The first time I ever heard of this term was during a Saturday morning filled with copious amounts of cartoons and a bowl of cereal. Rocket Power came onto the tube and the rest was history as they say. Actually it was more of an experience watching a bunch of animated twelve year old doing tricks and stunts that even the pros couldn’t do. During my first viewing of this the word squid kept popping up, mainly directed towards Sam, the new kid. From then on I thought this to be the meaning of such a word, the new kid or newbie.
Fast forward a few years to when I started riding motorcycles and yet again this word comes up. From earlier understandings of its meaning to its current iteration I was kind of lost. Riders were calling other riders squids but it carried a derogatory annotation. It seemed to me that being called a squid was something I didn’t want to be bestowed upon me, but I still didn’t really understand its full context.
What is a squid really then and why, if you hang around me for long periods of time, hear me throw out that word so fervently. First and foremost when it comes to motorcycles the word squid embodies more than the letters in its sum add up to. It’s a mentality, outward appearance and acting in a group setting that would make you a squid.
Mentality is quite everything in riding motorcycles. It can save your life by riding safely and projecting that towards others so they can ride safely. Squid mentality isn’t about this. It’s about going fast on public roads, weaving in and out of cars by playing chicken with their blind spots, pulling wheelies to show off to onlookers, revving obscenely at red lights so that the needle bounce and bounce and bounce off the engine’s limiter then proceeding to drag race to the next light. It’s about not caring for the safety of others, those riding with you, those sharing the road you’re on. Squid mentality is a terrible disease and I wish nothing of this sort upon anyone, especially those I ride with on a daily basis.
Outward appearance and being a squid you ask? Ever heard of the mantra ‘gear up for the slide, not the ride’? Well this is pretty simply: WEAR YOUR GEAR. Gear is amazing and it will save you from having some hideous scar on your body that you think will make a good bar story to tell that lady friend you’ve been eyeing. Squids don’t wear gear. Why? Because they will never go down! But the best one I always hear is ‘it’s too hot to wear gear.’ If it’s too hot for gear then it’s time to take your car!
That kind of mentality, see the connection, can get you killed, or worse someone else killed. You can find them anywhere really. Just look for the riders usually adorning a T-Shirt, shorts, no gloves and less than adequate footwear that you won’t even see people in the gym showers be less equipped with. What can be worse than one or two of these accessories is one where you find all the above on one single rider. He doesn’t care about his safety but you should.
A squid out of water doesn’t know how to behave when around others. Those who know the craft simply don’t need to speak about it, then there are those who know jack but becomes an encyclopedia all of a sudden. I knew a few of these guys/gals in my day of riding and it never ceases to amaze me the jargon that comes out of their mouths. It can range from bike parts and what each can attribute to one’s steed, best tires to use for certain conditions and my favorite has to be riding technique.
They can go from new riders to seasoned pro in one swift click of a mouse pad and a Wikipedia page later. ‘You need to load the front to increase the contact patch of the wheel, then trail brake to the apex only to release at the right time to get on the gas,’ coming from people who barely lasted a street ride to talking about riding the track. The best ones has to be those I see on FB pages about how to outrun cops during chases, beating speeding tickets, pulling off wheelies, murdering streets with their riding. These are the best kind squid activities because when a bunch of them come together it really is entertaining. It should definitely serve to others about how not to act because in the end reckless behavior like this is what gives the many a bad name from the actions of the few.
There you have it folks the meaning of a squid as I see fit. I mentioned earlier that I throw this term around a lot now, even some of my friends I call them that. Over the years the definition has somewhat expanded but ultimately I feel as if it means what I have stated in the above. I use it often, but more so as conversation filler but the ultimate premise here is to be a safe minded rider, projecting a better image to the public than what we have already.
Don’t be a rotten apple or a squid in this case!