I received this letter from a young girl in Utah.
"Hi, my name is Kelly.
I am 13 1/2 and live in Park City, Utah. I see all kinds of
movies about motorcycle gangs who do bad things, but never see anything
on motorcycle clubs with regular people. I found your website by
accident. You don't look like bad people. It's really confusing.
I know there are different types of motorcycle groups "gangs" and "clubs".
What's the difference and what is your group.?
Since getting Kelly's question, I've been thinking and except
for the movie "Mask",
I can't remember ever seeing a main-stream movie that showed
a motorcycle club or group in anything resembling a good light
and even in "Mask", the
characters were low class and kind of seedy if I remember
correctly. (It's been over 10 years since the last time I
watched "Mask" and I know it was based
on a true story which may explain the economic level.).
So, I asked the members to comment and here are their replies.
at this point in time unfortunately "gangs" are
usually tied to violence. I do a lot of gang prevention work with
children and adolescents. As we all know gangs have become
a significant problem across the US. Most motorcycle gangs who call
gang have engaged in violent
or illegal acts.."
From our VP, Liz :
think that given our questioner's age, she may not be familiar
with the connotations of those
terms. There are no official definitions that I know of, but the
term "gang" usually
has very negative connotations - implying that the group is
involved in illegal activities including drugs, violence,
and other antisocial behavior. The term "club" simply
implies a group of people who share a common interest
The Spokes-Women are definitely a "club" and
we are very careful to avoid the term "gang" because
it does not represent what our club is about. In fact, we represent
quite the opposite of a "gang" by virtue of our commitment
to safety, our charitable activities, and our desire to
represent a positive image of motorcycling as reflected in our Constitution
Hollywood chooses to portray motorcyclists as outlaws and rough characters
because it sells more movies. In reality, the outlaw bikers are only
1% of the total number of folks who ride motorcycles. Most folks
ride do so because they love the sport and the challenges associated
it, not because they want to appear rough. I have met countless people
through motorcycling, and they are all first-rate citizens.
are probably people you wouldn't "expect" to
ride. We come
from all walks of life, we're mothers, fathers, grandmothers,
grandfathers. Construction workers, carpenters, doctors, lawyers,
the idea. Motorcycle clubs, with a few exceptions (like the outlaw
clubs for example) raise money for many different charities.
Most motorcyclists belong to clubs, not gangs, and are wonderful
note: The fact that only 1% of motorcyclists belong to "Outlaw Gangs"
is why the members of outlaw gangs call themselves 1%ers.)
works as a response to the girl's question. It hard to tell what she's
been told and she's
only seen movies involving,
as Judy put it, 'Hollywood" spin. Which usually
involves gangs or a James Dean persona. I'm sure in Utah
there is not much to tell
or show her otherwise. Don't forget Ladies, we live in
a pretty progressive state on many levels. In NJ, women
motorcyclist represent many types
of people. In Utah I'm not sure she would see (that kind
of) diversity ...and Women could also be perceived differently,
especially if they
From Kate, a prospect:
"Hi Kelly, my name
is Kate and I am 52 years old. I just had my birthday. I live
in New Jersey and I like to ride motorcycles! I like to go to
here and learn from them how to ride safely. I hope someday to be a member
I am sure if you met members of the Spokeswomen motorcycle club that you
would like them and they would like you too! Spokeswomen are regular American
Moms and daughters and sisters. They are probably a lot like other fun
you know in your town. The interest that unites them is MOTROCYCLING!!!!
It is fun to ride a motorcycle and feel the wind in your face but you have
to be skilled at it to be safe out there. So the spokeswomen get together
safety ideas and all the fun clothing that they wear to protect themselves
and be comfortable while they ride. They also have some good ideas about
can do as a happy group of healthy strong woman to help others who are
not so lucky in life. They do some things to support charities as a group
woman could not do on her own. There is a lot of strength in the group.
I hope you find a good group of girlfriends to share in a sport that you
like and share
ideas to help others.
Your interest in our club here in New Jersey of motorcycling women tells me
that you are the kind of young lady that will find a group to help others and
fun. Good Luck Kelly and if you come to New Jersey, I hope you visit a Spokeswomen
meeting. They will have some donuts and juice for you and be interested in
your ideas about motorcycling."
So, you see, Kelly, it's Hollywood that has created the myth
that most motorcyclists are outlaws because it sells more movie tickets.
some bad people do ride motorcycles, most motorcyclists are just regular
people who happen to like motorcycles.