What 1% means to me?





1947, Hollister, California:

One of the first biker meetings ever went  down in history as a big scandal. Drinking, racing, stunts, fights (so a cosy bikerparty). The local population experienced it as if the bikers took over the entire town.

I don't believe the event itself was of great importance, but the media attention was enormous. The local and national press wrote it was a scandel.

In 1953 a movie came out based on this event , titled "The Wild One" starring  Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin:



The movie shows, in my personal opinion, very well that the conflict is based on mutual misunderstanding. A brilliant performance by Marlon Brando, as Johnny Stabler, in wich he refuses to be held responsible by the civilians of the town. He drives his personal freedom much further than the avarage civilian.  But also the civilians who did not want to accept the fact that the bikers act different from them.  The escalation came forward from the silence of Johnny on one hand and the excessive reaction of the civilians on the other hand.

The "American Motorcyclist Association", in short AMA, wrote in a statement about the Hollister-incident  that nobody needs to be worried. 99% of these bikers would go back to their normal dull lifes on monday.  The AMA called these 99% "law abiding citizens". This statement is repeated by several orher journalists.

A few bikers took the statement as a compliment and started to call themselves 1%. Not only 1%, but also words as outlaw-biker and even biker origined from this notorious weekend.

What does 1% mean to me?

Rules, laws, upbringing, experience, religion, friends, family, etc, etc influence your psyche. Everybody classifies themselves eventually and feels connected to others. Only  the degree of expression differs.

Everybody has favorite things to do. For most it stays a hobby, but others make it their lifestyle.

For me personal, it has always been riding my bike. There is no better feeling than seeing the road go by under your 2 wheels, the wind in your face, the power at your convenience literally by a twist of your hand, accelleration from a complete stop, sniffing the surroundings. To me, riding my bike is the ultimate feeling of freedom.




But if you park your bike you want to keep the feeling. Being with others like you. Being and expressing what you are and what you feel. Not only during the weekends, like most motorcyclists.  Maybe 1% means the most that you always are and want to be this way. 1% does not stop after sunday-night; when everybody goes back to work; when everybody puts up the mask or puts it off; when most of the people go up in the crowd like a grey mouse.

Also my experiences as a soldier in Lebanon had its influence. A half year with my buddies, together one job, al in green; other colors didn't matter.  I watch your back, you watch mine. Even under difficult circumstances you take care of each other. That creates a bond, a brotherhood. Back home it is not easy to re-addapt. People do not seem to care; are mosty involved with themselves. The only subject of conversation is Oprah and the weather. Real issues are silenced or answered by the classic "yeah, but what can we do about it?".


Your environment experiences you as a rebel. You, on the other hand, have the feeling that everybody pushes you away. You give your opinion, even if nobody asks; you don't accept people waving you away if you stand up for something. People think of you as aggressive if you raise your voice. They call you pigheaded if you make a stand.

Only amongst each other, with other 1%ers, your opinion is appreciated; your honesty and decisiveness valued;  Your work and vision make sense to them.

Civilians often look at 1%ers as criminals or a-social. Most of the time 1%ers are very social guys. Very often they work as caretakers. They care about people and act on it. 




Through the years 1% has grown to much more than a little group of rebel-bikers.

A 1%er is a man who lives and rides by a strikt code of honor. To the 1%er, his motorcycle is his life.

  • A 1%er does not LIE to, or CHEAT a Brother.

  • He has RESPECT for his Brothers and their Property.

  • He stands up for who he is and what he believes in.

  • He supports his Brothers against outsiders and helps them whenever he can.

  • A Brother NEVER takes advantage of another Brother. That is the creed of the citizin.

1% is not a patch; it's not a Club; it's WHO YOU ARE!