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It is not as simple as you or your friends might think. There are a few items on the list that you need to pay attention to before you just put a patch on your back.

If you decide to start your own club, MC or otherwise, you MUST contact the local Club Association, Federation or Council and discuss it with them.  Period.  There is a few, VERY FEW, places that do not requires this, but the only way is to contact them.

It is generally seen as poor taste to decide to start your own club. Basically, it tells them that you are trying to avoid paying your dues and avoid the learning of what they mean by respect, because there are already enough clubs in existence where you could be taught and bond with an existing brotherhood.  Everyone hears about the big clubs.  Few outside the lifestyle realize there are hundreds of smaller MCs across the country that are not 1% or even support clubs. I would recommend getting to know those in your area first.  Who knows, you might fit right in with one of them instead of trying to start your own.

Besides the fact that there does need to be some controls on who’s running around sporting back patches and calling themselves a MC, the established clubs know what the situation is with other clubs and former clubs. If you think the procedures are bad now, imagine if the government controlled clubs. Scary.

Let’s say for instance you created a back patch.  It happens to look a lot like another club’s that has caused a lot of problems in the past.  You are wearing that into meeting where other clubs mistake it for the troublemaking club and ……….. I think you can see where that is going.

Maybe the colours you use are representative of a rival club that your local has problems with; the colours used as well as the patch itself has a meaning.

Maybe the name you choose is the name of another club from the past that disbanded with honours or disbanded due to causing too many problems for the MC community.

The MC community, despite the actions of some, does not want any more problems that may reflect on them that others may cause.  To do this, they keep some controls on who flies colours and wants to be sure they understand the different protocols involved.

While the internet has a LOT of information, it is basic information and doesn’t cover many things that do not need to be known by the general public.  Someone starting a new club will be schooled in these more in depth protocols.

As a former club member and leader, I learned they had a certain way of doing things that while in the beginning you may not have understood and thought it was stupid, as you progressed in your time in, these stupid things slowly came to make more and more sense. It’s the little things that going through the proper procedures can help prevent misunderstandings and can establish the reputation you will develop as a club.

Not to mention the fact that if you go through the proper procedures to get their blessing, you will have them on your side if there is any problems.

Yes, the image of the Bad Ass biker is fading, but, it’s still there.  There are movies in Hollywood made every year that still use bikers to represent the bad ass.  TV shows still portray the Biker as the Bad Asses. Stone Cold – the movie – really portrayed bikers in a bad light.  Nash Bridges the TV show had the wrestler – Stone Cold Steve Austin as a bounty hunter……. he rode a bike.  The bike was a Suzuki, but most people did realize that.  Even Yamaha has used the tough guy image of the biker in commercials.  So, while the bad ass image is fading, it’s nowhere near gone.  MCs do not want people with that image to be flying colours and playing at being the bad ass.  This will not only bring heat down on the “club” that does it, but, brings heat down on all MC clubs.

As for the right to wear anything you want.  Wear a Cop uniform and see what happens.  Wear a military uniform with all the patches.  That’s a no-no!  Freedom of speech isn’t so free.  Sure you can say anything you want, but, certain things can land you in jail.  Threaten the President and see what happens.  Tell someone you are going to kick their ass and you could wind up in court.  While you are there, wear a t-shirt that says Lawyers Suck and see what happens.  You have every right to wear that t-shirt, but is it a wise thing to do?

Reality of consequences of our actions sometimes overrides what we perceive as a right or privilege.

Use it or ignore it at you own risk.

Use it or ignore it at you own risk.

This guide has been compiled and contributed to by various brothers in leadership of Motorcycle Clubs and Rider Clubs, past and present. This guide is here to help you prevent costly mistakes, and to save face among other things.


Hein Jonker

Editor & Chief Instructor of Bike Talk SA. Senior Instructor for Honda SA On-Road Academy in KZN & Exhibition Rider for Harley-Davidson SA

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2 Responses

  1. KB says:

    Why Not join a 1% club?


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