Our Valley BMW Riders Club was formed twenty plus years ago on June 7, 1988 and we received our BMWMOA Charter in December 1989. We are a Canadian Club situated in the interior valleys of southern British Columbia. The club formed because two of it's co-founders, Martin Hobbs from Armstrong, B.C. and Herman Kovacs from Merritt, B.C. had belonged to a regional brand X motorcycle club which met for breakfast every Sunday morning in Kamloops, B.C.
The idea was to go for a ride after breakfast. Some of the club members came up with so many rules and conditions that the meeting dragged on and on, and after debating this and that, people didn't feel like going on rides anymore.
Martin and Herman's families got together for a New Years day dinner twenty years ago and they decided to form their own BMW club, They both knew of riders located around the area. After a few weeks of talking to the local riders in the valley and in the Interior of B.C., they managed to get 14 riders together, only needing 10 to become a charter club under BMWMOA. There was no name for the club at the time and many were thrown around. A perceptive fellow said that we all live in one valley or another. So, why don't we call our club the "Valley BMW Riders"? All agreed and we became the 186th club to be chartered under BMWMOA.
At the time of chartering, we came up with one rule and only one rule -- that there be no rules. This rule has served the club well. We have an Agm at which official business lasts about 10 minutes. Then we eat. We have a winter breakout Dinner with no business at all.
Riding, friendship, camping and of course eating is the focus of the club. The club grew steadily for a number of years, riders of non BMWs asked if they could join and of course we said yes. We could then work on them to get a BMW. Those of them that still ride other bikes are sometimes gently reminded of the error of their ways. As mentioned earlier, we operate with no rules but we always have a great time in getting together for breakfasts, rides, campouts, tours, attending rallies, giving each other technical help as needed, helping out at the registration desk at national rallies, etc.
One of our former Presidents (Big Dick Martin) was a connoisseur of pies and he would tell the rest of us about the great pie places he had found in his travels. It didn’t take long for the club to come up with a "Pie Run" and search out the latest gourmet pies. At times we would ride all day with the pie destination as our goal. Our club motto became "Ride & Eat Pies".
About 10 years after the original club was formed, a lot of members dropped out, sold their bikes etc. We wondered if it was worth carrying on. Then the club was resurrected at a breakfast meeting in Vernon. We talked to prospective new members and all of a sudden our club grew like crazy. It didn’t hurt that a BMW Dealer opened in the area. Up until then the nearest dealer had been 300 miles away. We now have 80 families located in BC, Washington, Idaho and Germany, our camp outs are still very popular and we get over 60 people out for our breakfasts.
We have a diverse membership, some interested in riding off-road, some interested in collecting bikes, some long distance riders, some interested in getting to as many rallies in a season that they can, some casual weekend warriors, and some very knowledgeable tech guys. No matter who we are individually we all agree that the safest way to ride is "ride your own ride".
No one feels pressure to keep up, and faster riders are welcome to find the fine line. As an indicator of how active this club is, the Valley BMW Riders were awarded at the National Rally in Gillette Wyoming First place for largest local chartered club in attendance. Second place most member miles, and second place for farthest chartered club with five or more members attending.
This year is our club's twentieth anniversary. Our club dues are now at $25 per year. Our President is elected by the good old railroad, and it has worked for us. We also created club crests and shirts and we have had a website for a number of years, that has recently gone through a major rebuild.