No Colors Allowed

no colorsby.  Editor Scott Cochran

I didn't see the notices taped on the front of the entrance doors to the Charlotte Convention Center when I arrived early Saturday morning to man our booth at the Easyriders Bike Show this past January.

Sylvia was in Atlanta working a different show, and I was working Charlotte.

It wasn't until late that afternoon when I saw them. I made a mental note to investigate the reason for their posting before the show ended.

However, working the booth by myself, I never had that opportunity and, as far as I could tell, the dress code (no colors) had not caused a decline in attendance.

I did think it was ironic that you could get in with a Sons of Anarchy t-shirt but nothing else that appeared to be “club related.”

The following week it became apparent there was more to the story than what I’d assumed.

I reached out to a source inside Easyrider and was told, “This is not a matter that needs any input from the general public or rights groups. If someone is not involved in this it would be best to MYOB.” (mind your own business.) Easyriders Events are neutral ground, we do our best to serve the lifestyle, cultures and subcultures of the motorcycle world. Easyriders Events does not get involved with club business, our only concern is for cohesive coexistence between the general public and the subcultures during our events.”

A few days before the big Columbus Show, Easyrider Events issued a public statement that said in part, “Easyriders Attorneys have been able to provide us with the approval to ALLOW COLORS for all clubs except ONE. The Club that is not allowed knows who they are and will not be admitted into any Easyriders Events.........ever. “

For the record, Easyrider Events has been an advertiser in this magazine. I’m friends with the promoter and several of the writers for the magazine. This is a small industry and everyone knows just about everyone.

But, that’s not why I’m taking Easyrider’s side on this one.

The reason is their 40 years of unwavering support for the biker lifestyle.

The motorcycle landscape has changed in the four decades since Easyriders first hit the newsstands in the 70’s. Some of the progressive changes can be credited to its founder Joe Teresi and the magazine’s staff in the early days who gave the “tattooed, long haired bikers” a magazine they could call their own. A magazine that celebrated the rebellious freedom of the two wheel lifestyle.

All that, and a fair amount of incidental nudity. But that’s what goes on in this lifestyle among consenting adults. They didn’t create it, they just reported it.

More importantly, Easyrider Magazine was one of the few, if not the only newsstand motorcycle magazine who aggressively supported motorcycle rights, and helped galvanize MRO’s into formidable opponents of overzealous McCarthyish state and Federal lawmakers.

Joe Teresi himself testified in Congress against laws that would have made it illegal to modify motorcycles.

Teresi and others worked to establish and support fledgling A.B.A.T.E. chapters across the country, often paying their expenses with profits from the magazine, out of pocket, or with donations from advertisers.

Easyriders customers are the hard-core “biker” lifestyle readers and riders. The guys and gals who attend ABATE meetings and have been discriminated against time and time again, in one form or another.

So there’s no doubt in my mind that posting a “no colors” sign was a decision that was made to protect the general public first, and the organization and brand second.

Probably the most outrageous (and stupid) accusation leveled against Easyrider Events is their decision was “profit motivated.”

Think about it for a minute. Easyrider Events took a public relations black eye to protect the moms, dads and kids who attend their events. They knew a small but vocal group intended to stir up trouble and disrupt attendance, (and possibly become violent) but they made the tough call, and I respect them for that.

I’m glad I wasn't the one who had to make that decision.

Until next month, ride safe, and always take the road less traveled.

Web Staff


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  23. Interesting article. I think the author, Mr. Cochran, did an good job of getting past the "spin" and nailing the issue of "colors" in public. As a 21 year member of ABATE of IL, I appreciate and applaud Mr. Teresi's (and staff) commitment to the biker lifestyle). Old timers remember when ABATE stood for A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments. (A 'totalitarian enactment" is defined as when the State holds total authority over society and seeks to control all aspects of public and private life whenever possible,) While I personally believe ABATE should abandon it's more "politically correct", updated nomenclature (A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education) and re-adopt the "Against Totalitarian Enactments" part, I find it an interesting situation when a front-leaning group of free-thinking bikers who once championed individual rights now finds itself having to "ban" the very groups and people they (once) represented because of their attire. It's a tough call, indeed. I would like to point out, and this has been proven, that the absence of a certain piece of clothing does nothing to change the internal motivation of the person wearing it. Some clubs still practice he "mouse in a pocket" technique of undercover operational security against one another and law enforcement. (No club affiliation worn by full-patched members at an event). Ours is a relatively tight-knit subculture and anybody who has been around the lifestyle long enough knows who's who, regardless of their dress. I made MY choice years ago when the local fairgrounds adopted a "No Colors" policy. I'll accept any business owner's right to refuse service if they understand that they will NEVER receive my patronage. When someone or some group messes up, then deal with that person or group (that's what laws are for), but to enact a "blanket" No Colors policy against any who wear a patch on their back gets no play from me. If they're (Easyriders) cool with their decision to discriminate, then I'm cool with spending my hard earned cash elsewhere. Respects 'n take care out there. ~Squirts (Jus' squirtin' along)

  24. I do not support wearing colors in public. If its at a private event then fine wear your colors but most people either don't understand what they mean or even worse have heard negitive thing about clubs or gangs in general. I have seen this frist hand at a teddy bear run in Richmond Virginia when a group of CMA's walked into a restaurant and people there almost panicked. They didn't understand that CMA's meant Christian Motorcycle Association.

  25. One group that hates another group cause of a patch or territory is the most ignorant and childish thing I have ever seen, Bunch of dip shits who can't think for themselves. Ride safe.

  26. In Knoxville Tn at the Easy Rider show there was a problem between 2 clubs. as ours was leaving we saw cops comin from everywhere and they escorted the offending club out without incident. The other club had a booth there.The next year that club was told not to show and I do not think they showed but this year Knoxville was not on the schedule but Nashville was. I do not know what the policy on clubs was because it was to cold and icy to ride over 150 miles over the mountain.. We handle our own here and it seems to work. Hope to see the show back some time

  27. Under the posted policy, ABATE groups could not fly their logo, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or any group that had an emblem that was available to members only. My opinion is that we should not return to an event that discriminates against its own clientele. In several years of going to the Charlotte event, I have not seen or heard of any problems with the clubs there. BTW, is that policy going to extend to the Easyriders Rodeo too? I won't be attending that either.

  28. That is the main reason I dont go to Bike week at Daytona, most all bars dont want you to wear your colors but want your money,well guess what, No Colors= no MONEY from me.

  29. 1% clubs as a whole are not the problem…the problem lies at the clubs with problems with other clubs…and the people who decide to take action in public places around these other clubs because of what geographic rocker you wear or the fact that a lot of these clubmembers dont know the real reason why they hate each other its been going on so long…bikers are bikers….no matter who you ride for or what your reasons are…be safe and go easy bros!!!!

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