Updated May 2022
Do you know what’s worse than not having a motorcycle license? Having a license and not being able to afford a bike.
And do you know what’s worse than both of them? Having the license and the bike, but not having anyone to show you the ropes when it comes to international touring.
In this post, we delve into the world of touring motorcycle clubs so you can get on with enjoying adventures you will remember forever!
My Introduction To Motorcycle Clubs
Growing up, I was never surrounded by bikes or motorcycling. But at the age of 21, the urge to ride seemed to consume me out of nowhere.
As the years went on, I got my first big bike and found myself with everything I needed – apart from knowledge and experience.
And after months of dithering about on the internet trying to figure out the biking world, I took a punt on two touring motorcycle clubs in my area to see what they were like.
The Advanced Riding Motorcycle Club
In a quest to better my riding, I stumbled across the BikeSafe course. If you haven’t done it yet, I wholeheartedly recommend it – even if you’re an experienced rider.
Upon completing the course, two Advanced Motorcycling websites were recommended to me. And I was told to choose one and get myself booked onto a course. Which I did.
And I enjoyed the advanced riding course so much that I took out a yearly membership with the club. I even became an observer in my own right.
I’d gone from being observed to being an observer, and I loved it.
The ‘Casual’ Motorcycle Club
Besides the Advanced Riding club above, I also joined a casual riding club in my area.
There was no teaching at this club. It was just like-minded people from all walks of life coming together to enjoy a ride-out.
It wasn’t laced with rules or contracts or compulsory clothing. There was no political correctness, roll calls, or health and safety briefings before ride-outs.
We simply met at a designated meeting point each Sunday and went for a ride.
All in all, the two couldn’t be any more different.
There’s Something For Everyone
The good thing about joining two polar opposite clubs was that it opened my eyes.
There is a broad spectrum of touring motorcycle clubs available – but sometimes you can’t see them until someone points them out.
And that’s where this post comes in.
Use this post as your springboard if you’re itching to join a bike club but unsure where to start.
As with all things in life, there will be clubs you get on with more than others. You’ll find that you fit in with the members of one club more than those of another. And that’s fine!
We all have different goals, aspirations, wants, and needs. And we all have different personalities.
Moreover, there is a club out there that will fulfil each of your requirements. And once you find it, it can really enhance your riding experience.
So, in no particular order, let’s begin with some fantastic touring motorcycle clubs in the UK!
Want more Touring Tips? Here are a few from our archive:
1. Curvy Riders Motorcycle Club
“Curvy Riders MCC is a ladies only motorcycle club, run for lady bikers, by lady bikers. We’re the largest, farthest-reaching female-only motorcycle club in the UK, and we welcome lady riders with all levels of experience.”
Curvy Riders MCC is just one of a plethora of female-only motorcycle clubs worldwide. And I must admit, it looks as though they have a way better time in their clubs than I do in mine!
One of the best things about Curvy Riders MCC is just how well it’s organised. Having started as a single club, Curvy Riders is now a UK-wide motorcycle club with regional groups nationwide. And it’s still growing!
Each of the regional areas has its own team. And each team organises its own ride-outs, trips away and social get-togethers. There are also training events and touring trips away.
Furthermore, the club is inclusive. It welcomes new riders as readily as it accepts experienced ones. If you enjoy the social side of things, Curvy Riders have a thriving community relating to events and social media groups.
And that’s not to mention their yearly National Trip – a 3-day extravaganza that I daren’t ask about!
2. Ulysses Club Great Britain
Unfortunately, Curvy Riders MCC isn’t the only awesome club that I’m not allowed to join. As with many of the touring motorcycle clubs on this list, I wish I could join Ulysses!
I love the following synopsis from its literature:
“The international social club for mature bikers”
Ulysses Club GB is also part of a network of clubs that spans the UK and beyond. And there’s plenty for its members to do!
On the menu are single-day ride-outs, multiday ride-outs, and extended tours across the British Isles.
Furthermore, Ulysses runs regular trips abroad to meet up with fellow friends and riders. These countries include Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Norway, and the USA.
The club does an excellent job of fostering a way for older riders to get together and enjoy their passion. And their work has gained the attention of institutions that cater to the needs of older riders.
The joining criteria are pretty simple. You need to be over 40 and hold a full license (or show a long-standing interest in motorcycling.) You must also be able to check the box for “Growing Old Disgracefully!”
Finally, there are many mid-week ride-outs, cafe meet-ups, and numerous social events to keep in touch with old friends – or make new ones!
3. Ducati Owners Club
DOC GB is one of the biggest Ducati motorcycle clubs – not only in the UK but in the world. And it welcomes Ducati riders from all ranges, models, and years.
Approaching its 50th anniversary, DOC GB has over 2000 members across its regional branches. And membership comes with an extensive package!
Members receive a subscription to Desmo (the club magazine), which circulates 6 times per year. Not only this, but members can take advantage of a tool hire scheme.
Additionally, members can enjoy plenty of discounts at dealerships, shops, and insurance companies.
If that isn’t enough, there are discounts for World Ducati Week, free entry to the factory museum, and discounted Ducati Riding Experiences.
But discounts aren’t the only reason to join this motorcycle club. The DOC GB memberships allow entry to Marketplace (a place for members to sell to other members), online services, technical help from Ducati experts, and access to technical literature.
Moreover, DOC GB also offers the benefits of a touring motorcycle club with branch meetings, ride-outs, and get-togethers.
Recent international events have included the Riding School, off-roading lessons, riding the circuit of Vairano, and the Ducati Scrambler experiences in Tuscany.
4. Gay Bikers Motorcycle Club
I was surprised to find out that the GBMCC had been around since 1977! As a club for gay men and women in the UK, current membership is booming, and it’s the biggest LGBTQ biking club in Europe.
Regardless of age, background, gender identity, or sexuality, it’s the bikes that bring this club together. And as a non-discriminatory club, GBMCC also welcomes straight people.
Welcomed alike are new riders and veteran riders. And the club’s experience levels range from novice to advanced and even club racers.
As with the touring motorcycle clubs mentioned above, GBMCC has a regional network of branches. And each branch coordinates its own ride-outs and social events.
Recent international events included Italy and Austria, and extended tours to Scotland.
As well as the wider social and riding benefits, members of GBMCC receive the affiliate benefits of various organisations, such as BMF and MAG.
Find out more:https://www.gbmcc.co.uk/
5. International Motorcyclists Tour Club
“In 1932 as a result of an advertisement in ‘Motor Cycling’, a small group of motorcyclists who had been spending their holidays touring on the continent to Europe individually, met in a pub in London with a view to exchanging information of experiences abroad – and so the I.M.T.C. was born.”
Much has changed with the club these days – as have the touring conditions of the 1930s! Since the club’s inception, there have been tours to the Americas, the Sahara desert, Canada, Poland, the Arctic Circle, Poland, and Western Europe.
And as the club grew, organised tours started to take shape by the name of ‘Partitours.’
Like many of the above touring motorcycle clubs, IMTC now has members across the globe. And it still maintains a tradition of exploration and adventure, spawned by those a hundred years ago.
In the 21st Century, organised tours still go by the name of Partitours. They are run for members by members and are flexible in nature.
With contacts across the world, IMTC members have access to help in many countries across the globe. And this international myriad of members is kept informed of news with the bi-monthly magazine ‘Tourider’. There is also access to the club’s website.
Recent tours have included the Czech Republic and the Baltic States.
Yep, you guessed it! Pan-Clan is a UK-based club for Pan-European owners.
Like many of the touring motorcycle clubs listed, Pan-Clan has numerous branches across the UK. And each branch looks after its own ride-outs, social gatherings, and events. National events are planned and organised by the committee.
Pan-Clan is open to all riders who own a Pan-European (both the ST1100 and ST1300 models.) And the beauty of this is that everybody specialises in one bike! This gives you access to in-depth knowledge and hoards of experience.
After-market additions are popular within Pan-Clan. And help is available for those wishing to modify their bikes, add sat nav or video units, or any other upgrades.
Whilst you are allocated to a branch in your local area, Pan-Clan members are not restricted to riding within this one branch. You may ride with any branch in the UK, or drop in on any of the branches on a UK tour and enjoy a ride-out with new people in new places.
The house magazine is circulated 6 times a year by way of keeping up to date. And there are, of course, plenty of tips, hints, and ideas on the club’s website.
The club also visits the International Pan Gathering, held somewhere in Europe each year. The first event was held in Bristol in 1997, and since then, the events have seen allocations in Austria, Holland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Norway, and Sweden.
7. Christian Motorcycles Association
The CMA is exactly what you’d expect – a bunch of biker enthusiasts who also happen to be Christians.
If you’re a regular at bike rallies, you may have come across some of the CMA’s tireless good work or Holy Joe’s Cafe.
Holy Joe’s is usually present at the bigger rallies and remains open long into the night (24 hours if need be.) It encourages people to come in and chat without judgment.
CMA members receive a quarterly magazine (Chainlink) which communicates the club’s work at national and branch levels.
Although the club is a registered charity, it’s also a generous giver to charities. And 10% of the club’s income is re-invested into other charities. The gift that keeps on giving!
Each branch of this national network takes charge of its own ride-outs, social and charity events, and prayer and Bible studies.
8. London Motorcycle Riders Club
If you’re based around the capital, LMRC is the largest and most active motorcycle club in London. Famed for its diverse range of activities, this motorcycle club will keep you busy!
Members can take advantage of local ride-outs, European tours, off-roading trips, summer BBQs and social events.
If that’s not enough, there are Greenlaning days, Bike Safe courses, Minimoto experiences, track days, and even Santa’s Toy Runs.
And that’s not to mention the two uncapped rides to a secret destination that run during the year.
What I admire about LMRC is the club’s founder, Paul (aka The Guv’nor) started this thing because he thought he could do it better than what was available.
A man after my own heart!
Since the club was born in 2014, LMRC has progressed from local ride-outs to full-on European trips in a short period.
Paul set out to create an inclusive experience, having become disillusioned with the ‘clickiness’ that can be found in other touring motorcycle clubs.
No matter how old you are, what bike you ride, or what license you hold, you will always be welcome at LMRC.
This inclusive attitude to riding has seen the club grow from a few riders in 2014, to hundreds of members in the 2020s.
And it’s not only the social aspect that’s impressive. Over the years, LMRC has joined forces with some large motorcycle companies. This means members receive preferential rates on a variety of products and services.
Touring Motorcycle Clubs: Conclusion
As you can see, there are touring motorcycle clubs out there for everyone – regardless of colour, faith, sexuality, age, or preference in bikes.
But joining the right club is a bit like choosing the right bike. It might take some experimentation, but once you’ve found the one for you, it will enhance your enjoyment tenfold.
As mentioned above, I’ve ridden with two touring motorcycle clubs in my time. One was a very popular Advanced Riding group. And with it came a whole host of team and committee meetings, policy reviews, and procedural presentations that I didn’t particularly sign up for.
I had no idea who the chairman was even after years of membership. And nor did I care – because I treated everybody the same regardless of their place within the organisation.
Whilst I learned a lot about riding, I also learned that I didn’t enjoy riding within an institute. For me, I prefer riding with the smaller clubs that aren’t quite so ‘managed.’
Today I ride with an excellent little group called Northwest Biking. The members are few, the quality of the ride-outs are excellent, and the majority of members are Advanced riders.
In fact, most of them are former advanced riding observers – so I still have the opportunity to pick up tips and advice about my riding.
My membership comes with many of the affiliate membership discounts listed above (BMF, MAG, etc.) And I get to enjoy my bike and have a laugh over a bacon sarnie with some truly wonderful people!
Oh, and the yearly membership fee is 25% of the advanced riding institution!
Top image: Henry Orr