Behind Bars - Motorcycle Clubs


They're a decent bunch of guys, the Combat Veterans International, even if they ain't all that "international." With chapters salted around the Pacific Northwest, CVI's mission statement reads, "To support all Veterans, especially Combat Veterans, to the best of our ability, regardless of race, religion, age, sex or country of origin. To fit into the areas where we live: as a non-confrontational/non-territorial motorcycle organization, showing respect for all human kind."

Okay, fine. I can get behind that. Only problem I have with it is that it requires religious attendance at meetings-meetings featuring more talking than riding. Military aside, I've never been much of a joiner and I'm just not religious about anything. Especially meetings.

Some guys love that groupthink feel, though, screaming through traffic in righteous brotherhood on their bad motor scooters, lofting wheelies and generally showing their ass. Maybe they think that's how you get laid.

Last summer, a Washington State Patrol trooper pulled onto the highway to ticket a sportbiker who was riding along with some buddies, front wheel pawing at the air. On I-5. They were just kids having fun, the Demon Dogz M.C. out for a giggle.

Long story short, the trooper rolled his cruiser during the pursuit. Stories vary as to whether a couple of Dogz cut in and brake-checked him like yappy Australian Shepherds. Of record is the fact that the taxpayer-owned Crown Vic interceptor crunched down the bank, trapping the trooper inside. While he radioed in his status, one or more moto-boyz circled back, not to render aid but to point and laugh. Then they rode off. That's how coolz them Dogz iz, fo' shizz.

Club president, lead suspect and police video star Kevin Reyes, manning up to defend his lifestylez, swears he was never there. And yet, in the highly likely event of revvin' Kevin getting his asphalt kicked when circumstances overtake his skill set, it won't be the Demon Dogz who police up his guts and feathers. That task will fall not to punkasses who reflexively flee the scene.

No, it's those same cops that the kewl kids spit on when they're safely pinned inside a crushed sedan who routinely render aid at single-vehicle motorcycle accident scenes. Public service is rarely kewl.

We have other clubs around here, too. Signaling to exit the freeway one day on my old Ducati, I got sideswiped by a Harley shooting up along the right shoulder. I wasn't sure what to make of it at first. Failure of technique? Soft V-twin performance anxiety? After I got the Duck back under control, I saw the patches freshly stitched onto his brand-new, artificially distressed cut: "1% M/C PROBATIONARY." Great: a chubby little pledge with something to prove.

Chasing him off the freeway to discuss the matter personally, I finally dissolved in laughter when he drew and fired a MagLite at me. Srlsy, dude-ROFLMAO. He had him a magnum caliber though, with the D-cells and everything. You can always tell those rebellious individual freethinkers by the way they beg for a uniform...

I guess that's it in a nutshell. I'm not against hanging with competent buddies riding good machines on fine roads once in a while; bikers flying "I RIDE ALONE" patches must miss out on a lot of good times. The reason I'm not much of a joiner has less to do with motorcycle clubs than with "elite" organizations in general. From fat delinquents scrapping over patch turf to demon dingoes to Skull & Bones yalies, you get enough guys together in the same secure little romper room and they act out like snot-nosed playground bullies.

Let's hope very few of our cops slide into the same habit. Partly because police pack more firepower than all my vet buddies (who never bring a flashlight to a gunfight) and the three-patchers put together, and partly because it won't be any help at my next crash site if they only show up to point and laugh at the smoking wreckage.

The Urban Dictionary defines malarchy as "something that generates a lot of work or fuss." That pretty much sums up Jack Lewis' feelings about motorcycle clubs, SAMCRO or otherwise.