Riding Clubs versus Motorcycle Clubs

What is the difference between a riding club (RC) and a motorcycle club (MC)?

Major Differences

RC: Riding motorcycles is the primary purpose of a riding club. It's mission is to enjoy in the spirit of riding together, with no other committments or requirements.

MC: Riding motorcycles is not really what a motorcycle club is about. It's more about the social aspects of being together, the brotherhood, creating a family, or creating a framework by which members can find their place in a common goal. Riding motorcycles is just something that members do together.

Reasons Why People Join

RC: People join riding clubs because want to find friends to ride with, they want to improve their riding skills by learning from others, they'd like to learn more about group riding, but they don't want the lifelong committment to the club.

MC: People join motorcycle clubs because they seek a brotherhood bond with other riders, they want the unconditional support from a family, they want an organizational framework that they can find their place in, they want to be associated with the club's image and reputation, and they want make a lifelong committment to the club.

Membership Requirements

RC: Some riding clubs require only that the rider submit an application, and pay membership dues, and then they can be considered full fledged members. Yet other riding clubs have some kind of prospect period that allows them to evaluate someone before making them a full fledged member. A few riding clubs acquire members by invitation only.

MC: In a motorcycle club, membership normally starts out by "hanging around" a club, such as attending public parties, rides, and events, and getting to know the various members. After awhile, a member that you have gotten to know really well may offer to sponsor you as a prospect. If you become a prospect, you're then put to a test of will, after which you'll earn your membership. This test of will varies from club to club, and can be almost no test of will, to an extreme test of will.


RC: In a riding club, the back patch is purchased once membership is obtained. In some clubs, the patch can be kept after you've left the club. In others, it must be returned to club.

MC: In a motorcycle club, the back patch is earned along with membership. Should you get kicked out of the club, the patch is returned to them.

Quitting a Club

RC: Members of a riding club are free to quit at anytime. There is no lifelong committment required, though it's common for some people to remain in a riding club for their whole lives. The riding club is not the most important part of a member's life. However, some riding clubs do demand that their members place some importance in the club.

MC: Members are not expected to quit. Joining a motorcycle club is a lifelong committment. Some clubs don't allow their members to quit, or else suffer some kind of retribution. All motorcycle clubs demand that their members attend every meeting, and demand that their members participate in all major events. Some motorcycle clubs even demand that their members make the club the most important part of their lives, above their own families, jobs, and religion.