The Cornell Motorcycle Association is once again starting up its engines. After an undefined relapse, the original group — established in April of 1924 — is reopening to both Cornell students and members of the Ithaca community.
Beyond the organization’s founding date, the club’s history is a mystery, according to Shantanu Naidu MBA ’18, the organization’s founder and president.
“All we have in the archives is that there was a Cornell Motorcycle Club 92 years ago and I tried to find the termination date in the archives and I talked to all of the researchers,” Naidu said. “Somehow the termination reason and date is unclear, we just know that it got discontinued and nobody knows why or when.”
Naidu said forming the association is his way of addressing the absence of motorcycle culture on campus.
“I bought my first motorcycle in Ithaca about two months ago from a college student and we had a long chat. It was vintage and he kept it in prime condition,” he said. “I recognized that others in Cornell could be doing the same — that people really value the culture and it’s not just a way of commuting.”
Beyond educating the community about motorcycle etiquette, the association also hopes to steer its handlebars toward social good, according to Naidu.
“We want to make an actual impact to help an important cause and not just raise awareness,” he said. “One thing we have planned for the future is that we want to start a scholarship for students who cannot afford to come to Cornell but have the capabilities to do so.”
The new organization also aims to dispel motorcycling myths and motivate those interested in motorcycling to take up the hobby.
“I realized that there are some kinds of misconceptions, stereotypes and stigmas around motorcycles here, but at the same time I saw that there are students who have been trying to fight that stigma and go for it anyway despite the harsh weather,” Naidu said. “In a community such as Cornell, people do want to go for it and I want to encourage more people to participate.”