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Waco biker defiant about negative stereotypes

WACO, Texas -- The fender tip on Michael Duane's customized white-and-blue '07 Harley Davidson Deluxe reflected the hazy afternoon sun. Two days after the Twin Peaks brawl that left nine bikers dead and 170 arrested, while most streets in Waco were absent of motorbikes, Duane proudly rode his Harley -- his "baby" as he refers to it - back from his job as a tower technician to his home in the suburbs of Waco.

In the aftermath of the Waco shootout Sunday, motorcycle groups including the Bandidos and the Cossacks, whose members are accused of starting the fighting in the first place, told CBS News that they're urging their members to lay low.

"It's the American Dream, its freedom, it's the open road," says Michael Duane. CBS/Russ Finkelstein

But Duane, an independent biker, says that violence has nothing to do with biker ethos, and that he has no plans to stop riding.

"That's what I love, that's what I enjoy, I don't care what anyone else says, I'm not doing something illegal," said Duane. "We was warned through media, the Harley Davidson house -- several people have said 'Don't ride now, don't go out and ride.'"

"I'm not gonna stop ... doing what I love, based on somebody else's bad decisions."

Territorial issues started the fight, according to Duane and other members of motorcycle groups who wished to remain anonymous. They all expressed anger at how the media equated "bikers" to "criminals" and pointed out that the meeting on Sunday was not one between five rival gangs, but a gathering organized by the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents, which takes place about once every four months.

The leader of the Confederation of Clubs issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon urging the violence in Twin Peaks not to "tarnish all the good Texas Bikers have done and will continue to do for the community."

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The known rivalry between the Bandidos, one of the largest motorcycle gangs both worldwide and in the U.S., and the much-smaller Cossacks group, predated the conflict on Sunday, and centered on a territorial issue.

"Usually on the back of a cut, you'll have a rocker, if you're a full patch member, and on that rocker it'll say you're county or city of whatever your club represents," said Duane. "With the Bandidos being the 1 percent club here, you're pretty much under them ... they try to regulate all the other clubs. And from what I've heard the Cossacks have decided to fly the Texas rocker, which claims Texan as a territory, which is basically a slap in the face for the Bandidos."

Regardless of inter-group squabbles, Duane says it should not take away "the little respect left" for average bikers. He insisted that the "old days" of outlaw motorcycle club activity was a thing of the past -- that even groups with known ties to criminal activity such as the Bandidos did not endorse that kind of behavior:

"One bad apple can ruin a whole bunch of apples. Cause the rot spreads. And I believe that's what's happening here."

"I do believe if they are involved in criminal activities - selling drugs, transporting drugs, criminal action should be taken, and they should be prosecuted ... but I don't think you can say every biker is a criminal."

The current chaos in Texas hasn't taken away from Duane's love of biking.

Michael Duane rides a customized white-and-blue '07 Harley Davidson Deluxe. CBS/Russ Finkelstein

"It's the American Dream, its freedom, it's the open road. I can be pissed off, angry, having worst day int he world. And I can get off my bike and just let off steam and ride, and 30 minutes down the road I feel better, I'm calmer. It overtakes you, it's just something about it."

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