This project focused on the motorcycle culture as evidenced in the definition of motorcycling brotherhood, the role of women in motorcycle culture, branding, and construction of self-identity. This study is intended to provide an in-depth analysis of these four areas for every-day bikers rather than outlaw motorcycle gangs. Previous research to date has focused on the culture and context of brotherhood among outlaw motorcycle gangs. I use these four sections to determine what the everyday bikers understanding of brotherhood is, what women's current place is in motorcycle culture compared to men, the effects of branding and logos on motorcyclists, and how motorcyclists create their selfhood based upon these brands and logos. I attempt to determine if alienation is a prevalent theme or theory for the everyday biker. I found that out of 21 respondents interviewed, 10 Harley Riders and 11 non-Harley Riders, social psychology is a more prevalent explanation for why motorcyclists choose to ride. Most of the bikers I interviewed stated that they ride because it provided a sense of adventure, it could free their mind temporarily, it felt like freedom, they felt like one with nature or the world, it was a great hobby, and most of all it allowed them to practice and share in social relationships. I also found that while women riders have grown in numbers over the years, patriarchy still exists and masculinity still dominates the motorcycling scene. Brotherhood is also found to be related to the biker code. Overall, motorcyclists still believed it is important to help out their fellow brother on two wheels rather than to worry about the brand of bike or type of bike they ride.


Emily Boyd

Committee Member

Paul Prew

Committee Member

Elizabeth Sandell

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology and Corrections


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License