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The Growing Popularity of Veterans Motorcycle Clubs

  • You may have noticed what seems like more bikers on the road today showing their Military Patches as former members of the United States military. That is not just your impression – it is a fact that there has been a resurgence in the number of veterans buying motorcycles and riding with motorcycle clubs. In fact, according to the Military Times newspaper, this is the third wave of veteran motorcycle riders. The first came after World War II as a number of vets bought surplus motorcycles and formed the first biker groups. The second wave was made of Vietnam veterans who saddled up, and the current growth is coming from veterans of the War on Terror. View our full selection of Veteran Biker Patches. 


    Veteran Motorcycle Clubs | The Cheap Place


    The Birth of the “Outlaws”

    The first motorcycle groups considered themselves “outlaws” for a specific reason. The market was just developing for motorcycles that were durable and affordable. The newly formed American Motorcycle Association sought to corral all the many new motorcycle clubs under its umbrella. Resisting the rules and regulations of this “civilian” organization, the military members who had just returned from intense combat followed their own paths. One of the best known biker club names, the Hell’s Angels, came from military roots. Although its reputation was marred over the following years, its inspiration was from a squadron of the famous Flying Tigers. It had adopted that name and logo while flying in China and transferred it to its members motorcycles.


    Veteran Motorcycle Clubs


    While motorcycle clubs earned something of a negative reputation during the 60s, a large number of veteran bikers now ride with clubs known for doing good work and supporting other veterans. These groups include, just naming a few, the: Purple Heart Riders American Legion Riders Patriot Guard Leathernecks Motorcycle Club POW/Mia Riders Motorcycle Club Committed to Continued Service In addition to these national groups, there is a large number of local and state organizations as well. Most of the clubs participate in a variety of special events and regular activities each year. This includes escorting the funeral details of veterans, collecting items for the annual Toys for Tots drive, and participating in patriotic parades and celebrations.


    Rolling Thunder


    The one event each year that attracts hundreds of thousands of military bikers is the Rolling Thunder demonstration ride in Washington, D.C. Held each year on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, there is a massive gathering of bikers at the Pentagon parking lot. The bikers follow a planned route and ride into the city to park near the Veterans Memorial Wall. In 2015 the event attracted more than 750,000 riders and more than a million participants. The ride was first formalized in 1987 to bring attention to the ongoing issue of America’s missing POW’s and the organization now has 90 chapters in the U.S and globally. While it is a separate organization, the Run For The Wall clubs conduct an annual ride concurrent with the Rolling Thunder event. Riders from many different motorcycle clubs start in California and ride on three different routes to meet up in D.C. for the Memorial Day ride. Some riders make the full trip, and others join up along the way. The growing collection of riders stop along the way at VA hospitals and other locations to visit with and celebrate other veterans. Veterans take great pride in their motorcycle club affiliation, and you’ll continue to see these groups on the highways and byways of America, riding for fun and for service to their comrades.


    Veteran Motorcycle Clubs