following was composed by a long time friend, and to some degree a sister of the Wheels.
- Thank you Tricia !
Over the years and after talking with a lot of bikers in clubs I’ve noticed a trend in the forming of the older motorcycle clubs versus the younger clubs. Back in the day it sometimes took a bunch of bikers pooling their money together to get a bike running to get home. Yeah, I remember when owning a bike often times meant taking a part from one friend’s bike to make the partner’s bike run. You were King of The Hill to own a new bike and considered rich to own a new Harley.
Wheels United Motorcycle Club was no different. A few hometown friends riding every bike made Triumphs, Hondas, Harleys and Yamahas, to name a few, would meet at Nellie’s local nightspot in Hampton, Virginia. There they would gather and exchange some jokes (some would call them lies) and pull out to ride. It was at Nellie’s that John "Lip" Lipscomb, Joe Newby, Big Bonds, Speed Ball and Buck got their heads together and decided to form a motorcycle club.
Under the leadership of the clubs first President "Lip" in 1969 the Constitution, By-Laws and club purpose were established, and thus, Wheels United Motorcycle Club was born. Back then community and public approval along with respect was everything, so they had planned activities that would financially aid needy organizations. The Wheels promoted rider and biker safety and most importantly formed a bond with the community, as well as each other, that still exist today. Just like today they help whomever is in need. Each year their trophy party then and now, is a project to help some needy organization.
As my Grandmother would say "Just keep on waking up and one day you will get old." The same is true with clubs and organizations. Because of this process, and a growing increase in outside obligations and activities, the Wheels became dormant for a period of time extending for almost 8 years until 1979.
James Wiggins and group of riding buddies decided the time was right to form a club. They were calling each other and planning group rides almost every weekend so why not start a club. They had the first meeting at his home with Lip, the former President of Wheels United MC, attending.
Those guys went round and round trying to think of a name for their club when Lip and Joe Newby suggested why not let the Wheels roll again. It was decided by all, in that meeting, that the Wheels would roll again. James Wiggins was voted President, and under his leadership carrying the original Constitution and By-Laws, the re-organization began. Local bike dealerships such as Casey Cycle City and Mars Yamaha were instrumental in the re-organization process. One year later with State Incorporation Seal in hand the Wheels were off and riding.
A member of the Village Riders said, "Every time you looked around, the Wheels were in the house." They did what they loved doing and that was riding. Their brotherhood is knitted tighter than a new sweater and from time to time as their membership took both the high and low roads, with as few as six faithful few they hung in there and never stopped participating in both church and community activities, all the while having fun. Seven Presidents in 27 years with the roster consisting of Past Presidents: John Lipscomb, James Wiggins, Samuel Halsey, Louis Wonsom and with only one deceased (Walter Hardy) is a credit to their unity. They have members from Charlotte, North Carolina to Virginia Beach, Virginia and everywhere in between who attend their monthly meetings. I remember when I first met these guys their club meeting was whenever they could all attend another clubs dance. They still hold their meetings at different locations each month; but they do meet every month.
The older guys are now content to just ride and advise, now that the Wheels have Andre Saunders at the helm. As Louis "LJ" Wonsom said, "It’s time for the young blood to take the leadership position and come up with new and fresh ideas, but under the advice and watchful eyes of us old farts". Today the Wheels turn with 22 active members, plus Lip and Newby as Honorary Members.
When you see the Wheels of today you see not just a club; but also a family. Each member claiming its their family. You may hear the laughter from Mac, Bone, Rock, Trigger and LJ or the serious side of Edward, Andre and Carl or taste the cooking of Wiggins, Darnell or Del, hear someone yelling "No JR", or watch Calvin and Cousin Jay watching everyone else and smiling, and then there is the support line of the Wheels that consist of the spouses and significant others. Together laughing, cussing, fussing, talking and playing, all are the ingredients of a family.
Tina Turner would say the big wheel keeps on turning, LJ says, anyone can roll around; but it takes a special person to be a Wheel.
So remember: If you can’t do it on your wheels, do it on your heels.