Clubs That Are Not Clubs

There's some clubs out there calling themselves "club" when in fact they're not really a club. I think it's a phenome...

There's some clubs out there calling themselves "club" when in fact they're not really a club. I think it's a phenomenon that's spreading across the motorcycle community with greater frequency.

I've even seen one in SoCal calling itself a "motorcycle club", when in fact they're not a club at all. They don't wear a patch, and they allow anyone to walk in off the street and become a full member.

There's another group based in SoCal, now with chapters all around SoCal, calling themselves a "club", but going on to say the following about themselves...

The club has no membership dues, no patches and no meetings. Patches went out in the 60's & 70's. If you think you need a patch, well you probably know what that means!
Well then, you're not a club.

You can't be a club if anyone can just walk in and become a full member without knowing anyone, without having qualifications, or without having demonstrated their worthiness. If your group is a club, then it's a club like belonging to MySpace or Yahoo.

In fact, that's what they really are, web forums. Someone created a website where people can create a user account and post messages to each other. Somewhere down the line, they started calling it a club. They like the prestige that comes with the word "club", without the responsibility of being a club.

A club patch isn't just a piece of cloth anymore or anyless than the US Flag is just a piece of cloth. It stands for something special, and that something special is defined by the members of the club. The members is what makes the club unique, and if anyone can join right off the street, then you can't create anything unique.

I'm not saying your club has to have a patch in order to be a club, what I'm saying is that it can't be a club if it's that easy to join. Wearing the club patch is a symbol of your accomplishment in achieving membership. If anyone can be a patch holder right off the street, then members don't have much to be proud of.

If you created a group just so that you can find some buddies to ride with, that's cool. We all want people to ride with. But if that's your sole intention, then don't call it a club. Figure out something else to call it.

But if you do want to call it a club, then make it exclusive, make it special, make it tough to join, make other people wish they could join but can't.


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  1. Good on ya - this hits it right on the nose. I just bailed on a web site where a handful have a "club" mentality, and take it as their right to harass and insult "guests" for not being members. And what does membership entail? Fifteen bucks. What's the bonus for being a member? Access to the members only area, which members will tell you is "currently under construction."

    So, it's $15 to support the web site - that's ok - but they pretend that it means something - that sucks.

  2. Great Blog. So few understand what it takes to make a club work.
    If it was easy everyone would be doing it.

  3. Here is a link that will help educate riders.

  4. Since the showing of "Biker Boys", the number of clubs in Cincy Ohio has gone from 5 clubs with 15+ years to 36 clubs with 3 years or less. And some of them are making an impact on the motorcycle club scene. When the movie actors said that "it takes 3 to be official" every three guys with a bike started a club. Our club doesn't recognize their colors and don't attend their events. But this is what happened to the motorcycling club scene. But this is a free country and they have a right, but we discourage their efforts, and don't support their clubs.

  5. Great post!! I am a member of a "riding group," in Women on Wheels. We keep getting people referring to us as a club and we keep correcting them that we are a "riding group," we do not earn our patch and that anyone can join. We are very quick to correct people on their misconception of our group and explain the differences between the two.

  6. I am not the member of any motorcycle club or group. Perhaps that's why I don't get it (the difference). If you look up Merriam-Websters, a club is defined as "an association of persons for some common object usually jointly supported and meeting periodically; also : a group identified by some common characteristic...".
    A group is defined as "1 : two or more figures forming a complete unit in a composition
    2 a : a number of individuals assembled together or having some unifying relationship"
    The same friggin thing, really.
    Why worry about what other people do or don't do? If you do, you'll always find someone/some group that's annoying. Make your club special with added requirements and leave it at that.

  7. Dave said it right. Who gives a flying f@$#. Real bikers just ride and don't care what others do. If they want to call something a club, it's a free country.

  8. Well d. Thanks for enlightening me on what a real biker is and/or does. Maybe - just maybe - a "Real" biker doesn't run around the internet telling everyone how to be a Real Biker! But I wouldn't know, cause I'm not a Real Biker, I just play one in real life!

  9. Well said mate, I am the President of the ROADWIZARDS MC in SA, and I have been building our club for the last 3 years, I moved provinces and have started on the East Coast in Durban, we now have 20 members whereby 7 are still prospects, we work by a constitution that states one has to attend a certain number of meetings, rallies and biker bashes known as "jols" in SA, and that member has to prove to the commitee that he/she is worthy of wearing your colours.
    You cant have anyone walk off the street and wear a patch and then go around disrespecting other clubs or throwing your clubs name away, once our prospects have been scrutinised and have shown respect and loyalty they are then granted the privelage of wearing our colours.
    Check out

  10. Those of you who don't get it never will. It takes a special breed to pay the price that it takes to wear the patch of a real club. And after paying that price it is an insult when some wobblehead decides to sew a three piece patch on and minimize the sacrifice that real clubbers make to wear their colors!

  11. I have a riders club and have for some time, Off season we meet to plan rides for the next season. On season we meet once a week @ a bike night and plan weekend runs. We don't let any old fool in but if your a staight shooter and hang around enough and it seems like your gonna stay around,you might get offered a 1 piece patch. We know the difference between MC and rc and respect that. Our patch reflects who we are and its our right to wear one!

  12. Some of you forget that we live in a free Country (Thank God)and let people live life of their own free will as long as they dont infringe on your basic rights in the persuit of happyness.Show respect for others as we are shown respect. And remember one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel.

  13. I did belong to a motorcycle association and currently belong to The Sacred Bones Lone Riders Society motorcycle Club. This is one of those clubs that isn't a club which is OK by me as I prefer to ride alone or with a couple of others. This Organization has been in existence since 1947 and has gone international. Our patch is a one piece patch. There are those of us in the biking world that need groups and then there are the ones that need solitude. I don't put anyone down that rides on two or three wheels. That includes those on bicycles. To finish I say ride like there is no tomorrow...

  14. Steve accidentally gave himself away when he said "make it exclusive, make it special, make it tough to join, make other people wish they could join but can't."

    When there are long-established clubs already out there with the prestige of exclusivity and a history of earned respect, but you start your own club rather than put in the time and make the effort to join what's already out there... And you want to make YOUR club "tough to join" -- except for you and your pals because you're automatically in because you formed it... When you make up your own cute little patch and sew it on and want to pretend it's equal to "real" clubs' patches that have to be earned, not designed...

    You're nothing but a poser.



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