Sex talk
Speaking of Bikers

Simon Sheppard,

There's nothing like spreading your legs for a big, throbbing...engine. Or at least, that's what bikers – and their fans – believe. For those whose idea of "studly" is perched on two wheels, the myth of the motorcyclist makes for magnificent masturbation.

It wasn't always so. Motorcycles have been around since the late 19th century, but it wasn't till after World War II that men began customizing their rides, and style as well as substance came to rule the roads. By the 1950s, when Marlon Brando donned leather for The Wild One, Harleys became synonymous with free-wheeling rebellion. And in those homophobic times, what could be more nonconformist than a taste for dick?

The hypermasculine myth of a dude on an Indian's saddle – testing his manly mettle against the rigors of the road, blowing into town, getting blown, and riding out again – was bound to generate homoerotic heat. The sexual outlaw met the road-rage renegade, artists like Tom of Finland sketched images of enormously endowed studs in biker gear, and stroke fiction has never been the same.

Motorcycles are no longer the exclusive province of ne'er-do-wells – the priciness of top-of-the-line Harleys virtually requires that their owners hold down day jobs. But while other Village-Peoplish erotic types, like the cowboy or the Native American, have seen popularity come and go, the gear-shifting guy retains his cock-hardening cachet.

"Basically," says one long-time observer of the scene, "there are two biker types. One is the scruffy rebel, the other the spit-and-polish leatherman. I'm the first sort, and when I go to leather bars in my well-worn gear and see some of the studs parading around in their uncreased chaps, I wonder how many of these guys have ever even been on a bike."

The reality of the rebel rider does have its limits; the Hells Angels, after all, are hardly known as campaigners for gay rights. So, early on, queer bikers formed their own alternative social structures, motorcycle clubs that went on "runs," sometimes for a day, sometimes for weekends or longer, and often with stops for roadside orgies. Though many feel that the heyday of those homosexual hellions has passed, a guy in club colors, cranking up his chopper, can still turn heads. "I know it may seem foolish," says one nonrider, "but when a man roars up on a motorcycle, my thoughts automatically turn to sex."

In some ways, bikes are unlikely erotic toys. For men who think of them as petrol-powered sexual signifiers, fashion accessories that roar, it's easy enough to incorporate the markers of motorcycling in a sex scene – just pull on a black leather jacket and peaked cap before you fuck.

Riding two-up, one man pressing his swollen crotch against the other's butt as they careen around curves, then reaching around and giving his buddy's basket a squeeze, has prompted many a freeway boner. But unless a Suzuki is safely on its kickstand, a saddle is a perilous spot for balls-out biker sex. Playing on a parked cycle may be tricky, but it can be done. "Once I went to this guy's garage," reminisces a randy fellow, "and the man – who was kind of a burly, bearded bear – pulled off his jeans and, with his boots still on, straddled his saddle while I went down on him. It was as hot as the pipes on a just-ridden bike."

Ready to ride? Sure, there are lesbian motorcycle clubs, and captains of industry and self-promoting TV stars may have joined Brando's bunch, but the macho lure of the open road is still strong. So gentlemen, start your engines. Keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down. And remember: Safe sex always – put your helmet on.

Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion

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