikes. I’ve heard guys use the moniker, “school of squids” to identify those groups of riders who blast down the interstates, riding wheelies, standing on their seats, “stunting” as they call it, recording each other to upload videos to the web.
I’ve witnessed their antics at local bike nights as well. They roar in as a thundering herd, revving their throttles, belching flame and smoke from chopped pipes, helmets pushed back up on their foreheads, wearing obscene t-shirts, shorts, and a few even with bright colored laceless high-tops. Doing burnouts in the parking lots, they make sure everyone is watching them, whether arriving or departing. Squids in the extreme.
Squids come in all shapes, sizes, and bike types.
So, might you be (God forbid) a squid yourself?
Some “Squid Logic”, courtesy of our friends at BikeBandit.com-
You might be a squid if:
- You don’t have a license because the DMV test is “just retarded” and has nothing to do with “real riding.”
- When you “gear up” for a ride, you put on sunglasses and gloves, because gear makes you “look like a douche”. Besides, how else can babes see your biceps?
- You know that proper body position means squished fully forward in the seat, heels hooked on your pegs, and toes splayed outward, because that’s what the most experienced riders in your crew do.
- You think the most wonderful sound a motorcycle can make is “bouncing off the rev limiter”.
- You have a mohawk on your helmet and/or spikes on your bike.
- You ride with an action cam so you can post the crazy stuff you do on YouTube…besides, cops can’t “prove” it was you in the video, can they?
- You rev the crap out of your engine to get other driver’s attention (besides, horns are so lame.)
- When you see another rider on the street, your first thoughts are about how much cooler you look than him.
- Your plan when you get your tax refund is to finally fix that crash damage you didn’t tell the insurance company about.
- Your motorcycle training course consisted of the salesperson at the dealership showing you how to use a clutch.
- The first piece of motorcycle gear you invested in was sunglasses that match your bike.
- You think the proper way to warm up your tires before a ride is a quick, smoky burnout.
- You rev your engine constantly to keep it running because the idle is so choppy (but really it’s to let people know you’ve arrived).
Yes, squidery is not exclusively the domain of the male persuasion.
So, if you find yourself displaying any of these squid-like symptoms, is the condition treatable? Alas, there indeed is hope, if you are willing to accept a few remedies.
GEAR UP– Sure, your awesome tattoos may deserve to be on public display for all to see. But if you want to preserve rather than lose them to months of agonizing skin grafts, wear protective jackets, gloves, trousers, and boots. Oh, and protect your cranium with a DOT-approved (even better, a Snell-rated) helmet, not one of those novelty “brain-buckets” that wouldn’t be worth much more than an egg shell in the event you go down.
GET TRAINING– taking a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) rider course is a must, for any rider. They offer beginner courses, experienced rider courses, and advanced rider courses. Several brands offer MSF-partnered courses themselves, such as Harley-Davidson, Honda, and Yamaha. In many states and with numerous companies, riders showing proof of completing a class are eligible for insurance discounts as well. And track days/track schools will improve one’s street skills too.
USE YOUR GREY MATTER– Being a show-off on a motorcycle isn’t “bitchin’,” it’s stupid. Sure, stunting, wheelies & stoppies, burn-outs, etc. may look cool to your (squid) friends. Yet to the rest of us who believe in riding responsibly, you give us all a bad name- with motorists, neighbors, the cops, and lawmakers. That affects all of us. Be smart and use your head for more than just a (novelty) helmet rack.
The sport of motorcycling continues to be enjoyed across America, in all genres, even in these difficult times. Sadly, so is the “squid” population. I see them at bike nights, out on the streets, and up in the mountains north of my home. I refuse to ride with them, not only for my reputation, but for my safety as well. I only pray they live long enough to learn and mature a little bit, so they can enjoy a lifetime of responsible riding. That’s certainly my plan.
*photos gathered from across social media, where these particular clowns have become quite (in)famous for their antics.
Sorry, couldn’t resist sharing one more.
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I was riding north on I-85 Sunday afternoon… and traffic was flowing at close to 80 mph! I was actually going slower than the traffic, because I was flying a couple of large Flags from a political event. So 65 mph was my top speed without damaging the flags.
Suddenly about 10 bikes showed up as they cut between cars and zig-zagged across 2 or 3 lanes at the time, with no signals of course, as they filtered thru 4 lanes of moderate traffic. And they had to be going at around 100mph… No safety gear, T-shirts or short-sleeve sport shirts, un-tucked, and blowing up their backs from the wind, as they sailed past me. Although I NEVER do “Stunts”, I DO do an occasional Track Day… and for a moment, I felt a temptation to roll on the throttle and chase after them for a spell… but I knew the flags would never survive. And, of course, the street is no place for 3-digit speeds. But it was ‘interesting’ that I had that urge to twist the throttle… My inner-child seemed to want to show them… “Hey, Look! I can ride at 170 mph+ !!”
The difference was that my Functioning Brain said NO.
I’ve experienced that too, out on my little Triumph Bonney. Tempted to show them “punks” that real motorcyclists can out-ride them, but then reminding myself that real motorcyclists don’t behave that way. So like you, I dialed it back, rode safe.
Maybe I’m just getting a bit crotchety in my old age, lol!