by Victor Wanchena
We as riders, from the very beginning, have organized ourselves into different clubs and groups. Today there are specialized clubs for every conceivable flavor of motorcycle or style of riding, both at a local level as well as at a national level. It doesn’t matter if you’re into drag racing vintage Spanish bikes or touring on scooters, there is a club out there for you. We all have group or a club we can call our own. This proliferation of clubs has led to another dilemma, which one to join? Well, regardless of what brand you ride, your style of riding or views on motorcycling issues there is one membership card we should all carry in our wallets, an AMA card.
I have been a member of the American Motorcyclist Association for eight years now and am proud of that fact. I do belong to other clubs and groups but when people ask, “What clubs should I join?” I invariably answer, “The AMA.” There are lots of other groups out there but not one has done as much as the AMA for motorcycling. I realize this may sound like a shameless plug for the AMA, but let’s look at the facts of the matter.
The AMA has quite a long and distinguished history. It was founded in 1924 and today boasts a membership of over 270,000 members making it the largest motorcycling organization in the US, and one of the largest motorcycle user groups in the world. This size and history make the AMA very effective in protecting the interests of motorcyclists. Their government relations branch is always looking out for us motorcyclists. They have stopped countless laws and ordinances from being enacted that would have affected where and how we ride our motorcycles and have rooted out old laws and had them repealed. They use the strength and clout that such a large group has to make positive changes for all motorcyclists. There are a large number of other political action groups out there that also lobby for motorcyclists but none have had the scope or effect that the AMA does.
So while all the legal wrangling is going on we as members are free to attend one of the over 4000 events and races sponsored or sanctioned by the AMA. The AMA is the definitive governing body for most of the racing going on today at both professional and amateur levels. Whether or not you always agree with their rules, professional level motorcycle races would suffer without the AMA’s guidance. Combine this with all the riding events on and off-road which are either sponsored or sanctioned by the AMA and it becomes rapidly clear their mission is not simply to protect your rights but to enhance the sport that we love so much. From trail rides to grand tours, if can’t find an AMA event in your area, you’re just not looking.
The greatest asset of the AMA is the fact that it is run by the members. Most of the representatives and hierarchy of the AMA are long time members, not hired guns that don’t have real passion for motorcycling. As a member you are free to be as active in the AMA as you choose to be.
There are all sorts of other benefits and ways that the AMA helps you as a rider, more than I have room to go into depth about here. Regardless, if you are only going to join a single riding club remember all that the AMA does for those of us on two-wheels. For information on the AMA call 1.800.AMA.JOIN or visit www.AMADirectlink.com
So this month ride fast, take chances and do it with an AMA card in your wallet.