Motorcycles and Me!
I've been riding motorcycles since 1977. I bought my first bike in 1982. I sold that bike and bought my first Harley in 1985, and have owned only Harleys ever since and every year since. The picture on the left, above, is me sitting on that first Harley, a 1979 SuperGlide. On the right, above, I'm sitting on a '99 Super DynaGlide that I had from 2000 until 2005. In 2005 I bought an Electra Glide Standard.
Back in 1987, one of my Brothers, from the motorcycle club that I belonged to back then, was killed by a drunk driver while riding his 1973 Sportster. Between the club, his mother and me, we all decided that I should keep the sled. So, from 1987 until around 1993, when a set of unfortunate circumstances occurred and the Sporty was stolen from me by someone I trusted, and sold without my knowledge or consent, I had two bikes.
A few years later I sold the SuperGlide and moved to Texas, where I bought the Super Dyna. I traded the Dyna in for the Standard, which I added a TopHat, radio and Mamasan seat to. My passion for motorcycles and motorcycle clubs is deep rooted in the belief in the protocols and brotherhood that are adhered to by clubs. Perhaps this is the reason that it was easily decided who should get my Brother's motorcycle those years ago.
And it is the lack of understanding about motorcycle clubs that I perceive, even from close friends, that prompted me to gather the following information about what it takes to become a member of a motorcycle club.
The following is simply an overview of the structure of a traditional motorcycle club and an outline of what kind of commitment it takes to be a part of such a club. The information contained herein has been gathered from several sources and is not the only way, the best way or the preferred way of any one club in particular, and should not be considered representative of any one group. Any similarities between information contained herein and information kept in confidence by any club, anywhere, is strictly coincidental and is solely the opinion of this writer.
Generally, today's motorcycle club patches are recognized this way: A one-piece patch normally signifies a family club or social motorcycle club with respect to the other area clubs. A two-piece patch can have many different meanings as long as it’s done with respect to the other area clubs. A three-piece patch means that the club is a traditional MC (motorcycle club). The traditional MC is one that adheres closely to the protocols and traditions established. With few exceptions, traditional clubs are approved by the local lead or dominant club. The traditional 3pc patch does not mean the club is a 1%'er club, a support club or even a dominant or lead club.
A traditional motorcycle club is usually distinguishable because of the emblem that they wear on their backs. These emblems, called "patches" or "colors", represent specific things and have a specific purpose. And although sometimes there are, in reality, three, four or five patches (depending upon the MC Cubes), they are referred to as a "Three Piece Patch".
The name of the club is found on the top emblem, or "top rocker". The "center patch" is the insignia of the club and is in the middle of the top and bottom rocker and is centered on the rider's back. The "bottom rocker" is the territory that the club, or the particular chapter of that club, is claiming to ride in.
"MC Cubes" (two square boxes or one rectangle box, near the center patch, which have either an "M" in one and a "C" in the other or the letters "MC" in the one), can usually be found as well, distinguishing a motorcycle club from a motorcycle organization, association or affiliation, such as HOG or AMA. Both of which are outstanding organizations and are a credit to the motorcycling masses.
In order to become a "Patchholder" of a club, certain criteria must be met. Usually, the person requesting to become a member had been hanging around the club or has known about the club for a period of time prior to wanting to join. These "hangarounds", as they are sometimes called, then request to join the club and go through a probationary period and become known to the club as "Probates" or "Prospects", although the prospect period can also be the hang around time. Probates must adhere to a set of protocols that show the Patchholders that they respect the Club, the Club Colors, the Patchholders and know how to act in a manner that the Club deems appropriate - each club with its own set of values - among other things.
Just a few of these protocols are:
1. At club gatherings, circulate.
Meet and greet and offer to "gofer".
After a period of time, ranging from three months to a year, the Probate earns his Patch. Getting a Patch is a big deal and is more than now being allowed to hang out and have a good time with other Patchholders and getting new Probates to gofer for you. It is a commitment by you to a lifestyle and to a group of people who have become your Brothers.
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