Hello moto-snowflake. Let’s talk about the different clubs out there and how to find one that fits you.
Did you know there are actually many different types of motorcycle and riding clubs? While the traditional biker club, with leather vests and Harley-Davidsons as portrayed in the Sons of Anarchy TV show, is the most popular image of a motorcycle club but clubs like those are in the minority.
In fact, there is a huge variety of motorcycle clubs that cater to all types of styles of motorcycle, social backgrounds and activities. For example, there are clubs for vintage motorcycle restorers, religious clubs, scooter enthusiasts, and everything in between. So, in this article, we’ll cover all of the types of motorcycle clubs to help you decide which ones may be a good fit for you.
If you ride a motorcycle then there is a club out there for you with riding buddies you haven’t met yet.
How To Choose a Club
Before diving into many categories of clubs, let’s first dive into the best way to choose a motorcycle club to join. So, when you are looking for a group like minded riding buddies the best way to think about it is to consider the following six things about you and what you want to get out of a club experience.
1. Type of Riding
The first thing to decide on is to determine what type of riding you want do. Do you want to join a group that does long distance tours or a sportbike group that meets at the local diner on Sunday for breakfast to chat about MotoGP before heading off into the canyons for the day? Do you want a group that’s into motocamping and riding backcountry trails, or one that helps members get their vintage bikes up and running? Once you decide on your preferred riding theme, you can quickly narrow the options down.
2. Club Structure
Next, you need to decide on what kind of club structure you are looking for. Are you seeking a loose, knit group that occasionally posts a “who wants to ride tomorrow?” to their Facebook page or do you want a group that has scheduled rides and activities posted months in advance. Or are you looking for a more encompassing structure like those found in a traditional biker club which has a formal structure to join and participate. So, think about your typical free time for moto-centric activities and keep that in mind when choosing a club to check out.
Ideally, you want to find a local motorcycle club near you. But what is “near” is relative to you personal preferences. You have to decide on how far you want to ride to get to and from the club’s regular meeting spots. There are thousands of motorcycle clubs out there but unless you live near the start of the Tail of the Dragon, you probably will have to ride a little to meet with the group. For example, the distance to ride to get to the meet, going on a day ride and then riding home can add up pretty quickly. So, you really need to consider how far you want to go to meet other club members.
4. Skill Level
The average skill level of the club is sometimes overlooked by potential club members. When this happens you can either exceed the skill level of the group and get bored or when your skill level is below the clubs’ typical riding activities, you get in over your head and now you’re the person who made the ride less fun for everyone else. So, it’s important to assess your abilities and match that club’s regular activities.
And, this is doubly important if you are a beginner. If you are just starting out in the world of motorcycling check and make sure that the club is accomodating to novice riders. Most are friendly to beginners and have easier rides that are novice rider friendly, but some clubs only want experienced riders. So, when thinking about joining a club, take a look at the clubs past rides and make sure you can fit in comfortably.
5. Your Contribution
This is important for getting the most out of the motorcycle club experience and making the most friends. Some clubs are formal non-profits funded by local sponsors but most moto groups are just a hobby for the organizers. These people love motorcycling so much that fund club operations out of their own pocket and spend their free time mapping out good routes and finding interesting places to go. So, it’s expected and respectful in that if you join a club that you give back in some way. Giving back ranges from just showing up to the meets on-time with a full tank of gas to suggesting, organizing and leading rides. So, be mindful that someone is working hard to keep the club running and it’s nice to help out when you can to make the experience better for everyone.
6. Multiple Clubs...Say What??
A common occurrence for riders looking to join a club, is the difficulty in deciding on just one. But, you don’t have to limit yourself. You don’t have to find the perfect moto club that does everything you like to do. You can always join multiple clubs to cater to your different interests. For example, if you love multi-day adventure riding tours but want some place to go with your cruiser on nice sunday afternoon, you can join two different groups to cater to both interests.
In any case, when considering a specific club or group, attend one of their meetings or rides to get a feel for the group and people. There are no hard feelings if, upon the first meeting, you decide that it won’t be a good fit for you.