BIKER POLITICS? - Yes, It Exists.
If you are starting a club or are just an individual that wishes to wear colors (back patches), I suggest you contact some of your local 1% clubs. They take a few things very serious such as the wearing of 1% (outlaw for a better term) patches if you do not belong to a 1% club. Some will give you a hard time (if you are lucky) if you have an MC or 1% patch. The other biggie is using the same color combination and or name of city or state on a back rocker that another club is using.
I have found that most 1% clubs are willing to work with you if YOU approach them, BEFORE they approach you. And I guarantee the time will come when you will be confronted, hopefully not in a bar when you are by yourself...
If you contact the local clubs first, it shows a level of respect that normally will be shown back to you. Most 1% clubs do not go looking for trouble, but they feel they must protect their turf.
I have found that some of the National 1% clubs have allowed the wearing of a 1 piece patch that is made to look like a 3 piece patch. We take your overall design and sew it into one piece that looks like your rockers are sewn at the top and bottom edge of the center patch. I don't know of anyone having a problem wearing this type of patch unless you add 1% or MC etc. You might consider RC for Riding Club or just drop the MC all together.
I deal with a lot of law enforcement MC clubs and they have the same problems. They may not respect some clubs for what they stand for but they are able to get along as a brotherhood of MC riders.
I give the above advise from my years of dealing with bikers and making their patches. I have seen first hand what problems start ups have because I made their patches and they call me back when they have problems. This is normally to change the wording on the bottom rocker after they had a problem. It's easier and less expensive to find out upfront that have to redo your colors.
I make a lot of patches for a lot of different people. Many say they don't care what other clubs think. I cringe when I deal with this customer. No one should cause themselves a problem when its only a matter of time.
The bottom line is, if you check with your local clubs, or Confederation of Clubs and work with them they will work with you. It does not matter if you are a 1%er or just a member of a small local club, we all exist for the same reason, MOTORCYCLE riding...
Over the last year or so, I have seen some of the 1% clubs being more tolerant and giving permission for small start up or existing clubs to wear a MC, City or State bottom rocker. This has always been frowned upon, but for whatever reason, we are seeing more of it. I think most of the ones that have gained permission are a "support" club of the 1% clubs that gave permission. A support club is one that is friendly with, party together and may assist the larger club from time to time. In some cases, the larger club may accept members from the support club into their ranks at a later date, due to their long time relationship.
At rallies we don't see many of the larger clubs. Some of the locations frown on wearing of colors. I'm not quite sure how law enforcement prohibits the wearing of colors, but this is what I'm told. I see this some what in Daytona. The smaller clubs don't seem to have a problem, but the larger clubs seem to be targeted. In Laconia NH, you see Hells Angels everywhere, in fact they have numerous vending booths where you can buy their licensed products. From what I have seen there are 4-5 differant chapters there selling their chapter garments.
When I first started doing the Denver, CO swap in late Jan or early Febuary, which is called the Colorado Motorcycle Show & Swap, I mostly saw Bandidos, Sons of Silence, High Plains Drifters and a few other smaller groups proudly wearing their colors and the Denver Police had no issues with it. In early 2000 The Hells Angels moved into Denver and had a very big presence at the Swat Meet. Every year they had Sonny Barger at a booth signing copies of his book and there were Hells Angels in attendance from all over the Country. I even saw 15-20 Mongols strolling the aisles. At least at the Swap Meet, all the clubs seemed to get along, however the Denver Police presence went up from just a noticeable presence to 30-40 officers roaming the swap.
When we vend at rallies and swaps, we don't sell anything club related like MC, 1%, rockers etc. We do sell name and officer patches though. We have learned from experience that it is better to not sell club stuff at rallies, due to someone that would buy a MC or 1% patch and then have it sewn on and have major problems when confronted by another club membr or 1%er. In my early days on a few occassions when a rocker or MC patch got mixed in with some of the patches, it caused some minor issues by Prospects trolling for club stuff. However, I have always had a good relationship with the clubs and as soon as it was brought to my attention, I removed it rather than causing a problem. I just find that it makes sence not to sell such items at rallies where there are people that have no idea what they are buying and then sewing on.