On the 6 December 1983, the first club meeting was held in Sydney in Australia and was attended by a handful of members. These members considered and formulated a Constitution for the new club. Stephen Dearnly was the instigator, and Rob Hull suggested the name and the motto “Grow Old Disgracefully” was the brainchild of Pat Lynch. An age limit of 40 and above was agreed upon.
The principals of the club are as follows:
- To provide ways in which older motorcyclists can get together for companionship and mutual support.
- To show by example that motorcycling can be an enjoyable and practical activity for riders of all ages.
- To draw the attention of the public and private institutions to the needs and views of older riders.
On 7 February 1984 eleven of the 25 membership held the first Annual General Meeting and elected the first National Committee. The Ulysses Club is now the biggest of its kind, i.e. for 40-year olds, in the world and Australia now has 138 branches, and worldwide another ten chapters and with representatives in another eight countries. Membership is currently at 16 000.
The Ulysses National Rally (Australia) is held every two years in the first half of the year and is also the time for the AGM. Events are planned for every day of the get-together and include socials, dinner on a Saturday night and church service on Sunday morning. There are also trade displays, bikes displays with test rides, excursions, social events and food stalls. These rallies attract members from international branches.
The venue in Australia changes every year, and the last few have been held in Alice Springs, Canberra and Launceston. There are self-guided rides for the independent members and guided tours for those unsure of the area on tarmac roads and dirt road tours for those bikes fitted with the appropriate tyre.
Ulysses Motorbike Club New Zealand
The club now has 28 branches and 3000 members and follows the Australian rules as set out by their constitution. The branches organise rides and social events and also hold a Rally every year at different venues.
Ulysses Motorbike Club South Africa
In 1998 Simon Fourie, a well know the character in motorbike circles, visited Australia to partake in the National Rally. The club welcomed Simon, and on his return to South Africa, he toured the country introducing riders to the club and its functions, and today the club is found in various towns and cities.
Ulysses Motorbike Club British Isles
Social lunches are held twice a month in Bamford at the Yorkshire Bridge Pub and once a month in the South Midlands and the North West. Excursions are organised to destinations in the UK and over the channel to the Continent. The name “Ulysses” comes from the poem of Lord Tennyson wherein Ulysses says that after his wars were over, that he was missing the adventures, he had with his old shipmates.