Since I got my metric cruiser. I have spent time riding with a couple buddies here and there. But restricted to family obligations and honey doo lists. The times to ride are small and I have been seeking more.
Now living where I live. There are a lot of riding groups due to the population and location. There are the dominate 1% clubs, AMA clubs and what I call meet up clubs or “Buddie meet ups”. Me being the guy I am I know I am not cut out to be a 1%er nor am I the doctor/attorney/1rst responder meet up rider on the weekend. I am also not a vet and I do not ride a sport bike… I have a couple rough edges and I am sure not politically correct. I love two wheels, history and dirt also. So where do I fit in?
First off I live in the BAY. The baddest MC clubs in the world are in my area. Cali period. And they have associate clubs also. I have nothing but respect for those clubs. But I am not the 1% and do not try to act as if. I’m just gonna leave it at that and say they have my support.
So that led me on a search. I looked up riding clubs maybe supported by my brand I ride. NOPE! They shut them down. Too much work I guess for the customer base. OK? Well then what? Well I remembered a club that would come into the Indian dealership I worked at in San Jose a couple years back. They were gents who were all about flat track bikes, riding two wheels in general and love for all brands of bikes and family. Seemed cool. Plus they had their own colors and seemed to have a lot of the local clubs respect also. So I looked them up and found out they are an AMA sponsored club open to the public. They have been around since 1932 in San Jose. They also have a long history. The AMA (American Motorcycle Association) fights for riders rights and promote safety and sponsor sanctioned events (Supercross, Superbike, Outdoor Nationals). And they sponsor local “clubs” to promote all mentioned above.
First off I don’t care who you are, It’s intimidating to pull up to an open meeting not knowing anyone let alone a club house of bikers that are in downtown San Jose since the 30’s. But again not knowing to many people in my area and just curious I pressed on and pulled into the back for their 7pm 2nd Wednesday of the month meeting. “Park it where you can!” I heard a friendly man yell at me. I did as instructed. The crowd of men in old biker leather next to their prized steeds snarled and looked on at the “nobody” who just pulled into their territory their home and church.
But as soon as I took of my helmet and gloves off. I was greeted with a warm handshake and smile. “So what brings you in? Nice bike!” I followed with a firm grip and good straight look at my recipients eyes followed by a “Sir, I looked you up. I wanted to check it out”. He bellowed out “Sir? Man we are not a 1%er club. Come on in. My name is Rafael.” Then the gruff looking crowd followed suite and came and introduced themselves one by one to me as they came in to not be late for the meeting so they would not be fined. Looking at my bike and saying “Welcome in!” and “Nice Bike!”. Honestly it was cool and relieving. To pull up on a Honda cruiser to a club house and be treated as a friend off the bat was a great way to start the night. The meeting was cool and I look forward to going to more. **** maybe even prospect. We shall see.
It was great to be accepted by a peers who think like you. To not feel weird for riding a metric cruiser or whatever you ride. But to ask what you did to your bike and show you the same on their pride and joy as well. To talk bikes no matter what make and share a passion. I urge anyone who reads this to look up your local AMA sponsored club and check them out. You would be surprised. From dirt to street there are a lot. Or **** maybe start your own!
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I get the whole club thing, got invited to join the American Legion club, but I read through all the rules and regs, and I was like ‘**** that’. After a long day of dealing with the general public, I’m not usually feeling very social. I have a group of people I like to ride with, but I’m also OK with riding solo, and going where I want. Sometimes I just gotta ride screaming obscenities into my helmet.
Zach- I do not know too much on the American Legion or what they are about. I need to do my research. What turned you off in their bylaws? Just curious. I am currently prospecting for the DON’s now and I am having a blast. I don’t get the laws till I am in completely. Surprises are fun! I hope you find your ZEN either way on the open road. Try looking up a Local AMA club or just be a independent and ride with your buds. Either way keep it two wheels. Thanks for reading and spread the word. – PHATS
This was a few years back, my memory sure ain’t what it used to be. I just like to ride, don’t much like being told what I can and can’t do.