When it comes to motorcycles and motorcyclists, patches and emblems are one way to both set yourself apart and define yourself as part of a group. Many motorcycle clubs, both formal and informal, use patches and emblems to identify themselves. You can use these patches to locate other chapters of your motorcycle club, express your interests and proclaim your allegiances and lifestyle decisions. Motorcycle patches are most popularly placed on jackets and they are great way to locate other people who are “in the know.”
Many motorcycle clubs have unique patches and emblems that are used exclusively by their members. These patches are often custom-made and commissioned from embroidery shops. Then they are distributed among the members. Some clubs use ceremony or hazing techniques while other clubs are a great deal more casual. While some clubs have uniforms, for other clubs, the motorcycle patches are the only way to denote membership.
It is difficult to discuss the use of motorcycle patches without discussing the “one percenters.” After a rash of unfriendly and unflattering media regarding the motorcycling lifestyle was produce, the American Motorcycle Association declared that 99 percent of all motorcyclists were law abiding citizens; only 1 percent participated in any sort of criminal or antisocial activity. Individuals and groups began to adopt the moniker “One percenters” to separate themselves from the mainstream motorcyclists and their club patches are cut into three pieces. The top piece features the name of the club, the middle section features the club’s emblem and the lower piece designates the chapter that the member hails from.
As time has gone on, the distinction of a one, two or three piece motorcycle patch emblem has come to signify certain things. A single, whole patch states that the wearer is in a law abiding motorcycle group, while a three piece patch indicates active service in Outlaw Motorcycle club. On the other hand, a two piece patch can indicate that the motorcycle club one belongs to is being considered for acceptance into the Outlaw Motorcycle Club.
A complete discussion of motorcycle patches might prove to be impossible; every year, the club change, the emblems change and the meanings are in a constant state of flux. No matter what a person is wearing, remember that making assumptions regarding their status in a motorcycle club or their participation is not only unrealistic, it can also be considered rude.
Whether you are designing a motorcycle patch or you have recently become a full fledged member of one, it is important to take a look around and see what motorcycle patches mean to your club. Find out the local language is in terms of motorcycle patches and make sure you are fluent!