Must Be Voted In
This one sort of makes sense. It's a club, so you can't just let anyone in, right? In this case, tentative members are prospects who run errands until such a time as the club decides to either vote them in or out. That process can take a long time, depending on the person.
The process can take years, mostly because this isn't a situation where you can bail after you're in. The club wants to make sure you're 100% committed before being allowed in. There is also a laundry list of requirements before you enter, like having a similar personality, driving a specific motorcycle, and being able to ride your bike anywhere and everywhere.
Still want in? Well, too bad. The website states, “If you have to ask, you probably will not understand the answer.” That pretty much means the good ol “don't call us, we'll call you.” Fully-patched members have voting rights, and they are expected to utilize these voting rights.
They want to make sure that the potential new member understands the club comes first and everything else that's expected of them. It isn't an easy task. So, if you don't know, it's probably not best to ask. However, there are still a few ways to find out how to join up.
It's Not a Sisterhood
It’s called a brotherhood for a reason. Although women play an integral role in the club's running, only men can be members. Sorry, ladies. Wives and girlfriends are known as "old ladies." The women spend a lot of time with their partners, even when on the road. In the early days, women were even given specific patches.
They can attend meetings but don't have voting rights like their partner would. Because of that, if a man wants to join the Hells Angels, his partner has to be just as willing for them to make that kind of commitment because of the amount of time the club takes up.
No Law Allowed
This one goes without saying, doesn't it? You can't expect a club like this to accept the law — as in law enforcement officers, that is. That’s right; if you’re an officer of the law, a prison guard, or even a security guard, you cannot gain entrance to the Hells Angels due to the conflict of interest.
The crazy thing is that despite what they've done, not every place considers them a criminal organization. The United States certainly sees them that way, with police harassing the club so much that members have sued. British Columbia, on the other hand, hasn't labeled them as a criminal organization, but that hasn't stopped law enforcement from raiding their clubhouses.
Once You’re In, There’s No Backing Out
Becoming a member can take years, and that gives potential members plenty of time to think about the commitment — and we do mean commitment. The process is so daunting because once you're a member, you're a member for life. This isn't a "get in, get out, get on with your life" kind of deal.
Once a potential member is voted in by the rest of the club, some are given a patch that states "AFFA" or "Angels Forever; Forever Angels." This is why someone really has to think about it before they go all in with the club. Again, it's a serious commitment (even more so than marriage for some people).
It's All About the Bike
A motorcycle club is all about the bike?! Yeah, this one is a no-brainer, but it's a rule, nevertheless. You must be a Harley-Davidson owner even to be considered as a member. This brotherhood is a way of life, and the type of bikes they ride are part of it.
It's an investment, but if you want to be considered, make sure you have one of these bad boys. Harley-Davidson's are a part of their heritage. They've been riding these bikes since they first came on the scene, and they're big-time loyal to the brand. When the club was first formed, Harley-Davidson was selling cheap, easy-to-maintain motorcycles, and it just kinda stuck.
The Vests Are Sacred
Once the prospect becomes a member, they are given a vest with the famous logo and the club's name. Along with this very important vest, they're also given a patch with the name of their charter sewn onto it. After all, there are charters all over the world, from the United States to Australia and Belgium.
If a member is arrested while wearing it, they are to hand it to another member to avoid tainting it in jail. If they are hurt and need emergency care, they’ll do whatever possible to avoid getting it cut or torn off. The vest is easily the second (only to their bike) most important thing a Hells Angels can have.
Be Careful Where You Make Friends
The website warns to “never combine your support to Hells Angels with other clubs, street gangs, or others if you are unaware of the relationship between those others and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.” This means that any friendships you support have to fit in with the group as a whole.
Hells Angels have a habit of running competing motorcycle clubs out of town and considering the immense size of the club, it's no surprise that other MCs don't stand a chance. If you want to become a member, you must break off unwanted friendships. Be hopeful that's all that's required...
If It Ain’t Hells Angels, Don’t Wear It
Remember when we said the vest was sacred? There are some rules that go along with that. We are sure you’ve seen merchandise that looks as if it could have been branded by the Hells Angels, themselves. However, the club has a strict no-impersonation policy, which they take very, very seriously.
Unless they gave it to you or sold it to you themselves, don’t attempt to wear it to make yourself look like one of the boys. You have to earn your gear. Anyone caught wearing something and impersonating a member of Hells Angels? Let's just say you better hope a member doesn't catch you wearing it.
He Who Knows the Golden Rule
This is a rule most of us learned in kindergarten, but you've never seen it taken as seriously as this. The rule is simple and easy to remember: treat others how you wish to be treated. If you were raised with that mantra, then you should be able to fit right in with these boys.
The code specifies that they will treat others with respect as long as they receive it in return. You aren't going to get respect just because you exist. Of course, you have to respect the upper members of the MC. The consequences for not doing so are...well, unpleasant.
Ride in Order
There is a strict order to how different things are done in the Hells Angels, and riding is definitely one of those things. The bikers ride based on seniority and rank, beginning with the charter president all the way down to the prospects. Things have been done this way for a very long time.
Plus, the MC isn't likely to change any time soon. Also, getting in the middle of the group and breaking them up doesn't bode well for those who are driving alongside the Hells Angels. Maybe if you see them, just hang behind them. You honestly never know what they're likely to do.
Pull Over as One
In the Hells Angels, you’re part of one super large family, so when one biker gets pulled over, they all pull over together in a show of solidarity. It doesn't matter if they get pulled over by the police or if the Hells Angels member is having motorcycle issues.
Not only does it show solidarity, it also protects all members of the group while they're out on a ride. Hells Angels may be top-dog, but they have enemies out there that jostle them at any chance they get. The police don't exactly have a friendly relationship with them either.
There is also a strict attendance code in the Angels. One assumes that you’re not serious about the club if you miss meetings or hangouts. Those who continuously miss events are seen as disrespectful. As mentioned before, when you become a member, you have a right to vote in club matters, and you're expected to utilize it.
Not showing up also prevents you from voting, which tells the club that you don't care about what they're doing and what they're about. The last thing anyone wants is to be "kicked" out of the club for disrespecting what they're all about and other members who have attended the meetings.
Thousands of Miles to Go
The Hells Angels is a motorcycle club, so you're going to be racking up those miles. According to the Hells Angels MC website, they ride approximately 12,000 miles together every year, and everyone is expected to ride along. You have to be ready to ride with the gang at a moment’s notice.
Not only do the members have to ride, but their "old ladies" might also have to tag along with them, riding in the back seat. The reason for these rides? That varies, but you wouldn't join a chess club and never play chess. Riding just goes with the territory. You also better keep your bike in pristine working condition.
It’s impossible to even reach the official club website without the club’s strict admittance. The website likely has information about meetups and other charters. This may not last forever, depending on how the club feels about you poking around their most valuable assets.
There are a ton of websites out there that pretend to be the club, but remember, there's only one Hells Angels. Nowadays, it's even hard to spot the fakes considering how easy it is to impersonate nearly anyone.
If you’re a Hells Angel, one rule you should never break is talking to the media. They are super-secret about their activities and as such, keep a very tight lid on their goings-on. Given how badly the media skews things, we can see why this is a rule.
You honestly never know which side of the story they're going to run with and how your words may be taken out of context. While this is a concern, Hells Angels also doesn't want anyone representing the club when they have no right to be doing so. The inner workings are for club members and club members alone.
No, Really. Hush!
As a Hells Angel, it’s a written bylaw, as well as a deeply understood rule that you cannot share any information about another member. Their website clearly states, “We do not answer questions about members,” and that counts for the missing ones, too — if you catch our drift.
The only people who know about what's going on in the inner club are those who are allowed to have that information. Some people inside don't even know what's going on. The Hells Angels is a very need-to-know organization. If you need to ask someone what's going on, then you probably don't need to know.
Even Bikers Have a Dress Code
Although this varies from charter to charter, most charters agree that shorts are a no go. However, you may see some charters who wear all black, some may wear jeans, and some may wear camouflage, depending on their charter’s dress code.
This is precisely why you never see a Hells Angels biker riding down the rode in neon pink or anything that's super outlandish. For the Hells Angels, not only are they protecting their brand, but also their reputation. There's no way they'd remain the 1% MC club in the world allowing everyone to wear whatever they want.
Must Be About Giving Back
They may be a tough 1% biker gang, but they have huge hearts and give back every chance they get. They aren't all bad! Some members aren't even sure why they're seen as the bad guys considering some of the good work that they do. Charity work is a requirement in most of the charters.
The Hells Angels are very active members of their communities, often taking part in charity and community events. Some charities include raising money for schools, children with special education, and even acting as guardians for children in abused situations. Some charters are a little more active than others, but they're not all doom and gloom.
Protect the Angels at All Costs
The Hells Angels will do whatever it takes to protect their reputation and their image in the mainstream media. We've made that much pretty clear. That also means they'll go up against entertainment giants if need-be. When Disney made the movie Wild Hogs, they included Hells Angels logos and even their trademarked name.
The MC didn't take this lightly. However, instead of wrecking all sorts of havoc with Disney — which they certainly could have — they took their greivences to court. Kudos to them! This is only one of the many cases you'll see of Hells Angels vs Hollywood.
Don’t Mention the Apostrophe
Yes. We know, you know, and even they know that there should be an apostrophe in Hell's for the MC, but they don't care. Guess they take the whole law enforcement thing very seriously — even the grammar police aren't tolerated! They'll leave the name of the club the same as it has been since 1948 when it was first founded.
When you've been a club for more decades than most people have been alive, you have the right to violate grammar rules as you well please. They’re gonna leave it the way it is, thank you very much.
It would be pretty obvious by now that as time consuming as being an Angel would be, you probably wouldn’t even have the time to think about joining another club. So, it should go without saying that joining another motorcycle club would be a big no-no. Joining another club would be one of the biggest betrayals of the group.
What we want to know is if this is even an issue? How would someone have the time to drive 12,000 miles a year and then join another club to tack some more milage on top of that? Sheesh. Regardless, it's a rule, and it's a pretty serious matter.
Oh, Hazy Days
You should probably know ahead of time that as a prospect, you would be subject to much hazing. That doesn't mean you'll be beaten or anything. The club isn't all bad like we've been taught in the last. You would be assigned the most menial tasks and expected to perform them admirably.
It's like getting coffee, except we don't think Hells Angels will send you to Starbucks. And don’t forget, this could go on for years before the charter decides to even hold the vote to get you in. Just do the tasks set out before you without complaining, and maybe throw in a smile or two.
Hobby Lobby is Out
Nah, we don't mean literally the store. Although, considering how legally-inclined the club has been in the past, we wouldn't be surprised if they had a surprise vendetta against Hobby Lobby. No, instaed, you can't have any hobbies! As a member, you’d be expected to put the club above all else.
That means spending the bulk of your time with your brothers. This means you can basically kiss all other hobbies you had planned goodbye. Of course, maintaining your bike is a perfectly acceptable hobby because its part of the Hells Angels. Just, ya know, no embroidery or knitting or anything.
If there is a meeting going on, your best bet is to stay quiet unless specifically spoken to. Easy to remember, right? Any questions should be raised before the meeting starts, and the group has to respect the written agenda. There's no going off track here and talking about something pointless for several minutes.
Any rules broken are fined at least $100. Oof, that's certainly a hefty, hefty fine. Those who have been stuck in meetings after they've gotten massively side-tracked can respect this rule. In fact, maybe some companies should inact this rule — sans the insanely expensive fine, that is.
Just Say No
Any kind of substance abuse is strictly forbidden. Either contact or engagement with illegal substances can bring on dire consequences. We’re not sure what those consequences are exactly, but one can just imagine. With how often they run into law enforcement, we can see why this is such an important rule.
That doesn't mean they haven't had their run in with drugs and law enforcement in the past. In 2002, the Rochester charter got into deep doo-doo after the FBI and DEA found the group was a drug ring. The leader and vice president were sentence to 25 years in prison.
There is No Retirement
That’s right. Because the process is so long and involved and you become, in essence, part of the family, they will expect to pry your bike from your cold, dead, arthritic hands. Once again, we remind everyone that once you become a member, you're a member for life.
There's no leaving and even the club themselves state that there is no retirement. That is, unless you seriously mess up, and then you're considered "out bad," which is a dishonorable discharge more or less. For most people, they don't want that label, but for some, that's the only way to actually get out of the club.
Stick to the Rules
Again, we don’t know specifics, but we’ve heard the consequences to breaking the rules can be pretty awful. From burning off tattoos to being removed from the club—either way, we’re sure it would feel like the equivalent of losing a limb. That being said, the severity certainly depends on the charter and the charter president.
One thing we can say is that breaking some rules would definitely get you removed from the club with a "dishonorable discharge," so to speak. Some rules are so heinous that other charters may need to get involved, too. That's not something anyone would want.
Marking Your Territory
The charter, once it is established, will mark its own territory. They will lay out specific boundaries that other clubs must abide by, or they will have to deal with the Hells Angels. All of them. Conflict has led to a lot of violence between other MCs and other "clubs."
One of the most recent was the opening of a new Outlaws Motorcycle Club in Halifax. To the Hells Angels, it was seen as a competitive and disrespectful move. No surprise there, considering the two MCs ahve been trying to eliminate the other for years now.
There Will Be Blood
The Hells Angels and the other 1% biker clubs have an unwritten rule that never shall the other attempt to control an area that is already claimed by another gang. Sometimes, other biker clubs are not so respectful, and the Angels will fight to protect their territory. Be prepared.
With an MC as big as hells angels, there are a ton of enemies that are just looking to clash with them. Some of the bigger enemies include Banditos, the Outlaws, and the Mongols. In fact, the Mongols and the Hells Angels went down in history as having the deadliest biker war of all time, which began in 1969.