Vintage motorcycle enthusiasts in the Mountain State now have a way to connect with similarly minded individuals in their home state.
A group of motorcyclists has successfully petitioned the Antique Motorcycle Club of America for a new chapter in West Virginia. The chapter's charter was approved earlier this month, and was in the hands of the chapter's president, Rick Rogers, last week.
"The objective is to promote the restoration of vintage motorcycles," Rogers said, standing by his 1947 Indian bike at his home in Dupont City.
The new chapter, dubbed the Mountain State Chapter, is the first in West Virginia. It joins more than 50 other AMCA chapters across the United States, Canada and Europe.
The only other chapters close to West Virginia are in the Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Washington, D.C., areas.
Rogers said so far, the club has 48 members and has met formally for five months. Monthly meetings are usually held at a fire hall in Flatwoods, but sometimes the club meets elsewhere in different parts of the state. Members hail from Huntington to areas near Cumberland, Md., and everywhere in between, Rogers said.
There aren't any requirements to join the chapter, except for an enthusiasm for older motorcycles. Ownership of a vintage bike isn't necessary (There are requirements for entering bikes in AMCA shows, though).
"You just have to have an interest in antique motorcycles," Rogers said. "You don't have to have a motorcycle."
Rogers said one of the benefits of being part of a club is interaction with others who have the same interests.
"I enjoy the opportunity for communication to start that potential friendship," he said.
Dave Harlow, a club member who owns Harlow Cycles & ATV in Chelyan, echoed Rogers' sentiment. He said in a way, the club becomes a "system of networking," whereby members can share information and advice with one another.
The idea for a chapter got started several months ago.
Rogers said he started getting into antique bikes after a longtime interest in antique cars and other old memorabilia.
He was already a motorcycle enthusiast anyway, previously serving as the president of the local chapter of the Blue Knights, a motorcycle club made up of active and retired law enforcement officers. He's previously worked for the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center, the Regional Jail Authority, the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department and the Dunbar Police Department.
"I've been into antiques since I was a youngster," he said.
Rogers started subscribing to "The Antique Motorcycle," the AMCA's quarterly magazine, and from that, he realized there was not AMCA chapter in his home state.