Benefits

Why Join Carolina Motorcycle Cooperative?
*Annually, up to 100 miles of free towing and hauling when your bike breaks down or a trailer you could use for only a 100% refundable security deposit. *Free tools to use when working on your motorcycles. *A free place to work on your bike, where you could use a lift and other special tools. *Hang out with folks that like working on bikes almost as much as riding them. *Free help with working on your bike. *Discounted parts and accessories. More membership benefits

Saturday

Up Tight

Well we haven't got the level of interest that we'd hoped we have by now but I'm happy to say we've finally gotten the building secured and started moving in. Steve, Wooley and I have decided to just start wrenching and doing our own thing. When things start coming together we'll post examples of some of our work here for everyone to see. We're not really interest in custom bikes in-so-much as building and rebuilding daily riders that can take miles of abuse and be counted on to get us from point A to point B without having to spend a fortune.

We believe that as gasoline prices go up and the economy continues to go down, people are going to be looking towards economical and practical motorcycles instead of billet barges and chrome plated works of art. When I read a Craigslist ad that says, "This bike has never been ridden in the rain or left outside overnight," I simply think, Why in the hell do you even own it? Not that I like riding in the rain but summer days in North Carolina without rain can be few and far between. When do you ride if you never ride in the rain? As for leaving a bike outside overnight, I keep my bike in a shed at home but when I go camping my bike sleeps under the stars beside of me. If it rains we get wet and when it stops raining we get dry. If I can survive it I'm sure my bike doesn't mind.

So rather than get up tight about it, we've just decided to be happy that the shop is now locked up tight and that someone is always there to listen should the security alarms sound off. Steve says by this time next year he plans to have central air conditioning installed in the shop. Me, I'm just happy he gave me a key.

Tuesday

It's Up To You

Steve, Wooley and I have laid the framework for the Carolina Motorcycle Cooperative. The building has been bought. We own more than enough tools to get us started. Now it's up to you, dear readers. I know the stats, I know a lot of people are reading my posts here on this website and are waiting to see a turnkey operation where they can walk in, pay a fee and start doing their thing but in case you missed it, we are building a cooperative and cooperatives don't work that way. Cooperatives are built by their members, maintained by their members and supported by their members. A cooperative isn't just a business you call when you need something, a cooperative is a way of life. And when a cooperative flourishes so does its members.

So here's the deal: tell your friends who ride. Tell your friends who want to ride. Tell your friends who want to do business with people who ride. Spread the word. Tell them to sign up for our newsletter. Tell them to contact us. And when we reach critical mass we'll organize a meeting so everyone can get together and make this thing work. I've been crunching a few numbers in my head and the way I see it is we need 100 members to pay the insurance, provide the benefits and open the doors.

Or, you can all keep paying dealer prices for everything you need. Steve, Wooley and I are in the building cheap enough and we already have everything we need to work on our old motorcycles just like we've been doing since the 1970s.

Thursday

What About Another Way?

When Paul, Steve and I first embarked upon the idea of a motorcycle cooperative it was more along the lines of the way gyms sell memberships and members get to use the gym while the owners of the gym rake in all the profits. Not that there's really anything wrong with that-- the owners also bear most of the risk-- but that just didn't feel like what we were wanting to do.

Most recently we've been talking non profit organization but while non-profits have some advantages being a non profit ties your hands and makes you always depend on others for your very survival. And frankly, we don't cotton to being tied or just surviving.

That's why I'm writing about a different way tonight. Instead of a small partnership that sells memberships or a non profit, we are considering the possibility that the Carolina Motorcycle Cooperative Association might be formed as a member owned corporation. Now that might mean a 3rd name change before we even open the doors. I'll explain as best I can.

In the beginning we used the name, Carolina Motorcycle Cooperative. But as I soon learned the word, "cooperative" comes with some very sticky meanings and a lot of legalese that I'm not sure I fully understand. So when we started thinking non profit I added "association" as associations are allowed to handle up to $25,000 per year in gross receipts without being registered as long as their goal remains to become a 501 3c non profit at some point in the future. At least, that's how I understand the law to read. Being that we've handled exactly $0.oo in gross receipts thus far I think we're in the clear no matter if I'm right or wrong.

As it turns out, most of the ventures into this new way of doing business are private for profit ventures and they don't use the word, "cooperative." Instead, they describe themselves as "collectives" which apparently doesn't have as strict a legal definition as "cooperative" even though you and I probably use both words to mean pretty much the same thing. So in the end, I suspect we'll end up renaming ourselves the Carolina Motorcycle Collective.

But, like everything else, nothing is set in stone until it is.

Back to forming a member owned corporation. If we were to do such a thing, a membership would not only entitle you to regular membership benefits but to stock in the company and some sort of voting rights. Exactly what I don't know because a board has to be established to work that out and lawyers are needed to work out the legalese I can't write.

There's also one more problem that's turned out to be far bigger that we ever imagined. We were hoping to price memberships at $100 per year but it appears that insurance is going to exceed $4,500 per year and that must be paid before we can open the doors. Or, at least a hefty down payment. That means we need 45 plus members to start and that still doesn't give us gas money to come pick up a broken down bike or pay the power bill in the shop.

We'll be rethinking our plans.

So tomorrow I do something I didn't want to do. I go back to working a full-time job that has nothing to do with motorcycles. Well, almost nothing. I wanted to wait and work full time for CMC but money is running out and life is what it is. But that doesn't mean we're giving up. By going the corporation route we can create reasons even those who don't own motorcycles might want to invest in CMC. But if that's not the route our members want to take then we'll rethink it again.

If you'd like to sign up for the Carolina Motorcycle Cooperative Newsletter or whatever name we end up using... Well, that was the link.

As for the building? Still waiting on the electrical inspectors.

Friday

Accept Us The Way We Are

This made the rounds on the motorcycle forums I frequent a while back. It's so very true of us who ride. I know a lot of the women who love us won't or can't understand... neither do those of us who ride. Click on the photo to view full size.


Professional Services Needed

Get your minds out of the gutters... The Carolina Motorcycle Cooperative is in need of an insurance agent and a business attorney-- preferably professionals who ride motorcycles when they're not in their offices-- to help us with the nuts and bolts of incorporation and insuring us and our members against loss. We hope that you will also become CMC members and enjoy the comradely and the many benefits of being CMC members and we're more than happy to trade your membership dues towards all or part of your fees if you're willing to do so.

Update: July 7th

Currently we're waiting on electricians to come out and install a complete new upgraded electrical service into the old building so that we can be sure we won't have any electrical problems. The service that's currently in the building dates to the 1930s, is far from adequate to safely run our equipment and we'd rather not risk it. Then, Duke Energy will turn the lights on so we can start cleaning up and moving in.

Then we'll bring in the welder and weld up a steel door frame so that no one will be kicking in the walk-in door. The bay doors already require a truck to knock them down and with someone there 24/7 that might be a bit obvious.

Still Searching Them Out

Casey from the Nashville Motorcycle Collective turned us on to Machina Cycles and Vax Moto in Brooklyn, New York. I added both to our list of motorcycle collectives.

Thursday

New Website Feature

If you'll look at the bottom right of every page of our website you'll note our newest feature. It's labeled, Riders, and it's a counter that tells you how many people have read our website. This will be useful in the future when advertisers become interested in advertising to CMC members. And believe me, they will when they see what we're planning.

One of the things that we would like to see happen is to get advertisers to hire CMC members to be the actors in their videos. The advertisers could then pay CMC to post the videos to our website to be viewed by our members and other interested persons. If the advertisers gear their ads towards motorcyclists then it could become a big win for CMC, our members and our advertisers.

And by selling advertising in this way we could help keep down the costs to members while expanding member benefits.

Why Form Motorcycle Cooperatives? Reason 1

Allow me to begin by saying the following is fictional but we here at the Carolina Motorcycle Cooperative Association have been in touch with other motorcycle collectives and dream of a day when the best parts of this story come true.

You're a pretty handy dude who's been wrenching and riding for a lot of years and take pride in the fact that given the right circumstance there's not much about a motorcycle you can't fix. Perhaps not anything you can't fix. Finally, after years of dreaming about it you load up your bike and take that extended cross country motorcycle ride you've always dreamed of.

You're riding a back road a thousand miles from home when some asshole pulls right out in front of you and forces you to swerve into a ditch where you slide your front wheel into a culvert and bend your rim to the point that a new rim will need to be installed along with a few more expensive parts before the bike can even be ridden out of the ditch. By some miracle you've only minor injuries but now you're stranded.

If you were closer to home you could call a buddy or two and have them bring out a trailer to haul you and your lame but scratched chrome steed back to your home garage where you would tear down the bike, swipe your credit card at your nearby dealer to buy the parts, lace up a new rim to your old hub and true it in your own bench vice or truing stand before reinstalling it on your motorcycle at hundreds of dollars less than the dealers charge.

But alas, you're a thousand miles from home and will probably pay as much as $300-$500 in towing alone. Plus the costs of repairs. Your trip funds are beginning to look a little low. Well, a lot low.

But what if that local motorcycle shop was in-fact a local indy motorcycle collective that was networked with your local motorcycle collective in such a way as to extend member benefits to you as if you were one of their own members. With just a telephone call to your co-op back home you could soon find yourself in a shop a thousand miles from home being treated as if you owned the joint. Every tool you need at your disposal and more traveling money still in your pockets.

We believe that motorcycle cooperatives, co-ops and collectives are the motorcycle shops of the future and that by working together towards collective goals we can help each other achieve our dreams and visions. We dream of more riders on more kinds of motorcycles than ever before in a world where bikers help other bikers across political, ideological, religious, racial and socioeconomic spectrum where the common ground is that point upon which the rubber on our two wheels meets the road, track or trail.

This Is Why Young Guys Usually Do The Racing

From South Austin Motorcycles:

"What little rain we received this weekend was truly a blessing! More rain equals cooler riding conditions! This past Sunday Erik, Terry and I went to check out the Bluebonnet MX Track in Caldwell TX. Papa Mike was a terrific host and had coffee waiting on us at 8am when we arrived. Now, Papa Mike is 61 years young and still races Vintage MX and has a garage full of some truly beautiful examples of Vintage MX'ers. His 75 CR250 is something to truly marvel at.....and oh how I did!

The rain the day before and the drizzle that morning had the track slick and muddy. Needless to say, the bikes and riders ended up in the same condition! The track is truly a vintage track....so don't bother bring you later model bikes to this track, they simply do not turn like the older bikes do. I know...OLD bikes turn better? YUP. Terry, a very experienced rider, had his 2008 YZ 250F and I brought my 1979 YZ 250. After Terry took some Laps on that Old Yellow Monster, he concluded that the "old" YZ was out turning his newer bike. Papa Mike confirmed our theory as we sat sweating in the humidity. Papa Mike said the newer bikes are meant to "Jump and go fast in a straight line." Well.........he was correct. The track is very reminiscent of the old GP Tracks from way back. Papa Mike has created a truly vintage track! Erik utilized this opportunity to learn some advanced cornering skills on his CR125 and had his first experience "jumping".......and what an experience it was. After completely clearing the table top by almost 15 feet, Erik became VERY well acquainted with his front brake as he got panicky and managed to do a complete endo, with the bike coming to rest on him with the bars on the ground and the wheels sticking straight up! I will never forgive myself......for not getting it on video! After I pulled the bike off of Erik, his first words were: " ...dude...did you see how far I jumped?"

Erik managed to get a nice bruise on his thigh, but was relatively unhurt, and got right back on the bike, kicked it twice and off he went for another couple of laps. However, he did not overshoot that table-top again the remainder of the day. It was a great time and a great track. So, if you are holding onto some Vintage MX'ers, get'em out there and have a great ride!!!"