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Motorcycle Clubs and the One Percenter

By | General Posts

It’s no secret that Americans love outlaws, from the legends and lore of rebellious (and illegal) acts by the Founding Fathers, to the bushwhacking and bank-robbing capers of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, to the “bad boy” music of Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones and Dr. Dre.

American culture and mass media have led inexorably to characters that embody this bad-boy attitude – a recent example being Jax, the heartthrob outlaw biker star of the TV show “Sons of Anarchy”. Western society has a long established canon from which we “learn” about society from fictional dramas. And the more we watch shows like “Sons of Anarchy,” the more a news story will seem to fit our mental construct of “how those people are.” The same is true of popular TV crime dramas’ portrayal of American minorities’ involvement in violent crime. And it seems that every time outlaw motorcycle clubs are portrayed in the news, it’s because of something terrible, such as the deadly events in Waco, Texas. Add to this the fact that the outlaw biker narrative has been largely controlled over time, not by members of the culture, but by outsiders and the misconceptions grow.

The term 1%er was first used in print in the pages of Life Magazine during the 1960’s. The article was a contrived response to an AMA rally in Hollister CA, after encouraging certain individuals to get drunk and ride through town the media then reported on ‘drunken’ motorcycle clubs giving rise to the popular misconception of bikers and also the movie The Wild One. The American Motorcycle Association stated that 99% of the people at their events were God fearing and family oriented. The other 1% were hard riding, hard partying, non mainstream type people. Thus the term 1%er found its place in popular vernacular.

Motorcycle clubs were historically born of a love of the machine, racing, riding and from military service. Gangs began for various reasons as well, but largely as a form of protection for outsiders or ethnic immigrants residing in inner cities. Their social structure is overwhelmingly democratic from the local to the international levels. Officers are democratically elected and hold office so long as they meet the memberships’ needs.

In contrast, Motorcycle Gangs can be seen as more autocratic than democratic, where leaders emerge more for their charismatic leadership and illicit earning abilities than for their abilities to run organisations. Motorcycle clubs are organised hierarchically, with strictly defined chains of command and lines of communication. MCs elect secretaries whose jobs are to maintain meeting minutes, keep track of committees and chairs, and see that old business is complete and new business is on the agenda. Treasurers also are elected officials and they attend to fiduciary responsibilities such as collecting membership dues, paying clubhouse expenses and financial planning for the future. Both secretaries and treasurers are required to produce written documents for the membership to review and approve during each meeting.

It’s not easy becoming a patch-holder. Many have compared “prospecting” – the process of earning full membership – to that of military basic training, where the individual is broken down in order to be reformed into a part of a collective: To think not of one’s self but of others, and to understand that one’s actions or inactions impact the team and the organisation. But prospecting takes months and sometime a year or more (5 years for one MC). Prospecting is physically, emotionally, and intellectually demanding and not everyone can do it. A significant amount of social status is conferred upon those with the steel to make it. Perhaps this is the only obvious similarity between MCs and gangs.

MC is generally reserved for those clubs that are mutually recognised by other MC or outlaw motorcycle clubs. This is indicated by a motorcyclist wearing an MC patch, or a three piece patch called colours, on the back of their jacket or riding vest. Outlaw or 1%er can mean merely that the club is not chartered under the auspices of the AMA, implying a radical rejection of authority and embracing of the “biker” lifestyle as defined and popularised since the 1950s and represented by such media as Easyriders magazine, the work of painter David Mann and others. In many contexts the terms overlap with the usual meaning of “outlaw” because some of these clubs, or some of their members, are recognised rightly or wrongly by law enforcement agencies as taking part in organised crime.

That sense of brotherhood was on display at a funeral for a patch-holder slain at Waco. Members of the Hells Angels, Bandidos, Mongols, Vagos and more than 50 other motorcycle clubs come together in peace to mourn the passing of a man who touched the lives of so many in his community. To them, he was much more than a biker or a patch-holder — he was their Brother, with all the familial love, respect, and honour that that word conveys. Possibly such a gathering has never happened before. This convergence of contrasting MCs was no media stunt. There were no media in the funeral that day (although there was one white, unmarked van, out of which came uniformed men clad in body armour and armed with assault rifles).

Perhaps the singularly most important distinction between outlaw motorcycle clubs and gangs is evidenced through philanthropy. Many motorcycle clubs are closely intertwined with charity work: MC family members are or have been affected by the maladies the charities seek to eradicate, and members of the local community are in legitimate and immediate need. MCs support a wide variety of local, national, and international charities that seek to end disease, poverty and hunger, but especially supported are disabled veterans organisations. Charity is to members of motorcycle clubs as petrol and oil are to their machines. For some, it’s a major reason why they join and stay in MCs.

Clubs have been observed providing 24/7 security at battered women’s shelters, holding motorcycling events such as Poker Runs to raise money for local families whose homes were destroyed by fire or natural disasters, or to help families stricken by some other tragic event get on their feet. If a member of the community is in legitimate need, and the MCs are able to help, they almost always do. Even if it’s just “Passing the Hat,” where patch-holders literally pass around a baseball cap into which members place what cash they can spare. This might not seem like much, but to a family in desperate need of short-term assistance, this can mean the difference between having electricity and water and going without.

The above puts perspective on the recent statement that certain US law enforcement officials and organisations have labeled outlaw motorcycle clubs as a domestic terrorist threat, something is that is obviously more concerning since many of these clubs are made up of veterans who have fought bravely in recent wars for their country.

Smoke Out – Last Day for Discount Tickets

By | General Posts

It is finally starting to warm up and we bet you are gearing up for your summer fun.

The Smoke Out Rally is the epicenter of the Chopper World. It has everything: the ride-bike-bike show, music, drag racing, camping, & Mini Bike Racing. It’s where you meet your old friends and make new ones.

NOTE: This is the last day to save on Smoke Out tickets. Click here for your tickets and camping specials.

Enjoy the ride,

-Edge

Dying Man’s Final Request Fulfilled By 200 Roaring V-Twins

By | General Posts

200 strangers give dying man a rousing sendoff.

To many who ride, motorcycles are far more than a means of transportation. Bikes are a culture, an identity, and a way of life. Even after health issues or old age force some riders to call it quits, that passion never diminishes. Recently, as one terminally ill life-long biker prepared to say goodbye to this world, he decided his final wish was to hear the roar of an American V-Twin one last time.

61-year-old Indiana resident and cruiser enthusiast Jon Stanley—who’d previously been diagnosed with brain and lung cancer—was on his last leg, and his family sadly knew it. Stanley had recently bought himself a Harley Softail, though after taking it out on only a handful of occasions, the progression of his illness forced him to park it for good. Even though he could no longer ride, Stanley nonetheless relayed to his family that he just wanted to hear a motorcycle through his window.

Stanley’s brother-in-law reached out to a local South Bend rider named David Thompson, via Facebook, explaining Stanley’s situation and request. Not only did Thompson oblige, but he took it one step further, putting out a call to action on social media, asking other bikers in the region to join in. Just 12 hours after David was initially contacted, he and some 200 other riders were on their way to Stanley’s home.

Once there Stanley—a longtime ABATE member and military vet—was treated to his final wish, as more than a collective quarter-million CC’s of America V-Twin sang out. With the assistance of his family, Stanley was carried outside and helped into a sidecar, where he sat and enjoyed the bellow of a big-bore twin for the last time. Stanley finally succumbed to his battle with cancer later that same night, surrounded by his wife and family in his Indiana home.

Big kudos to David Thompson for getting the ball rolling on this, along with every other rider who showed up to grant a dying man—and fellow rider—his final wish. Definitely one of the more touching examples of bikers helping bikers. Ride In Peace Jon Stanley.

May 10th – Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

By | General Posts

Keith Ball illustration – designed to bring less expensive, light vehicle, two tiered additional lanes to congested areas

Capitol Hill Update

Full Court Press

This week the MRF team in Washington met with 24 congressional offices to discuss motorcycle priorities with an emphasis on H. Res 255, the anti-motorcycle profiling resolution. The strategy to get this resolution passed is simple; we need to get as many co-sponsors added to the resolution as possible. A large number of co-sponsors demonstrates support for the resolution and helps let Congressional leaders know that there is broad political support for passing the resolution.

Last year, the House version of this resolution had 39 cosponsors. This year our goal is to get that number above 60. Since the resolution was introduced six weeks ago, we have garnered 22 cosponsors including seven that were added just this week. The letters sent by MRF members and our meetings on Capitol Hill are helping build momentum, but we need to keep the pressure up. The DC team will continue to meet with congressional offices and Bikers Inside the Beltway is a great opportunity for motorcyclists to educate lawmakers about this issue.

We are casting a wide net hoping to gain support from a variety of different states. Our meetings this week were with members of Congress from 21 different states. Currently, Illinois is leading the way with five co-sponsors on the resolution. We will keep you updated on our meetings and the growth of our co-sponsor list.

Transportation Priorities

Late last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee asked its members to submit a list of surface transportation priorities. This list will help guide the committee in building an agenda for hearings and legislation in the coming months. Congressman Troy Balderson (R-Ohio) submitted this request to the committee: “Direct NHTSA to reevaluate the federal definition of a motorcycle (the current definition of a motorcycle includes autocycles).”

Congressman Balderson was first elected to Congress in August of 2018 to fill a vacancy created by a retirement. He won reelection three months later and is now serving his first full term in Congress. The Congressman is a motorcycle rider and recently joined the House Motorcycle Caucus. He has shown a desire to learn more about legislative issues motorcyclists face and with his position on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hopes to play a leading role in advocating for the motorcycle community. We are excited about our new ally and advocate and look forward to working on a variety of issues with him.

9th Annual Vintage Rally at the National Motorcycle Museum – June 29

By | General Posts

National Motorcycle Museum Event: 9th Annual Vintage Rally

Vintage Bike Show, Hot Rod & Custom Car Display and Swap Meet

Pickers Frank Fritz and Dave Ohrt headlining the 9th Annual Vintage Rally, June 29th at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa!

Saturday, June 29, is the once a year chance to maximize your motorcycle history experience at the National Motorcycle Museum; the all-day Saturday Bike Show, Car Display & Swap Meet outside are free and Museum admission will be discounted to $10.00. Special guests Frank Fritz and Dave Ohrt will share American picking stories from over ten years of digging through America’s old treasures.

Celebrate transportation invention when you view the newly installed Early American Transportation INNOVATION exhibition.

Head outside and check out the free 9th Annual Vintage Rally Bike Show and Swap Meet. There’s even going to be a classic car and hot rod display. Advanced bike show and car display registration is free. Cast your ballot to help pick a Bike Show winner.

If you enjoy stories told by long distance riders, hang out with special guest world traveler D.J. Jones. DJ will be giving an inspirational talk and be signing her new book, 50 States of Consciousness. Also making a special appearance is Carl Reese, current transcontinental record holder, who will share his secrets on mental conditioning, nutrition and motorcycle preparation for his under 39 hour transcontinental run.

DJ JONES Inspirational 50 State Iron Butt Rider

This 130-pound, six-foot tall, postmenopausal, African-American motivator loves Country music, rides a motorcycle, yet, has no tattoos or piercings. Despite the odds, she rode her motorcycle, 800-pound ‘Big Bertha’, 169 consecutive days, 25,000 miles, through all 50 states, solo, surviving everything from tornados to grizzlies, in 2006. Hear DJ’s historic, life-threatening, life-altering, emotional and physical roller coaster ride to help raise awareness and to help save lives through her experiences.

100 Year History of Motorcycle “Cannonball” Run Records; presentation by Carl Reese

Carl Reese is a multiple Guinness World Record holding professional endurance driver. Reese and his fiancee Deena Mastracci have set multiple world records to bring attention to Motorcycle Relief Project, a US-based charity that helps combat veterans with PTSD.

You’ll also have time to walk through the Museum, check out over 500 great old motorcycles and thousands of pieces of art, advertising, apparel and great memorabilia on display.

Then grab a shuttle and head up the road a mile to celebrate the J&P Cycles 40th Anniversary Customer Appreciation Weekend with a huge range of parts, installation and live entertainment. It’s all happening in Anamosa, Iowa June 29th.

FEMA: the latest news from the European motorcyclists

By | General Posts

This is a news update from FEMA, the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations.

FEMA’s mission is to promote riders’ interests, to defend riders’ rights and to protect and preserve motorcycling throughout Europe and globally.

Another EU-USA trade war may hit motorcyclists

In the newest trade war between the EU and the USA, motorcycle parts are on the list of products that will have extra customs duties up to 100% if European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström gets her way. Parts for US brands motorcycles may become much more expensive.

Read the full article

ITS Survey 2019

Five years ago – in 2014 – FEMA conducted a survey on Motorcycles & ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems). We now want to repeat this survey, to understand riders’ awareness and acceptance of new technologies. The survey is now available in ten languages.

Go to the survey >>

Motorcyclists are voters – European elections 2019

Elections for the European Parliament are to be held on 23–26 May 2019. FEMA and its 22 affiliated national motorcyclists’ associations have a vested interest in the outcome of the European elections in 2019.

Our safety and freedom of movement may well depend on decisions the Members of the European Parliament will take in the 2019-2024 parliamentary session. This is why we are running the ‘Motorcyclists are voters’ campaign, aimed at all parliamentary candidates and at European motorcyclists.

Read our election statement >>

 

In the Cantina – Big Question Weekly News for May 2, 2019

By | General Posts

It’s Doable if We Can Get to the Table
By Bandit, Wayfarer, Rogue, Bob T., Sam Burns, Barry Green, the Redhead, Laura, Stealth and the rest of the Crew

Why do I ponder this shit, but I do. It’s not as if my folks were industry leaders or politicians. I should smoke weed and relax, but no.

How do we respect freedom of travel, the enjoyment of riding, the freedom to build bikes and keep roads available? We need to shift our focus first, but we need to do it soon.

READ THE WEEKLY NEWS EXCLUSIVELY IN THE CANTINA – Click Here

Join the Cantina Today for just $24 per year

New Harley-Davidson Headsets helps riders stay connected

By | General Posts

NEW HARLEY-DAVIDSON HEADSETS HELP RIDERS STAY CONNECTED

Whether on a cross-country haul or a trip across town, riders can keep connectivity and their eyes looking ahead. Boom!TM Audio Bluetooth® accessories make it possible to keep full communication with passengers, other riders or even a whole group with outstanding sound and functionality. No need to worry about a missed call or fuss with a pocket music player when you have an H-D Boom! Audio Bluetooth Headset.

Take the Harley-Davidson riding experience to the next level with the Wireless Headset Interface Module (WHIM – P/N 76000768 $299.95*). The WHIM allows riders to communicate with their bike without being wired to it. Communicate via CB radio, hear turn-by-turn GPS directions and listen to the radio with the WHIM Bluetooth® adapter and a Bluetooth®-enabled headset. Dual headset connectivity allows for two Bluetooth®-enabled headsets to be connected to one WHIM. The WHIM fits ’14-later Touring and Trike models with a Boom!™ Box 6.5GT or Boom!™ Box GTS audio system. ’14-’17 models require a separate purchase of the Wireless Headset Interface Module Harness (P/N 69201726. $49.95*). 

Next, pair the WHIM to a helmet headset like the new Boom!™ Audio 30K Bluetooth® Helmet Single Headset (P/N 76000838, $329.95*). This headset comes with a Bluetooth® module and a Mesh Intercom Network module to offer riders an integrated riding experience. Pair the headset with the WHIM to enjoy full stereo sound, use the bike’s infotainment screen to configure the headset and leverage the existing hand controls to keep hands on the handlebar while searching through music, phone, GPS and push-to-talk intercom conversations. Apple CarPlay is available when equipped with the new Boom!™ Box GTS Radio. This headset allows a talk time of up to 13 hours and takes 1.5 hours to fully charge. 

Another option is the new Boom!™ Audio 10S Bluetooth® Helmet Single Headset (P/N 76000837, $239.95*). It is a single-use headset that connects riders on group rides or allows them to connect to the WHIM. The 10S headset comes with one Bluetooth® module and offers 10 preset station memory, integrated FM radio and Bluetooth® Intercom with up to four riders. This headset allows a talk time of up to 12 hours and it takes three hours to fully charge. 

To download a Genuine Motor Parts & Accessories catalog, visit www.H-D.com/catalogs or visit your local H-D dealership to learn more.

Massachusetts “Women on Wheels®” three Chapters Recognized – over 1 million miles !

By | General Posts

A week before the annual “International Female Ride Day,” (May 4th – see link below) the Massachusetts State Senate and its Registrar of Motor Vehicles / Rider Education Program and others, recognized rider members of its three state Chapters, Metro-West, North Shore and South Shore “Women on Wheels®,” for its 4-years riding and winning WoW’s annual mileage contest -“State’s Highest Mileage,” 2015 – 2018, over a million miles, and their work helping rider charities, safety and awareness efforts aimed at reducing accidents,” and their positive contributions promoting the lifestyle and protecting the future of motorcycling !

Women On Wheels® – organized in 1982, “is a not-for-profit, international, family-oriented organization that serves to unite all female motorcycle enthusiasts.” Flash forward 37 years and WoW now has 53 Chapters in over 30 States. “Camaraderie, networking and support of women who love the sport is one of the many benefits of WoW membership,” reads its website at www.WomenOnWheels.org.

Betsy Lister of Medford, MA began her riding in 1969, and is an inductee to the Sturgis Hall of Fame. She presented at “ROAR of APPRECIATION” to the WoW Chapters Directors in appreciation of their work promoting safety & awareness aimed at reducing accidents via the Commonwealth’s “Check Twice – Save a Life, Motorcycles are Everywhere” motto, created in 1982 by Bob Doiron, a personal friend before his passing four years ago.

Dennis Palazzo, a 15-year Director of the Massachusetts Motorcyclists Survivor’s Fund, presented a Certificate of Appreciation on it’s behalf and the South Shore’s sister Fund, for all its 20-year support and volunteering of “Bikers Helping Bikers / Riders Helping Riders” charity efforts.

As Massachusetts State Chapter Volunteer Coordinator of the American Motorcyclists Association, and having worked closely over the years with many WoW members on rights, riding, awareness and charitable causes, I presented them with a “Congratulations and Thank You” certificate.

https://www.womenonwheels.org/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/nswow/