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Apr 25, 2007

Updated: Street Squids, Explained

FIRST PERSON/OPINION

Via e-mail:

The squid (motorcyclown squidus) is found for the most part in the northern hemisphere and tends to be most active during the warmer months in temperate climates. Although he comes in all shapes and colors, he can generally be identified by certain specific behaviors that we have been able to map out after studying him for about 15 years.

The squid has a very high opinion of himself. "Modesty" is generally not part of his vocabulary and he often believes that his skills, knowledge and experience level make him something to be admired or at the very least, respected.

The squid generally has a fascination with horsepower. In many instances, the obsession is inversely proportional to his actual skill level. However, in the depths of the ocean, skill seems to be measured by the ability to twist the throttle in sixth gear on the interstate. So obviously, the squid can feel his skills grow as he buys increasingly faster motorcycles.

The squid is often the best friend of the sales manager, and the worst nightmare of the service department. The parts guy generally has mixed feelings. Indeed, the squid often needs the most expensive accessories to match his awesome skill level. However, the squid also says things like "I need a piston for a blue Yamaha" which signal to the parts guy that the next 15 minutes are not going to be fun.

The squid has rituals, generally weekly, which are repeated throughout the riding season and become a major part of his life. They often involve cruising and hanging out on two or three crowded streets on weekends. Like South Street, in Philadelphia. Very little happens during those gatherings which for the most part have an excitement level that ranks somewhere between that of watching paint dry and watching golf on TV. The squid generally stands next to his motorcycle and answers questions from curious passersby. Generally, "how fast can it go?"

The squid loves the Internet. It is generally the best place for him to spread his knowledge and tell people how ignorant they are. He can often be identified early by specific items in his signature line. Buzzwords such as "fender eliminator kit" or "flush mounted turn signals." Indeed, those are considered essential modifications to any self-respecting squid and must be mentioned as part of his signature line.

The only people a squid shows any kind of respect for are racers of the Isle of Man TT. On occasion, the squid allows himself to be impressed with some Superbike or Grand Prix racers, even though going through the same corners over and over is not very manly and must be, to the squid's thinking, rather boring even though he has actually never been on a racetrack himself. But not those pussies on the little 125cc and 250cc bikes with the foreign-sounding names. The squid often seems to have information coming directly from the major factories involved in racing. His statements are to be considered factual and anything else will be met with a healthy dose of aggressiveness (and e-gangsta threats on motorcycle forums).

It should be noted, for the sake of accuracy, that not all street riders are squids. Far from it, actually. But the vast majority of squids are street riders, although some squids have been known to purchase a racing license for the sole purpose of increasing their credibility on the street.

Papa A. Thiam, Director
Monaco Oceanographic Institute
Paris, France



Papa Thiam is a former motorcycle racer with first-hand experience why Airfence and other soft barriers are a good thing to have in front of an embankment outside a fast corner. He is also a former resident of, and street rider in, Philadelphia, and his writing has been previously published in Roadracing World as well as in Sport Rider magazine..Editor.




And now some reader reaction:

FIRST PERSON/OPINION

Via e-mail:

As a continuation"¦"¦..

Squids also invariably ride with jeans and t-shirts or tank tops only.

Jackets are never optional. Full leathers are expensive, so they are deemed not necessary.

Squids usually never have a clue about which rider is involved in what series: Max Biaggi is now in AMA, Mat Mladin is in MotoGP, Dani Pedrosa is in BSB. (British Superbike). Knowledge is POWER!! (Sarcastic)

Squids believe that because they can do a good or excellent wheelie that this translates to "knowing how to ride"

Squids usually conduct lanesplitting at an incredibly ridiculous pace thinking they will NEVER get hit.

Squids will usually buy the best liter bike available then either wreck it or run it into the ground before putting on some decent mileage.

When said squid buys the latest and greatest why do they spend $100 on the cheapest helmet with the "coolest" graphics?

Could it be that they don't believe an Arai, Suomy, Shoei, etc. is necessary because it's expensive?

Just my 2 cents, but hey what do I know? I'm just a guy who has been riding for a number of years, been involved in an accident before and respects the road, the track and racers who make the sport what it is.

Squids respect "Biker Boyz" and "Torque"

Maurice Thune
Anaheim, California




FIRST PERSON/OPINION

Via e-mail:

I love it, finally someone writes a commentary on the nature and behavior of Street Squids, who happen to be a big pet peeve of mine. Living 2 blocks behind MMI in Phoenix, I am surrounded by them. Papa nailed it head on but lets not forget that the Street Squid also thinks that they are invincible and thus, does not need any protective gear such as a helmet, long sleeve shirt or pants. Or if they own a helmet, it's attached to the passenger seat (assumably because it offers them more protection there than on their head) Around here, especially in the summer, you can find them with no helmet, tank tops, shorts and often time, flip flops. And I've also found that Street Squids that own Suzuki GSXR models all call them Gixxers. I don't know why but I've never like the way that sounds. Calling a Ducati a Duc I can handle but Gixxer? It's a GSXR, not a Gixxer. Here's hoping that Suzuki never coins that nickname in any of their advertising for any of the GSXR models.

Anyways, I just had to write in and say Props to Papa - it made me laugh and I'm with ya 100%!!

Dorina Groves
Phoenix, Arizona



Dorina Groves worked as the Media Manager For the AMA Superbike Series in 2002...Editor.