Motorcycling culture may bring to mind images of Hells Angels and the hit TV show Sons of Anarchy Bikers unfairly connected to organized crime and gang culture


By Branwen Jones

Motorcycling culture may bring to mind images of Hells Angels and the hit TV show Sons of Anarchy.

Their widespread popularity in mainstream media has saw bikers unfairly connected to organised crime and gang culture.

In reality, however, life in a motorcycle club is far from the kind of cliches seen in film and in Hollywood movies.

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Y Bleiddiaid Motorcycle Club, locally known as Y Bleiddiad (which means ‘The Wolves’ in Welsh) is a case in point.

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According to the president and secretary of the Gwynedd motorcycle club, Colin Bailey and Graham Gourlay, shows such as Sons of Anarchy has had an impact on people’s perception of their club to an extent.

“You’ll often find that some people are a bit weary of us,” Graham told North Wales Live .

“And I think that’s due to Sons of Anarchy. To me, that show was a joke – it dramatised and glorified everything when in reality it’s nothing like that.

“We have lives outside of the club – we have jobs, families and other passions. We’re good people.”

Originally from County Mayo in Ireland, Graham became a member of Y Bleiddiaid Motorcycle Club two years ago, whereas Colin, who lives in Trefor in Anglesey , has been a member for 15 years.

Y Bleiddiaid was founded in Dyffryn Nantlle in 1983 by Iago Murphy, and is amongst the oldest surviving traditional motorcycle clubs in Wales.

For many years, Y Bleiddiaid were the only Welsh language  motorcycle club in North Wales, but has since welcomed members from many parts of the UK and Ireland.

Its members wear “cuts”, which are denim jackets with the sleeves cut off, and the piece of clothing serves as a canvas for their ‘patches’, which are unique to the club and to every member.

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They currently have 13 members and a few “hangarounds” as Graham explained further.

“It takes time to join the club,” he said.

“Hangarounds are people that have introduced themselves to the club with an intention to join after we’ve all got to know them better,” he said.

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“Our club membership has a long-established internal hierarchy; we have a president, officers, full patch members and prospects.”

Colin, who acts as the club’s current president, added: “We are a family and we call each other ‘brothers’.

“Respect and loyalty are everything to us. If there is any disagreement – we sort it out. If anyone needs help in our outside the club – we are always there for one and other.”

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The members meet and ride once a week all year round, whether it rains or shine, through their public Bike Night hosted at the Anglesey Arms pub in Caernarfon .

Bikers from all over the region are welcome to join, and during the summer, the club can attract as nearly as 50 members to join their different bike rides around Menai Bridge , Caernarfon, Bangor , Betws-y-Coed and further afield.

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