x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

In the two-wheeled community, riders make the destinations

The biker community will always be different to that of their four-wheeling brethren, and Neil Vorano is proud to be a member.

Ugh. It's starting to get hot; really hot. As I sit outside under a shade writing this column, I can feel a bead of sweat trickling down my back. And I just can't help but think that my days of motorcycling this year are quickly dwindling.

And that's too bad; I was looking forward to more off-road adventures in Hatta, or night cruises on the Corniche here in Abu Dhabi. I was even thinking about bringing my bike down to check out the new Biker Cafe in Dubai sometime, but that might have to wait for a few months.

But the cafe ride isn't all that high on my priority list right now. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of congregating with other motorcyclists. It's just that we never really need an official spot to do it.

Bikers are, shall I say, a different lot. For a number of reasons, there is an undeniable bond between them. Perhaps it's the fact that they all face a danger on the road not shared with people wrapped in steel cages on four wheels; perhaps it's because they've all found the skills, nuances and - let's be honest - courage necessary to keep a motorcycle up on two wheels. Perhaps it's even the fact that they enjoy a certain "bad boy (or girl)" reputation, deserved or not, just because they ride a bike.

But whatever the reasons, this bond just pulls them together. Travel out to Hatta early on any Friday and you'll be swarmed with packs of motorcyclists, eager for the twisting asphalt that is so rare in this country, or the dirt tracks and wadis for the adventure bikers. You don't find that with car drivers; it's like a support group.

In North America, we even have what's known as the "biker's wave" - two fingers below the left handlebar to quietly acknowledge a passing motorcyclist. (I've even tried it here, but I don't think the motorcycle delivery guys get it.) It's all part of being in the "inner sanctum" of motorcyclists.

So I'm sure you'll see plenty of bikers outside of the Biker Cafe on any given night. But bikers never really need to be told "this is the place"; they'll find them on their own for various reasons.

In fact, when the famous Ace Cafe opened in London in the 1930s, it didn't advertise itself as a "biker's" destination; it just so happened that its location, right on the North Circular road, was perfect for a stop after a ride. Add to that the new-fangled rock 'n' roll music it began playing in the 1950s, and it became the place to be seen for young UK bikers.

I'll eventually get my bike to the new cafe in Dubai, when it cools down a bit (sad to think about that right now), and I'm sure there will be a row of gleaming bikes and friendly riders lounging there. But I'll also join my fellow bikers at that little hole in the wall in the village of Hatta for some lovely Pakistani fare on one of our rides; or I'll stop for a juice at the car museum on the way to Liwa; or I'll share a hot coffee and a packaged croissant with the crowd that gathers on Friday mornings at the Dragon Mart petrol station.

You see, it's not so much about the place, but the people.