Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Purity Test

I didn’t know this:

A Squid is a motorcycle rider who, experienced or not, rides outside his abilities and sets poor examples by attire, propriety, and general behavior on the motorcycle.

115 questions in the test.

Posted on April 30, 2010 at 4:04 PM26 Comments


Ronnie April 30, 2010 4:47 PM

AHA! I was expecting the times to be PDT (or adjusted to the local time zone).

Never mind – nothing to see here.

William Beem April 30, 2010 5:39 PM

I’m not sure of the origin, but I heard the term “Squid” growing up in Orlando. We had a Naval Training Center here and many of the sailors would buy motorcycles, ride beyond their abilities, and wind up splattered on Highway 50.

To its credit, the Navy finally responded and required motorcycle training for all of the sailors who wanted to buy a motorcycle. Still, the name persists.

Kevin April 30, 2010 6:39 PM

Yes, the “classic” squid riding attire is: flip-flop sandals, shorts, a tank top, and ironically a full-faced helmet with brightly colored graphics. They also have to be on whatever latest super-sportbike they can find. Riders of cruiser-style bikes such as Harley Davidsons, while having their own lexical categories of bad riding behaviors, are almost never referred to as squids by the moto-cognoscenti.

The etymology of the word is debated: The true art of riding a motorcycle well (beyond good judgement) involves mastering making deep, long turns at speed. Squids are famous for their rapidly accelerating straight-line travel, something that requires no more skill than twisting the throttle wide-open; followed by ridiculous amounts of braking and a poorly executed turn.

The other sense of the word is that squids soon turn into calamari.

My wife is a 16-year veteran motorcycle safety instructor, and we both ride. The leader of our state’s program has a very apt saying: “An expert rider is someone who uses expert judgement to avoid using expert skills”.

RH April 30, 2010 6:41 PM

The etymology I was taught centered around the Squid’s lack of hard bones, and apparent willingness to deform their body around whatever hard objects they may encounter in their ballistic projectile off of their bike

Peter E Retep April 30, 2010 7:10 PM

A ‘squid’ is also a USMC servinbg aboard a USN vessel, because a Squid may be armed aboard on duty.

Bahamat April 30, 2010 8:16 PM

The term squid when used to refer to motorcycle riders came from people who weave in and out of traffic at 90+ MPH and is an amalgamation of “squirly kid”.

Rick Damiani April 30, 2010 8:24 PM

Squids can also be found wearing patent-leather cavalry boots, a short-sleeve polyester shirt, and a semi-automatic pistol in a holster on their belt.

B McMahon April 30, 2010 11:13 PM

This is probably a backronym, but I have heard the motorcycle term defined as “Stupid, Quick, Underdressed, and Imminently Dead”. Also known as “zip-splat” riders.

NE Patriot April 30, 2010 11:54 PM

I’ve always understood the etymology of squid (in the motorcycling sense) as onomatopoetic for what inevitably happens when a young man mixes it up with a machine that has more horsepower than he’s got IQ points. Imagine the sound a squid would make if it were hurled at a brick wall with as much force as you can muster. Now, do the same again, but replace the squid with a young man, high on testosterone, and low on common sense. Same sound, right? “Zoooom… SPLAT!!”

Regarding “Kevin”‘s comment “An expert rider is someone who uses expert judgement [sic] to avoid using expert skills”, I heard the same from my MSF instructor.
I’ve also heard “there are young and stupid riders, there are young and smart riders and there are old and smart riders. There are no old and stupid riders”.

spaceman spiff May 1, 2010 12:06 PM

Well, according to the test, I am an imbecile of epic proportions! About what I would figure… 🙂

ben May 1, 2010 10:30 PM

Just to add to the acronym soup, I’ve seen “super quick until I die” but it was identified as most likely a retrofit.

Either way, it is not a compliment.

Thinkerer May 2, 2010 5:52 PM

From The OED:

1809 Naval Chron. XXI. 22 “Squids, a squalid kind of fish.”

The motorcycling term seems to follow surfer’s use of it, taken from the Navy.

Having narrowly missed on on his Donorcycle (the ER personnel’s term for them) in traffic about half an hour ago (full squid attire, minus helmet, with ski goggles), nothing much changes.

wiredog May 3, 2010 9:20 AM

off-topic, but:
The evil attack squirrel of death!

“picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a slightly squirrel torn t-shirt, and only one leather glove roaring at maybe 70mph and rapidly accelerating down a quiet residential street…on one wheel and with a demonic squirrel on his back. The man and the squirrel are both screaming bloody murder. “

McLovin May 3, 2010 11:10 AM

Also note how the inexperienced and foolish moto rider darts through traffic erratically, reminiscent of squid movement.

david t-g May 3, 2010 1:26 PM

thanks for the link! i haven’t seen this test in years. i just took it tongue-in-cheek and got a 40 (“a pathetic example of incredible stupidity who shouldn’t be let out of the house unsupervised”) but suspect that my actual score when actively riding was probably around 60 (never any beer, but lots of other stupidity) and would these days be 80 — but my wife thinks i’d still be a 60 or worse, i’m sure…

Jon May 3, 2010 3:08 PM

I got the result “Should not be let out of the house without chaperone”. I do confess to answering some of the questions with the ‘most hilarious’ answer inaccurately… J.

Captain Ned May 3, 2010 5:05 PM

My wife is quite tired of my practice, upon meeting a crotch rocket piloted by the typical tank-top/flip-flop wearing biker, of rolling down the window and yelling “organ donor!!”.

It’s worse to see 2-up squids, because you know the flimsily-dressed girl on back trusts biker kid to keep her off the pavement.

Lionell May 3, 2010 9:17 PM

I’m allegedly “a halfway decent rider and wise-ass who is way too narcissistic his or her own good.”

My local mythology claims that the term ‘squid’ comes from the shape of the blood-trail left on the road after an off.

Mapes May 4, 2010 7:44 PM

The test does have some weird questions…Like you buy ABS because..

I want a bike that weighs as much as a boat anchor

Really no need for ABS on bikes

Scott May 5, 2010 2:46 PM

Test results:

“You are a fairly responsible motorcyclist but a bit of a wise-ass.”

Damn if it didn’t peg me to a T.

jacob May 7, 2010 1:42 PM

I refer to them as “pirates”. they dress up in the caps, leather chaps, and generally prance about like idiots. I’ve been known to sing YMCA to them. Then buy them a beer. suburbs, go figure.

You try telling them to wear a full face helmet or that if you own a bike you are going to put it down sometime. Hint: You should wear something that covers the ankles,ie.

they just look at you like you just don’t get it. One guy was talking about the motorcycle he bought. High horsepower ninja,yada yada? anyway, I was no longer welcome after telling his wife to up the insurance. He had it for week and hit a car, broke his arm in the parking lot. Now he can wear the leather jacket on his bicycle. my advice start small, be smart and alert, dress right, take a class! You can have a lot more fun with a lower horsepower than flying off the highway.

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