Streeterville ScramblersThat Chicagoland Motorcycle Club

Streeterville Scramblers celebrate 50 Years

November 5, 2012
Chicago, IL, Nov. 5, 2012  Streeterville Scramblers Motorcycle Club celebrates its first 50 Years
Streeterville Scramblers LTD. "That Chicagoland Motorcycling Group" celebrates its 50th Anniversary on Jan. 26, 2013 with the traditional annual Black Tie Banquet. This Gala event will be held at the very same location that the founding meeting was held on Jan. 25, 1963, the Chicago Yacht Club in downtown Chicago, at the "foot of Monroe Street." The group was formed on that date with the express goal of improving the image of motorcycling and motorcyclists. "Bikers" were not favorably viewed in the late 1950s and early 1960s, due in no small part from the "Bad Boy" image portrayed in the Marlon Brando movie "The Wild One."
From the beginning the membership and participation has been limited to invitation. Its members over the years have included a wide variety of successful personalities, all capable and experienced motorcyclists, with occupations ranging from doctors and lawyers to industrialists and inventors, from school teachers and authors to a public relations guru, an undertaker, an IRS auditor and even a Catholic priest. One of the most successful members to attend the annual banquet was a man from Japan named Soichiro Honda. He was listed in the club's 1967 Membership Directory, and appeared one year at the annual gala with a sizeable entourage. He was described by those in attendance as affable and humble. One of the common threads among the members is a passion for motorsports. Another is a love for adventure travel.
The club name makes reference in part to the fact that many of the original members were residents of or worked near the Chicago city center, and one of those areas is Streeterville. Though the area was virtually unknown at the time of the club's founding, it has since become widely renowned as an upscale and trendy residential district. The area was named after a salty old tugboat captain whose boat sank (by some accounts under questionable circumstances) in the mouth of the Chicago River, and silt built up around the wreckage, forming an island, which Cap'n Streeter promptly and boldly declared a Sovereign State. The rest of the story of the naming of the club is a tale in itself,  as some of the early members were characters in their own right. The origin of the club mascot, a vintage photograph of "Ma Scrambler" is yet another interesting yarn.
The early days of the club involved several forms of off road motorcycling, and included various competition events, often on members' property. After a few years, as motorcycle manufacturers began to produce machines that were more reliable and comfortable, the club's focus shifted to touring on motorcycles. Owing to the aforementioned "Bad Boy" image, sometimes accommodations were difficult to arrange for a group of motorcyclists. Usually the unfavorable stereotypes could be avoided by having the Catholic Priest phone for the room reservations, or correspond on parish stationery. Initially there were domestic trips including California, the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Northwest, New England, and the Smoky Mountains. Trips then expanded to include Europe, especially the Alps and Italy, the UK including Scotland and Ireland, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Central America, and more recently as far away as New Zealand and Turkey. Tours are typically planned by one or more members, drawing on their own experience or that of overseas friends or business acquaintances.  Over the years several overseas individuals or couples have helped in trip planning and have gone on to become dear friends as well as full members. Other members have retired and relocated to more suitable retirement areas, yet continue to keep in contact and occasionally join the group on tours. Some members still enjoy the occasional off road event, and many of the younger potential members find dirt biking an excellent way to develop riding skills free of traffic hazards.
The group usually plans one overseas tour and one domestic tour per season, in addition to several shorter weekend, 1 week or 1 day rides, as well as numerous social gatherings. Traveling together, especially overseas, promotes camaraderie and a close bond, provided the participants are compatible. The protocol for potential membership involves such screening to determine riding ability, demeanor, attitude and general compatibility with existing members.
The members pool their knowledge, efforts, experience and contacts to plan and execute these events, and using volunteer planning where possible keeps the costs affordable for members with modest incomes, as well as indulging those more well heeled members who simply find no status in overpaying.
Some of the original members are still actively participating in spite of advancing age, and some are enjoying events with their adult offspring, both children and grandchildren.
After the upcoming Gala, The Chicago based Streeterville Scramblers will be looking forward to and planning for the next 50 years!

Subscribe To OurEmail List

Sign up today to be added to the Streeterville Scramblers Email List. We will keep you up to date with our Events, News and Happenings.