(This is an article shared. Insane Throttle did not write this article)
The United States has a love affair with outlaws, from the legends and myths of rebellious acts by our Founding Fathers, to the bank-robbing capers of Bonnie and Clyde, to the “bad boy” tunes of Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones (who have had quite an affiliation with outlaw motorcycle clubs over the years). The culture in the US, and mass media, have led to characters that embody this bad-boy attitude, like Jax, the heartthrob outlaw biker from the TV show Sons of Anarchy.
Shows like Sons of Anarchy, and other fictional dramas, have long been the “norm” for how people learn about the constructs of these biker clubs. At the same time, it seems every outlaw motorcycle club around has been portrayed in the news, usually because of some terrible act, like the 2002 incident in Loughlin, Nevada.
But the media and TV shows fail to represent the whole truth. They fail to report the average, everyday activities of motorcycle clubs and the workday lives of their members. With nothing to compare against, other than TV, how can people learn what these outlaw motorcycle clubs are really like?
The outlaw biker narrative has largely been controlled over time by outsiders and misconceptions. It’s true that their lives are not all roses, but they often aren’t as drastic as we’re made to believe. They are regular people, with families—they just live a more radical existence outside of societal norms.
Here are 10 things the public knows about outlaw motorcycle clubs, and 10 secrets only club members themselves can tell you.
They Like Fighting Over Territory
Despite the romanticized notion of biker clubs on shows like Sons of Anarchy, these are not nice people. Prejudice against women and minorities is endemic. So, does their control over large swathes of territory bring untold riches, like some biker Tony Montana? The truth is more mundane. Falco says, “It’s more just fighting over territory to fight over territory. It’s about control—genuine wars over drug territory happened, but years ago. They’re actually pretty miserable. They just sit around and talk about war—and if they didn’t go to war with another club, they’d just go to war with each other.” Apparently, there hasn’t been a real biker war in a while.
The Hells Angels Consider Women As Property
The Hells Angels aren’t the only ones, either. Most of the prominent biker clubs around the world occasionally sponsor legitimate events to raise money, which is donated to charitable causes, but this is done to mask their other nefarious, illicit enterprises. Individual club members have been arrested in upstate New York, North and South Carolina, Nevada, and California.
Dealing Is At The heart of Most biker clubs
try to put on a good public face, and it isn’t technically against the law to belong to a biker club, but things get shadier behind the scenes. Distribution across the US provides a lucrative pastime for outlaw motorcycle clubs.e Heart Of Many Clubs
“Bottom Rockers” Will Do Anything For Their Turf
The “bottom rocker” is the insignia that runs underneath the logo on the back of a biker’s jacket. It declares the state the club dominates. The club’s “colors” are one of its most brutally enforced disciplines. Only one club can rule a state at a time, so claiming a state donned by another club can cause serious provocation. Former dealer Charles Falco says, “The Bandidos claimed Texas years ago. They’re OK allowing some smaller motorcycle clubs to be there, as long as you don’t wear a Texas bottom rocker.” (via shortlist.com). This seems polar opposite to the “Easy Rider” dream of bikers as free-wheeling incarnations of American liberty, but that’s how it goes.
Formed By War Veterans
The creation of the original clubs was made by veterans of the Second World War. The next generation was maintained by Vietnam War vets, and now the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought the newest generation to the fold
There Is A Shared Mutual Respect Among clubs
The biker code is such that if a biker of whatever race or club sees another biker broken down on the side of the road, he is obligated to help him. This doesn’t play well with their “tough guy” attitude, but that’s what Big Bear, one of the Outcast members of the Alabama chapter, told Shadowandact.com. Regardless of the segregation that exists within the world at large and within the biker world, the code of the biker trumps all of these barriers. In this way, the biker world can be seen as a sort of “Freemasonry” on wheels, whose ideals of brotherhood revolves around the two wheels of independence that the bikers ride upon, and the freeways they travel upon.
They Protest Non-Conformity…Sometimes
The troubling notion of women as property plays a large part in the documentary, OUTCAST FOREVER. Girlfriends, female acquaintances, and female entertainers are affectionately branded as “property of Outcast,” or POs for short. (This is widespread amongst biker clubs, not just the Outcast group.) The women speak freely of their commitment to the bikers and their way of life. Many of them give documentarians the obligatory middle finger as they claim “Outcast Forever/Forever Outcast,” and proudly display their “property of Outcast” patches
The Race Thing
OUTCAST FOREVER documents the members of an all-black outlaw motorcycle club. These radical individuals unite much like the racially segregated Freemasons, “the religion upon which all men can agree,” says Big Bear. The biker world in OUTCAST FOREVER is a paradox of independence from the “normal” world and dependence upon others within the club, segregation of races, and conformity to the tenets of non-conformity.
They Make It Hard For Emergency Personnel To Do Their Jobs
In an essay on the “One-Percenter Culture for Emergency Department Personnel to Consider,” the writers claim that because of their culture and solidarity, various aspects of outlaw motorcycle clubs make it difficult for health professionals to do their jobs when one of the bikers is injured. The essay claims “The arrival of an injured club member should cause ED personnel to become more vigilant for violent outbursts…
The Bond Of Loyalty Has Diminished Since 2009
Despite all their claims of loyalty, outlaw motorcycle clubs have changed drastically since 2009. In that year, police officers from Strike Force Metter were able to convince two patched bikers to turn informant over a 2009 Sydney airport brawl in which a Hells Angel associate was beaten and passed away. The evidence saw a Comanchero boss convicted, and other bikers convicted of lesser offenses.
They Are A Global Nuisance
This is clearly no secret: outlaw motorcycle clubs are not limited to the US. They operate internationally, on all five populated continents. The Hells Angels have chapters in Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Zurich, and even Auckland, New Zealand.
Hells Angels Regularly Sue For Copyright Infringement
This isn’t a secret either—all it takes is a little research to know that the Hells Angels (and other motorcycle clubs) regularly sue for copyright infringement. The Hells Angels have grown into a sophisticated business organization that zealously guards its symbols and trademarks
Anyone Can Buy The Merch
You can thank the insurgence of Sons of Anarchy and spinoffs for this, partly, but even before those shows, it was possible for any regular Joe to buy outlaw motorcycle merchandise online. Is it a good idea? No. But it can be done.
Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs Are Known As One-Percenters
Outlaw motorcycle clubs like the Hells Angels, Bandidos, Mongols, Pagans, and others, are known as “1%ers” or One-Percenters, as opposed to the other 99% of organized motorcyclists who are just members of regular biker clubs with no lawless intent. This expression stemmed from an incident in July 1947, in Hollister, California, in which 4,000 attendees at a motorcycle rally rioted,
The Clubs Are Highly Structured
Though the public image of a criminal motorcycle club might seem romanticized at times and completely unstable and random during other times—a collection of disorganized thugs who occasionally engage in spontaneous outbursts of violence—the reality is much different.
According To The DOJ, There Are Seven Primary Outlaw Clubs
The US Government Uses Loopholes To Indict Biker Club Members
Back in 2012, the federal government used the RICO Act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) to charge and imprison Peter Soto, a former leader of the Mongols Motorcycle Club. Soto admitted to “frequently possessing firearms, conducting Mongol meets and participating in acts of violence,” as well as dealing.
Turf Disputes Make Casualties
The turf wars that outlaw motorcycle clubs engage in are one of the worst aspects of this life—but it’s also one that many outlaw bikers live for. On May 17, 2015, members of the Bandidos and Cossacks met in Waco, Texas to resolve a turf dispute regarding club colors and refusal of the Cossacks to pay dues while operating in Bandidos territory.
Charity Work Is Done To Offset Negative Image
One of the biggest distinctions between outlaw motorcycle clubs and gangs is evidenced through philanthropy. It’s been widely reported by local, state, and federal law enforcement that MCs support charities, mainly for the positive public relations that come from them, offsetting some negative public image. But they also do it to help.