I was in a motorbike club for several years. I don’t ride. But they let me tag along and drink and laugh and take photos and hang out. When I became a member I was automatically patched. That is a decal sewn to the clothing which denotes your club. Only club members can wear club patches. These are your ‘colours’. When you find yourself in a group of bikers, look for their patches. You can see who travels with whom.
Patches are more than decorative. They are symbols of your affiliation. Some are milestones and memories of people and events. Every vest is different. Every one tells a story. If you want to know a biker, get them to tell you about their patches. If you can. Club patches are a sign that you are part of the fraternity. The brotherhood of bikers.
I bought a vest to put my patch on, being a photographer I chose one which would hold a half dozen lenses. Practical. I love that vest. Fully loaded, it weighs around 20 pounds, but feels like 10.
Fast forward a few years. There was some unpleasantness. This is often the way. Bikers are not always the most diplomatic group of people and tempers get frayed. I decided I could no longer put up with the BS at the time, and I quit. Which left me with a vest with an expired patch. When a member quits they are required to remove the club patch, which I did. And that left me with a photography vest without a patch.
Today, I still hang out with the club members, those bonds are solid and I know they always will be. I get invited along to events and often take my camera. But here’s the rub. Cameras are treated with suspicion by bikers. So are the people that hold them. My face is well known to the older crew, but as new riders come along they wonder who the old guy with a camera is. And that can lead to unpleasantness, sometimes of the dangerous variety. So. I came up with a solution. I’ve made my own patch.
This will tell people who I am. Why I’m there. Why I have a camera. And that I can be trusted. This patch will sit on the back of my vest, and I will wear it with pride. I will, again, be patched.share this with friends: