Every religion needs at least one holiday. Zen Bikerism is no exception.
This holiday does not involve fasting. It doesn’t involve sackcloth and ashes, celibacy, or any other restrictions, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
This is a holiday of beer, pizza, bikes, and brotherhood. (Which, as always, is here used as a unisex term.)
I established the major holiday of Zen Bikerism four years ago, and it has enjoyed popular success among my local brethren. This holiday is known as Biker Movie Night (even though it lasts all day) and is celebrated on the first Saturday in April. This date was chosen because Saturday is a day most of us had off, and April is, here in the American Northeast, the month when Canada finally stops funneling its excess winter weather over the border and we can see a time when we may ride again.
The celebration is simple: you get some food, get some beer, get some friends, and sit around watching biker movies all damn day. Great cinematic triumphs such as The Wild One, Hell’s Angels On Wheels, or Hell Ride.
Anything that is soaked in the glory that is the world created by these magnificent machines. A world of fun, of freedom, of understanding and comradeship. High-budget, low-budget, doesn’t matter. Doesn’t even have to be a club movie. Last year my riding buddies and I watched the Harley and the Davidsons miniseries and a handful of documentaries about the Sturgis Rally.
However, let it be known by all: Easy Rider is not a biker movie, and therefore does not belong on this list, nor in the collection of any right-thinking person. Let it further be known, that Hell has a very special place indeed reserved for the scoundrel known as “Peter Fonda.” LOQUOR EX CATHEDRA.
The Pope cancelled Easter this year, because of the pandemic restrictions. You might think that I would spend the rest of this post lamenting that I must do the same.
If you do think that, then you have not been paying attention. My hat has a DOT endorsement, whereas the Pope’s does not.
Biker Movie Night is still on.
And in a way, it is good, that it must be celebrated under less than ideal conditions. Remember that we are composed of three elements: the body, yes, but also the mind and the spirit.
It is the spirit which we celebrate today.
The body may be sequestered, but the spirit of freedom, the spirit of fun, the spirit of brotherhood, the joy of individual expression, these are things which make the being known as biker, and these are the things which are unconstrained by any physical restriction. These things may be seen in others, shared with others, but they exist within us as individuals, and no medical precaution or civil injunction can so much as breathe upon any one of them.
That is what we celebrate, on this day.
When, later this evening I watch the Rifftrax version of Stone Cold and pop a cold one while eating chicken with my bare hands, I will know that at that moment I am united in the Love of the Ride with millions of people across the globe, no matter where they are, or what they are doing at that moment, whether or not they are in the room with me. That is beautiful, baby!
That, is the Truth.
And the Truth rides a motorcycle.