In today’s integrated culture, it is easy to forget the mavericks it took to get us here. The biker club Cycle Queens of America is a perfect example of just how far we’ve come; it was a club ahead of its time in many ways.
In 1958, Delores Davis was refused access to a women’s club in Philadelphia (called Motor Maids). We all know that sometimes biker clubs and culture have been dominated by men, but we may forget the people who were denied access based on the color of their skin. Davis was refused access to the club for this reason, as at the time, it was an all-white club.
Davis, along with another rider, Margaret Bonham, went on to found Cycle Queens of America that same year. Margaret Bonham was laid up in the hospital from a broken thigh when she conceived the idea with Davis—Davis visited her in the hospital. When Bonham heard Davis had been denied, she and Davis decided to form their own club, Cycle Queens of America. Unlike the other club, this one was never racially segregated. The club went on to raise money for charities and race in local events. It even expanded to several states across the Northeast and East. Women from all over joined the club (after completing the required 100 mile ride to become eligible), clothing themselves in the iconic red and white uniform to identify themselves.
Davis and Bonham were true mavericks, ahead of their time in building a new kind of club, where all women were welcome. Even today, we still have a long way to go to get to equality. It kind of makes you want to get a biker patch (maybe in red and white!) to commemorate these remarkable women, doesn’t it?
When you buy patches, they may end up not actually making it on to your jacket. Sure, they look good online or at the vendor’s booth, but motivating yourself to attach them can be hard sometimes. Well, it’s time to do it—your jacket and your pride will thank you. If you don’t know where to begin when attaching them, here are some tips to get you started.
Some patches are super simple, iron on biker patches. These come with glue already on the back and only require, you guessed it, an iron. Most require you to iron the material (the jacket or bag or whatever) first to get it warm, then place the patch down and iron over it or on the backside of the fabric. However, it can get complicated if the jacket you are attaching the patch to is not iron safe. Leather, for instance, would not take well to this treatment. Also, some synthetic fibers cannot take the heat of an iron. In that case, you may need to sew it on.
Even if the patch isn’t specifically iron-on, you may still be able to attach it without sewing. You can use fabric glue to attach it to your jacket. Most fabric glue is just a simple application—apply it to the back of the patch then stick it onto the jacket. Be sure to know exactly where you want it to go, because smearing the glue can leave a mark (this can also happen if you use too much glue). You might want to leave something heavy on it to make sure it sticks. This should work with most natural fabrics and many synthetic fabrics. However, like above, it’s not likely to work with leather, though it is possible a spray adhesive for leather might suffice.
Overall, you will be much happier with yourself if you just pull out those patches and figure out how to attach them!
When you’ve bought new patches to attach to your jacket, sometimes your only option is to sew them on (rather than iron them on). Leather, especially, works best if you sew your patch on, and often times, it helps create a more secure hold on other materials if you sew it on.
Sewing on a patch is not as hard as it may sound. To begin, it is important you are sure you know exactly where you want to place the patch. Once you start sewing, it will leave holes if you try to pick it out again, especially in leather.
You’ll need to gather your supplies. A strong nylon thread (in a color that doesn’t stand out against the patch and jacket—black is a good choice), a thimble, an upholstery needle, and adhesive (optional, and will depend on the material) are a good starting place, and a seam ripper wouldn’t go awry, either. Depending on how much you care about the interior, you may want to sew under the lining, in which case you will need to rip out the seam at the base to sew just on the outer layer of the jacket. Apply adhesive to the patch (if desired) and place in the appropriate place.
To sew it on, you will knot your thread and push the needle from inside the jacket to outside, through one edge of the patch. You will then go over the edge of the patch and back through the jacket—this stitch is called a whipstitch. You may need the thimble to push the needle through such thick material. Keep your stitching even and close to make it look nice. When you have stitched all the way around your patch, push the needle back towards the inside of the jacket and knot the thread again, then cut off the excess tail.
Success! You’ve just completed your first patch. Now on to the next 49 biker patches.
You just bought a bunch of new patches at a recent motorcycle rally—it’s hard to resist them, isn’t it?— and now they are sitting in a pile in your suitcase or collecting dust in the closet. Once you buy them, it’s hard to get motivated to actually put them on your jacket and to decide how to arrange them. Here’s a few thoughts to where different patches should go.
Big patches, of course, fit best on the back of the jacket. Whether it’s an eagle patch with wings spread far apart or a skull with huge flames, the back of the jacket is the best place for it. Plus, when you leave someone in the dust, they’ll be left looking at your awesome eagle.
Smaller patches can find a home on your arms. Because of their diminutive size, several can be lined up on your arms—and you can fit more on your jacket! Plus, they’ll be right out there for everyone to see.
Now for that really special patch, you know, that one that just makes your heart go pitter-patter or memorializes a special rally or even a great friend. That’s the one you should place in the pocket position—right over your heart. Yes, it’s cheesy. But where else would you put your favorite patch?
Patches signify who are you are to the world around you, so it’s time to break out the iron or needle and put those patches on your jacket. You’re jacket will be more you, and after all the money and time you spent picking out those patches, don’t they deserve to see the sun? Sure they do.
Every motorcyclist is always on the lookout for that next great biker destination. Gather up your local biker buds because Eureka Springs, Arkansas is sure to fit the bill, with its lovely views, amazing roads, and awesome local community.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas is the heart of northwest Arkansas. Located about an hour northeast of Fayetteville, Arkansas (home of the University of Arkansas), Eureka Springs is certainly not what you would expect. The tiny town in the hills is a microcosm of a much larger city, reminiscent of San Francisco or Portland in its culture and friendliness. The community is very welcoming to people from all walks of life. With its shopping and bars, you are sure to find a place that is perfect for you. You may even be able to find that long-sought after skull patch for your jacket. Don’t forget to check out the rock shops strewn throughout the area—you’re sure to find something splendid for your garden.
But it’s not all about the small-town fun. This area of Arkansas has spectacular natural beauty. On the drive up, you will wander through hills and vistas, all covered in forests. During the fall, this area lights up with splendid colors—in fact, it is famous for it. And for those daily jaunts, beautiful Beaver Lake is just a short ride away, which features a number of roads perfect for bikers, as well as camping and picnicking.
So the next time you are looking for that perfect biker destination, look no further than Eureka Springs, Arkansas. You would be hard-pressed to find a prettier area, and the local culture is unsurpassed in such a small town.
Vacations may be on the top of every biker’s fantasy list, but great biker destinations are not always that easy to find. Santa Fe, New Mexico is a fantastic spot to get away from it all with great places to ride, a vibrant, artistic community, and weather that is the dream of every biker.
Santa Fe is a small city in north central New Mexico. Because it is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, the surrounding area features some fascinating landscape. From canyons to vistas, the area around Santa Fe is gorgeous: lots of rolling hills perfect for afternoon rides. The desert landscape also produces a wide array of plant and animal life, sure to keep you entertained on your rides.
Because of its slightly raised altitude, Santa Fe features lovely weather. The summer isn’t blazing—it generally stays in the 80s, though it does get some rain. The winter isn’t as cold as many other places, so motorcycle riding is a possibility throughout the year.
The best part is Santa Fe is a great little community with a vibrant artist scene, great local bars, and awesome food. Artists come from all over to this small town, and it is famous across the Southwest for authentic Mexican food. Because it is so artistic, the Santa Fe community is very welcoming to all types of people, and the shopping is unsurpassed, especially for local art goods. You can even find some amazing hand embroidered patches for your leather jacket.
Overall, Santa Fe, New Mexico has a lot to offer anyone, but bikers, especially, will enjoy the area. The next time your biker club is looking for an awesome destination, Santa Fe should be at the top of the list.