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Thread: New Member Advice - Join your local Chapter

  1. #1
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    New Member Advice - Join your local Chapter

    I bought my Big Old BMW (BoB), joined BMW MOA, and posted my new member introduction all back in April. One of the commentators to my initial post suggested that I join my local chapter. I started exploring the chapter just about the same time as I did the Distinguished Gentleman's ride, where khakis and oxford cloth button downs were the kit of the day.

    My first club event was a Monday evening hot dog gathering, where I wore my khakis etc. Visually I fit in about as much as when I parked Bob alongside a bunch of full dressers at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. Despite my attire, everyone was very welcoming, and I knew it was a group I wanted to join.

    Since then I’ve done another hot dog gathering and a Summer Solstice Sunrise ride - Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive is a very different place at 5 AM on a Sunday. At each event I met different members. One of the features of the events for me was looking at the other members' bikes, and seeing how they were addressing issues I was interested in, primarily auxiliary lighting, certain bikes really stood out at 5AM, to add to my bike to enhance it’s visibility.

    The latest event was an opportunity to put on a mini-motorcycle show, to help a memory care resident recapture his passion for motorcycles. Besides the good karma which I felt by participating in the event, [you can see a brief video clip of a story on the evening news here https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ug_...?usp=drivesdk], the learnings I gained from talking with the the other club members, especially Mark Wilson, MOA #84482, was priceless.

    Mark was like a dream come true for a new rider yearning to learn. When introducing himself to the resident attendees at the event, he explained that one of the reasons he rode was that for an experienced/trained rider it was the closest one could come to flying an airplane, and was much less expensive. In addition to being a mechanic and business consultant most of his life, he was also a certified MSF and Total Control instructor.

    Between supporting the residents who were given rides in the available sidecar, we started talking bikes, and I especially was asking questions. Mark was great. He answered every question, as well as those I either forgot to ask or more likely didn’t know enough to ask: there is a difference between new tires and initially installed - check the code on the sidewalls to see how long they have been sitting in inventory; when loading a bike, try and keep as much mass as possible between the wheels, even to the point of loading heavy items like a toolkit at the front versus the rear of a saddle bag, and if riding solo lash the extra bag in front versus behind the backrest, which might also serve as a backrest.

    As Mark said to me, using his lifetime of involvement in training and wrenching to benefit others is really the season of life that he is in currently. I am sure that there are other members like Mark not only in the Chicago Chapter, but throughout the larger BMW MOA membership, who are eager to share their experience. You just have to join a Chapter and then participate.

    That approach has worked for me, and I suggest it will also for other new members. And yes after I get my Skene visibility lights installed, next I will be exploring some armored riding gear!
    Last edited by JDStheHat; 07-25-2021 at 02:15 PM.

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