Ulysses represents the sense for adventure which you seek through motorcycling. 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 the sort of person who still has enough spark to go on riding into middle and later years.
How did Ulysses Club begin?
Ulysses Club Inc. is a social club for motorcyclists over the age of 40 however the original suggestion for the club was for over 50s motorcyclists and was put forward in a letter by Stephen Dearnley published in the August 1983 issue of Bike Australia.
Stephen had initially responded to some comments by ‘Wrench McTaggart’, aka Grant Roff, who had suggested to an over 50s rider; “Hasn’t anyone ever told you about growing old gracefully …”
This drew two significant responses: one from Rob Hall, a reader at Albion Park NSW, 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 at an inaugural meeting in Sydney on 6th December, 1983 when the five founding members approved a basic constitution and the Ulysses Club was duly formed.
The concept of over 50s only lasted three short months and from that point on Ulysses Club became a social club for motorcyclists over the age of 40. From that tenuous beginning it has never looked back and the club now boasts a large and extensive network of members throughout Australia and Internationally. Currently there are Ulysses Clubs in New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, Vietnam, Norway, Holland, Zimbabwe, and Botswana as well as Great Britain. The latest edition to our growing community is Ulysses Club France with it’s base in the Alps.
Ulysses Club Great Britain?
For the last few years a small group of riders was drawn together by a common desire to follow the ideals of the Ulysses Club founded in Australia. We met regularly on our bikes and some of us began to join in longer expeditions to the continent, particularly to visit the thriving Ulysses Club in Germany. We were made most welcome on each occasion and in observing their organisation we began to see what was possible here in Great Britain. Our first objective was to bind ourselves more closely by creating a forum so that all of us could contribute and enable us to plan future rides and events.
With this in mind we created a forum called the ‘Shining Bikers’. The idea for the title of the forum was taken directly from Tennyson’s poem.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!Lord Alfred Tennyson
The Shining Bikers went from strength to strength with new members joining both the forum and the activities. Many rideouts took place, not only single day events, but weekends such as in Derbyshire and Wales, and further tours of Scotland and the Black Forest were all very enjoyable. From the success of the Shining Bikers grew a feeling that we needed further recognition to enable us to fully integrate with Ulysses on an international level. It seemed that a Branch or even a Club linked directly to the mother club in Australia would be the logical next step and in July 2013 we were delighted to receive a letter confirming our status as Ulysses Club GB.
The club has since grown across the country bringing many other mature riders into the Ulysses fold so that they can experience the positive benefits of belonging to such a great worldwide social club for motorcyclists. We held our first AGM at Worcester in June 2014 at which the interim committee were unanimously accepted as the officials of Ulysses Club GB for the next year. Our links with other Ulysses clubs continue to develop and we regularly welcome visiting members from abroad. We all look forward to the continued growth of the club across GB and the development of local and regional groups which will enhance the opportunities for social gatherings and the riding of bikes.