The Generous Motorcycling Spirit
Motorcyclists are a generous lot, giving of our time, talents and resources to worthy causes, year-round. During the Christmas season, however, “Biker Goodwill” ramps up even more, with charity rides and events dotting the landscape and nearly every day until the new year. We especially love children’s causes, whether it be for underprivileged boys and girls, kids with severe illnesses, or recent loss and orphaned children. These definitely tug at our heartstrings. Beneath the leather and loud pipes, we are softies for serving those in need around us.
Gathering to do some good.
Cycle World of Athens, Georgia is a fine example of this moto maxim here in the U.S. Deep South. For 26 years, the family-owned and operated dealership has been hosting and promoting the Salvation Army Toy Ride, collecting toys and clothes for underserved children in their county. Riders register with either a new, unwrapped toy or a $20 donation to the SA, then enjoy a police escorted and protected ride through the local countryside to a lunch stop, usually at a local host church where members of nearby CMA (Christian Motorcyclists Association) chapters provide a meal.
One of many decorated bikes.
This year’s ride saw 100+ riders show up to participate, despite a forecast of cold rain. Athens American Legion riders had mapped out the route and coordinated with Athens PD to insure a safe ride, and the whole entourage left out under threatening skies. Robert, an officer with the American Legion, spoke of the love his chapter has for the yearly event. “It’s hard to imagine in this day and age that a child here in America can literally not receive a gift for Christmas,” Robert reflected. “But every year, through the Salvation Army here and Cycle World’s efforts, we discover kids and families in hard times that we can help. It breaks our hearts, and we have to do our part. It’s very soul-satisfying.” Barry, the sales manager at Cycle World, told me, “We look forward to this event every December. It’s a huge, humbling privilege to help give Christmas to those in need in our community.”
Gifts for local little girls this Christmas.
Scanning social media, in motorcycling pages and groups across the platforms, motorcyclists the world over are participating in and contributing to children’s and family causes this holiday season. “It’s what we do,” a rider told me. “Help a child in need, bring some joy into someone’s life, and enjoy a motorcycle ride together. Can it really be any better than that?” I think not.
Athens-Clarke County PD, always ready and willing.
We as motorcyclists are a widely diverse subculture. From sport bikes to “land yacht” tourers, from dirt to street, cross-country riders to weekend warriors, we span all demographics, races, social-economic levels, and political persuasions. But two elements knit us together- our love of riding anything with two wheels and a motor, and our love of helping those in need around us. I’ve witnessed it so often over the years and miles, and definitely every Christmas. Just another of the many reasons I love the motorcycling “Ride Life.”
Biker Santa, ready to roll for kids.
So this season, we encourage you to find a local bike night, benefit ride, or shop putting on a charity event, and get involved. The Bible says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” and you just might find that true for you as well. “To give is to gain”, if nothing more than that soul-satisfaction Robert spoke of. Generosity brings its own joy.
Blessings on you and yours this wonderful Holiday season.
*For more on the work of the Salvation Army this time of year, click here: