The Culture of Motorcycle Clubs
Motorcycle clubs provide an opportunity for like-minded motorcycle riders or enthusiasts to come together and plan rides and events, as well as create fund-raising activities that benefit those who need help. Many motorcycle clubs may choose to become chartered under the auspices of another organization to establish legitimacy as a motorcycle club.
A motorcycle club may organize for a variety of reasons. Some clubs are established for social or recreational reasons, while others may organize because of a particular type of bike brand or vintage motorcycle. Some motorcycle clubs are organized to help veterans, orphans, or to raise funds for charity. Some of the bigger organizations include the American Motorcycle Association which provides charters to motorcycle clubs and the Patriot Guard Riders who provide motorcycle funeral escort services for fallen military men who rode motorcycles.
People from all walks of life enjoy motorcycles and motorcycle clubs. Law enforcement officers, those who own classic motorcycles, veterans and women have all established legitimate motorcycle clubs.
Motorcycle clubs are gaining prominence at colleges and universities. They can even include student and teacher memberships. These clubs organize events, rides and rallies and help promote motorcycle safety. Here are some links to these types of motorcycle clubs.
Motorcycle Club vs. Motorcycle Gang
There is a distinct difference between a motorcycle club and a motorcycle gang. A motorcycle club is a legitimate organization with a set of organizational by-laws, board officers, membership dues, club colors, club patches and members. Motorcycle gangs usually don’t necessarily have an official way of doing things and don't belong to a legitimate organization.
Motorcycle gangs account for roughly 1 percent of all motorcycle groups, yet they tend to give motorcycle clubs a bad name. Motorcycle club members respect and obey the law where the motorcycle gangs do not. To understand the differences between a gang and a club, visit these sites:
Joining a Club and the Probation Period
Participation in a motorcycle clubs usually starts with an invitation to participate as a guest. If you find that you like the group, you may join the club, but mostly likely will undergo a probation period. While on probation, you do not receive the club’s patch nor can you wear its colors, but this is decided at an individual club level. The probationary period may vary from club to club but lasts until the prospect meets the requirements for becoming a patch wearer or holder. When you receive your motorcycle club patch, it means that you have met the requirements of the club and that you commit to upholding the organization’s rules. A basic requirement of most clubs is to show respect to other members in the club, the laws of the road and that you understand the protocol and etiquette of the motorcycle club.
Club Colors and Patches
You can identify members within a specific motorcycle club by the patches and the club colors they wear. “Wearing the colors,” typically refers to wearing the patch or symbols associated with the individual motorcycle club. Only qualified members of the motorcycle club can wear a club’s colors and patches. A motorcycle club member typically won’t receive a patch to put on the back of his motorcycle or jacket until he has successfully passed the motorcycle club’s requirements and probation period. Motorcycle clubs don’t limit their members to just male riders; many female riders have established clubs of their own.
Events and Rallies
Motorcycle Clubs organize events, rides and rallies to bring members together or to raise funds for special events. Sometimes a club will organize a swap meet or a Poker Run for club members. Rallies typically take place over a weekend where members of the club come together for a weekend of activities and bike rides at a favored location. During the holiday season, some motorcycle clubs organize “Holiday Light Rides,” so riders can take a tour of the holiday lights within their community. Another favorite event during the holiday season is a “Toy Run” to help raise toys and money for kids who might not otherwise receive gifts during the holiday season.
The Importance of Motorcycle Safety
For the novice rider, motorcycle safety cannot be stressed enough. Riding a motorcycle isn’t the same as driving a car, as you lose the security of the enclosure around you. Motorcyclists have to pay more attention to the road and the other drivers around them, who may not be aware of their presence. Many people who drive cars don’t “see” motorcyclists and may pull ahead of them suddenly. Motorcyclists have to develop a different level of awareness when driving a motorcycle.
Written By: AndrewT