Motorcycle Clubs can be rewarding and fun to be a part of. But they are A LOT more then a cool name and a bad ass looking patch. One of the biggest benefits to being part of a MC is that you are becoming part of a family.
Though a lot of this is appealing, please do not rush into your decision take your time, and hopefully you will find a club you feel at home with and comfortable supporting for a lifetime. There are several things, from my experience, you need to consider before you start "hanging around" or "applying" to be a part of a Motorcycle Club.
1. What does the club stand for?
Every club is different, has a different mission and set of values. When majority of the people think of motor cycle clubs they think of outlaw motorcycle clubs or 1% clubs. There are also Law abiding motorcycle clubs. Rogue Souls MC is a law abiding Motorcycle Club. There are Public Safety clubs composed of mostly law enforcement, firefighters, EMT's, and or military. There are a ton of clubs, find out what the club you are looking into is about, whats their mission, where do they sit with the law, and ask yourself is that what you want to be apart of, if the answer is yes then continue to look into it a little more.
2. How is the club organized?
I know this sounds ridiculous but it is important. I started prospecting for a different Law Abiding Motorcycle Club before becoming a Rogue Soul. I like what the club stood for and what the values were so I applied to be a prospect. The prospecting process or hang around process is for the prospects to see if the club is a good fit for them too. I was newer to the set and was still learning a lot about how MC's worked. In the clubs bylaws I was prospecting for it set one man as the President of the Club and the president of the company (LLC) the club was established as. This was a life term, and as such the President owned the rights to every patch every single member worn, he could not be voted out of his position as he owned all the copyrights, patches, bylaws etc.. he had complete control of the club. The club was also organized of a officers that were appointed and there terms were as permanent as the president wanted them to be. The president had meeting with theses officers and votes taken place that the majority of the patched members were not apart of or privy to.
Once again, if you are OK with the above then you can continue with that club. To me it was a deal breaker. My brothers and I strongly feel that no one man should have all control of the club, that officers of the club should be elected by majority of the Patched members of that chapter, and that all Patched members should have voting power. It holds officers and the president accountable. The organization of the officers of the club, how they are elected, and how they can be removed is an important part to me a the brotherhood I want to join to hold each other accountable.
3. Know how the club began
What is the story and history of how the club began. Not only is it good information you should know before you fly the colors, but there might be telling stories of relationships your club has with other clubs if they broke off from another club. You might be prospecting for another club that has enemies due to prior history etc. Background knowledge is key. Make sure you ask question of different members to get a more clear picture .
4. What are the clubs bylaws?
The bylaws are meat ad bones of the motorcycle club. learn them and be familiar with them, if their is conflict in the club it should be settled by the terms set in the bylaws. Learn how and if bylaws can be changed. Is their a code of conduct or appearance you must follow that is set forth in the bylaws? How much money will membership cost you? All of this is laid out in bylaws, if you can get your hands on a copy or read it you will learn a lot about how the club operates.
5. What does the name and the patch symbolize? What meaning does it have for others?
Where did the symbol of the club come from? Was it clip art people found on google and added them together? How unique is it? Some clubs you can google images of their patch and you can find the exact images. Where did the name come from, how was it chosen. Most importantly what does the name and colors mean? What is the symbolism that accompanies them?
Also, does your patch your trying to earn have enemies, will wearing it put a target on your back? Will it give you respect? What is the reputation the patch and the name have?
These are a few things you should consider when thinking about joining or hanging around a club. Becoming a member of a Motorcycle Club is no easy task, and shouldn't be for that matter. When you find the right Motorcycle Club, and you earn membership into that family and are allowed to wear the crest that represents your Motorcycle Family, you should be honored to wear your patch and feel compelled to defend it and your family. Hopefully you choose a club the first time around that fits you and is everything you want it to be, I know it is no easy task to leave a Motorcycle Club because it ended up not being what you wanted, save yourself the trouble and heartache and put in the work it deserves before you join an MC to make sure it is a propper and true fit.