Category Archives: Classic Gallery
Prosecutors are considering criminal charges against four members of the Iron Brotherhood motorcycle club for their roles in a Christmastime bar brawl in Prescott, Ariz., that sent one man to the hospital.
Their nicknames are Tarzan, Mongo, Guido and Top Gun. They rode Harley Davidson motorcycles, wore vests decorated with skulls and some allegedly carried knives and brass knuckles.
Moctezuma’s Bar in Prescott, Ariz., where a brawl took place last December involving members of the Iron Brotherhood Motorcycle Club.
And their day jobs were police chief, county sheriff’s sergeant, police officer and paramedic.
An increasing number of police officers are forming motorcycle clubs, and hundreds now exist nationwide, according to experts on motorcycle gangs. Gang investigators fear that such clubs, some of which have the trappings of outlaw biker groups, can hurt the credibility of law enforcement and undermine criminal cases brought against traditional gangs.
“In the last 15 years I would say that we’ve probably seen a tenfold increase in these clubs,” said Terry Katz, vice president of the International Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association, who works for the Maryland State Police. “The first ones were pretty straightforward—they were family-oriented clubs. What we see now as a trend is biker by night and cop by day.”
Bikers Gather for ‘Mountain Thunder’
The popularity of law-enforcement motorcycle clubs has increased in recent years, and members say that concerns are overblown that the clubs can hurt the credibility of law enforcement.
Members of law-enforcement motorcycle clubs were among the many bikers who attended the Ozark Mountain Thunder Rally, which was held last month in Branson, Mo., in conjunction with the National Safety Forces Rally. Bikers listened to live bands, watched a motorcycle stunt show, enjoyed a tattoo contest and went on rides together.
David Walter Banks for The Wall Street Journal
Anna Alkire, in red, Matt Staples of the Guns of Justice law enforcement motorcycle club, and Jody Kosterlitz, in white, posed as Kenny Stults snapped a portrait at the Classy Shots booth.
The growth of such groups worries some law-enforcement officials because of the rowdy and violent behavior that sometimes goes on. In South Dakota, for instance, prosecutors charged a Seattle police detective who was a member of a group called the Iron Pigs with shooting and injuring a Hells Angels biker in a 2008 brawl between the clubs. The charges were later dropped. This year, the police chief in Melrose Park, Ill., a Chicago suburb, disbanded a police motorcycle club called the Reapers whose members had allegedly been in a bar fight.
“If this is not addressed, you’re going to continue to have these issues like you have in Arizona,” said David “Vito” Bertocchini, a retired detective who investigated motorcycle gangs in California. “If these guys were dressing as street-gang members and they had red rags hanging out their pockets, would this be tolerated? Absolutely not.”
In the courts, defense attorneys seek to torpedo charges against alleged gang members by arguing they are no different than police motorcycle clubs. Jorge Gil-Blanco, a retired San Jose police officer and expert witness, said the issue “muddies the water for juries.” He adds, “I shouldn’t have to sit there and justify this type of behavior.”
Members of police clubs say the concern is overblown. The Blue Knights, a law-enforcement club with more than 20,000 members around the world, was formed to raise money for charities and ride bikes with fellow officers and families, said D.J. Alvarez, international vice president. “We try to maintain a positive appearance,” he said. “We promote motorcycle safety, we involve families and we’re not discriminative,” he added.
The national board of directors for the Iron Brotherhood didn’t respond to requests for comment, but on its website appeared to distance itself from the Arizona bar fight, denouncing “any behavior by its members that would reflect negatively on our club or our profession as law-enforcement officers.” The board said what was known as the Whiskey Row Chapter in Prescott no longer exists.
The fight broke out Dec. 22 last year at Moctezuma’s Bar in Prescott, where members of the Iron Brotherhood had gathered for their Christmas party. A patron approached Bill “Tarzan” Fessler, president of the Iron Brotherhood chapter and the police chief of neighboring Prescott Valley, and either grabbed his vest or asked about the club’s patch, according to witness accounts in a report released by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. A melee ensued and a security guard observed an Iron Brotherhood member “pounding” someone’s face, the report said. Investigators concluded that the man, who was treated for a possible broken nose, and another patron were hit.
State investigators recommended assault charges against two Iron Brotherhood members, obstruction-of-justice charges against Mr. Fessler and another member of the club, and disorderly conduct charges against the patron. A spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said prosecutors were reviewing the recommendations, but have yet to decide on filing criminal charges.
Arizona Department of Public Safety
Security-camera footage shows the altercation during a Christmas party.
The men have denied the allegations. Mr. Fessler called them “absolutely absurd.”
“I still don’t know to this day who hit who,” Mr. Fessler said. “This whole thing is a witch hunt for police officers belonging to motorcycle clubs that wear a three-piece patch”—a patch sometimes associated with outlaw biker gangs. Mr. Fessler,who retired from the Prescott Valley Police Department in March, said he joined a police club to avoid hanging out with the “wrong crowd” at some biker events. The Iron Brotherhood’s activities consisted of weekend rides and get-togethers with families, he said.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s personnel board recently recommended terminating three employees who were members of the club. “I know the badge has been tarnished, and we will work relentlessly to regain the community’s full trust and confidence,” said Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher.
The Hells Angels—which has been labeled a dangerous criminal organization by federal authorities, though its members dispute the characterization—also weighed in on the incident. The local chapter expressed its disapproval to a local news site and challenged the Iron Brotherhood to a boxing match. The Brotherhood didn’t take up the offer.
“[The boxing challenge] was really kind of to stand up to these guys,” said Michael Koepke, vice president of the Yavapai County Hells Angels chapter, who last year had charges stemming from a 2010 shootout dismissed. “They give a bad name to motorcycle clubs.”
The Enfield Cycle Company made motorcycles, bicycles, lawnmowers and stationary engines under the name Royal Enfield out of its works based at Redditch, Worcestershire. The legacy of weapons manufacture is reflected in the logo comprising the cannon, and the motto “Made like a gun”. Use of the brand name Royal Enfield was licensed by the Crown in 1890.
The Early Years
In 1909 Royal Enfield surprised the motorcycling world by introducing a small Motorcycle with a 2 ¼ HP V twin Motosacoche engine of Swiss origin. In 1911 the next model was powered by a 2 ¾ HP engine and boasted of the well known Enfield 2-speed gear. In 1912 came the JAP 6 HP 770 CC V twin with a sidecar combination. It was this motorcycle which made Enfield a household name. 1914 saw the 3 HP motorcycles this time with Enfield’s own engine which now had the standardised Enfield paint scheme of black enamelled parts and green tank with gold trim.
Between the Wars
At the time of the outbreak of WW I Royal Enfield supplied consignments of their 6 HP sidecar Outfit motorcycles with Stretchers to the Crown. This same motorcycle also came with a Vickers machine Gun sidecar attachment which could also be turned skywards and used against low flying aircraft. Royal Enfield supplied large numbers of motorcycles to the British War Department and also won a motorcycle contract for the Imperial Russian Government.
As the factory developed in the 20’s the range of models also increased and in 1924 Royal Enfield was offering four versions of the 2 ¼ HP two-stroke motorcycle, two new JAP engined 350 cc motorcycles and two versions of the 8 HP Vickers engine sidecar combinations. During the great depression of the 30’s Royal Enfield was also affected and the demand for motorcycles waxed and waned but the bicycle manufacturing continued at the same pace and the company trudged on. The Cycar, a fully enclosed motorcycle model appeared in the early 30’s.
During World War II, like other manufacturers of that time Royal Enfield was also called upon by the British authorities to develop and manufacture military motorcycles. The models produced for the military were the WD/C 350 cc SV, WD/CO 350 cc OHV, WD/D 250 cc SV, WD/G 350 cc OHV and WD/L 570 cc SV. One of the most well-known Enfields was the Royal Enfield WD/RE, known as the Flying Flea, a lightweight 125 cc motorcycle designed to be dropped by parachute with airborne troops.
After the war the factory continued manufacturing the models developed during the war and the legendary J 2 model appeared which went on to be the ancestor of the legendary Bullet. The same motorcycle which perhaps had the honour of the being the one with the longest production run in the world.
The India Connection
Royal Enfield motorcycles were being sold in India ever since 1949. In 1955, the Indian government started looking for a suitable motorcycle for its police forces and the army for patrolling duties on the country’s border. The Bullet 350 was chosen as the most suitable bike for the job. The Indian government ordered 800 of these 350 cc motorcycles, an enormous order for that time. Thus In 1955, the Redditch Company partnered with Madras Motors in India to form what was called ‘Enfield India’ to assemble these 350 cc Bullet motorcycle under licence in erstwhile madras (Now called Chennai). As per their agreement Madras Motors owned the majority (over 50%) of shares in the company. In 1957 tooling equipment was also sold to Enfield India so that they could manufacture components and start full-fledged production. The Enfield Bullet dominated the Indian highways and with each passing year its popularity kept rising.
Closeout in the UK
Royal Enfield UK continued manufacturing motorcycles and came out with some more innovative and powerful machines notably the Royal Enfield Meteor, Constellation and finally the Interceptor 700, before being sold to Norton-Triumph-Villiers (NVT) in 1968. Production ceased in 1970 and the company was dissolved in 1971. Remaining tooling and equipment of the Redditch works were auctioned off. Meanwhile the Bullet 350 continued to be manufactured in India and by the 1980’s the motorcycles were even exported to Europe out of India. Even after the motorcycle manufacturing closed down the precision engineering division ran for some more time and even bicycles were produced until quite late.
The Eicher Chapter
In 1990, Enfield India entered into a strategic alliance with the Eicher Group, and later merged with it in 1994. It was during this merger that the name Enfield India changed to Royal Enfield. The Eicher Group is one of India’s leading automotive groups with diversified interests in the manufacture of Tractors, Commercial Vehicles, Automotive Gears, Exports, Garments, Management Consultancy and Motorcycles. Since then, the Company has made considerable investments in modernizing its manufacturing technology and systems. In 1996, when the Government decided to impose stringent norms for emission Royal Enfield was the first motorcycle manufacturer to comply, a tradition which has stuck on thus making emission norms being one of the most important factors the company focuses on.
The Classic Desert Storm comes to you with a “sand” paint scheme reminiscent of the war era, a time when Royal Enfield motorcycles…
The Royal Enfield Classic Chrome is based on the Classic 500 with a rather generous dose of chrome on it. Like the Classic 500, the…
Battle GreenThe Classic Battle Green comes to you with a paint scheme reminiscent of the War era, a time when Royal Enfield…
Armed with a potent fuel injected 500cc engine and clothed in a disarmingly appealing post war styling, this promises to be the…
The smaller twin of the Classic 500, the Classic 350 will hold its own against any other motorcycle and then pull some more. The…
The Thunderbird Twinspark was the first model to feature Royal Enfield’s revolutionary Unit Construction Engine.All the well loved…
The Electra now comes packed with the power and reliability of Royal Enfields latest Twinspark Unit Construction Engine. Along with…
The legendary Bullet 350 need no introduction. Now Bullet 350 is with all new Unit Construction Engine.This classic machine has kept…
The Bullet Electra is a classic motorcycle, simplistic in design with a new, robust and reliable unit construction engine. Comfort…
The Bullet Electra Deluxe has the same elements of the Electra, but also features hand polished aluminium castings and a hand lined…
The Bullet 500 is the culmination of over 8 decades of legacy, of the longest running model in continuous production. Since 1932 the…
When some people think of bikers they most often think of the stereotypical of dirty, leather clad men with shaggy beards covered in road dust riding around the country wreaking havoc and getting into barroom brawls. The truth is that most bikers are not rowdy trouble-makers and are in fact honest, law-abiding, hard working people.
However, there are small numbers of bikers who refer to themselves as “1%ers”. “One percenter” motorcycle gangs have been given this label because it is purported within motorcycle club circles that 99% of all bikers live within the boundaries of the law. Then there is the other 1% who rejects main-stream norms and live outside of the law, often engaging in highly criminal activity. This list takes a look at 10 American “1%er” biker gangs and highlights some of each gang’s alleged criminal activity.
It is important to note that although some of the members of these motorcycle clubs/gangs have been arrested, tried and convicted of various crimes not every member of the following clubs engage in criminal acts.
The Vagos Motorcycle Club was started in San Bernardino, CA in the 1960’s. Members of the club often wear green and bear a patch of the Norse god Loki riding a motorcycle. The club has approximately 24 chapters spread across the western United States in states such as Arizona and Nevada and also 3 in Mexico.
The Vagos have been the subject of several investigations by the FBI and the ATF for illegal activity such as the production and distribution of methamphetamine, murder, money laundering and weapons violations. A highly coordinated investigation in March of 2006 led to the arrests of 25 Vagos members and their associates in what has been labeled as the largest investigation in Southern California’s history.
This particular motorcycle gang was started in the state of Oregon in the late 1960’s. Their patch consists of an ankh, an ancient Egyptian symbol in the shape of a cross, in the center of a motorcycle rim and tire. All of their chapters, with the exception of one in Vancouver, Canada, are located within the state of Oregon.
On May 2, 2007, three members of The Free Souls Motorcycle Club were arrested and charged with various crimes. Amongst the evidence were illegal drugs, weapons and stolen motorcycles all of which were seized as part of the investigation and arrests.
Founded in San Antonio, TX in 1966 The Bandidos are among the more notorious of American Motorcycle Clubs. The gang’s patch bears a cartoon-ishly obese Mexican wearing a large sombrero and carrying a machete in one hand and a pistol in the other. The colors of gold and red were adopted as the club’s colors due to the fact that their founder was a former Vietnam Marine veteran. The Bandidos have around 90 chapters spread across the U.S. alone, but they have also branched out as far as Asia, Germany and Australia.
The Bandidos gang has a long and brutal history of illegal activity. A member of The Bandidos was arrested, tried and convicted of the 2006 murder of a well known flyweight boxer and a member of the rival Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club was sniped while leaving a restaurant in March of that same year during The Bandidos 40th Anniversary of the clubs annual birthday celebration. Police suspect that members of The Bandidos are responsible for the murder. Other members have been arrested from anything from murder to drugs and illegal weapons possession as well as assault and racketeering charges.
The Highwaymen were formed in Detroit, MI in 1954. Their chapters have spread across the state of Michigan as well as other U.S. states and have reached as far as Norway and England. Their club colors are black and silver and their insignia is a winged skeleton wearing a motorcycle cap and a leather jacket. The Highwaymen also have their own mottos which are: “Highwaymen Forever, Forever Highwaymen” and “Yea, though we ride the highways in the shadows of death, we fear no evil, for we are the most evil mother fuckers on the highway.”
Despite being the largest motorcycle club in the city of Detroit, they are not acknowledged in the Detroit Federation of Motorcycle Clubs due to their violent and criminal reputation. In May 2007, after a two year investigation into the gang’s activities, the FBI raided homes and chapter clubhouses resulting in the arrests of 40 Highwaymen and associates. The charges included insurance and mortgage frauds, murder for hire, cocaine trafficking, police corruption and racketeering.
The Warlocks were founded in 1967 in Philadelphia, PA and gained a large number of members after the end of the Vietnam War. Consisting only of white males, The Warlocks have spread through the state of Pennsylvania and a good portion of the northeastern United States and also have chapters in the southeast United States as well as overseas in Germany and England. Their club colors are red and white and they use the Greek mythological figure of a winged Harpy as their insignia. Members often adorn themselves and their vests with white supremacy insignia as well.
In 2008, Tommy Zaroff, a former President of the Bucks County, PA chapter was arrested on suspicion of possessing 10 pounds of methamphetamine. In October of the same year four members of The Warlocks were arrested and charged with producing, transporting and distributing methamphetamine throughout Berks and Montgomery Counties in Pennsylvania. It is alleged that they sold over 500 lbs. of methamphetamine worth approximately $9 million.
The Sons of Silence are another “1%er” motorcycle gang that was founded in Niwot, Colorado in 1966 and featured in a 2009 episode of Gangland on The History Channel. Since 1966 The Sons of Silence have spread across the United States, with concentrations in the eastern U.S. They also have several chapters spread throughout Germany.
The Sons of Silence have adopted the motto “Donec Mors Non Seperat”, which is Latin for “Until Death Separates Us”. The club patch has been adopted from the American Eagle logo used by the Budweiser beer company and bears an eagle superimposed over the letter A with their motto underneath.
In October of 1999, 37 members of the Sons of Silence were arrested on drug trafficking and illegal weapons charges during one of Denver’s largest federal undercover operations. During the raids, The ATF seized 20 lbs. of methamphetamine, 35 firearms, four hand grenades, 2 silencers as well as cash and motorcycles.
The Outlaw Motorcycle Club is one of the more notorious and oldest clubs on this list. The gang started in Matilda’s Bar on old Route 66 in McCook, IL in 1935. Using the insignia on Marlon Brando’s leather jacket in The Wild One as inspiration, the club adopted the skull with cross pistons as their official club patch. Since the club began over 70 years ago their chapters have spread widely across the United States and have been well established in Australia, Asia, Europe and North and South America.
Harry Joseph Bowman, The World Leader of The American Outlaw Association (A.O.A.), was the international president of The Outlaws Motorcycle Club and presided over 30 chapters in the U.S. and 20 chapters in 4 other countries until he was sent to prison for 3 murders in 1999 after being on the F.B.I’s Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitive list in 1998. Across the globe members of The Outlaws have been suspected, arrested, tried and convicted of countless crimes from prostitution, trafficking in narcotics and stolen goods, arms dealing, extortion and murder.
The Pagans formed in Maryland in 1959 and by 1965 had expanded rapidly. Their patch depicts the Norse fire giant Surtr sitting on the sun wielding a sword with the word Pagans in red, white and blue. Members are known to wear their patches on cut-off denim jackets with accompanying white supremacist and Nazi insignia patches. The club’s members have also been seen with tattoos of ARGO (Ar Go Fuck Yourself) and NUNYA (Nun’Ya Fuckin’ Business). Their territory seems to be confined strictly to the eastern coast in the United States.
Aside from their history of violent rivalry with the notorious Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club, The Pagans have been associated with numerous crimes including murder, arson, drug smuggling and have been linked to organized crime in the upper northeastern United States. In February of 2002, seventy-three members of The Pagans Motorcycle Club were arrested in Long Island, NY after violence erupted at a motorcycle and tattoo ball. The Pagans allegedly went to the ball specifically to confront members of The Hell’s Angels MC resulting in 10 wounded bikers and one murdered Pagan member. Then in 2005, members of The Pagans allegedly shot and killed the Vice-President of the Philadelphia Chapter of The Hell’s Angels.
The Mongols, also known as Mongol Nation or Mongol Brotherhood, were formed in 1969 in Montebello, California from Hispanic bikers who were refused entry into The Hell’s Angels MC due to their race. Their colors are black and white and their insignia bears the name Mongols in large black letters above a pony-tail sporting man riding a motorcycle wearing a leather vest and sunglasses while carrying a scimitar or cutlass. Mongol chapters are concentrated in the western United States, but have also opened in Canada, Mexico and Italy.
In 2008, the ATF coordinated a sting against The Mongols MC where 4 agents went undercover to become fully patched members while gaining intelligence about the gang’s activities. This operation resulted in 38 arrests including the arrest of the club’s president, Ruben “Doc” Cavazos. As part of the operation 160 search warrants were served and 110 arrest warrants were carried out. As part of the operation, members of The Mongols MC are now prohibited by law from the use of the Mongol MC logo and insignia including wearing the patches on vests or any other garb.
Probably the most well known American biker gang, The Hell’s Angels have a long and thorough history on American highways. Much information concerning their origins is hazy due to their long-standing code of secrecy. Sometime within the 1940’s or 1950’s in California Hell’s Angels MC was formed. Their insignia is the “death’s head” logo which is copied from the insignia of the 85th Fighter Squadron and the 552nd Medium Bomber Squadron. Red lettering over white backgrounds stands for the club’s colors. With so much popularity, Hell’s Angels chapters have sprung up across the Untied States as well as Russia and New Zealand and the continents of North America, South America, Europe and Australia.
The Hell’s Angels MC have gained mass notoriety in the U.S. due to their involvement in many highly publicized run-ins with the law and rival biker gangs. The most note-worthy of publicized events happened during the Altamont Free Concert at Altamont Speedway in December of 1969 where it is alleged that The Rolling Stones hired members of The Hell’s Angels to stand-in as bodyguards for the band. Violence erupted in the crowd and also onto the performance stage and as a result one male was stabbed to death after brandishing a pistol.
Another publicized incident occurred in Laughlin, Nevada in Harrah’s Casino and Hotel. A violent confrontation in the casino between rival Mongols MC resulted in one fatally stabbed Mongol gang member and two fatally shot Hell’s Angels members.
Ralph “Sonny” Barger, long considered the Godfather of the Hells Angels MC (having started the original Oakland chapter) is definitely an original “one percenter” if there ever was one. There’s a lot of very interesting history behind Sonny and the Hells Angels that I can’t post, so if you’re itching for more, check out his books. Here’s a little collection of pics, along with some of Sonny’s personal accounts on his life and times, and the history of the club.
Famous Sonny Barger quotes–
“Treat me good, I’ll treat you better; treat me bad, I’ll treat you worse.”
(Referring to Keith Richards during the Altamont Concert in December 1969.) “I stood next to him and stuck my Pistol into his side and told him to start playing his Guitar or he was dead.”
“If I ever get too old to ride my Motorcycle, and have pretty girls, I’d rather just rob a Bank and go back to prison.”
From Sonny Barger’s autobiography–
“When I saw The Wild One, Lee Marvin instantly became my hero. Lee’s character, Chino, was my man. Marlon Brando as Johnny was the bully. His boys rode Triumphs and BSAs and wore uniforms. Lee’s attitude was ‘If you f*ck with me, I’ll hit you back.’ Lee and his boys were riding f*cked-up Harleys and Indians. I certainly saw more of Chino in me than Johnny. I still do.”
* “As a street tough, I looked the part. I wore my Levi’s jeans with one-inch-wide cuffs at the bottom, smoked Camels (as opposed to Lucky Strikes, my Dad’s brand), had the attitude, and rode a motorcycle. My friends and I wore V-neck T-shirts with a cigarette pack rolled up in the sleeve. We bought black engineer boots (with a silver buckle) at the Red Wing shoe store, the same place Oakland working grunts bought their work boots. If you had the cash, a black leather jacket made sense if you rode motorcycles.”
“I joined my first bike club, the Oakland Panthers, in 1956. It didn’t last too long. We were a bunch of local bike riders who liked to hang out. Freewheeling clubs were just starting out then. After a couple weeks I knew we weren’t cutting it. We seemed pretty pointless, like we weren’t a real club. We were just a bunch of kids. Some of us didn’t even know each other’s names.”
“I quit the club as quickly as I started it. Sure, they’d party, but when the sh*t came down, they didn’t stick together. I felt no brotherhood. When the cops busted someone, he was on his own. It was like ‘F*ck him, I’m outta here.’ What I needed was more solidarity and less cover your own ass.*
“During both world wars, bomber squadrons and divisions of military men formed their own tight circles. Bands of young draftees and enlistees would think up a name and design a cool-looking logo to show how tough and deadly they were as fighters. Patches were sewn on government-issue leather bomber jackets and the brass seemed okay with it.”
“The term ‘Hell’s Angels’ had been bouncing around the military as far back as World War I, when a fighter squadron first took on the name. During the 1920s in Detroit, a motorcycle club affiliated with the American Motorcyclist Association named themselves Hell’s Angels… A group of mercenary war pilots called the Flying Tigers flew for the Chinese, and one of their squadrons called themselves Hell’s Angels. WWII had a few groups called Hell’s Angels, including an American Air Force bomber company stationed in england, the 358th Bomber Squadron, another Navy torpedo squadron– I think it was the 109th Airborne– and the 108th Airborne, paratroopers during the Korean War.”*
“As far back as 1917, during WWI, both the German and American infantries successfully used bike (motorcycle) riders as couriers, scouts, and communications dispatchers. In response, the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company won big government contracts manufacturing bikes for the American war machine in Europe, delivering up to 20,000 cycles. During the 1930s and 1940s, Hitler’s Nazi war machine trained motorcyclists into more active combat roles, using higher-tech BMWs. Hitler’s Panzer divisions relied heavily on skilled motorcycle soldiers. Instead of scouts and messengers, motorcyclists mounted machine guns on their bikes, rode on reconnaissance missions, scouted ambushes, occupied bridges and landmarks, rode through land-mined fields, and escorted tanks into battle.”
“As a result, aggressive, restless, roaming daredevil riders evolved by the end of WWII, unafraid to ride full-throttle and kick ass. Some cite returning wartime bikers as the beginning of ‘outlaw motorcycle types’ dating from 1948 to the early 1950s. Before WWII, motorcycle clubs were like gentleman’s clubs– riders actually wore coats and ties. After WWII, clubs like the Boozefighters retained both the aggressive spirit of war and combat and the look– leather bomber jackets, flight goggles, and long scarves. One of their credos was– Jesus Died So We Could Ride.“*
“Clubless and bored, I rode around the Oakland streets with a new wild bunch. We talked about starting up another club. One of the riders, Boots, Don Reeves, wore a modified Air Force-like patch he’d found in Sacramento– a small skull wearing an aviator set inside a set of wings. I thought it was cool as hell. The bottom rocker read ‘Sacto.’ We later found out that Boots’s patch came from a defunct motorcycle club in North Sacramento. Boots’s idea was to name our new club after the patch, the Hell’s Angels. We all liked the name, so we hit a local trophy shop in Hayward and made up a set of patches based on the design (later called the death head) in April of 1957, not really knowing that there were other Hell’s Angels motorcycle clubs around the state of California. For almost the first year of our existence we didn’t even use “Oakland” as a bottom rocker. Instead, we were “Nomad” Hell’s Angels. Yeah, that sounded like us.”