Jan. 25, 2024 (Story from the January 2024 edition of American Motorcyclist)
By Mitch Boehm
Like a lot of Boomers, I don’t spend a lot of time on social media, for a whole bunch of reasons. But once in a while I’m forced to log on for work-related stuff, and the other day stumbled onto a conversation about AMA benefits I found interesting.
A gentleman on an event forum had asked about specific benefits the AMA offered, and the answers he got were pretty spot-on. One guy mentioned discounts on accessories, event tickets, bike shipping, rentals, performance parts and the like, and based simply on the substantial cost-savings potential there, that by itself is a hugely compelling reason to spend $49 on an AMA membership. It’s not hard to miss the fact that one could pay for his or her entire AMA membership each year with a single large purchase, or at least a few smaller ones. You’re gonna buy that gear or part or those event tickets anyway, right? You might as well pay for your AMA membership while you’re at it…and then keep on saving money. Total no brainer.
The company partners listed in the magazine or online and the products and services they offer are pretty impressive. You’ve got discounts at companies such as Motel 6 and Red Roof Inns, Supercross, MotoAmerica and Quail Gathering tickets, Edelweiss Bike Travel tours, Bohn Body Armor, Anthony’s Leatherworks hide and boot repair, Nelson Rigg gear, Federal Bike Shipping, and bunch of others.
Another gent posted that American Motorcyclist magazine — another primary AMA benefit — has gotten “really good” of late, and I couldn’t agree more, though I might be a bit biased. Our goal for the last three years has been to offer a thoroughly informative and entertaining read each month, one melding current events, historical features, touring stories, AMA-centric elements, thoughtful columns, important government relations information and much more…and from what I’m hearing from members and the industry, we are doing just that.
We can’t please everyone, and you can bet we hear about it when we don’t, but we’re trying to give folks what I call the traditional moto-magazine experience that’s gone mostly missing in internet-based storytelling. Many members tell me they’ve gone from leafing through the magazine and tossing it to waiting impatiently for it to drop into the mailbox. That’s a seismic shift.
AMA membership also gives enthusiasts access to AMA-sanctioned amateur racing all over the country, on dirt, asphalt and ice, and there’s similar access for all sorts of recreational rides and events. And then there are our government relations efforts, which are substantial and have proven monumentally important over the years, but which don’t always get the exposure and gratitude they deserve.
Over and above all this, however, is the intangible and altruistic value that come from being part of the world’s largest motorcycle-oriented member organization. With membership you are supporting the entire industry, from advertisers in our pages and at our events, to our aforementioned government-relations efforts, to local and regional event, recreation and competition promoters and clubs, all of whom organize things for us to do and enjoy on our motorcycles.
In September of 1923, less than a year before the AMA was created by the M&ATA (Motorcycle and Allied Trades Association), Bicycle and Motorcycle Illustrated magazine editors wrote the following about folks asking about what benefits they could expect for their yearly dues of 50 cents.
Some riders seem to be under the impression that the M&ATA should confer all sorts of benefits on its members without any cooperation on their part. They [think] the 50-cent registration fee, which hardly pays the postage on the mail they receive from the Chairman, should pay for everything from legal assistance when arrested for speeding to theft, accident and life insurance, and everything in between. The M&ATA really is a benefit association, but it is a mutual benefit, and this means the obligation is mutual. Every member benefits in proportion to the service he or she renders. Among the things every rider may do to help are to observe the rules of the road, consider the rights of others, dress neatly, act like a gentleman and always respond when asked in combating adverse legislation. Do your share and you won’t have to ask, ‘what do I get for my fifty cents?’
Quaint and old-fashioned, for sure, but true nonetheless, and it’s something I think every one of you understand — and the AMA thanks you for your support! If you’ll spread the word among friends and fellow riders, all the better. Because as Joy Burgess wrote last month, we are definitely stronger together.