I am not a patch holder because …

Someone recently asked me why I didn’t belong to XYZ Motorcycle Club (not a real club in case you were wondering). I have actually been asked this before, sometimes because an individual wanted to know if I was interested in joining their club and sometimes just out of curiosity. I have, on occasion, joked that I had “tried organized religion and found it wasn’t for me” because some clubs appear to be like cults when you are outside looking in. But that is not really fair to any motorcycle club (MC) I have ever observed and so I have decided to stop making that joke.

The fact is, as far as I can tell, and this seems to be backed-up by people who have actually studied such things, most clubs exist as a way of providing family and structure to the member’s lives. Many times, the only real thing binding them together, initially, is the love of motorcycles and motorcycling. This, of course, eventually gives way to a feeling of belonging to something greater than themselves and the sense of family that comes from working on common goals together, with respect and true, unrelenting, friendship.

In that sense it can be like religion is to people who just happen to not ride motorcycles. But only in the sense that there is a feeling of community and common goals and, possibly most important, support.

So why am I not a patch holder? There are many reasons, including the fact that I just don’t have that kind of time. It is very demanding to join any MC. It can take a year or more of hanging around just to become a prospect (prospective member) and it might take more years to become an actual “patch holder” (full fledged member able to wear the club’s patches on your vest or jacket).

But, the main reason is I have a motorcycle family. In fact I have two. I am a life member of both ABATE of AZ and the Modified Motorcycle Association of AZ. I am more active, currently, in ABATE as they needed more help when I returned to Arizona after working in California for 10 years. So when I returned I jumped in to lend a hand to the High Country Chapter serving that regional area as chapter PAC (Political Action Coordinator) and as its representative on the Board of Directors for the state.

Now, at this point, if you are not a biker, and maybe even if your are, you are thinking, “Political Action? Board of Director’s? How boring”! And you would be correct. It can be very boring. But it can also be very rewarding to serve a community of like-minded, motorcycle loving individuals of every background, ethnicity, sex, religion, and political party, to try and make motorcycling safer and unencumbered by silly (and sometimes dangerous) rules written be people who have never ridden for reasons that are always highly suspect.

So, that is the main reason I have never become a patch holder. I don’t have time, and I have 2 full-time motorcycle families already.

And our families are way easier to join. In fact, we welcome clubs and club members to join us in our quest to protect your rights and make motorcycling safer. And we don’t make any demands on you. As a completely volunteer organization we do what we can with what we have. If you can help out by serving on a committee or setting up a table at an event, great! If all you can do is lend your name to our cause to help us with our statewide and federal lobbying efforts, that is great too.

For more information, search for Motorcycle Rights in your state, or visit the MRO page on this site, or check out these links if you reside in Arizona.

A.B.A.T.E of AZ

Modified Motorcycle Association of AZ

So whether you are a patch holder, or not, a motorcyclist, or not, please feel welcome to join us! The worst that will happen is you might help us feed a family at Thanksgiving or provide a Christmas for a family in need. And with some luck and persistence, make motorcycling safer for everyone.