You’ve got your full-face helmet, touring saddlebags and your headset/intercom. What other accessories do you need to enhance your ride?
How about a membership card?
Motorcycle riders’ associations, contrary to popular media portrayal, promote safety, education, responsibility and community, all while providing plenty of opportunities for good fun.
With May being Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, here are five reasons why you may want to join a local motorcycle riding association or a local chapter of a national or international group:
Benefits: Depending on the group you join, benefits could include roadside assistance plans, discounts on hotel rooms, bike equipment and riding gear, group merchandise, financial services and even motorcycle insurance discounts from companies like A Security Insurance Agency.
Education: Some groups may sponsor classes or training events. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers hands-on, classroom and online classes. But, even when there are no official educational events, the opportunity to learn from more experienced riders is present every time you meet with other members, from informal gatherings to road trips. If you’re an experienced rider, joining a group gives you an opportunity to give back to the sport by sharing your knowledge and experience.
Rights and Advocacy: Whether it’s meeting with government officials from the federal to the local level, or working to keep public lands open to off-road riders, motorcycle groups take action on issues important to riders. The American Motorcyclist Association monitors federal and state legislation and helps members organize in favor of projects, such as a motocross training facility in Hanover County, Virginia.
Events: Rallies, road trips, swap meets, parades, fundraisers for worthwhile charities, scavenger hunts, bike shows, riding adventures across the U.S. and Europe, not to mention educational workshops in riding and first aid; anything that you can do on a motorcycle, rider associations are doing it, and doing it together. The Gold Wing Road Riders Association offers a seemingly endless array of chapter, district, regional and national events. This includes chili cookoffs in Indiana and poker runs in Virginia, as well as talent shows, barbecues, regional rallies and international tours.
Camaraderie: Perhaps the greatest benefit people find when they participate in a riders’ association: hanging out, talking and laughing with like-minded people, and bringing the fun of motorcycling to a wider audience. The Gold Wing club, with more than 72,000 members in 8,000 chapters spread across 55 countries, calls itself “the world’s largest family.”
Another group, Women On Wheels introduces women to the sport of motorcycling, and also educates the larger biking community to the growing role that women play. Women now make up 14 percent of U.S. motorcycle owners, up from eight percent in 1998, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council’s 2015 Owner Survey. Women on Wheels provides opportunities for them to socialize and support each other through family-oriented activities and encourages the industry to design equipment and clothing for women.
If you’re already a member of a riders’ association, it’s a good time to look into available safety programs – May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. If not, why not look into local clubs? You may just improve your riding and safety awareness while also gaining some new riding buddies.
Work With an Independent Agent to Insure Your Bike: Quotes, discounts, roadside assistance, custom equipment coverage – your local independent insurance agent can help you insure your bike from start to finish and top to bottom. Be sure to ask about discounts for belonging to an approved riders’ association.