“As a Full Tilt Rider, you have family wherever you go.”
This is one of the central tenets of The Full Tilt Riders Motorcycle Club.
“[We] are a 1-piece patch organization by choice,” said Greg “Thinker” Hall, one of the founding members, and first national president, who presided over the club for 15 years before stepping down in 2017. “This organization has touched many people and many other motorcycle and riding clubs across the country. I always say that every rider is connected to FTR MC by 6 degrees of separation. That may be an exaggeration, but it sure seems that way.”
Thinker started riding at the age of 23 when he got his first bike, a 1986 Kawasaki LTD 454, when he needed transportation for a job. He has been riding for over 30 years and he and his Suzuki Hayabusas have even appeared in ads for ICON Motorsports and the Suzuki Legends Display at the International Motorcycle Show. He now riders a Harley Road Glide.
Full Tilt Riders was founded in 2003 by Thinker and a small group of like-minded riders in Portland, OR, starting as a riding club and eventually transitioning to an MC. FTR MC has since expanded all over the country and beyond. One reason for the club’s rapid expansion is that many chapters were formed near military bases and composed of military members, so when they were transferred to other bases, new chapters were often formed. Today, the club boasts 19 chapters from coast to coast and as far away as Hawaii.
The name “Full Tilt Riders” comes from the fact that the group was founded in the Pacific Northwest where the roads are infamous for being curvy and steep. FTR MC started out as a club for sports and racing bikes, but was always all-inclusive, accepting all types, makes, and models of bikes 600 CCs and above and including riders of all styles and levels.
Unlike many motorcycle clubs that often have narrow admittance rules and are exclusively for men, FTR is unique because it has been open to both men and women since its conception. In fact, the club prides itself in its diversity, being open to people of all ages, races, genders, political affiliations, and riding abilities.
The club encourages new riders to join and its members even teach novice riders how to ride. Its members also help each other set up their own chapters in different localities all over the country. Every year, they have a national meeting where they reunite to celebrate each other and make their annual donation to a designated national charity.
This sense of family and inclusivity couldn’t be more evident than recently when Thinker became victim to a hit and run while riding. While recovering at the hospital and awaiting surgery on his foot, he was overwhelmed with well wishes from club members all over the country. By the time he was discharged from the hospital, the crew had a brand new customized wheelchair waiting for him.
When asked what his plans are after his recovery, Thinker said that he is still looking forward to riding to the club’s national meeting in Kansas City this year from July 29th-Aug 1st.
It’s at this national meeting every year where chapters pool thousands of dollars to donate to the club’s national charity, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, a cause that hits close to home for several members. Each chapter also takes pride in participating in local causes in urban areas, such as adopting families during the holidays, collecting food and school supplies for needy families and adopting a highway.
“The small moments are what matter,” Thinker said. “ Yes we give thousands of dollars to a national charity every year, but I can still remember the first time the club adopted a family in need for the holidays. I will never forget that feeling in the pit of my stomach when that single mother in need started crying and thanking us. That feeling is why we do what we do.”
For more information or to support FTR MC you can visit their Facebook page.