The International Fellowship of Motorcycling Rotarians is a fellowship open to all Rotarians with an interest in motorcycling, whether it is on or off-road, racing, collecting, restoring or reminiscing. But it’s more fun if you ride with us.
The Rotary Great Britain & Ireland Chapter is part of the international fellowship.
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It was founded in August 1993 by Devizes Rotarian, David Lamb, following a visit to Loxton, South Australia, the previous year where he was persuaded by the Australian founding chapter to establish one in Britain.
David organised and held an inaugural meeting at a motorway service station on the Severn estuary which attracted seven interested Rotarians. It grew over the following years to a membership of well over 100 ‘Rotacylists’. This number has fluctuated over the years but it remains a smaller viable membership.
Some years later David went on to become the IFMR World President for two years.
Sadly time creeps up on some of our members who then go on to ride more celestial routes but we, like the rest of Rotary, are hoping to see some growth.
We were so welcome and everyone was so lovely and went out of their way to get to know us and help us in every way.”
Maybe the cost of motorcycling generally on our congested roads in the eyes of family/relatives is a factor especially amongst younger Rotarians with their commitments.
Nonetheless, those of us active in the chapter are a socially-cohesive band, likened to an extended but close family, who very enjoy our weekend gatherings around the UK and occasionally on the European mainland.
In the past, these adventures were more frequent but as we are all advancing in age together, we tend to stick to Britain as more distant venues and routes become more involving to organise.
Over the years, members have visited most of the European countries and joined with their chapters for tours and hospitality which have always been roaring successes.
We are occasionally joined by IFMR members from overseas chapters on our UK adventures and just recently we had the pleasure of the company of a couple from Iceland complete with their bike which had been stored in the UK.
Our weekend gatherings – of which there are usually four annually – involve hotel accommodation, great socialising by some 25 to 30 bikers, which can be more with pillions aboard, enjoying 100 to 150 miles riding on Saturday and some 60 miles on Sunday before departures homeward.
Phil Watson is our current president, and we have enjoyed the leadership of presidents from many parts of the country during our history. We remain in good spirits and, importantly, recognise the value of true friendship in the craft of progressive and safe Rotary motorcycling.
Fellowships are one of the highlights of Rotary. It is regrettable that ours in Great Britain & Ireland seems inevitably to decline. We offer our hope that other chapters prosper as our GB&I chapter approaches its 30th anniversary next August, and we still have actively riding founder members – quite an achievement, we think!
Over the years, members have visited most of the European countries and joined with their chapters for tours and hospitality which have always been roaring successes.”
We were delighted to have an Icelandic couple, Erla Björk and Björn Jakob, visit us recently for a weekend ride in the Trough of Bowland in Lancashire. Here’s what they had to say:
“What stands out is how great it was to meet new friends from IFMR UK-Ireland chapter. Although we have never met these people, not even John who hosted us, it is as if we are old friends.
“We were so welcome and everyone was so lovely and went out of their way to get to know us and help us in every way. It certainly reminds us of the great fellowship at IFMR-Nordic, where we are surrounded by warm, wonderful and helpful friends.
“We thank everyone on the trip to the Trough of Bowland for their wonderful company.”
Should you be interested in joining our Fellowship, please contact GB&I Secretary, John Crossman or Gordon Johnston.
Both our GB&I and world websites list our histories and forthcoming events, including UK rides, plus trips to Poland and India next year, as well as contact details.