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History & Origins
THE NAME "RETREADS®"
The name RETREADS® comes from the name of vehicle tires which were initially used during World War II. Retreading (putting new treads on used tires) was a process that permitted many civilians during the war years to continue to use their vehicles when their tires wore out, as new tires were very difficult, if not impossible to get during those rationing years. Similarly, many of us began our motorcycling years back when we were young. When we got married and started raising a family, many of us had no time or money available for such luxuries as motorcycles. However, once the children were well on their own, and free time and more money were available, our thoughts of motorcycles returned and we were itching to get back on the bikes we loved so much. So in a way, we were "Retreaded".
ORIGIN OF THE RETREADS®
The "RETREADS® Motorcycle Club" was conceived and founded in 1969 by five men through a letters column in a motorcyclist magazine. George Spidell, a Navy Chief Petty Officer living in El Cajon, California, had read a letter to the editor in a national motorcycle publication. The comments of the letter are long forgotten, but the writer's signature stirred George's curiosity. It was signed "Sheep Dip". George wrote to the magazine with the request that they forward his response letter to Sheep Dip. Instead, they published his letter in its entirety with an explanation that they were not a clearing house for letter writers. But they did publish George's letter! Sheep Dip never did answer, but five other motorcycle riders did: Bob House of Topeka KS; "Kanney" Brown of PA; Baurgaurity Laughland of London, England; Jack LeCain of British Columbia; and Ludwig Speidel of Quebec, Canada. George made copies of those letters and sent them to the other five. Then he copied the answers to those and sent them out again. Before long it was a regular thing for the six geographically separated riders to write each other. George continued copying the letters and circulating them to the entire group.
In time, the group agreed they should form a correspondence motorcycle club. An inquiry to the AMA for a charter brought back the information they would have to have 10 members to qualify.
Once again George appealed to the letters column of the motorcycle press. Soon, ten kindred spirits applied for their AMA Charter. The RETREADS® became a formal club in July, 1970. Their monthly newsletter was called the "RECAP" - another name given retread tires.
The Montana Retreads first breakfast was held in the spring of 1983. It was started by Jim Booth Sr. who went to a breakfast/meeting of the Washington Retreads in Spokane, WA. and liked how things were organized. The Montana chapter grew rapidly around the Missoula area until 1990 when the membership started to drop and the state representative moved to Oregon.
The Montana Retreads was restarted again by Bill Varien with the first breakfast/meeting in April of 2002 with six people attending, two members and four guests. With the help of a local motorcycle dealership, word of mouth, and a few announcements in the local papers, the Montana Retreads grew to a membership of 50 by 2007. Most members live in Western Montana.
Besides having the state breakfast/meeting on the second Sunday of every month, we have a varied and ever-increasing schedule of rides and activities like a summer picnic, a memorial ride and fun run, 50/50 drawing at the breakfasts, rides after breakfast, "pick-up" rides on the weekends between breakfasts, and a Christmas party. We don't limit our members to just our rides. We also attend other organization's rides like the Montana Hope Project and the Guardian Angels.
Our chapter rules require that all passengers wear a helmet, ride safely, and have fun. Club membership is reserved for people 40 years and older. Guests of any age are always welcome to join any of our breakfast/meetings, rides, and any other events.