Wednesday, April 30, 2014

An Interview with Chops from The Leathernecks MC - Heartland Chapter

I recently had a chance to sit down and have a chat with a personal friend  who just happens to be part of a MC.  “Chops” is a member of the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club here in Iowa. The Leathernecks MC is a national organization aimed at raising funds in support of veterans.  The Heartland Chapter is a registered non-profit with the state of Iowa.  The Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown is their primary benefactor.  The Iowa Veterans Home is the third largest state owned facility in the nation, housing over 600 veteran residents.  The Leathernecks also support the English River Outfitters (disabled veteran hunting organization) and the national Semper Fi Fund (disabled veteran financial support organization). 

IHG:  So Chops, tell us a little about yourself.
Chops:  I guess I’m your average American.  40 something, married with children, full time job, a mortgage and a hobby that I live for.

IHG:  What type of motorcycle do you ride?
Chops: A 2011 Honda Fury with a few personalized modifications.

IHG:  How long have you been riding?
Chops:  Off and on since I was 15 when I climbed onto my first dirt bike. 

IHG:  The MC world is often foreign to the general motorcycling community. What can you tell us about the Leathernecks MC?
Chops:  The Leathernecks Motorcycle Club is an organization dedicated to supporting Veterans, Marine Corps related functions, charitable organizations and to keeping POW/MIA awareness alive. We are a civilian organization with no affiliation with the United States Marine Corps or any other Club or Group. We are simply Marine Corps and Fleet Marine Force Navy Veterans, Active Duty Marines and FMF Corpsman.  We are a family oriented Club that understands the priorities of life...Family, Work, Club. The purpose of our Club is to foster a brotherhood committed to continued service outside of the military and within the world of motorcycling. Our members come from all ranks, billets and walks of life. Some served in combat and others during times of peace. It's not about the brand of motorcycle you ride, but rather that we ARE all United States Marines / FMF Corpsman and we all LIVE the motorcycle lifestyle.
Outside of our mission statement, we are a Motorcycle Club, therefore fall under specific protocols, separate from other riding groups or organizations.  We take our club very seriously, but have as much fun as humanly possible in the process, all while maintaining a level of respectability, both in the public eye and with other clubs. 

IHG:  What made you decide to join the Leathernecks MC?
Chops:  Well, the simple answer?  I missed the brotherhood from the Corps.  The Leathernecks have definitely filled that void.  Just knowing if you needed anything, they would ALL be there to help.  That is such a comfort.  I feel the same about all of my brothers…if they needed anything, I’d be there.  That’s what the MC community is all about, brotherhood, respect and living free!  It’s difficult to describe if a person has never had it.  Think of it as an extended family.  All family members are encouraged to participate in club functions.  Club functions are not always about raising funds for charity.  We have holiday parties, fun runs, bbq’s, attend concerts, even just getting together for a couple of beers, etc.  We all try to spend as much time with each other as we can, because we want to.  We all share the joys and sadness of each other’s lives as any family does.

IHG:  If someone was interested, what does it take to become a member and how can they get in touch with your club?
Chops:  We are always working to build brotherhood with other Marines and grow the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club.  The basic requirements are, 1. Active Duty or Honorably discharged Marine/FMF Corpsman.  2. Own and ride a lawfully registered and insured motorcycle. (being physically unable to ride doesn't necessarily disqualify you from becoming a member).  There are other requirements which are less tangible.  An interested party would make contact with us, and start a ‘hang-around’ period.  During this time, the person would decide if they’d like to become a member.  If the person is deemed to be a good fit and shows dedication to attend functions and be involved, they then become ‘prospects’.  As a prospect, they are taught the MC protocol, what is expected of members and become more involved in the inner workings of the club.  Once the prospect has fulfilled all of the requirements, they then, have the opportunity to become full ‘patched’ members.
Those inquiring about membership or if others want to follow along with our activities, they can visit our Heartland Chapter website at ‘’ for more information.  If someone is looking for a chapter outside of Iowa, they can go to ‘’, which is our national site that allows them to choose a state and provides them a contact in their area.

IHG:  What activities or where could someone find the Leathernecks during the upcoming riding season?
Chops:  We are currently working to finalize our official event schedule for 2014.  However, we get out and ride as much as our lives will allow (and then some).  We try to hit as many bike nights, poker runs and parties as possible.  Or, we’ll just get together and ride where ever the next turn takes us.  For those planned events, they can check our chapter website in the events section for a full list of where we plan to be.

IHG:  Thank you for taking the time to talk with me and providing more insight to the MC world.  I hope to get to spend some miles with your chapter this riding season.
Chops:  You're welcome.  We are always glad to get to know more folks, those that share our passion.  

As Motorcycle Clubs have been dramatized on recent reality television shows, the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club is the real deal.  They enjoy the brother/sister hood of sharing in something that bonds them together more than most of society could understand.  If you see them, stop, say hello, they are a great group of people.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

If you are a Harley lover like me you will want to check out this exciting new forum called  It's easy to join in, all you need to do is register and create a profile.  Once you have that completed you can begin replying to the threads that have already been created or start a thread of your own.  A forum is a great way to get ideas from other Harley riders and lovers on ways to customize your ride or even figure out how to solve a mechanical issue you may be experiencing with your bike.  This forum is also a great way to meet other Harley loving bikers.  I know with blogging I have met so many wonderful individuals that I call friends.

I joined and I hope you do too!

Sunday, April 13, 2014


You really couldn't tell it's spring because of today's cold and rainy weather but thankfully it is!  That was one cold and snowy winter.  I definitely had PMS aka Parked Motorcycle Syndrome.  Sadie was a little temperamental again this year and didn't want to start.  I guess I need to invest in that trickle charger since Zippy Pickle can't share.  I finally did get her started though and have taken her on a couple rides around town.  What a great feeling!  A girl and her motorcycle, such a beautiful sight!

Last fall I lost one of my riding gloves.  I don't know how but it vanished.  Maybe there is a glove gremlin like there is a sock gremlin.  Hopefully it will show back up eventually since one could always use a back up pair.  Well on my way to visit my sister I stopped at my favorite Harley Dealer in Waterloo, Silver Eagle, and purchased a very awesome new pair of riding gloves.  It kind of freaked me out that I really liked them because they have a pink bar and shield and pink stitching.  Let me tell you they are awesome.  They just pull on and I don't have to fight with the Velcro strap like I did my other pair.  They will take a little breaking in but so far I'm really liking how they fit and feel.  Plus I love the smell of new leather!  At $55.00 for the pair I better take better care of these.

Check out this cool tank that Harley Davidson has come out with for the 2014 Sportster.  It's great to see that Harley Davidson is making a few more tanks with the female rider in mind.  I like how they took the paisleys and created skulls with them to add a little more of an edgy look.  A guy I know that works for the Harley Dealer in Iowa City posted this photo one day a few months back and asked people what they thought of it.  Of course some guy had to say something extremely derogatory and negative about it.  It really got under my skin. (Can't ya tell?)  I applaud Harley Davidson for realizing that 1 in 4 motorcycle riders are female.  Having options that aren't 100% geared to males is refreshing.  Mr. Derogatory and Negative is just going to have to get a grip and accept that we are here to stay and we may want a kick ass tank that sets us apart.      

With it being spring, cages have forgotten that we are out on the road.  We've already had a few motorcycle versus cage accidents this riding season, here in Des Moines.  There was also one death caused by a drunk driver.  The rider will be buried tomorrow in Des Moines.  He was injured about a month ago, coming back from a memorial ride for a young man that lost his life to cancer.   He passed the beginning of last week. Prayers to his family and friends.   

Please be careful out there my rider friends!  Have a safe and adventurous riding season!