Others just don’t get it, and for that I feel sorry for them.

The camaraderie of motorcyclists is like nothing else – from waving to each other when riding past, stopping for a chat in a petrol station or café, to discussing where you’ve been and where you’re going to with other bikers on the ferry. Even random people come for a chat, give you a knowing smile or come and talk about the bike they used to own, the person they know who rides or the experiences they’ve had. There is no other community like it – it’s so wonderful and so powerful.

The motorcycle industry is different, too. Predominantly filled with motorcycle nuts instead of stiff-collared company execs, marketing luvvies or salesmen. Most meetings I have involve discussions about the latest bikes we’ve ridden, places we’ve been or new models coming, rather than discussing business. It’s a fantastic world we live in, all thanks to the two-wheeled mode of transport we decided to use instead of conforming with the masses.

During a recent South Island tour, it never failed to amaze me whenever we stopped that we’d almost instantly get involved in a conversation with random people, from an elderly lady telling us about her travels on the back of her husband’s bike when they were younger, to a random guy breaking out a number of motorcycle jokes while he filled up his Toyota Corolla.

I can’t think of any other past-time that is so engaging, even though we’re often viewed as the big, bad, scary users of the roads. Maybe, if the politicians could see just how much of a community motorcycling is, how much joy it brings to its members and the good that we do through fund raising, rallies and rides, how much we add to the GDP of the country through bike sales, accessory purchases and road tax, supporting business and industry, they might just stop treating us as third-class citizens. Wouldn’t that be great?

We need to make sure our government doesn’t go down the route of the Aussies, where motorcycling is on the verge of being outlawed. Not being able to ride in groups! What’s that about? Police behaviour bordering on harassment as they stop you just for riding a bike! And no motorcycle rallies! Think about having no more Cold Kiwi, Brass Monkey and all the other rallies that are so popular and do so much good…

We need to make sure we keep an eye on what the government is doing, and if we don’t like it, stand up for our rights. I’m not meaning aggressively, but by demonstrating to others just how good motorcycling is. My 15-year-old daughter is amping to get her bike license, as is the daughter of our neighbour. Motorcycling, despite all the editorial to the contrary, is still popular and the youth are getting it. Okay, the bikes they’re looking at aren’t what us oldies are keen on, but they get the fun, the freedom, the belonging and, above all, the cool factor. That’s what it’s always been about, right?

We aren’t on the ropes yet, but we need to make sure that our voices are heard. So, get out there, get riding, get talking and get online. Keep in touch with your local politician and let them know what’s going on in your area. Join a club, invite them or invite some newbies. There’s strength in numbers. We just need to make sure we do everything to keep our numbers up.