Saturday nights unite bikers in brotherhood
On Saturday nights, groups of motorcyclists meet in certain locations of the city. They park
their bikes in neat clusters, and sometimes fly their club’s flag.
Bikers around town are known to congregate at the Senayan sport complex’s east parking lot and Jl. Panglima Polim in Blok M, both in South Jakarta, Taman Suropati, Central Jakarta, and especially in Depok, where almost every free space along the 3-kilometer street of Jl. Margonda is filled with rows of motorbikes.
Territorial as street cats, bikers tend to gather in designated areas. Scorpio Owners Club Indonesia (Scoci) members for example have been meeting at the same spot on Jl. Panglima Polim since the club was founded in 2006.
SCOCI members used to arrive one by one from 9 p.m. onwards, or flock in groups of 10 to about 30 for a kopi darat
or land meeting. Scoci club members own Yamaha Scorpio bikes.
Most motorbike clubs have weekly meetings, usually on Saturday nights, where members catch up with each other, share updates on spare parts, plan club programs and even do business deals. Saturday night meetings are rarely cancelled, except if something more important turns up. SCOCI has 1,000 members from 40 club chapters in Sumatra, Java and Bali.
Their weekly meetings are not just about meeting with our friends. They also have programs to change the public’s perception of biker clubs, which are often associated with the criminal world and drag racing the same as the program of Pulsarian Detasemen.
The majority of the community members have families, and they like to bring their wives and children out with us once in a while, to let them know what we are up to in their clubs.
The other club is Depok Smash Club, which also served as an “information center” for job vacancies.
Strangers with the same hobby or motorcycle brand experiencing the need to network end up becoming brothers or sisters when joining biker clubs.
Clubs invite new members in several different ways. Like Depok Smash Club which gave pamphlets to Suzuki Smash riders while they waited at traffic lights, while the Pulsarian club tended to attract new members at workshops and dealer showrooms.
Social and charity activities also attract new club members who wish to help people.
Traveling for charitable causes is common for many clubs. The important thing is motorbike club members thrive to be role models for other motorcyclists on the road.
Terompet Roti Community, who sport a logo of terompet roti or a bread vendor’s horn on their jackets, were mostly high school students and rode different brands of motorbikes such as Vespa, Revo, Honda Kirana, Yamaha Jupiter, Karisma, and Mio.
Although Terompet Roti Community members tend to be 17 years old, they are required to get their parents’ consent before joining the club. On the other hand, the 35 members of Depok Smash Club were aged between 16 to 50 years old, their members come from various backgrounds, from restaurant employees, to high school students and the unemployed.
While Jakarta has the highest concentration of motorbike clubs and bikers, clubs have branches in many cities too.
There is an association of Suzuki Smash Clubs around the country, with coordinators in Sumatra, Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java and Bali.
Nationally, the Suzuki Smash Club has more than 2,000 members.
Pulsarian Detasemen club had around 80 members in Depok, 500 bikers in the Jakarta Skuadron branch, and at least 800 members in the combined areas of Bekasi, Depok, Bogor, Bandung, Jogja, Cikarang and Cikampek.
Motorbike clubs have been around in Indonesia for decades. The first Harley-Davidson Club was founded in Cirebon in 1958, followed by the Harley Club Bandung in 1960 and the Harley Club Jakarta in 1963.
When bikes became more affordable, the number of motorcycles in the city soared and motorcycle clubs mushroomed as a result in the 2000s. Motorcycles can now be purchased for as little as a Rp 300,000 cash deposit.
Even though there are around 70 brand clubs and biker communities, relationships between clubs remain.
Relationships with other clubs are not only limited to courtesy visits, but also extend to offering help on the road to other bikers. Motorbike clubs also unite under several affiliations, such as the Depok Motorbike Alliance (AMD) in the city of Depok.