Saturday, June 27, 2015

OMGs - Oh My God, Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs!


As I suspected when I've done radio spots for RUNNING WITH WILD BLOOD, I would be questioned about the plot and the characters. You see Wild Blood is an outlaw motorcycle gang that is under suspicion in the novel for taking part in, or knowing who, killed Juliet Trapp, a 16-year-old student at Winter's Farm Academy. My heroes, Moriah Dru and Richard Lake, delve into the cold case and come to some surprising conclusions and doubts that Wild Blood members did the evil deed. So, they convince the club to allow them to ride in their ranks to a Bike Week charity event in Florida to help solve the crime and perhaps clear their club and its members. There's plenty of distrust on the part of the bikers -- after all Lake's a cop and Dru's a PI. The tension from all sides, plus rival clubs they meet along the way, lends violence to the mystery.

While I admitted to the radio hosts that I romanticized what many call thugs, I also shared my research on biker clubs in general.


First Harley Prototype - Wiki

Biker clubs have been a part of American culture as long as the motorcycle itself. Harley Davidson considered by many as the premier bike had its beginnings in 1901. Although not the first motorcycle invented -- the Indian brand bicycle company invented the motorized bike in 1900 -- it was one of the first when 20 year-old William S. Harley drew up plans for a small engine and four-inch flywheels. For the next two years, Harley and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson worked on their motor-bicycle in a Milwaukee machine shop. By 1907 they were selling their first bikes.

The first motorcycle club was formed in 1904 when the Yonkers Bicycle Club morphed into the Yonkers Motorcycle Club -- some 23 years before the founding of the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) in 1927. In San Francisco the very first SFMC meeting, attended by 12 charter members, took place in November 1904 at A. Freed’s Thor Motorcycle Shop near famous Fulton Street.


When bikers wore coat and tie


Outlaw "gang" clubs

One of the first was The Outlaws Motorcycle Club, a one-percenter club that was formed in McCook, Illinois in 1935.

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 in the 1940’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.

Many of the members of outlaw gangs (as well as non-outlaw clubs) gravitate to the motorcycle culture when they leave the military. According to sociologists -- who purport to know these things -- men grow used to the company of men and the culture of war. After service, especially during war time, they find life mundane. The thrills, the wild and free, "don't tread on me," lifestyle has drawn at least 44,000 men to what the Justice Department calls OMGs - Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.

From a riot in Hollister, California to this week's shootout at Waco's Twin Peaks, OMG's have left a history of violence in their wake.

On of the first and most famous is the American Motorcyclist Association's rallies in Hollister, California. The influx of bikers was good for business at first, but after World War II, the rally was bigger than ever with a flood of veterans drawn to the excitement and freedom associated with motorcycles. Beer bottles littered the streets, and people were sleeping everywhere. Bikers did what bikers do. They raced around and popped wheelies. The state police were called in to clear the town.
The event got big play in Life magazine and inspired the 1953 film "The Wild One," starring Marlon Brando. His leather jacket and brooding demeanor gave a face to the bad-boy biker image.

The Hells Angels added to the lore. Hired to provide security at a Rolling Stones concert in Altamont, California, a gang member killed Meredith Hunter, a man who rushed the stage with a gun after an earlier confrontation with Hells Angels. The stabbing was captured on film. Witnesses reported several gang members stomping on Hunter. Promoters had paid the gang in beer, and members had numerous scuffles with concertgoers throughout the day of the concert.

The Bandidos Motorcycle Club goes down in infamy after two brothers ripped them off in a drug deal, selling them baking powder instead of meth.The gang kidnapped Ray and Mel Tarver, drove them into the Texas desert and forced them to dig their own graves before shooting and killing them.

My Wild Blood does not practice the devilry of other one-percenters, but are people who love their culture, avoid harming "civilians" or killing cops -- and save Moriah Dru's life.

Gerrie Ferris Finger
RUNNING WITH WILD BLOOD
http://amzn.to/1HZxd1A