11 Surprising Things Most People Don’t Know About Motorcycle Clubs

Thanks to depictions in movies and TV shows, most people tend to get the wrong idea about motorcycle clubs and their members.

Having grown up with my dad in clubs for as long as I can remember and getting to know his buddies like they were our own family, I’ve always known that there are a lot of kind hearts hiding underneath all of the tough leather the riders wear. For instance, some amazing men and women came to the aid of a little boy and his family when they were on the receiving end of brutal bullying.

Of course, I’m not saying you should walk up to any old biker and start tickling them like a kitten and expect that to be a-okay. However, you definitely don’t need to cower when you see someone in a vest walking by you at the grocery store, either.

Take a look below to learn even more about the truth behind motorcycle clubs and their members, and please SHARE with family and friends!

1. There Are Very Few Outlaw Clubs

Biker on the road

Jess Catcher

In fact, most of those that are involved in illegal activities are referred to as “1%-ers” — because for the most part, the other 99% of the community are simply groups of individuals who love to ride their bikes as often as possible, known as “riding clubs.”

2. There’s A Chain Of Command

Motorcycle club Sergeant-at-Arms

Like any other club, they have a President, Vice-President, and Treasurer who take care of the collective business aspects of the crew.

There are also unique roles, like a Sergeant-at-Arms who is responsible for the safety of the club members while at events and on the road, and the Road Captain who maps out and organizes every ride.

3. They Like To Get Creative With Their Nicknames


As the Sergeant-at-Arms in his club, my dad was quickly dubbed “Gunner” by his brothers, while my uncle was given the name “Preacher” based on his younger, squeaky-clean image at the time.

Another member went by “Grey Bear” thanks to his bushy grey beard, but the sky is the limit when it comes to crafting your biker name.

4. They Use Hand Signals To Help Each Other Out

Bikers hand signal

Whether they’re riding as a club or just tooling around town, there is an unspoken code of respect between motorcyclists which you can see as they wave to each other, extending their hand low rather than high, or using specific signals to warn them of speed traps and other traffic issues.

5. They Know There’s Safety In Numbers

Indiana motorcycle club

According to studies from 2014, motorcyclists were 27-times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than those in passenger cars. In 2015, there were 88,000 injured riders in America and nearly 5,000 deaths.

By riding as a group, they heighten their visibility and know that they have someone watching their back.

Of course, there’s also the responsibility of other drivers on the road to pay better attention and keep this number from growing any higher.

6. There’s A Difference Between Patches And “Colors”

Christian Motorcycle Association colors

Their vests can be adorned with several different patches for different organizations they might belong to, such as Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.) or the American Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE), or others that claim 1% status or just an inside joke.

Their “colors,” on the other hand, are usually a group of about three different patches: a “top rocker” with their club’s name, their club logo in the center, and a “bottom rocker” that identifies their club’s region.

7. You Probably Won’t Be Getting In With A Sports Bike

Sports bike

As you can see by pretty much every single photo of groups gathering in their vests for a ride or event, motorcycle clubs members tend to prefer cruisers like Harley Davidson or custom-built choppers.

8. Getting “Full Patch” Status Can Take Time

Motorcycle club prospect

Before being granted “full patch membership,” when they receive the club’s colors for their vest, a rider can spend months (or even years, depending on the club) as a “prospector” tallying up miles on their bikes and proving their loyalty to the brotherhood.

9. They Do A Lot Of Charity Work

Patriot Guard

On top of working with groups like B.A.C.A. and the Patriot Guard, men and women riders volunteer their time for annual Toy Rides to collect Christmas presents for needy children, offer protection to women’s shelters, and organize their own fundraising rides for other charities all year round.

“Poker Rides” are a popular way for clubs to promote their charities and have a fun time out on the road. The riders pay an entrance fee as part of the fundraising, then check in at various points where they’re dealt a card to complete their poker hand and hopefully win a donated prize.

10. It’s Not All About The Boys

Lady Rider

Women riders, both as passengers and owners of their own bike, make up roughly 25% of the biker community and have several exclusively-female clubs across the country.

11. They Speak Their Own Language

Motorcycle club members

Like most communities, the riders have developed an ever changing vocabulary of their own over the years with colorful, creative, and, of course, oftentimes vulgar euphemisms.

One of the more PG examples you might overhear: calling someone a “RUB” is the biker’s way of poking fun of them as a “rich urban biker.”

Did we miss any little known facts behind most motorcycle clubs and groups that everyone should know?

Fill us in with a comment below and be sure to SHARE with your friends!



Leave a Comment