Around the same time that I started this blog, I was part of 11 brave souls who decided it would be in our best interest to start our own motorcycle club. A little more than a year later the club still survives and has grown to 13 members. All people bonded by the same power that draws men to machines, a riding family if you will. We ride together, we attend events together, and most importantly, we stand together. However, some events unfold that leave an unsavoury taste in one’s mouth.
First of all, this isn’t a club bashing post. My intention is not to badmouth my club, nor embarrass them in any way. To further illustrate that I am merely giving my personal opinion in good faith, the club concerned shall not be named. Secondly, I would like to apologise in advance to any club member that does read and take offence to this post.
In order to understand my reasoning, I must once again delve into the past and give the readers some background on my thoughts. Since we as the first 11 started this club, we’ve always looked out for one another. No one we would ride out with, was ever left by the side of the road. We leave together, we come back together. This included any of our friends that we invited along with us going to any event. Personally, I’ve been the guy whose bike would be brought home on a trailer on most occasions, and the members who rode out with me would stay by my side until my bike was loaded up and we were on route.
As time progressed, I found that tensions grew between member. We started snapping and bickering with each other over the smallest of things. Insults started being thrown around, instead of our usual lighthearted jokes. Riding also took a turn for the worst. Everyone has a point to prove. Everyone wants to show that their bike is the fastest. Group rides turned to a race to the end venue, and a race back. I really started to miss riding alone. This became particularly evident when myself, Mechanical MacGyver and Anxiety on Wheels attended the South Africa Bike Festival. Not a solitary ride, but a ride with a few good people I hold dear. This planted the seed in my mind that maybe it was time for me to exit the motorcycle club scene.
This seed has been germinating in my mind for some time now, and I feel that recent events may have just pushed me to the point of letting it flourish. On a particular weekend, the club decided to ride out to a biking hot spot near Hartebeespoort Dam. It’s a beautiful, winding road that leads you past several nature reserves and over the dam wall. We would stop for some food nearby. Arrangements were made for a close friend to join us on this ride, as he hasn’t ridden out of the city in a while, and it would be the first trip with his new bike.
About three-quarters distance to the food stop, we pulled of the road to stretch our legs and wait for our car-bound members to catch up. As we were about to set off again, our guest’s bike started having electrical issues and stalled on the side of the road, not being able to restart it. Naturally we thought that the club would wait until a solution can be found, but to my surprise, all the bikes but Mechanical MacGyver’s pulled onto the road and raced off into the distance. Leaving myself and our guest, a very close friend of mine, Anxiety on Wheels, stranded at the side of the road, with Mechanical MacGyver chasing them down. Trying the get them to at the very least wait for us to rejoin.
Quite some time later we saw headlights in the distance. Another of our guests turned back because he didn’t see us in his mirrors. Where was the rest of our club? What happened to the motto “we leave together, we come back together”? With the help of the returning guest we were able to restart Anxiety’s bike and continue the journey.
When we reached the food stop, we found that the other club members have already made themselves comfortable and order their round of drinks. Oblivious to the fact that they had left a rider next to the road at least 45 minutes earlier. This had me fuming. I held myself together not wanting to spoil the ride for anyone else.
However, I lost it completely when I overheard the following: Mechanical MacGyver caught up with the club as they entered the food stop. When the club showed little effort to find out if we managed to restart Anxiety’s bike, he hastily turned back to catch up with us. According to the club, he was reckless in doing so and must be penalized.
How on this earth do you leave someone you rode out with by the side of the road? Secondly, how do you fault the only club member trying to help the stranded? What’s the point of being part of a motorcycle club if you’re practically riding on your own when stuff goes wrong?
It’s here that I now find myself. Angered by the club I helped start, and embarrassed in the face of my close friend by the same club. It’s now that I ask myself if it’s still worth being a member. The more I ask myself this , the louder my mind screams NO!