During the summer of 1965, in the little fishing village of San Leon on the Mexican Gulf, what would later grow into one of the most feared motorcycle clubs in the world was born. Early spring in 1966, Donald Chambers began to organize the group into a motorcycle club. Chambers had been a member of other motorcycle clubs but had found them too tame.
Chambers was in his mid-thirties when he founded the Bandidos, he had a taste for Canadian whiskey and a reputation for being quick with his fists and his knife. He wanted real outlaw bikers for his club as he was sure he could do better than the Hells Angels described in Hunter S. Thompson's book. Chambers chose the name "Bandidos" for his new club because he revered Pancho Villa and Emilio Zapata and felt that the Mexican bandits and revolutionaries had lived as free men, answering to no one.
20 Complete The Hangaround Period
The process to become a fully patched Bandido usually takes at least 2 years and involves passing through 3 stages; hangaround, prospect, and probation. The process begins with the hangaround period, during which a prospective member "hangs around" an established chapter of the club. It's up to the chapter president how long this period lasts, but it can be weeks or months.
19 Screening Process
Before being let into the club, there is a strict screening process requiring members who sponsor a prospect to have known that person for at least five years. Background checks are done on prospective members, and they’re taken to their home towns where their families are questioned to verify who they and you are and to prevent police infiltration.
18 Go Through The Prospect Period
You exit the hangaround period when an existing member or a chapter as a whole chooses to sponsor you to enter the prospect period. Prospects spend a minimum of six months, but sometimes years, trying to prove themselves to the club members. This stage can involve doing the club's "dirty work" or degrading tasks.
17 Finish The Probationary Period
Being done with the dreaded prospect period isn't all there's to it though. After the prospect period, you must pass through the probationary period. The probationary period ends when the members of the chapter vote to allow you to enter the club. The vote must be unanimous and the probationary period will last at least one year.
16 Pledged To The Bandido Nation
When someone has been voted in as a pledge to the chapter, he has to sign over his bike to the club. He's also pledged to the entire Bandido Nation, not just one chapter. Every meeting, party, or bike event of any kind must be attended in his area where Bandidos will be present. No national or regional rides can be missed - especially funerals.
15 Pay The Membership Fee
To become a full Bandidos member, you must pay a membership fee. You must also pay for a new patch. Membership costs include $275 paid to the national treasury and $275 for a new patch. Members’ dues go towards two inevitable costs: covering funeral expenses and contributing to a legal defense fund.
14 Ride It Off
Once the new guy is finally patched in, club members will initiate the new member by urinating, vomiting and defecating on his Bandidos vest. To complete the rite of passage, the new member would then have to put the vest on and go ride his bike until it is dry.
Only a Top and Bottom rocker, Fat Mexican, 1% diamond, and MC patch should be on the back of the cut, and it should be visible from 150 feet away. A 1% diamond must also be worn over the heart. Anything else on the vest is up to the member - but no hippie stuff.
12 Respect The Uniform
The club's respective colors are extremely important. They create the biker's unofficial uniform, letting everyone know where he's from and who he is. Members are expected to take excellent care of their colors and treat them with complete reverence. They're not allowed to buy or sell them, and they can't lose or replace them. Anyone who leaves the club must return the adornments, either willingly or by force.
11 Possess A General Disdain For Society's Rules
Bandido members must “not fear authority and have a general disdain for the rules of society.” Do not cooperate with law enforcement. A member who violates the rules may be fined, knocked down a rank to being assaulted and having your patch taken away. If you get kicked out, you must also remove any club-related tattoos, or they will be removed for you.
10 Funeral Rules
The Bandidos hold suicides in contempt, and their rules dictate that any Bandido who commits suicide is not allowed to have a true Bandido funeral. When riding to and from a funeral, one should be alone on the bike so as not to cover up the colors (vest and patch on the back.)
9 Bike Rules
Members must own at least one Harley-Davidson - other American made bikes can be allowed - with a minimum engine size of 750cc. Members can't have more than 30 days of downtime without a bike per year - after 30 days, the chapter will have to pay National $500. If there's a good reason for the downtime, the member can ask for more time. Road Captains should check bikes regularly.
Bandidos have strict rules regarding meetings, also known as "church" or "card games." As with most other clubs, they follow Robert's Rules of Order - a set of guidelines that allow organizations to hold orderly democratic meetings efficiently. Attending meetings is mandatory and the only valid reasons for missing a meeting involve sickness, jail time, or work responsibilities. Members who miss three meetings without prior permission must immediately leave the club.
7 Borrowing From Others
If members are visiting another area, chapter, state, or country and borrow another member's property - whether it's money, motorcycle, tools, or anything else - it will then be their responsibility to take care of it. It's expected that it is returned in the same or better condition than when they borrowed it.
The Bandido code: You don't lie. You don't steal. Needles and heavy substances will not be tolerated. We do suspect this doesn't always apply. The club got famous in the sixties and seventies for stealing motorcycles, and every book written about them - whether by undercover agents or former members - mentions a widespread use of methamphetamine by the members.
Only men can join and take part in official activities. The Bandidos specifically ban women from becoming members. Instead, they can become associates. Women in this role support the motorcycle club, perform menial tasks, and sometimes face exploitation. Members can have more than one "Ol' Lady", known as PBOL's (Proud Bandido Ol' Lady) and these women can wear a "Property Patch" in public when staying with their man.
Bandidos club members have to dedicate their lives to the club. Loyalty takes precedence over all else - even personal well-being. If members don't adhere to the hierarchy, they face the consequences. This principle is so important that acts of betrayal are punishable by severe sanctions ranging from an extreme beating.
3 Don't Talk Business In Public
Club business is private. Accordingly, club members can't openly discuss organizational affairs with people in the general public or with associates who are not club members. Bandidos hide their discussions of illegal activity by using face-to-face meetings, talking in code, and using “burner” cell phones. Meetings are held in locations where they can control access to limit law enforcement surveillance.
2 Leaving The Club
Members are sometimes allowed to retire amicably if they served for an extended period or provided exceptional service. However, in most cases, people who join clubs like the Bandidos stay in for life. People who leave without permission may face harassment and isolation from their former brothers. Besides, all club tattoos must be removed, or they'll remove them for you.
1 Snitches Get Stitches
Everyone knows that saying, right? Well, the Bandidos, as well as other One-Percenter motorcycle clubs take things a bit further. It's not without reason they say snitches are a dying breed. Those who've testified against them often require to be placed in witness protection programs in order to stay alive.