5 Reasons You Should Join a Motorcycle Club
In our popular imagination, the motorcyclist is a lone wolf. But the reality is a whole lot less Wild One than that.
For starters, a statistic cited by the Motley Fool in 2017 said that married couples accounted for fully 61 percent of U.S. motorcycle owners. Also chipping away at the lone-wolf image, a 2015 survey commissioned by Foremost Insurance showed that nearly half of all American riders and/or owners — 48 percent — belong to a bike-related group or association, such as the American Motorcyclist Association, Women on Wheels and Christian Motorcyclists Association.
Here’s why you should consider joining a club today:
1. No matter what you ride, there’s a club to ride with you.
Are you partial to hogs? Then you’ll probably want to check in with the Harley Owners Group. Is your ride a Kawasaki? Then ROK (Riders of Kawasaki) is an obvious stop. Do you like to tool around on a Honda Gold Wing touring bike? Then the Gold Wing Road Riders Association, or GWRRA, which has partnered with GroupWorks to help increase engagement among the members of its chapters, is there for you.
Maybe you want a club or group that’s devoted to a cause, or to a specific style of riding, such as off-roading. That’s fine, too.
“Find out what works for you,” says Anita Alkire, president of the 60,000-member GWRRA. “Find a group that you’re comfortable with, that shares your riding style. There’s something for everybody.”
2. No matter where you ride, you won’t be alone.
“One expression we have is,” says Alkire, “we pay for the motorcycles, we stay for the friends. The friendships you form are just life-lasting. You travel together. You get to know the good and the bad. There’s just nothing like it.”
The GWRRA’s annually published service directory, the Gold Book, lists association members you can call on if you get into a jam — or just want tips on the local sights. Groups such as the GWRRA and the American Motorcyclist Association offer roadside-assistance programs to members, as well.
“There’s this kind of safety-net feel,” says Alkire.
3. No matter how loud your voice is, the group can amplify it.
The American Motorcyclist Association bills itself as the world’s largest motorcycle organization. It puts the weight of its 212,000 members behind legislation it sees as promoting riding. Local fights over dirt-bike courses, trails, zoning and more.
4. No matter what you know, you’ll learn more.
Alkire and her motorcycle partner and husband, JR, were Gold Wing riders for more than 15 years before they attended their first GWRRA chapter event. “We kind of thought we were know-it-alls,” she says.
But soon, Alkire says, she picked up new riding skills, along with tips on just about everything: how to dress warmer for rides, how to dress cooler for rides, how to layer gloves, and on and on.
“This group was very quick to share, very quick to help,” Alkire says. “Every motorcyclist should be looking to hone their skills always. Your riding skills are perishable.”
5. And last but not least: Safety first.
Safety education is a primary mission of groups such as the GWRRA, which, through its Rider Education Program, offers a range of seminars on everything from CPR and first-aid training to braking techniques.
“If something you learn saves your life, we’ve done everything we need to do as an association,” says Alkire.