A year and a half ago, I published an article entitled, "Got My Ass Kicked Out of Star", which described a web forum of folks who used to be members of Yamaha's sanctioned riding club, "Star Touring and Riding". For one reason or another, these folks left Star Touring, or got kicked out, and now congregate on GMAKOOS to compare their thoughts.
Just today, that article received a comment from someone who said they've seen some active Star Touring members pushing the limits of their riding club...
Recently have seen on more than one occaision Star folks wearing their bottom rocker well off their logo patch, making it almost looks like a hmmmm, territory claim. I guess the days of Riding Clubs flying under the real deal are over. The new, "I'll wear what I want when I want" mentality seems to be rapant.I can't vouch for this, since I don't really ride with Star Touring, and while I do see them riding around from time to time, I don't pay much attention. However, I can agree that riding clubs today continue to evolve, and in some cases, blur the lines between what separates them from motorcycle clubs. I can also say that some motorcycle clubs are perhaps better defined as riding clubs. So, it's mutual.
Someone suggested bringing differences to the CoC. LAMO, well, I imagine we get to many groups of Riding Club folks wearing territory rockers thats exactly where their officers will end up. Explaining to the CoC why the little fish decided to come swim in the big fish pond.
In some states, the COC include riding clubs into their membership. Here in Southern California, the local COC doesn't (at least as far as I am aware).
But as long as some riding clubs continue to take this "It's a free country, I can do whatever I want attitude", I fear that the COC will eventually take action, and force riding clubs to rethink their memberships and organizational structures.
Riding clubs here in Southern California can pretty much exist without any concern for the COC. It would be prudent however, to partake in COC sanctioned runs and events, be active in ABATE, support charitable causes, and generally do what you can to give bikers from all walks of life a good image.
Creating this "good image" is largely what riding clubs give back to the motorcycle world. The general public doesn't really know the difference between riding clubs and motorcycle clubs. So when they see riding clubs as normal people, enjoying comraderie, being considerate of others, and supporting charitable causes, it gives motorcycle clubs a better image.
But those members of riding clubs who don't understand this, end up pushing the boundaries. And as long as it goes unchecked, it gets worse and worse. They simply don't understand the decades of bikers who paid the price with their own life and blood to create the stereotype that these RUBs and posers now delight in as role play.
If they continue to show disrespect to motorcycle clubs, or continue to cross the line, someone, somewhere, is going to have enough, and will take it upon themselves to educate in a rather uncomfortable way.
The leaders of riding clubs generally do understand these dynamics, the problem is that some of these clubs have "open memberships", where anyone can join without qualification. All they have to do is fill out a form, or pay a membership fee. Within seconds they become full-fledged, patchholding members, representing their club and fellow members.
A riding club like that, with tens of thousands of members, simply CANNOT control their members. They don't have the discipline. That's where the problem starts. You get some idiots wearing the patch of their riding club, acting foolish and disrespectful of motorcycle clubs. Or in the case of the above commenter, altered their patch to make it look like a territorial rocker, and infringed on the territory of another MC. That's why I left the large riding clubs and stuck with the small ones; I don't want to share a patch with someone I don't know.
My senses tell me that this is going to get worse before it gets any better.
In America, you certainly do have the right to do whatever you want. However, the motorcycle community is not like the square-dance community, or the scrapbooking community, or even the model airplane community. There's a method to the madness, and you have to pay your dues if you want to play.