by Lisa Rose
Generally speaking, there are three separate types of ‘biker clubs’ distinguishable in modern motorcycle culture. The first type; denoted by some as the ‘one-patch’ bikers, are representative of a particularly favored maker of motorcycles. For example, if a biker were to be a sole and proud proprietor of BMW motorcycles, they may in fact opt to wear a single patch representative of this, typically on their biker vest.
Similarly, ‘two-patch’ motorcyclists usually belong to a particular motorcycle club. Usually wearing a main patch which states their belonging club on their motorcycle vest, accompanied on the top or bottom with a supplementing ‘rocker’ which declares the clubs motto, or location.
The third and final category of biker are collectively known as ‘outlaw bikers’- these guys wear a three piece patch on their biker jackets or vests- a centerpiece with two supplementing rockers.
There are a whole host of such outlaw clubs still active throughout the world, let’s take a look at some of them:
Created by Vietnam veteran Marine Donald Eugene Chambers upon his return from the war, the club went on to become immensely involved in many of the major crime waves of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Though now a self-proclaimed ‘1% club’, an implication that suggests this is the percentage of active members still involved in crime, the Bandidos are none the less still one of the world’s most popular cycle clubs with over 2,000 members spread throughout 210 chapters.
Another one-percenter motorcycle club, the Blue Angels were formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1963. Founded by original bikers Tommy Howells, Lenny Reynolds and Alan Morrison, the club’s name is said to stand for ‘Bastards, Lunatics, Undesirables and Eccentrics. As one of the largest outlaw clubs in the entire United Kingdom, the Blue Angels also hold a reputation as the oldest established outlaw club in the whole of Europe.
Formed as an all-African American outlaw club in Los Angeles, California in 1959′s, the Chosen Few are active to this day with over 2,000 members spread across 15 chapters. Though initially formed as a racially exclusive organization, the Chosen Few inducted their first non-black member only one year after their formation- in a sense becoming the first racially integrated club.
An unmistakable name within motorcycle culture, the Hells Angels are one of the few motorcycle clubs to be considered a legitimate organized crime syndicate by the US Department of Justice. Founded in1948, the club currently boasts several thousand members, most of whom are exclusive Harley Davidson riders.
The Comanchero motorcycle club was founded in 1968 in the New South Wales region of Western Australia. Formed by Scottish immigrant William George ‘Jock’ Ross in Sydney, the club has managed to remain largely exclusive in their native country, with a collective membership of just 100 motorcyclists.
The idea of a motorcycle club is one that would make little sense to anyone but a motorcyclist. Though little more than an alternative method of transport to most, motorcycling, as well as everything that comes with it, from motorbike gloves to full face helmets and riding chaps for protection, is largely considered a way of life by many people.
While not all motorcycle clubs were set up with the intent of challenging the law, a large portion of them were, and these clubs are typically the ones that are the most fascinating.
Whether boasting a membership of 1,000 or 10, there are clubs in all corners of the Earth, many of which are worth knowing about.
Formed in the Californian city of Fontana in 1967, the Devils Disciples were set up under the wider principal that they were separate from the official American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and not necessarily a criminal organization. Going strong to this day, the club started with a mere dozen members, a fact which in turn explains their collective name. Since forming their numbers have grown to a still comparatively modest 150, with members spread sparsely throughout the entire USA.
Once upon a time The Breed were the most feared motorcycle club in the north eastern United States, however now they are an organization considered far more timid. Set up in Asbury Park, New Jersey (65 miles northeast of Philadelphia, PA) in 1965, the group soon became knowingly involved in the likes of drug trafficking, extortion and robbery.
A classic one-percenter outlaw motorcycle club, Diablos have a rich history stretching all the way back to 1961. Formed in San Bernardino, California, their membership is now spread far and wide across the entire United States. A prominent organization at their peak, the Diablos continue to be linked to criminal activity, with their one-time Vice President Keith Gallagher indicted on nine charges of cocaine trafficking as recently as 2006.
With the simple, yet rather effective motto of ‘Attitude Violence’, few would consider it difficult to suss out the extent of the Finks Motorcycle Clubs mission and intent. Formed in 1969 in Adelaide, Southern Australia, the faction has been involved in their fair share of criminal activity over the decades since this time. Following many years success in the likes of trafficking, extortion and robbery, Finks expanded into the city of Perth with a chapter opened there by former ‘Coffin Cheater Motorcycle Club’ member Troy Mercanti after his expulsion from the aforementioned syndicate.
Though no longer active, I feel it only right to still mention the Grim Reapers Motorcycle Club. Formed in 1967 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the club was active throughout the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and part of the 90’s. Involved in such niceties as drug trafficking, murder, assault and extortion, increasing governmental pressure forced the group into retirement in 1997. Unphased by this, many of the members went on to form their own Canadian chapter of the Hells Angels.
Lisa Rose is an enthusiast motorcycle rider, she loves to go out for long road trips with her friends. Mapping the roads and having adventure is what she likes doing 24/7. Connect with her to know more about her views and experiences regarding bikes and bikers.
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