One chapter of American motorcycling history is coming to an end. The Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) has announced it will shut down all of its activities on July 31, 2022.
The motorcycle organization’s closure was announced on June 28, during the opening ceremony of the Wing Ding bike convention. GWRRA founders Shirley Stevens-Garcia and Paul Hildebrand took to the stage to deliver the sad news.
Stevens-Garcia and Hildebrand cited dwindling and aging membership, shifting rider interests, and the impact of the pandemic as the reasons for GWRRA’s closure.
“We, and a large portion of our membership, have aged and the younger generation seems to have other interests, other than the Gold Wing. Some members have redirected their interest to other hobbies,” said Stevens Garcia.
“It has become obvious we cannot continue on this path and we’ve chosen to close the door of this great organization. GWRRA as we know it will be no more,” added Hildebrand.
Stevens-Garcia went on to emphasize that the decision to shutter GWRRA was not due to bankruptcy or other financial issues. All members who had paid for their membership would get a prorated refund of their fee.
“This is not goodbye—it’s ‘see you later.’ It’s been a great ride,” she concluded.
A recording of the announcement speech is available for viewing on YouTube.
45 Years of Gold Wings
The GWRRA was founded in 1977. Over the 45 years of its existence, the organization worked tirelessly to spread the message about the joys of motorcycling and to give Gold Wing fans worldwide a common rallying point.
Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, the GWRRA was the “world's largest single-marque social organization for owners and riders of Honda Gold Wing/Valkyrie motorcycles.” At its height, it boasted more than 82,000 members with chapters in 52 countries. The organization published its own magazine—Wing World—and provided ride information and community-building help to all its members.
According to Stevens-Garcia, the GWRRA’s membership had fallen to 10,000 this year. The difficulties brought on by COVID-19 were the final nail in the coffin.
“We would like to thank our members, vendors, and advertisers for 45 years of unwavering support. We truly could not have made it this far without all of you,” said Abel Gallardo, GWRRA COO.
The news of GWRRA’s closure prompted a reaction from Honda. Bill Savino, American Honda senior manager of customer engagement called it “the end of an era.”
“For nearly five decades, the GWRRA has set the powersports standard for a grassroots organization based on a single model. Honda will be forever grateful for the enthusiasm the club’s members demonstrated and generated for the Gold Wing,” said Savino.