The largest motorcycle club in the United States is the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), and it is home to over 200,000 members.
This organization has as its mission statement to promote motorcycling and protect its future.
Although there are many motorcycle clubs in the United States, the American Motorcyclist Association is one of the oldest in the country, and still a very busy one.
It has been a non-profit organization since 1924 and has more than one thousand clubs all over the country.
The mission of the association is to promote and protect the motorcycling lifestyle and its future.
Table of Contents
- What is the origin of the American Motorcyclist Association?
- What happened to the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM)?
- What did the Motorcycle and Allied Trades Association (M&ATA) do?
- How did the American Motorcycle Association begin its work?
- What made the AMA special?
- What are the hallmarks of the AMA today?
The history of the American Motorcyclist Association goes back to the turn of the twentieth century when it was the Federation of American Motorcyclists in 1903.
By 1924, it had become the American Motorcyclist Association. This is a motorcycle club with members from every walk of life.
The American Motorcyclist Association hosts competitions all across the country throughout the year.
It is also home to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame and works to keep the legacy of motorcycling alive.
This club is founded on a passion for motorcycles and the lifestyle and has kept that passion burning for every single one of its members since 1903.
It was in 1903 when the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM) saw the need for a more national organization for motorcyclists.
At the time, the city of New York had regulated registration for motorcycles, and the FAM had the vision to see that the country would need more support for the motorcycling lifestyle.
This was the origin of the AMA, although it would be almost 20 years for that organization to become official.
The Federation of American Motorcyclists started with just 93 members and grew by 109 motorcycle riders when George Hendee merged the Indian Motorcycle Company with the club.
This happened in New England and resulted in a constitution being drawn up, where the objectives of the club were to encourage motorcycles and promote the interests of their riders.
The club’s constitution was also meant to protect motorcyclists and their rights on the road as well as the lifestyle of motorcyclists.
At the time, membership dues were only $2, and the organization of just over 200 members had many committees, including one for legal action.
Touring, transportation, and competition were some of those committees. The FAM would last for 16 years, and by 1915 would be home to over eight thousand members.
The first World War would drain its population and leave the organization in a slight hiatus by 1919.
The FAM ultimately came to an end, but the Motorcycle and Allied Trades Association (M&ATA) had an interest in the organization.
That organization had been founded in 1916 and began registering members from the FAM to keep itself afloat.
The Motorcycle and Allied Trades Association had to contend with declining registrations after the war, even after it merged with the FAM.
It too, however, began creating multiple committees to maintain its passion for the love of motorcycling for its members.
The educational committee was one, the competition committee was another.
In the same year, 1919, the M&ATA also began the Gypsy Tours, and that would attract many more members over the year.
The organization would host or be part of 11 national motorcycle championships in that year. The chair of the Educational Committee, W. H. Parsons, was also the editor of Motorcycle and Bicycle Illustrated and would begin promoting the organization in strength.
The organization would charge members 50 cents for membership and would soon become an independent association.
Within five years, the organization had grown into something that would earn a national name. The American Motorcycle Association was born on May 15, 1924.
The American Motorcycle Association (AMA) began its work in 1923 by recognizing itself as a minority and encouraging all motorcyclists to join and feel part of something important.
By 1924, the organization had over 10 thousand members. Then, it was still the M&ATA, and it had not become the AMA.
At first, the AMA was just a division of the M&ATA, but it would soon become the main organization.
The AMA would do what the M&ATA did but also work as a regulating body for the motorcycle industry, issuing sanctions and hosting national events.
Existing M&ATA members became charter members of the AMA, and dues rose to $1 annually.
The organization is divided into three different categories by classes, Class A, Class B, and Class C.
By August 1, the AMA had become ratified, and its first national event was created for August 25.
This event would become a significant milestone for the organization, which would soon become the host of the biggest and most important motorcycle competitions in the world.
The thing that made the AMA so special was that it was committed to every one of its members.
It also wanted to be an honest club that illustrated the integrity of motorcycle riders. For the first few years of the organization, however, it was a whites-only club.
That would end by the 1930s, when the first black member, William B Johnson would join. By 1947, blacks were still underrepresented in the organization, but that would soon change.
Also in 1947, the organization coined the term “one percent” for motorcycle riders who were not law-abiding citizens.
The AMA wanted to be 99 percenters and show that they were. The AMA today might call this story an old legend of theirs, because of the stigma with motorcycle riders today.
Today, one-percenter clubs do exist, and they are widely known as outlaw clubs, but that is distinctly not the mission of the AMA.
Competitions are an integral component of the AMA, and one of the mainstays of the organization.
It holds over four thousand amateur events annually amongst its various clubs and promotors.
The AMA has a Racing Rule Book that guides and sanctions every single event, with an annual convention and congress that offers championships to the riders all over the country.
Every year, the AMA gives out an AMA Racer of the Year, an AMA Youth Racer of the year, and an AMA Women’s Racer of the year prize.
There are also prizes for the AMA Club of the Year and, in addition to these amateur events, more than 80 professional events are hosted by the AMA annually.
Additionally, the AMA is home to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Columbus, Ohio. It is also considered the governing body of motorcycling in the United States.
It is not only the largest motorcycle club in the United States but also the largest in the world and prints the American Motorcyclist magazine, which has a monthly distribution of 260,000 readers.