THE 40 DEGREE FAMILY
40 degrees MC started like every other MC, a group of friends who enjoy each other company and share the love of motorcycle. 40 was at a time one of the biggest motorcycle club in the New York city area, most MC at that time use to fight for second most rep trophy, because 40 unbeatable. Over the years they have had many ups and downs, in one year they lost close to half of their members due to a disagreement. They also lost Dre their road capt, who death was surrounded by rumors and lies. Later that year their beloved president Blue Eye left, to the disbelief of the entire community. Most clubs would have fell by these circumstances, but not 40. They are strong and getting stronger, as their new VP puts it “we have a couple of pit bulls now”. 40 wants to get back to their roots and what made them strong in the beginning, more traveling, more riding and also more community service. Xplicitriders.com sat with Omar president of 40 Degrees MC and Ham the new VP of 40 Degrees MC, to get their opinions on the circuit, the new 40, and everything in between. So I was invited to their club house to hang with them, it felt like I walked into the New York Knicks locker room, to which Omar explain their colors is the colors of the NY Knicks.
Iron Mike: How did 40 Degrees MC come about?
Omar Prez: There was a group of us, that use to ride together and we decided to start a motorcycle club and everybody pretty much knew each other. Now me and Ham, we was looking to start a club called Slow Motion, that was our first thing and a few other people wanted to do the same thing so we drop that and got together with Louis, Beige, Blue eyes, and Honey D, these are the first set of members we had.
Ham VP: We knew each other before 40 was started we were like renegade; it was 8 or 9 of us. we use to ride together, so we decided to do a club before, that was called slow motion, but we decided to go all the way and do it right and that’s where 40 came from
Iron Mike: What does 40 Degrees meant to you?
Ham VP: It means everything, I’m one of the founders, a lot of people don’t know. And it’s in my heart it’s not just a game to me.
Iron Mike: A lot of people don’t know or understand what the name 40 mean, can you explain it?
Omar Prez: 40 degree is the pitch or the degree you at in the turn. The guys that ride at that level they go down to 40 degree that’s the lowest you can get down in a turn. When we first started we all love the riding and most of us got down like that. And we started with 60 something members and maybe one guy couldn’t get down like that and the 2 girls.
Iron Mike: Speaking of members, how many members 40 have right now?
Omar Prez: 40 is like 22 right now. At first we were up to 67. And along with that people left 40 and started other clubs.
Iron Mike: How long has 40 being around?
Omar Prez: We been around since 2004 we started in March or April, so we 6 years deep.
Iron Mike: Can you explain what the MS in the back of your vest stand for?
Omar Prez: Aight when they formed the club, MC of course is motorcycle and MS is motor sports, which mean we respect and will patronize all motor sports meaning cars, vans, trucks etc. we don’t use it as a division or chapter of any kind we just use it to represent motor sports as a whole.
Iron Mike: What does the star vest represent and are they members of the club?
Omar Prez: The star vest is our significant others, you know wives, girlfriends, baby mothers, my mom got a vest but she doesn’t come out like that. And no they are not members. If you want to put it in another way it’s a “property of” vest. And they are not allowed to sign the books
Iron Mike: Is 40 associated with any charity group?
Omar Prez: Well we do an annual Christmas charity event in association with Tompkins Park Association, we give out bicycles and toys to the kids. We also do a Christmas drive for our neighborhood where our club house is at in the East New York area, we assist other clubs with food drive for old folks home. I personally have done the Katrina aid and the Haiti aid. 40 as a whole do community service but we could do a little bit more, but we do and support any and everything that have a positive vibes to it. And we also work with our local precinct, we go to their meeting so they know who we are and what we doing in the community.
Iron Mike: 40 went thru some break up over the years how did you guys regroup and keep going?
Omar Prez: That’s a good one well since we started 40 had little trouble here and there. Our first break up was with HoneyD, Minute, and hum Will, we had a little disagreement and we felt like the club wasn’t going in the right direction. Even afterward they was no animosity and we still remain friends and stay cool. I mean we just picked up the pieces and keep moving forward.
Ham VP: Well lot of the difference, I mean when you starting a club you got a lot of different characteristics, I mean some jell, some fit, some don’t. I mean a lot of the guys that left we still cool with them. It’s just that they separated and wanted to go to a different route from what we had and the structure we had, they was young, they kinda wild, but they do what they do.
Iron Mike: When Blue Eyes left how did that affect the club?
Omar Prez: When Blue Eyes left people was a little disappointed, and people wasn’t feeling it because it felt like a part of us was leaving. It was a disagreement but at the end of the day we still got love for him and I still call him prez today even tho I’m the prez. It was a hard break up, it was hard to let him go.
Ham VP: I mean it was a decision that he made, but Blue is always gonna be 40, as far as I’m concerned Blue is always gonna be 40. we went out and got Blue at the beginning because we wanted somebody that knew the in and out of club structure.
Iron Mike: You guys lost Andre a few years ago and he was a good friend of mine how did that affect the club?
Omar Prez: That touch the club hard, it hit me hard personally. Dre was our boy we loved him, we rode together, I don’t know who loved Dre the most. It took us by surprise, it shocked us, cause we didn’t see nothing like that coming. So with that, we took that situation and we have an open floor policy for our members, no matter what’s bothering you, whatever it is, cause we don’t know what’s bothering you, what you are carrying on your shoulders, no matter what you are going thru there’s somebody here that you can talk to. And we stress that.
Iron Mike: Some people say 40 fell off what’s your response to that?
Omar Prez: In response to that, nah……..I think because 40 use to come out with such a large number, when we came out and we use to take pretty much all the trophies, I mean I don’t even know how many trophies we have really. And they so use to us coming with those big numbers, when they don’t see us as big they may think we fell off, but we here.
Iron Mike: How do you guys feel about the circuit right now?
Omar Prez: I feel like the circuit got big over the years, and I feel like a lot of clubs and people out here are in it just for the money, that’s my opinion. A lot of people out here, they don’t really understand what they are in to, I mean some people not all, I mean you can ask somebody a simple question and they cant give you an answer.
Ham VP: Right now it’s kinda crazy, because a lot of new team coming in and a lot of people are not doing their homework, a lot of people did not go thru the proper channels to start their club. When we started we went to Transit Wheelers, to Imperials, and another senior club to ask for permission to start. It wasn’t about putting vest on and start a club and do what I want to do.
Iron Mike: What do you like about the circuit?
Omar Prez: I like the love number one, the friendship atmosphere, the support people have for one another. I met a lot friend from different clubs. People I knew before the circuit. People in the circuit do show love, come out and support each other for all causes. Not just parties but everything.
Ham VP: The circuit is cool man, I know a lot of people that are in it for the right reason, me I’m more about the community service and give back to my neighborhood, which is the East New York area. I mean I have met a lot of cool people here, you have to get what you can out of it and leave the bullshit behind.
Iron Mike: What don’t you like about the circuit?
Omar Prez: Hum…..that’s a good question, what I don’t like is the fakeness. The people that’s out here texting me a million time to come to their party and stuff like that, and just want you to come to their Mondays and Tuesdays, its like a money thing now. There is no separation it’s not about the club or the causes, it’s all about the money.
Ham VP: me, motherfuckers just throwing on vest. But they gonna weed themselves away, I know 4 teams right now, that didn’t even last 4 months. Just leave it alone, a lot of them just don’t know what they are doing and can’t achieve longevity.
Iron Mike: Now do you see the circuit getting bigger as being a good or a bad thing?
Omar Prez: The way it’s going here in New York….(pause) I think it’s a bad thing. The way it’s flowing the magnitude of people that is coming now I don’t think they are grasping what this is supposed to be about. And we gonna lost it soon, if people don’t keep up with what it was founded on.
Iron Mike: Do you think it’s the older clubs job to teach the younger clubs?
Omar Prez: Yes I would say that.
Iron Mike: BK motorcycle alliance, are you for it or against it?
Omar Prez: Well if it’s for governing, who’s coming in and stuff, certain things I like about it and certain things I don’t like about it, I think it’s a good idea. Because everybody sort of speak would be under some type of laws we lay for each other, and keep it original, I feel like there should be something. I don’t know how to structure it the correct way, now that’s the thing.
Iron Mike: Pop up clubs what’s your feeling on that?
Omar Prez: I don’t think that’s cool for a bunch of guys or female should just jump together and put vest on and say imma start a truck club or social club or bike club. When I came in, there was older guys you talked to them and learned as much as you can. I feel like some of the clubs that’s coming out now shouldn’t even be out here, cause they don’t know anything at all. They don’t even know what the colors mean at all, nothing, rockers nothing. I think they’re just doing it for fad.
Iron Mike: What does the future hold for 40?
Omar Prez: Well we trying to take 40 to the future of course, stay strong and together, I meant I don’t see me leaving 40 for anything, president or not. We trying to get a bigger club house, you know. We are trying to big it up as far as members.
Ham VP: Well now that I’ m VP, we are going to the next level. We got a couple of new dudes in, a lot of the faces are new in 40 Degrees and I got a couple of pit bulls, what I mean by pit bulls is that, they wanna go out and have fun. Plus I wanna do more traveling this year. The circuit knows us as one of the premier senior club, I wanna star branching out to different state. Traveling is what we suppose to do, we a motorcycle club.
Iron Mike: Any final remarks?
Omar Prez: It is what it is…(laugh)
Ham VP: I hope we get this circuit together man, I mean not for nothing, I’m one of the guys that support a lot of people good or bad, you know what I mean. But it gotta get better, if not it’s gonna go to shit.
A few days after I interviewed them, I learned that their long time VP Sip had left the club. Yet another blow to 40, but 40 have survived many set back and break ups, they have always managed to pick up the pieces and move on. Their new VP is determined and highly motivated in bringing the focus back on what had made 40 Degrees MC so successful. Does 40 have any regrets? Sure they do, but that’s not going to stop them or make them weak. While doing this story I have learned a lot about 40, I've seen how close and focus they are. durings its years a lot of other teams have came from 40: 40 Blunts, Smooth rollers to name a few. Thru all their trials and tribulations, 40 is still a strong team to compete against, 40 Degrees may not be 60 deep anymore, but they are far from dead. This team has big plan as they forge in the future, they are still racking most rep trophies and still making waves. They are looking forward their 10th year anniversary, and have plan for a big celebration. It is fair to say if you bet against 40, you’ve lost already. Like the old saying goes: “Whatever don’t kill you, make you stronger”.
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