I grew up with 1%'ers in my home. My father rode with an M.C., one of the original M.C.'s, and they didn't find any humor in RUBS, Posers or Wanna Be's. The friends of my father saw every rider in one of the following categories:
1. M.C. - either theirs or a rival club
2. Wanna Be's - We often call them RUBS or Posers nowadays, but to them, these were Wanna Be's.
3. Rice Grinders - The men who rode metrics, who weren't even really "riders".
4. Hobbyists - Men who loved and appreciated bikes, owned one, but were just regular guys.
The Hobbyists didn't try to look like they belonged to an M.C. In fact, they took great pains in appearing to NOT look M.C. They wore their everyday clothing and kept regular haircuts, etc. These riders did not want to be mistaken for members.
Rice Grinders, or owners of a metric bike, were of no threat or consequence to the members. They were most often kids who had their dirt bike licensed for the street. Members knew that these riders just enjoyed riding and they barely gave a metric rider a glance. My Dad would tease these riders, dropping a handful of rice under their bike from his jacket pocket, leaning over and saying, "Hey, your bike is leaking." Secretly some of the members, including my Dad, admired these riders, mostly for their skill. My Dad often shared with me how much he enjoyed watching them ride.
Wanna Be's were in a dangerous category. Riders who didn't identify with a club but posed as they belonged to one were asking for an ass-beating, if not worse. Many didn't realize the dangers until it was too late. My personal philosophy is BE YOU. Boldly Embrace Your Own Uniqueness. Posing goes against that philosophy in every way. Posing as a member of an M.C., or worse, a lone rider, just taunts these members into proving their prowess within the territory. Like a naked man covered in blood running through a pride of lions, a Wanna Be strutting into a bar during the mid-1970's riding a Harley, wearing a jacket with patches (God Forbid a 3-piece patch) without actually belonging to a club, was certain death.
Netflix doesn't seem to realize these are real people, with real loyalty issues and living in real social settings. "Let's all wear cool patches and be in a motorcycle gang" is an insane statement! Given the right set, or should I say wrong set, of circumstances, anyone taking this as a serious remark, or even considering this idea, is truly The Walking Dead. There are rules, albeit unwritten rules, for starting an M.C., which must be followed. There are also clear differences between riding clubs and motorcycle clubs that anyone wishing to join a club should consider.
One night when I was 5 year old, my Dad's closest friend, Dangerous Dan, came in our front door. He was so close to our family he didn't knock, he always just walked in. I have home movies of our family from 1969 and Dan is in them. This night Dan came in late, and he looked like he had black dirt on his clothes and arms. It turned out he had knifed a man, in a bar, who was wearing a "cut" (vest with patches) that didn't actually belong to the club. His patches weren't from their M.C., but it didn't matter. He was posing. My father sat me in his recliner and took Dan's clothes and burned them in the backyard in our BBQ grill. Dan showered and my Dad rounded up some other clothes for him. The three of us were the only ones at home that night, but I wasn't afraid of being harmed. In fact, I felt very safe with these two men, because I was on their side.
I wouldn't want to be on the other side of Dangerous Dan's knife that night, or any other night.
Learn more about my Daddy, Dangerous Dan and my life growing up as the daughter of a 1%'er. My ebook, "Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy" is available for purchase here. Thanks!