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What Keep The Shiny Side Up Really Means To Us

June 21, 2019 8 min read

The motorcycle community is an entire culture unto itself. It’s comprised of members all over the world who are intrinsically linked together by their love of motorcycles and life on the road. Within this expansive culture, there are certain phrases that are bandied about amongst members of the group.

No matter where you are from or how long you have been riding, you are sure to hear some common words and phrases that are uniquely exchanged between motorcyclists. One of the most frequently heard expressions is to keep the shiny side up.

This is a fairly common sentiment amongst riders. For those who aren't familiar with the phrase, it’s mainly used as a greeting between bikers. At first glance, it may seem incredibly straightforward. Keep your shiny side or chrome up, aka keep your motorcycle upright.

However, upon further examination and conversations among our team members, we found that this one simple phrase can contain a plethora of meanings and intentions.

So when you hear keep the shiny side up, what comes to mind? In our experience, there isn’t one single, definitive answer. Rather, that phrase can come to mean something different to different people.

However, this expression rings through the motorcycle community so much that we sometimes find ourselves saying it without really giving it a second thought.

Upon Closer Inspection

The team at CX Club sat down one day and took a long look at what the phrase means to us. In doing so, we came up with quite a few different meanings.

Though our team came up with a diverse set of meanings, somehow they all seemed to ring true in their own way. In short, there was no right or wrong answer to coming up with a deeper meaning for the phrase.

Each meaning we came up with seemed to complement the others, and none of them contradict each other. Each interpretation can stand on their own or they can complement the other meanings.

After giving it a lot of thought, we came to realize that our store’s tagline is more than a simple greeting between riders. It’s a phrase that, upon further examination, wholly encompasses what it really means to be a part of the motorcycle community.

So here are a few different interpretations that come to mind when we hear people say tokeep the shiny side up.

Keep Your Head Up

Motorcyclists are a notoriously proud group of people. We ride down the street with our backs straight and our heads held high. We’re always looking up and ahead. No matter what obstacles are thrown our way, we keep our heads up.

Even off the road, there is a certain confidence that riding a motorcycle gives you. When you ride a motorcycle, it’s easy to feel like you can conquer just about anything life can throw at you.

When we hear keep the shiny side up, we also hear an assurance to keep on riding high. It can be used as a sign of encouragement to your fellow bikers. Even if things are rough now, if you keep both your head and the shiny side up, you can get through just about anything!

Take Care of Your Bike

For many motorcycle riders, their bike is their baby. It is their prized possession and sometimes even an extension of themselves. Every experienced rider knows that you have to take care of your bike so that it can take care of you. When we say the shiny side, we’re oftentimes speaking quite literally.

Motorcyclists take care of the things they love, and their bikes are pretty damn high on that list. Keep the shiny side up can come from a place of admiration and respect for the upkeep of your most precious possession. After all, your bike is oftentimes a reflection of you. Respect your motorcycle and respect yourself to keep in prime riding form.

Keeping your motorcycle shiny and clean keeps you riding high and conquering the road. After all, nothing beats seeing the sunlight reflecting off freshly waxed chrome! So keep your shiny side shiny, so that your motorcycle can continue to run smoothly.

Look On The Shiny Side of Life

Keep the shiny side up can be used as a term of positivity and encouragement. You can think of it as the biker version of encouraging someone to look at the glass-half-full.

Besides, when you are riding your motorcycle it’s hard to look at life as anything but positive! Negative thoughts and emotions are swept away in the wind. It’s no wonder riders often call motorcycles their own form of therapy! Keeping the shiny side up can be a way to encourage you to look at the shiny side of life.

Being optimistic and positive are two qualities that will ultimately lead to a much happier way of life. Even during those periods of life where it looks bleak, looking at the world with a glass-half-full perspective can be enough to find the strength to keep on keeping on.

So go ahead, keep the shiny side up and keep on riding! If anything can snap you out of a pessimistic streak, it’s a good long ride down a road with nothing but the wind in your face. Motorcycles bring positivity and excitement into our lives.

No matter what is happening in the outside world, life is good when you’re behind handlebars. So keep it positive by always looking on the shiny side of life!

Ride Safe

At its essence, keep the shiny side up can be taken at face value. Keeping the shiny side up and the rubber down is essentially the same goal for every single rider every time they roll out of the garage. An extension of this phrase is to keep the shiny side up and the dirty side down. However you say it, the general message behind it remains the same.

This phrase can be interpreted as a reminder that the most important thing you can do while riding is to keep yourself safe. Not only does riding safely affect you and your motorcycle, but it also affects every single person out on the road with you.

Keep the shiny side up is a reminder of the responsibility that comes with riding a motorcycle. Chief amongst these responsibilities is to do everything you can to keep yourself and others safe. So keep the shiny side up, the rubber down, and keep yourself and everyone around you safe while out on the road!

An Invitation to Adventure

Anyone who rides knows that motorcycles are the gateways to some of the best sorts of adventures! Road trips, motorcycle rallies, and organized rides are some of the coolest ways to enjoy your motorcycle while also experiencing an incredible adventure.

You don’t want to let life get away from you, and riding a motorcycle will ensure that no matter what happens, your life will never become boring.

Keep the shiny side up can be used to mean “keep riding and keep exploring”. Your life can be as much of an adventure as you want it to be. That’s part of the reason why you keep riding. It just never gets old.

As long as you can get on your bike, a great adventure is never too far away. Keeping the shiny side up keeps life exciting. Motorcycles are meant to enrich our lives.

After all, many of us ride in order to add a little life to our days. Riding a motorcycle takes what could easily become banal, and turns it into an epic adventure! You never lose that intense sense of freedom when you remember to keep the shiny side up! The open road calls to us all. Make sure you find the time to answer.

Clear Your Mind

One of the greatest benefits of motorcycle riding is that it allows you to completely clear your mind. All of your thoughts and stresses fall away when you’re tearing down the road on your bike. Keep the shiny side up can be a great reminder to just get on your bike and let everything else fall to the wayside for a little while.

Some riders describe the act of riding as a sort of moving meditation. Rather than finding our zen in a yoga studio, we find it when we are on our motorcycles. For us, barrelling down an open highway is the perfect method to find relaxation and clarity of thought.

There is something freeing about riding a motorcycle in that it doesn’t allow you to dwell on things that are bothering you. Riding keeps you firmly planted right there in the present. Essentially, nothing else matters but you, your motorcycle, and the road.

Keep the shiny side up whenever you need to get away from everything for a bit and just ride. When all is said and done, all you really need in life is to keep your chrome clean and your mind clear!

Convey Well Wishes To Your Fellow Riders

Community is an integral part of the motorcycle lifestyle. So much so that the people we ride with often become much more than riding buddies. Fellow riders become family in all but blood. The community aspect of the motorcycle lifestyle isn’t just limited to people you know.

Even if a complete stranger reveals that they are a motorcycle rider, it’s not that uncommon to automatically feel a unique connection. People who ride understand each other and the life that goes along with riding.

We are all part of a larger group of those who find their passion on the open road. As with any community, motorcyclists have their own culture, lingo, and phrases. Of all of the different greetings and salutations, keep the shiny side upcan be the most versatile.

It can be a sign of respect, admiration, caution, or just a simple greeting. However the phrase is used, it is first and foremost, a sign of community and respect.

Continue The Motorcycle Legacy

The ideas and values that we manage to pass on to others are the things that will live on long after we’re gone. For some of us, one of those legacies is riding motorcycles and the lifestyle that comes along with it.

Keep the shiny side up can be used to mean keep the traditions and values of the motorcycle lifestyle alive in the next generation of riders. We want to keep the shiny side up, keep the motorcycle in use, and keep the values we have alive for decades to come.

Many riders are themselves, carrying on another’s legacy by continuing their love for motorcycles. The importance of legacy and tradition in the motorcycle community are well-known amongst riders.

So when you’re talking with a younger rider, tell them to keep the shiny side up. And know that you have made it a point to pass along your love of bikes to the next era of riders.

Keep The Shiny Side Up

If you’ve made it this far, you can see that we have given this phrase a lot of thought. After all, we didn’t want to have just any old phrase attached to our store. We thought long and hard about who we are, what our mission is, and what phrase or idea best encompasses the spirit of our company, as well as the motorcycle lifestyle.

In short, we picked what we believed sums up what it really means to be a motorcycle rider in many different ways. For all of our similarities, every rider is ultimately their own person. Bikers are fiercely independent and have no qualms finding their own meaning in common phrases.

So the next time you hear keep the shiny side up, we invite you to take a moment to reflect on what you believe to be the true meaning behind the phrase. Think about what it means to you when you hear the expression, and what you mean when you convey it to a fellow rider.

In the meantime, thank you for taking the time to visit our store, and remember to always keep the shiny side up!