The Ulysses Club is an Australian social club that caters for the needs of the 'more mature' motorcycle rider. The club was established in December 1983 and is the largest motorcycle club in the southern hemisphere.
The original suggestion for a motorcycle club for over 50's was put forward in a letter by Stephen Dearnley published in the August 1983 issue of the Bike Australia magazine.
This drew two significant responses: one from Rob Hill, who suggested the present name and motto for the club, the other from Peter Thoeming, then the editor of "Bike Australia", who sketched the logo and offered support from his magazine if Stephen could get the club off the ground.
This was done with an inaugural meeting in Sydney on 6th December 1983 when the 5 people present approved a basic constitution and the Ulysses Club was duly formed.
The minimum age requirement has since been reduced, you can now become a "Junior Member" at the tender age of 40. Junior members have all the same rights and privileges as the older members but they have the privilege of still being young enough to be a "Junior Member" of something.
From that tenuous beginning it has never looked back and the club now boasts a large and extensive network of members throughout Australia and other parts of the world.
The name comes from a poem of the same title by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
It tells how the great Greek hero Ulysses, now middle-aged and securely in charge of his kingdom of Ithaca, is getting bored with things around him and longs to go adventuring again with his shipmates of old. It describes very well indeed the sort of person who still has enough spark to go on riding into middle and later years.
Too long to quote here, you will find it in any good poetry anthology such as the Albatross Book of Verse.
Here we see a painting by John William Waterhouse. "Ulysses and the Sirens" - 1891
The Greek hero Odysseus (English: Ulysses), advised by the sorceress Circe, escaped the danger of their song by stopping the ears of his crew with wax so that they were deaf to the Sirens; yet he was able to hear the music and had himself tied to the mast so that he could not steer the ship out of course. The Sirens would also exhort Ulysses to take them for a ride on his beloved bike, but he knew they only wanted to steal it.
What does it do?
It publishes a quarterly newsletter, Riding On, which contains information about forthcoming events, provides a forum for members’ news and views and carries articles on topics of interest to geriatric bikers.
Through a number of regional branches and groups it arranges regular meetings, outings and social events.
The Annual General Meeting of the Ulysses Club Inc. is held sometime before the end of June and takes the form of a closed event rally. The venue is an interesting spot in the country and it is a great occasion for widely separated members to meet each other.
At selected rallies the club banner is raised as a focal point where members and their friends can join in good companionship.
What are its aims?
- To provide ways in which older motorcyclists can get together for companionship and mutual support.
- To show by example that motorcycling can be an enjoyable and practical activity for riders of all ages.
- To draw the attention of public and private institutions to the needs and views of older riders.
Who can join?
Any lady or gentleman who is over the age of 40, and who holds a current Motorcycle Licence or Learners Permit, or who is a regular partner of such a person, and over 40, is eligible to join.
Until you reach the grand old age of 50, you will be a "junior" member, but with full membership rights and privileges. It’s just that you might have to help some of the "seniors" off their machines sometimes!