Following is some background on the Founder of the Older Bikers Riding Club.
Just My Thoughts #1
Let me introduce myself. I am the original one and only founder of OBRC.
My name is not important at this time and I prefer not to have the spotlight on me, but rather on the club, our past, present and future.
Prior to starting OBRC, I had been a member of a MC, way back in my youth.
Prior to my joining that MC, I had been raised in part by a single parent, then a foster family, then other relatives and finally sent to a reform school.
As a result of my upbringing, I only have a 9th grade education. However don’t ever make the mistake of thinking a lack of formal education, means a lack of intelligence or common sense.
Anyway, during my time as an officer of the old MC I was with, I joined them during a time in my life when I was looking for a family to belong to. It was the bond of brotherhood that attracted me to them.
It was also the fact that they did not look down on me, due to my criminal record. In fact, part of the reason I do not reveal my real name to many people today, is because I have an FBI record and at one time in my past, many many decades ago, my name even my photo was displayed in multiple national magazines here in the USA as well as in the news papers in ever state within the USA and Canada.
Anyway the primary reason I left the old MC was because of things I saw concerning young children and the offering of alcohol or drugs to them.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying all MC’s are like this. I am not even saying that all 1% MC’s are like this. I am only stating that I could not handle being part of or supporting the actions of certain members of this one particular club.
I was no angel and at that time in my life, I will admit to hurting people, but I did not agree with hurting women or children. About the only other crime I never approved of or would consent to being a part of was steeling from others.
So, I guess in spite of all my mistakes and wild years, at least I still had a few scruples left inside me.
Now, lets fast forward to a new me. I don’t remember what age I was when I started to change, but I can remember spending many hours and days “searching” local libraries, trying to find information on my family name. I was always wondering who my father was. I knew his name and what state he lived in. I even went to visit him one time. But I never got to really know him or much about him.
Another aspect of my lifestyle and personality involved me being a deep thinker. I have even been called anal retentive. And that can be a result of working in and eventually owning my own machine shop where I had to make products that were measured to within less then one thousandth of an inch.
It could also be a result of the days when I was a very active chess player and would put on public displays where I would play chess blindfolded, or play against 25 or more chess boards at one time, against other opponents.
These displays were my way of attracting students for the FREE chess lessons or group classes, as well as public relations for the chess club I started some 50 years ago, that is still in existence, in spite of me not living in that town anymore.
Anyway, after personal computers were made available to the general public, I created a company in California, where I wrote my own programs and offered a FREE service that would help individuals find a particular type of product or service anywhere in the country.
After that I opened the largest computer store, networking computer game room and Internet cafe in another state. At that point in my life, I started using computers to document things that I could share with others, as a teaching aid.
This aspect of writing things that others could read, was something I could not due before, due to my lack of education and the ability to spell. Basically, it would take me so long to look up words in a dictionary, that by the time I found out how to spell a word, I would forget what message I was trying to convey.
But now, with the aid of computers, I was finally able to write things down. The only problem I still have is I can say the words in my mind, so much faster then my fingers can type them.
Anyway, after spending many years speaking to large audiences in auditoriums and on TV, I was finally able to write things down.
This led to me starting a new non-profit organization called American Legacies. The goal of American Legacies is to fill in the gaps in a person’s life. A tombstone may tell you when someone was born and when they died. Court records or genealogy information may tell you the names of their parents or siblings, but not who they were as a person.
Military records may tell you how tall they were or what color hair or eyes they had, but again not who they were as a person.
Due to not knowing about my own father, I wanted to help others do several things. I wanted to teach them how to conduct research using a computer or by visiting local cemeteries plus I wanted to encourage them to document their own personal life and memories of any relative they spent time with, as well as about their own lives. I wanted to encourage people to do things for the grandchildren and other future descendants they will have.
But I wanted to go beyond just encouraging them to document their stories and memories. I grew up without much money. I have slept in cornfields, beside my motorcycle. I have slept in cars parked in out of the way places. I have counted pennies to get enough money to buy a pack of hot dogs, so I could eat something for Christmas Dinner.
I have lived through and survived some hard times. And to this day, I am still not a rich man, when it comes to having lots of financial wealth. However I consider myself extremely rich when it comes to having a wife that loves and needs me as well as other family members that care about me. That includes biological family as well as club family.
So, in order to help others preserve their family members and stories, I started American Legacies by publishing a monthly magazine, containing the stories and memories of regular people. These stories included old family recipes, that displayed the type of food their families cooked and ate. It also included copies of old family photographs of relatives.
About that time in my life, my past came up and bit me in the seat of my pants. I was arrested and accused of committing a crime. I was facing life plus 25 years, plus an additional 20 years in prison for a crime that I did NOT commit.
This was the pits. Of all the things I have done in the past, to be arrested and facing all this prison time for a crime I did not commit, threw me for a loop.
But, I am a fighter. Always have been and always will be. Suddenly, all of the cops and local business people that acted like friends, suddenly turned on me. They figured I must have committed these crimes or I wouldn’t have been arrested.
Luckily, I had enough money to hire an attorney. He was able to get me out of jail on bond. That allowed me to get back to my store and my computers. Once I was able to get to my computers, I started doing some research and discovered all of the phony bologna involving the charges against me and even discovered the person making the charges was using a false name and was in fact wanted in multiple states for other crimes they committed.
It turns out the person that made these allegations against me was actually arrested while I was in jail and had skipped town and had local warrants out for their arrest.
Thankfully, I was able to prove that I was innocent of the charges and they were eventually dropped. Unfortunately, during this episode, the local police had conducted a search of my home and my store. In that search, they took my personal computer and my office computer along with my publishing equipment, customers computers, external modems, and other equipment, without ever showing a search warrant to my store manager or any one else.
I never received any of those items back. So the hard drives along with all the data of about the people we had written about was gone.
Fortunately, I did have hard copies of all the stories we had published, except for one issue. So, while some of the info was lost to us, the family members of the individuals related to the people we wrote about that month, still had copies of that issue.
Shortly after that event took place, my mother ended up real sick and I ended up closing down the store to take care of her until she passed away. After she passed, I moved American Legacies over to web style displays instead of a magazine format. Since that time, we have grown into multiple websites and even have started obtaining stories from other countries.
Fast forward ahead some more years and I eventually decided to start OBRC. That was because after I got married to my current wife, I wanted to spend time traveling with her and showing her this great country, but doing it on two wheels. However, I really missed the biker brotherhood I had in the past and wanted to find other mature bikers to ride with and become friends with.
So, I came up with the idea of creating a club for older bikers that didn’t want to get involved with all the crime, gang wars and drugs. I designed a patch, created a website and started going to a local bike night.
The next step was to take a map and draw a 100 mile circle around my the town where I was living now and start planning some rides. I also designed some brochures and fliers to promote the rides and started asking others if they wanted to join us on a ride.
From that point, the local chapter grew quickly. I might also add that I found out who the local dominate club was and met with them, in order to get their permission to wear a back patch in their territory.
I also traveled to a state COC meeting and met with some of the 1% clubs in the state, including a major officer in one of the biggest 1% clubs in this country, who some time later praised and complimented me and our sergeant of arms, for doing something that he could not get some of their neighboring chapters to do.
However, everything is not roses all of the time. Over the years, I have discovered there are still a lot of unworthy characters out there. And we have to be careful who we allow into OBRC and also who we allow as officers.
We have lost OBRC chapters for a variety of reasons. All of those reasons revolve around leadership problems.
In one case, we lost a western chapter because the president died and the chapter did not have anyone willing to stand up and take over.
This goes back to an age old business lesson I learned 50 years ago. I was once told that, “1% of employees will perform 90% of your workload.”
I don’t know if that percentage still stands, but the reality is in this world, we have leaders and we have followers. Some people are content to stand at a machine and go through the same physical movement, day after day for years, without having to think about anything. While others can look at a room and see 100 things that need to be done and constantly try to find a more efficient way to accomplish them.
I personally am one of those people that MUST accomplish something productive each and every day of my life. I am always looking to grow as a person and as a leader. I am also constantly trying to have OBRC, American Legacies and other organizations that I run, grow and expand in their accomplishments.
With all that being said, I also NEED other voices. For example, I know of some people that will agree with everything I say, and promise the world if I ask them to do something for me, but I very seldom see the results.
I know other people that will take the opposite view of everything I say. I need those people because they inspire me to review my own thoughts and methods, to make sure I am inclusive enough to accept alternative ideas.
Another type of personality are the people that will stand their ground an refuse to do anything you ask them to do. Those are the individuals that have a very short lifespan as a club member.
My two primary criteria for all chapters and members are communication and the big picture. In other words, I expect every chapter to communicate with National on a regular basis.
I call our National VP every week, just to talk as friends as well as to share club news. But we hardly ever share any digital messages via a computer.
There are other important members that I might communicate with every other day via the computer, but never talk with on the phone.
The flip side is a former National VP that never called me in over ten years as an officer. He also never sent me any info via computer and wouldn’t even join our website as a member. That is why he is a FORMER VP and a FORMER Club Member.
The not being a club member was his choice and unfortunately, when he quite, he took a couple of local chapters with him. I hated to loose those members, but there is no way an International club can exist if any High Ranking Officer does not communicate with other officers and relay information about what is happening in their part of the country.
Another of the chapters we lost was a result of the local president that never held any rides, that we know of. All he did was round up people to attend rallies or parties. Mostly x rated rallies or parties. Again, we are a riding club. If a chapter does not have rides, they don’t belong in a riding club.
Another chapter we lost was a result of a chapter president being a thief and steeling club merchandise without paying for it. In addition to being a thief, he also did not want to be a part of a National or International club. The way we found that out is when his chapter was staying at the same motel as another chapter, but he did not allow any of his members to associate with any members of other chapters. That included eating at the same restaurant, but not sitting at the same table with other members.
Again, this club is not about one chapter. It is about the big picture and having family all over the world.
Anytime a member puts that backpatch on their vest, they are representing every other member everywhere in the world. So their actions reflect on all of us, good or bad. The also reflect on American Legacies, our parent organization and I will NOT have anyone get away with tarnishing the reputation of American Legacies.
So I hope that as time passes and who ever takes my place once I am gone, will respect the ideas behind OBRC and American Legacies and continue the legacy of both families.
In closing, some final thoughts. There is a reason why we do not want our members to carry, use or sell illegal drugs. There is also a reason why we do not want our members to drink alcohol while riding in a group formation. These are very strict rules. So anyone caught breaking them, may get one warning before being asked to leave the club, but that depends on your local chapter president.
Another thought is for any member that really cares about the future of OBRC, watch your chapter president. If you see your chapter drifting away from National, please reach out to a superior officer. We would hate for your chapter to be pulled, simply because one officer decides to ignore National Policies. Anytime someone disagrees with any National policy, all they need to do us communicate the reason they disagree with the policy and our officers will take it in front of the board to see what options or changes can be made.
Finally, I would encourage each and every member of OBRC to contact American Legacies and submit some type of memories of your life, your parents lives or even your grandparents lives. This includes digital copies of old family photographs, recipes, genealogy information or any other information you would like to have preserved for future generations. Remember it is entirely free.
Along the lines of supporting American Legacies, I would also encourage all of our OBRC members to volunteer to help American Legacies by typing, scanning photos, editing stories, visiting old service members or nursing home residents or coffee shops and interviewing elderly seniors and recording their stories and memories. We have all the paperwork you need, with the type of questions you can ask them.
One final way of supporting American Legacies is to have your local chapter sponsor a car/bike wash, poker run, yard sale, etc to raise money for American Legacies, so they can pay for the web servers, domain names and other expenses. But remember that no one involved with American Legacies or OBRC gets paid one single dime, so all donations go to supporting our causes, not individuals.
Thank you for reading and I hope and pray that each and everyone of you gained something positive from this message.