Saturday, June 30, 2018

Interview With A Biker - Martin Thibault By Jessie Lambert

Martin Thibault & His Faithful Harley-Davidson
Bikers feel that riding a motorcycle brings fulfillment to their lives. In this project, I would like to understand why it is so important to them. The biker I have chosen would prefer to remain anonymous due to personal reasons. For this paper, we will call him John. The reason I chose him is because he has been riding motorcycles for over 20 years, and has never stopped even after having 2 kids. He is in his late 40s, he has been married for around 15 years and has 2 girls who are in their late teenage years. He is not part of any group or organization, he rides his motorcycle mainly for fun and to get around. John is very passionate about the topic I have chosen to discuss with him because he truly believes that riding a motorcycle bring a lot of happiness to his life. By the end of this project, I would like to understand the role of motorcycles in a biker’s life. I will be interviewing John on the start of his motorcycle experience, the link between his motorcycle and his family life, and of the passion he feels about riding.

Martin Thibault Atop His Harley-Davidson
I asked John the general questions about riding. He decided to learn to ride a bike when he was 23 years old. He is now 48, so it has been 25 years. What made him decide to drive a motorcycle was watching his friends in college take their lessons. When his friends started riding their own motorcycles, John thought it looked fun and he needed a car, so he thought riding a bike was a good alternative. Two years later, he obtained his license. To this day, John rides a Harley Davidson FLHTI 1450 2007. I asked him if he was ever scared of riding a motorcycle, and he answered, “I have never gotten into a severe accident, but I did witness my friend hitting a deer, which put him in the hospital for a few weeks. After this incident, it did scare me to get on a bike because you start to realize how dangerous it is and that you are not invincible. It didn’t stop me from getting back on my motorcycle, but it did make me be more careful.”

When I asked him with who he preferred to ride, he answered, “I often ride alone to get around, for example, go to work or do my errands, but when I want to ride around for fun, I like to go with my two friends who are also bikers with families, or even with my wife in the back.” His two girls aren’t very interested in biking. He used to drive around with them when they were around 10 up until 14 years old. Now that they are older and have their own cars, they don’t ride around with him. “My wife doesn’t ride a motorcycle, but she loves to drive with me as a passenger in the back. We even go ride just for fun sometimes.” I asked him how having a family affected his relationship with his motorcycle. He answered, “Having children did keep me from riding my motorcycle. I didn’t have much time to go ride for fun with my friends, and when I had to go somewhere with my young kids, I had to use the car. My family is the most important thing in my life so taking a break from my bike didn’t really matter to me. Family always comes first. As my kids got older, I found myself using my bike a lot more.”

American Bagger
When I asked John how riding a motorcycle affected his life, he replied, “I have never felt passionate to any kind of activity before riding a motorcycle. The bike brings happiness to my life. Apart from my family, my bike is the thing in my life I am most passionate about. It has affected my life in all sorts of ways.” He explained that the thing that made him feel so passionate about riding motorcycles is the way he feels connected to the bike. “You are in charge of everything on your bike. The speed, the balance, the breaks and the clutch. When you ride, you become one with the machinery. That is the thing I like most about riding”. And the last question I asked him was how he would feel if he could never ride his motorcycle again, he replied, “I feel like I would lose a piece of myself along with the motorcycle. I am so attached to the feeling it gives me when I ride and to the connection I have with my bike. My life just wouldn’t be fulfilled without it.” These answers show just how much motorcycles mean to John. It proves that motorcycles can mean something bigger to people than we can imagine.

With my biker, I have explored the basic motorcycle information, the link between his family and his riding, and the passion he feels for this activity. I think that I could have gone deeper into his family life instead of asking him some of the general question since he has a beautiful family that he is very close to. My goal for this project was to understand the role of motorcycles in a biker’s life and the reason why it brings them as much joy as it does because to be honest, I didn’t quite understand before starting this project. I think that with my questions and John’s answers, I understand now the positive impact that motorcycles have in a biker’s life. 


A special thank you to Martin Thibault for his time and for sharing his story with me. I enjoyed speaking to you very much.

About Jessie Lambert

Jessie Lambert studied at Champlain College Lennoxville located in Quebec, Canada. Interview With A Biker - Martin Thibault was written as part of a class activity for a course titled Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Studies in the Department of Humanities.

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