You may have seen them in the wild, being passed by one at triple digit speeds on the highway, or almost hit by one crossing the double yellow line on a windy road. The squid is a dangerous species, but not to fear; it is generally most dangerous to itself. The good news? The squid generally gains wisdom with age, and can sometimes be trained.
The photo and caption say it all.
If you’ve been a part of a riding community, either in person or online, for any amount of time, you’ve heard the term “squid.” This odd word is used to describe a rider who exhibits that deadly combination of both inexperience and overconfidence, usually identified by a conspicuous lack of adequate riding gear. The term is used to mock those riders who are a danger to themselves or to others with their risky behavior, usually to embarrass them into being smarter riders. But what does this funny word really mean, and where did it come from anyway?
Definition of ‘Squid’
Squid is slang, and therefore difficult to accurately define; but it has a definite “you know it when you see it” quality. One particularly good definition comes to us from Urban Dictionary:
A young motorcyclist who overestimates his abilities, boasts of his riding skills when in reality he has none. Squid bikes are usually decorated with chrome and various anodized bits. Rear tires are too wide for their own good, swingarm extended. Really slow in the corners, and sudden bursts of acceleration when a straight appears. Squids wear no protection, deeming themselves invincible. This fact compounds itself with the fact that they engage in ‘extreme riding,’ performing wheelies and stoppies in public areas. Squids wreck a lot. A contraction of the phrase ‘squirrely kid.'”
One point of contention has to do with what types of bikes squids ride. Different riding communities naturally point the finger at each other. But because squidliness is more of an attitude, any type of bike can have a squid in the saddle. In fact, while these days ‘squid’ is often used to describe a rider with a lack of gear, the term really has more to do with immaturity and inexperience than anything else. A true squid is more reckless than simply gearless (though both are obviously bad.)
I did, however, run across one particularly awesome definition that had me laughing: “a squid is the annoying sport bike riding cousin of wannabe-outlaw yuppies riding cruisers. While it is possible to be a squid on a cruiser, its more likely the type of person who would buy a sport bike to begin with.”
Being a squid has nothing to do with what bike you ride; it has to do with being foolish and irresponsible.
What Makes Someone a ‘Squid?’
Many riders call others “squids,” but nobody wants to be called one. Even a responsible rider may do ‘squiddish’ things from time to time, like ditch the jacket on a scorching day for a short ride (admit it, you’ve done it) but the same rider would say something to the effect of “I’m not a squid, a squid does X or Y and I don’t!”
But the bottom line is that a squid takes unnecessary and foolish risks, regardless of what kind of bike he is riding or how much gear he has on, endangering himself and often others as well.
It’s all fun and games, until someone loses an eye…and 30% of their skin, $25K in medical bills, and their girl.
Signs You May Be a Squid:
- You don’t have a license because the DMV test is just retarded and has nothing to do with “real riding.”
- When you gear up for a ride you put on sunglasses and gloves, cause gear looks “douchey.” Besides, how else can chicks see your sweet guns?
- Your riding body position is squished fully forward in the seat, heels hooked on your pegs, and toes splayed outward because that’s what the other riders in your crew do.
- You think the most wonderful sound a motorcycle can make is bouncing off the rev limiter.
- You have a mohawk on your helmet or spikes on your bike.
- You ride with an action cam so you can post the crazy stuff you do on YouTube…besides, cops can’t “prove” it was you in the video.
- You rev the crap out of your engine to get other drivers’ attention (besides, motorcycle horns are lame.)
- When you see another rider on the street, your first thoughts are about how much cooler you look than him.
- Your plan when you get your tax refund is to finally fix that crash damage you didn’t tell the insurance company about.
- Your motorcycle training course consisted of the salesperson at the dealership showing you how to use a clutch.
- The first piece of motorcycle gear you invested in was sunglasses that match your bike.
- You think the proper way to warm up your tires before a ride is a burnout.
- You rev your engine constantly to keep it running because the idle is so choppy (but really its to let people know you’ve arrived.)
How Can You Avoid Being a Squid?
Think about the consequences when things go wrong on a bike. Sure riding with just a t-shirt on is liberating and power wheelies are a rush, but the down sides vastly outweigh the fleeting moments of fun. Is the brief feeling of the sun on your arms worth 2 months in bed with skin grafts and thousands of dollars in medical bills? Doubt it.
Get trained: The Hurt Report, an aging but very in-depth study of the causes and effects of motorcycle accidents, states that 92% of motorcycle accidents involve riders taught to ride by family and friends. Over half of accidents involved riders with less than 6 months on the accident motorcycle as well. The solution: take a training course or do a track day, and do it on YOUR bike. Motorcycling is an art form; easy to take up, but takes years to master, and training and practice is everything.
Wear gear: You could have decades of riding experience under your belt, but even the best rider in the world can hit an oil spot or get hit by a wayward car driver. Motorcycle gear drastically reduces the potential for injury in this inherently risky sport, and most experienced and skilled riders recognize this. No matter who you are, riding without basic safety gear makes it look like you have no idea what you’re doing.
Be responsible and respectful: The road is a shared place (and a dangerous place.) While you may think you look very cool doing stunts or burnouts on the street, and you may have done it hundreds of times before, the people around you are probably only thinking about how you are putting them in danger. Putting other people in harm’s way just screams “squid.”
Yes, girls can be squids too! It may be nice to look at…but nobody wants to see a pretty girl crash.
Do you think you might be a squid? Does someone you know suffer from chronic squidliness? We can help. If you’re ready to cure your squiddish ways, check out our helpful gear guides below for protective gear that we guarantee will preserve maximum coolness factor.
Got a good “squid” story? Let’s hear it in the comments below!