The world of motorcycles and the open road carries with it a sense of freedom, camaraderie, and adventure like no other. Within this vibrant and close-knit community, the biker patch is one of the most iconic symbols. These patches are not mere pieces of fabric; they are emblems of identity, honor, and a deep connection to the motorcycle way of life.
This blog will explore the often-unspoken rules and etiquette for wearing biker patches. These patches, proudly displayed on the jackets, vests, and apparel of riders, are rich in meaning, representing affiliations, accomplishments, and shared values within the two-wheeled world. Understanding the significance of these patches and the protocol governing their display is not just a matter of personal pride but an integral aspect of the rich and diverse motorcycle culture.
What are Biker Patches?
Biker patches are patches worn on the vests of members of motorcycle clubs to showcase their membership. These patches are often worn at the back of their vest and are full of meaning and tradition. Most motorcycle club uses customized biker patches with different designs and meanings. But ready-to-use biker patches are also available in patches shops. Motorcycle clubs are diverse and include clubs for police officers, veterans, firefighters, families, and others.
Types of Biker Patches
There are several types of biker patches today; these are:
- Club Patches: which symbolizes club membership
- Customized Military Patches: which showcase dedication to the country
- Flag Patches: shows patriotism to your country.
- Brand-Based Patches: showcases the specific type of bike you own; an example is Harley Davidson.
- One-piece Patches: this patch is placed on the back of the jacket or vest of the biker. It also shows that the biker is a member of a specific club.
- Activity Biker Patches: These patches are given after a biker completes a specific activity or task.
What Are The Rules For Wearing Biker Patches?
The rules and etiquette on wearing biker patches vary between clubs, but some general rules apply to most situations. These rules are:
1. Be cautious: Be cautious about wearing your patch, as some biker patches have special meanings and should be worn with consideration to those meanings. An example is that a bike should not wear patches or colors of their club in another territory.
2. Do not touch the patches or colors of other members: Motorcycle club members are proud of their patches and colors with all their effort to earn them. So, it would be best to respect the patches and colors of other members.
3. Surrender your patches and colors if you lose your club membership: If you decide to quit your club membership, you should return your patches to the club. Returning your club’s patches is essential because only strictly approved members can wear those patches.
4. Do not borrow a member’s vest: You cannot borrow and wear another biker’s vest unless you’re a female passenger riding with a club member.
5. Patches should be placed on vests or jackets: Biker patches should be attached only to club members’ vests or jackets.
6. Do not put unnecessary patches on the biker’s vest: Show respect to your club membership by not putting patches unrelated to the club.
Biker Patches Meaning
Biker patches are not just used as decorations; they also have meanings that convey information only known to the bikers. Below are the meanings of some biker patches:
- One-piece back patch: A one-piece patch signifies the wearer belongs to a riding club or motorcycle organization. This patch contains the club’s name, logo, and location.
- Three-piece back patch: Biker clubs use biker patches with standards on who can join their club. In this patch, the centerpiece often carries the club’s emblem and name.
- Activity patches: These patches are given to bikers who join club activities such as charity events.
- Outlaw bike insignia: Some self-designated “outlaw” bikers or motorcycle clubs wear patches with the shape of a diamond and a log reading “1%.” This is because they considered themselves not part of the 99% of bikers the American Motorcycle Association represented. Some of these patches may indicate that the wearer may have engaged in criminal activities. An example of this is the number 13. Number 13 is said to stand for the 13th letter of the alphabet, M, which refers to marijuana.
Independent Biker Patch Rules
Here are the rules for independent bikers:
- Personalized Design: Independent rider patches offer a canvas for personal expression. Many riders choose to design their patches with symbols, quotes, or imagery that hold personal significance. Whether it’s a favorite quote, an emblem representing their journey, or a symbol of their love for the open road, these patches can be as unique as the riders.
- Patch Placement: The placement of the independent rider patch on the rider’s jacket or vest is a matter of personal choice.
- Maintenance: Like all patches, independent rider patches should be well-maintained. Regularly inspect and sew them securely to avoid getting lost on the road. Keeping the patch in good condition not only preserves its appearance, but also upholds its respect and pride.
- Respect for Others: While independent riders are not part of a formal club, they should still adhere to the broader etiquette and rules of the motorcycle community.
Biker Vest Patches Placement
Most biker vests or jackets are made of leather or denim materials. If your vest is leather, the best way of applying patches is by sewing. Fabric glue is not ideal because it might damage or discolor your vest. Furthermore, glue is only temporary, so the patches will likely come off later. Ironing the patches onto leather vests or jackets is also not ideal because heat will damage the leather. Sewing is the perfect way because it is safe for the leather material and is permanent. However, if your biker vest or jacket is denim, sew, iron, or glue the patches into your vest or jacket. Read our blog, “How to Attach Patches on Leather Biker’s Jacket.” for more information on applying biker patches.
Frequently Asked Questions on Rules for Wearing Biker Patches
1. What are the different types of biker patches?
Biker patches come in various types, including club, association, memorial, and independent rider patches, each with a unique purpose and significance.
2. How do I earn a club patch if I want to join a motorcycle club?
Earning a club patch typically involves a prospecting period, where you prove your loyalty and dedication to the club’s values. The specific requirements may vary from club to club.
3. Can anyone wear a biker patch?
No, biker patches are typically reserved for members of specific motorcycle clubs. Wearing a club patch without being a member is considered disrespectful and can lead to serious consequences.
4. Can I modify a club’s patch to fit my style?
Changing a club’s patch in any way is unacceptable and considered disrespectful. The club’s patch should be worn as issued to maintain the integrity and identity of the club.
5. Can I wear a club’s support patch if I’m not a full member?
Many motorcycle clubs have “support clubs” or individuals who support their activities but are not full members. These individuals may wear a support patch to show their affiliation with the club.
6. What are Biker Patches Made of?
Most biker patches are made from durable materials like denim or heavy cotton that hold on nicely to the vest or jacket and withstand any weather conditions. Basic patches require basic embroidery, while some detailed ones often need more embroidery during production. The embroidery coverage of biker patches is broken down into three categories listed below:
- 50% Embroidery: This embroidery involves simple designs with simple text and saying patches. The twill background in this embroidery is visible, with less than 50 percent embroidery.
- 75% embroidery: This is the most common type of embroidery. The patch contains 50% or more embroidery, with less than 50% of the background visible.
- 100% Embroidery: This is the highest quality patch in which 100% contains embroidery with very little or no twill background visible.
7. Where Can I Buy Biker Patches?
Most biker wearing a patch prefer to buy and wear customized biker patches that bear the colors and messages of their club. Customized patches can be ordered from online patch shops like LaughingLizards.com. We also have a wide selection of ready-to-use biker patches on our website. Our patches are made using high-quality twill and embroidery that looks great but is tough enough to last long. Our custom and pre-made patches can showcase a biker’s personality, beliefs, and characters. To learn more about ordering biker patches, contact us today,