The origins of the Dublin Motorcycling Touring Club.
The origins of the Dublin Motorcycle Touring Club go back to the late 60s. It was the time of the Beatles and Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, and in the USA, the Beach Boys.
For Motorcyclists, it was the time of the Barbour suit, Pudding bowl helmet, Stadium goggles and Lewis leather boots.
At the time the bikes included Triumph, Norton, Royal Enfield, Vincent, Tritons, Velocette and only the odd BMW.
The racing scene was buzzing with Phil Read, Bill Ivy, Renzo Passolini, Agostini, and the great Mike Hailwood, all strutting their stuff in black leathers and pudding bowl helmets.
When Mike Hailwood was interviewed one time, he was asked could he explain the obsession motorcyclists have with their bikes. Jokingly he answered by saying that it was a disease, and once caught, it was impossible to cure.
Around this time in Dublin, there were pockets of young motorcyclists who had caught this disease. These groups did not know each other, but might come in contact with one another at local race meetings or outside the local motorcycle dealer on a Saturday. Alternatively, they might meet at the two popular cafes in Ashford and in Roundwood in Co. Wicklow.
Around this time, 1968, word was filtering through the bike scene that a "Rally" was going to be held in Annascaul, Co.Kerry. Even with their limited knowledge of what happens at a Rally, most of these groups decided they were not going to miss this event and all were heading for Kerry.
It was the "Shamrock Rally", the first of its kind in Ireland. It was a great vehicle for bringing these groups together but when it was over, these lads might not come in contact with each other for months.
Don’t forget, these were the days before Mobile Phones, Internet, email or Face book.
This prompted a group to meet and see if there was interest in starting a motorcycle club with the intention of meeting on a more regular basis. This small group met in one of the houses with the outcome that while all thought it was a good idea only half were prepared to get involved in setting it up.
The year was 1971 – decimal currency was introduced into Britain and Ireland, Norway started oil production from the North Sea, Hand held Calculators went on sale - and the average age of the founding members was 20 years of age.
Their first priorities were to get a meeting place and to put a name on the club. After short spells in various locations the club acquired the use of a table tennis club in Dundrum, Co.Dublin, which was looked after for by Joe Daly who is the man credited with putting Irelands great cyclist Stephen Roche on his road to fame. Because "Motorcycle Club" did not have good connotations to it with the public in general at the time, they decided to call it the Dublin Motorcycle Touring Association.
They equipped the hall with a dartboard, kettle and cups, and a big pot for soup on the cold winter nights. The club met weekly on Monday. At the time, there were clubs for most motorcycle activities. However, none catered for road riders, with the result that each week the membership was growing and indeed some even wanted to join but had no bike.
This brought about the need to have club rules that included the rule “no bike, no membership”. A member must attend the meeting on his bike. This was controversial at the time, but was always adhered to. These young men did not want the biggest club but they did want the best.
They began to organise Sunday spins and camping weekends. They went roller skating, swimming and held treasure hunts on summer evenings. There was Dusk to Dawn runs in mid summer and several Malin Head to Mizen Head runs.
Today the club is as vibrant as it was then thanks to a handful of dedicated and committed committee members who guided and managed the club through those years. These days, the club activities revolve around Sunday spins, Hotel weekends away, occasional camping weekends, Rallies, Trips abroad, holidays on the Continent and mid week coffee runs.
The average age in the club is in the low 60's, with a lot of "Born again Bikers" joining
The original 20-year-old founding members, several of whom are still members today, couldn’t ever have foreseen how the Dublin Motorcycle Touring Club would survive and go from strength to strength.
The main objective of the club was to bring together those who enjoy using a motorcycle, as a means of touring and that is as valid to day as it was in 1971.