By: Kristi Strother
Whether you ride a Harley, Honda, Victory, or Yamaha, the RETREADS® Motorcycle Club International, Inc. doesn’t discriminate. The Club welcomes all bikers, all brands, and all motorcycle lovers!
But slam on the brakes, there is one catch. To be a Retread you must be at least 40-years-old. So, the size of your bike doesn’t matter, but your age does! In fact, the Club’s colorful, trademarked crest even celebrates their grown-up members with the words XL Plus, boldly printed in red.
With over 5,000 members, Retreads are located throughout the United States; the Canadian Provinces; The United Kingdom; and New Zealand.
The idea for the club started in 1969 by George Spidell, a Navy Chief Petty Officer; his main goal was to meet other mature riders from across the world. But seasoned members know that Retreads isn’t just about older bikers.
There is a variety of motorcycle clubs in the United States and Canada for riders to join. Each club has its own unique purpose and benefits. But Gay Kimble, who rides a black pearl Harley 2006 Deluxe, acknowledges “the best part about being a Retread is that you get to meet men and women riding different makes of motorcycles from all around the world, in a friendly, no pressure setting, where the level of riding experience doesn’t matter.”
Jim Mosley, the Colorado State Representative, and Retread member since 2008, says “this group promotes fellowship of motorcycle enthusiasts, so it doesn’t matter what you ride.” As the Club’s website states, they are “a not-for-profit, socially oriented corporation.” It’s the social connections made through motorcycles that keeps members excited. Many of those special connections are made at international, regional and state Retread rallies and events.
For example, each year members participate in Retread bike rallies around the country. Here in Colorado, the local chapter (often referred to as the ‘the loud ones’) has ridden many miles, on stunning, picturesque roads to enjoy rallies around the country, including North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, California, Utah, and Missouri. Mosley believes “being a Retread is about the fellowship and bonding with friends. I enjoy visiting with riders from all over the U.S. and Canada.” In fact, one of his favorite stories is about meeting a Michigan rider at a rally in Hickory, North Carolina who was over 100-years-old!
Kimble, from Parker, Colorado reflects on many of her rides with her Retread friends. She’s been a Retread for over a decade and loves the memories. For instance, she laughs about a fellow Retread’s comment after riding across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco. After riding through the tunnel, they stopped for a break and the member stated: “No wonder living in California is so expensive, they air condition their tunnels!”
Laughing turns to caring Kimble reminisces about how caring Retreads were to her when she first started. “On my first ride in the mountains to look at the fall colors, a member asked, ‘how I felt on the curves?’ He wanted to make sure I was okay, and he made sure I was safe. You see Retread members look out for each other – no matter what they ride!”
There are many stories in Retread history about amazing rides, interesting rides, scary rides, or funny people and situations. However, some people don’t know the history behind the name Retread. According to RETREADS® Motorcycle Club website:
The name RETREADS® comes from the name of vehicle tires which were initially used during World War II. Retreading (putting new treads on used tires) was a process that permitted many civilians during the war years to continue to use their vehicles when their tires wore out, as new tires were very difficult, if not impossible to get during those rationing years. Similarly, many of us began our motorcycling years back when we were young. When we got married and started raising a family, many of us had no time or money available for such luxuries as motorcycles. However, once the children were well on their own, and free time and more money were available, our thoughts of motorcycles returned, and we were itching to get back on the bikes we loved so much. So, in a way, we were “Retreaded.”
Many people are interested in how the Retreads got their name. Their policy requiring riders to be at least 40-years-old also causes much discussion and often produces good-natured ribbing. Mature, grown-up, older, seasoned, long-lived are a few of the cleaner descriptions; but as Jim Mosley reflects on the Club’s name he admits, “we are just ‘Recycled Teenagers!’”
There may be jokes about getting older. But it is no joke that Retreads ride hard, put on countless miles, and make strong, lasting friendships around the world.
This summer the Colorado Chapter is actively participating in two Retread Rallies.
From June 18-20, the Colorado Chapter hosts the Four Corners Regional Rally. Converging on Pueblo, Colorado for three days, riders will come from all over the U.S. Local chapter members are currently preparing for the rally. A beautiful ride to Bishop Castle (http://www.bishopcastle.org/) and an ice cream social are already planned!
At the end of July, the Colorado Chapter will journey to the Retread International Rally in Spearfish, South Dakota. Many of its 35 vintage members have already signed up to ride to the rally. Once there, new and old friendships will be cemented, and new and exciting roadways conquered. All are eager to experience South Dakota’s scenic roads, full of natural wonders and unbelievable panoramic views.
For more information on Retread Rallies or Clubs: http://retreads.org/.