biker culture has always been bound to customization concept. not only applied to the motorcycles in themselves, but to the same bikers. those create their own image choosing a certain type of helmet, jacket, boots, etc. but if there is a true distinctive element in the biker culture, they are the biker patches.
in fact, nowadays many bikers fill their jackets and vests with patches that, despite they know they are biker, they don’t really know their meaning or, at least, it’s away from what they thought.
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biker patches origin
biker culture was born in the united states in 1929, when the american motorcyclist association (a.m.a.) was founded. this association was responsible to register the first biker clubs. they used to be groups of friends that joined just for the pleasure of riding on a motorcycle.
in short time, the first clubs started creating their own emblems for their clothing and the same a.m.a. didn’t take long to organize contests to value the most original logos.
after second world war, many war veterans found solace with the motorcycle. but, unlike the members of old clubs, they start wearing military clothing, their fighter pilot jackets and boots. they also started organizing illegal competitions, apart from the ones organized by the a.m.a, not following the stablished regulations. so the first outlaw bikers appeared.
in 1947 happened hollister’s incidents that brought the a.m.a. to affirm that 99% of the american motorcyclists belonged to its association and respected the law. the remaining 1% were the outlaw bikers’ clubs and the 1% patch became a symbol.
the 1% clubs also opted to differentiate from a.m.a. members by dividing the back patch in 3 pieces, spreading its use in waistcoats. the combination of those 3 patches is known as “colors” and it’s divided by the following way: a top patch (top rocker) with club’s name; a central patch (central rocker) with club’s logo, and the bottom patch (bottom rocker) with origin’s place. sometimes, to these three patches there is one more added with the initials mc to indicate it’s a moto club.
most common biker patches and their meaning
the mc’s don’t use to wear more patches than their colors, the 1% patch and their rank. but when crossed the pond and reached united kingdom, biker patches tradition turned into a trend to adapt mods and rockers custom to decorate their clothing and their motorcycles with all kind of emblems.
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this custom has arrived to our time, and, in many occasions, we use embroidered patches whose meaning is unknown for us. let’ see some of the most popular ones:
men of mayhem: patch worn by a mc member that has killed in name of the group.
bad influence: this patch indicates its bearer is crazy.
numbers: the way to identify the mc which belong by the place its initials occupy in the alphabet. so, the hell’s angels are the 81, forajidos the 6, etc.
ftw: usually it would mean “for the wind”, but in the mc culture are “fuck the world” initials, symbol of biker’s absolute rebellion.
malta cross: international symbol that represents protection, bravery and courage.
white cross: patch obtained by desecrating a tomb with present testimonials to take something from a deceased.
Read more: Colorful Biker Slang
red cross: patch gained when having homosexual relations with present testimonials.
number 13: insinuates that the biker smoke or traffic with marijuana. m is alphabet’s thirteenth letter.
ace of spades: this patch, known as “death card” symbolizes that this mc’s member is willing to kill for the group or has already done it.
skull with crossed bones or sabers: means “respect few, fear none”. it also can symbolize that the member has killed for the group or mock the death.
d.f.f.l.: are “dope forever forever loaded” initials. it’s carrier always has drugs or can easily get them.
number 8 ball: black ball with number 8 patch is a symbol related to the gambling. it’s carried by those who think the life is a game that, depending on the luck and what you risk, it will be better or worst.
your biker patches at corbeto’s boots
at corbeto’s we have a whole collection of embroidered patches for bikers. visit our store in las ramblas or our online shop to discover the most popular patches.