Feb 2020

The biker culture has given itself to numerous articles and stories in which, many times, we do not know where the fantasy ends and augmented reality makes its way. There are many stories that often go unnoticed by the vast majority of motorcycle users, but for a small large minority it can become the light beam to follow. Today, we are going to talk about this 1%.

It is true that times are changing and the world has narrowed in terms of rules, laws, provisions, etc. But it is also true that without a framework that regulates some practices, coexistence between equals would be very difficult. Nowadays, seeing a person with a 1% patch stitched in his leather jacket does not have the same connotation that he had during the 1950s, 60s and 70s, but that halo of going against the world and its laws, surely fuels his ego and way of life.

The 1% patch with its rhomboidal frame is born as a result of an event that we located in Hollister (California), where the riot of a group of bikers brought a counterrevolution into fashion that quickly spread among the motorcycle enthusiast community of the epoch. The story amplified by a photographer and the Life Magazine, made the AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) spread a statement defending most motorcyclists with a phrase that became lapidary: “99% of bikers are respectful of the laws and those who caused the riots represent only 1% of American bikers”. Automatically, those outsiders who did not feel represented with the definition of 99%, remained the percentage assigned to them as motto.

The consequence was that they began to frequent clubs and associations that under that emblem declared themselves as outlaws of a somewhat elitist association for the time. A shout of rebellion for the establishment. Let’s not forget that a part of American youth was a quite traumatic historical framework, in those years between 50 and 70. End of World War II, the Korean War, Indochina, Vietnam… A whole breeding ground for those who knew the greatest atrocities and that made them be back from everything.

The cinema also had something to say about it. The movie The Wild One, with Marlon Brando, had its moment of glory explaining those events in California. The iconic image of the actor riding a Triumph Thunderbird 6T with his hat and Ray Ban glasses left its mark on a whole generation.

Nowadays, those who carry this symbol do so longing for a desire for freedom and not belonging to the masses, and not for being involved in vandalism or illegal activities.