The Story behind the colors...
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Updated: April 25, 2013
The ICLEMC Colors:
The Iron Circle Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club’s Colors are Gold over Black. The Gold signifies the copper metal used to create the first police badge. The Black represents the mourning of fallen officers who have given the ultimate sacrifice. The Cross Rifles and draping handcuff represent the tools of our trade.
The Skull reminds us of our fallen brothers.
The Banner: “Nemo Me Impune Lacessit” is Latin for “No One Attacks Me With Impunity”. It symbolizes the unity amongst all Brothers in Blue. Our Club Name: “The IRON CIRCLE” signifies the everlasting Trust, Loyalty and Brotherhood between its members.
History (Courtesy of our Hawaii Brothers)
A one-piece patch signifies a family club, riding club, AMA- sanctioned motorcycle club or political action/biker rights organization. Some require little more than filling out an application (which is actually a release of liability) and mailing a check.
• A two-piece patch usually signifies a motorcycle club in transition, awaiting approval from the dominant club(s) to become a three-piece patch. These clubs are sometimes, not always, in the process of becoming an associate or support club. The hierarchy and traditions in the MC community are complex but not without purpose. They are valuable for maintaining order and avoiding trouble.
• A three-piece patch traditionally meant that the club is an "outlaw club," but not necessarily a 1% club. With very few exceptions (ie: LEMC’s), the club has most likely been approved by the dominant club in the state or area. The three- piece patch is awarded in three parts as a prospective member earns the privilege to wear the full patch. A "hangaround" is someone who is eligible for membership and has been invited to attend club events and runs, but wears no part of the patch. If he is sponsored by a full member and approved by the club members he may wear the bottom rocker and is considered a "prospect" or "probate". If he successfully completes the training period and is approved by 100% of the members, he is allowed to have the top rocker and the "center patch" or club insignia. His colors are then complete and he is considered to be a full member or "patch holder." The traditional, or "old school," three-piece patch MC is one that adheres to established protocols, traditions and a code of conduct.
The term colors are used when referring to a motorcycle clubs' patch with two rockers. One is placed over the top of the middle large graphic patch and one placed underneath it. The rockers are usually curved bars with the top bar designating the club name and the lower bar designating the location of the club. The two rockers are separate from the middle, larger graphic type patch, hence the term three-piece patch. Motorcycle clubs differ from riding clubs or other types of motorcycle organizations as they traditionally have "prospecting" time (a probationary training period) required before the club members decide to accept the individual into the group and allow him to wear or "fly" the colors of the group. Most club colors will also have MC printed on the rocker or as an additional small, rectangular patch, sometimes referred to as a "cube," to further clarify it as a motorcycle club rather than another type of organization.
The grey area:
A dramatic increase in the number of recreational motorcyclists in recent years has clouded the issue of what differentiates a motorcycle club from a riding club. Some military or veteran's motorcycle clubs (VMC) which are actually AMA-sanctioned, non-outlaw clubs, wear three-piece patches while not engaging in the established MC tradition of prospecting. These clubs may simply require evidence of prior or current military service and ownership of a motorcycle for membership. While the wisdom of this practice in the larger context of the MC community could certainly be questioned, VMCs provide a viable alternative for many riders.
It gets hazy when you consider that the territorial 1% motorcycle clubs seldom know which VMCs prospect their members, thereby educating them in established customs and courtesies, and which do not. All too often, they find out when a VMC patch holder violates a point of protocol and creates a situation impacting the entire club or chapter's ability to ride free.
Law enforcement motorcycle clubs (LEMC) often DO engage in the practice of prospecting, providing them with the knowledge and understanding of protocol necessary to become functioning entities in the MC community. They pretty much do their own thing while maintaining a code of ethics consistent with their profession. LEMC’s were set up at a brotherhood for like minded individuals, in the Law Enforcement field. LEMC’s are just about the only MC’s that are law abiding but adhere to the traditional ways of the MC.
Several national organizations have wisely decided to unite their rockers with their patch to create the appearance of a one piece patch and avoid sending the wrong message to the MC community. H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group), among others. Some veterans advocacy groups wear colors and ride motorcycles (or not) yet they are quick to point out that they are not a motorcycle club (Rolling Thunder and American Legion Riders are two such examples). These groups, more often than not, earn respect by showing respect and typically function well in the greater community context.
History of the three-piece patch
The AMA was founded in 1924 as an organizing arm of Motorcycle Manufacturers and mainly supported by the Motorcycle Manufacturers to promote motorcycle riding in America. They sanctioned groups of riders from the same area that rode together as motorcycle clubs. Some wore complete matching outfits with the name of their motorcycle club stitched on the back of their shirts and jackets. At events, the AMA gave awards for the best-dressed club so this was the start of motorcycle club patches. During an event in 1947 in Hollister, CA members of the Booze Fighters MC and Pissed Off Bastards of Bloomington (POBOB) made the headlines with a sensational news story. The AMA wrote an article in their magazine shortly after the episode denouncing the offensive bikers stating, "99% of all of their members are law-abiding citizens and only 1% are outlaws". Thus began what are today referred to as outlaw motorcycle clubs and "one percenters." These clubs were not sanctioned by the AMA and were banned from attending AMA events.
In order to designate themselves as an outlaw club to all other clubs, the one percenters cut their club patches into three separate pieces. The top rocker was the name of the club, the center was the emblem of the club, and the bottom rocker was their locale. The outlaw motorcycle clubs organized their own events and parties and did the opposite of what the AMA had been doing: There were no Best Dressed awards, they modified ("chopped") down their bikes leaner and meaner, to go faster and look different, scrapped the mufflers, guzzled beer, and did other "wild" things which, with the help of a willing press and Hollywood character studies, created the cultural icon of the rebellious outlaw biker.
A fictionalized version of the Hollister "raid" later became the storyline for a movie called "The Wild One" starring Marlon Brando as leader of the fictional Black Rebels Motorcycle Club, and Lee Marvin as the Booze Fighters' infamous Wino Willie. And so it went. More movies, more bikers, more fear, more headlines. > >
The 1% Diamond Patch
The diamond patch with "1%" worn on the front of a "cut" (vest) with the three-piece back patch signifies the club is either a 1% or 1% support club. They may not be the dominant club in the area but will almost certainly be sanctioned by the local dominant. There have been situations where the dominant is not a 1% club but those are rare and, quite possibly, extinct. The number "13" is also sometimes worn in a diamond patch. It is alleged to represent the thirteenth letter of the alphabet, "M" which stands for marijuana. Or maybe it's just a cool number. Rightly or wrongly, law enforcement organizations (LEO) regard the diamond patch as an outward, visible indicator of criminal activity within the motorcycle riding community. While the best propaganda usually contains some element of truth, the distortions are often so outrageous that if they weren't oriented towards spreading fear, they would be comical.
Some MC members have earned the right to wear a "NOMAD" bottom rocker. This is only when that member maintains a lifestyle within the common definition of the word nomad. > (no·mad) A member of a group of people who have no fixed home and move according to the seasons from place to place in search of food, water, and grazing land. A person with no fixed residence who roams about; a wanderer. It is a valued distinction of lifestyle that only a few can truly live up to, and as such, causes unfavorable notice when seen used by those most obviously not living up to the common meaning. By definition a "NOMAD", more often than not, will be traveling alone and needs an ability to represent, maintain & otherwise survive under circumstances unusual from the norm.
A little common sense goes a long way in the motorcycle club community. Be honest with yourself and others. If you are not prepared to fully accept the responsibility of wearing an MC patch, explore other alternatives for a group riding experience. Being a motorcycle enthusiast or having prior military service does not, in itself, prepare an individual for wearing a three-piece patch. The trial and error method of learning MC customs and protocol is not recommended. Consider very carefully any ideas that you and your pals might have about starting a motorcycle club. In all probability, a group already exists that would suit your style and the important work has already been done. Questions that could be interpreted as intelligence-gathering will not be well-received ("So, how many guys are in your chapter?" isn't a good question under any circumstances. "Hey. Does that '13' on your vest mean that you guys smoke pot?" probably isn't a good one either). Never, ever interrupt patch holders while they are conversing with one another and stand at a respectable distance while waiting to be acknowledged. You may be surprised at how much some basic courtesy is appreciated.
MC members understand the meaning and importance of respect. They demand it for themselves and their club brothers; they provide it to patch holders outside of their own club until given a reason to do otherwise. Regardless of what's on your back, or how you got it, it is of the utmost importance to show an appropriate degree of respect to those who earned their colors in the old-school tradition.