Admitting our mistakes and learning from them are part of the growing up process. As motorcyclists, we’ve proven that we’re willing to take more risks than the average person. But if we have the choice to easily reduce risks, shouldn’t we? As the line goes, “There are bold riders and there are old riders, but it is doubtful you’ll find an old, bold rider.”
At the tender age of nineteen I was told by a riding mentor to pick up an American Motorcyclist Association membership. I found that information odd as I wasn’t going to be racing. Didn’t they just handle the domestic racing series and do stuff in Washington DC that doesn’t apply to me? I ignored the recommendation and told myself, “Why join? Joining is for suckers. I don’t ride in groups because I’m independent. The last thing I want to do is join a group and get mired in political shenanigans.” Ahhh to be young and idealistic.
From the time I was told about the AMA, I was stranded on the side of the road three different times. Once it was for a blown rear tire. Another time it was for a broken clutch cable. And another time it was for rider error (we won’t get into that here!). Each time I was left to figure out how to get myself and motorcycle home. Without my gracious friends, I may have been stranded permanently. The last time my riding mentor said to me, “Ya know, you could have called the AMA and they would have towed the bike home for free.”
Free? They would do that for me? I just had to listen to my mentor this time. With a big cross country motorcycle trip coming up and a lot of unknowns in the mix, a free tow just might come in handy, so I joined the AMA. A mere five years AFTER the initial recommendation.
Sure enough, two months later and 2,000 miles from home, I found myself at Daytona Bike Week and learned firsthand what it meant to be an AMA member. I lost my key in a field of motorcycles. I called the AMA, they arranged to pick me and the bike up, took us to a local dealership, and two hours after the dealership was supposed to have closed, I was sent on my way with a new key. That was the power of the AMA. They won me over. I thought about the Daytona Bike Week incident when I renewed my AMA membership in June for a 17th time.
As the world’s largest motorcycling organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. They also make available to us discounts from several key suppliers in the motorcycle industry.
Meaning, they work to support us.
What that 19 year old “independent” rider didn’t fully understand is that we’re all in this together. We represent such a small percentage of the motoring public and if we collectively fail to join together to retain our rights to ride, we have the potential to lose or greatly diminish this activity we so dearly love.
So here’s the rub. Join me. Join TEAM Arizona. Join thousands of American Motorcyclists across this land. Sign up today, because together, we’re better.