Know the basics
If you want to build a motorcycle club from scratch with no prior experience, it won’t be easy. You should know this from the start so that you won’t get your hopes up thinking it will be a walk in the park. You need to come up with an organizational plan and find like-minded people with whom to collaborate and lay the foundation of your organization.
You can also start a local branch of an already-existing motorcycle club, but that is too quite difficult, as most clubs aren’t really welcoming to newcomers. In any case, you should already have acquaintances in this domain if you want to stand a chance.
On top of that, you’ll also have to deal with some bureaucracy and legal issues. And you’ll have to maintain a good image in front of authorities since biker gangs are usually viewed as trouble. Nevertheless, with enough work put into its creation, a motorcycle club can turn into a truly amazing experience that any biker should partake in.
Now that we got this out of the way, let’s get started.
What type of club do you want?
Motorcycle clubs fall into two distinct categories that share many similarities. The two are riding clubs and classical motorcycle clubs.
Riding clubs are a gathering of people who share the same passion: motorcycles. They usually consist of close friends and like-minded acquaintances. Members can also be veterans, churchgoers, policemen, and other people of influence who love motorcycles. Also, stereotypically, riding clubs are usually focused on one brand or type of motorcycles.
MCs, the classic motorcycle clubs, differs from a riding club to some extent. Instead of focusing on motorcycle brands, they focus on their own identity. Members usually have leather vests with the name, logo, and establishment location of the MC. You can think about it as you’d think about Hell’s Angels or the fictional MC Sons of Anarchy from the TV series of the same name.
As you can probably already imagine, starting a riding club is much easier since you won’t need to think of brand identity or dabble with loyalty, or other rival MCs, or establish a hierarchy, and so on. Also important to note, if you have a dominant MC in your area, you’d have to get in touch and inform them of your intentions. If they don’t want you to start, we advise not to.
Think of a name, philosophy, and a clear mission statement
Like with any business, you’re going to have to come up with a good name, things that you want to achieve, and a general philosophy that attracts like-minded members. Most motorcycle and riding clubs usually include the town and establishment year in their name, and although it’s not obligatory, it will give people more information in case they might be interested to join.
If you want to have a good-looking logo, we recommend hiring a professional graphic designer. Graphic design might be easy to practice, but it’s hard to learn, and a skilled graphic designer will make something far more attractive than a non-professional could ever dream of doing. If you’re serious about your brand, this is the best course of action.
Now for the mission statement – be as explicit as you can when it comes to this. You might not be a good writer, but you’ll still be able to explain in a few words what your club is about. Here are some ideas in case it isn’t clear: competition racing, brotherhood, recreation, hobby club, community services, etc.
If you can’t think of something original, don’t try to. Feel free to look at other MCs and take examples from them. It’s okay to blend into a crowd and not stand out.
Start recruiting people
This is probably the hardest step depending on your social skills. However, there are a few ways you can make it easier on yourself. First, look at friends and family. Since they are all people you already know, it will be easier to ask them if they want to join your club. Prioritizing friends and family in your club’s hierarchy is usually a good idea because of all the years of trust.
The second step is going digital – all over social media, announcement sites such as craigslist, or local biker forums. If your budget allows it, you can also print out flyers and give them around to people or even print posters and stick them on walls around town (while also respecting local laws that regulate posting announcements on public property, obviously).
Prepare registration forms for people who are interested. The registration papers should be law-abiding and include all relevant information, including the lack of a criminal record, type of motorcycle they own, age (also note what’s the minimum required age for riding a motorcycle in your state), address, etc.
Fair warning: make sure that what you’re asking on your papers doesn’t infringe the law. For example, you can’t obligate participants to partake in illegal activities, such as street racing. Always organize races on legal tracks. Also, don’t encourage participants to drink and ride. While being rebellious is fun, we don’t encourage such behavior.
Hierarchy or no hierarchy?
We mentioned earlier that unlike a riding club, a motorcycle club is usually operated through a hierarchy. If you also want to take this approach, be careful who you appoint among the leading ranks. The leading ranks should be formed of a president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and two on-the-field leaders.
The road captain leads the group during runs, and the enforcer makes sure that all club members respect the rules and don’t betray any other member. Along with these, you might also want to recruit medics, repairmen, and chaplains who will be tasked with taking care of the group psyche and spiritual needs.
Think of other things that your club might need and assign different hierarchical titles to individuals that you trust.
Legally register your club
Like with any organization, you will attract the attention of the authorities unless you formally register the club. The easiest way to make sure that you won’t attract attention is to register the club as a non-profit organization. Check out your local laws and apply for registration at the appropriate authority. This shouldn’t be much of a hassle in most cases.
Start your activities
So you’re finally done with building the organization and taking care of all the legal amenities. Now it’s time to get involved and actually build a strong community. You can start with team building activities such as going on a road trip or participating in races. This will make your club members feel like they’re actually doing something instead of just having a blank membership.
To get funds for your club, you can ask for donations or organize fundraisers and similar community events in exchange. Make a good impression around town by volunteering to help feed the homeless, provide care to children and the elderly, etc.
Bikers who engage in such activities are viewed as friendly yet fearsome. You might also want to provide help to bullied children and further improve the way people perceive you while also making your community a better place.
One more similar thing you can do is go to an elderly home and host a stand-up comedy show or a music event that will make their last years more pleasant and fun.
Keeping good relations with other MCs
As we said earlier, you don’t want to upset powerful motorcycle clubs in your area. You should always be on good terms with them by informing their leader about the fact that you’re creating your own club and what you intend to do with it. You can even ask them to collaborate with you on certain things, such as community work.
Furthermore, whatever you do, don’t rattle their cages. If you see that they’re willing to accept a new MC in town, that doesn’t always mean that they’re going to want to collaborate. Learn to take no for an answer. Don’t insist on things that they clearly don’t want to partake in. You’ll only make your life much harder this way.
Also worth mentioning, avoid making a logo that strikes many similarities to other motorcycle clubs. This will also annoy them and they might come after you. And believe us, you don’t want a confrontation with an older, veteran motorcycle club.
Keeping a good image in the authorities’ eyes
Biker gangs are notorious for doing illegal stuff. We mentioned Hell’s Angels earlier, and you’ve probably already heard about them. You might want to wear badges with the official 99% symbol – the one that informs cops that you’re one of the good MCs and not the outlaw 1%.
Starting your own motorcycle club will take time, patience, and a lot of hard work. However, the results are worth it if you want to form a strong community of like-minded individuals who share the same common passion as you do.
Now that you know all the steps in detail, we wish you good luck in finding the right recruits and bonding like brothers and sisters!