Over the years, in threads and roadside discussions too numerous to track with any hope of accuracy, one statement can instantly polarize a group. From silent glares to shouted words, and a wide gambit of responses in between, people dig their trenches right in the middle of their beliefs and refuse to waver, even slightly, despite any facts, studies, examples or experiences. It inspires cries of freedom and demands for regulation...
One statement: Loud pipes save lives.
Whether you agree or disagree, there is a wealth of material available to you to support your stance, but if you will... please allow me a moment to present a story of some substance for you to consider.
Little by little, they arrive. One bike here, three bikes there. Another two. Four more. A score. The group slowly assembles, both men and women, from different cities, different neighborhoods, different vocations, different backgrounds. One purpose. Recreational riding is the furthest thought from their mind; today brings a need for response on a very serious matter.
Brothers and sisters, they gather together. Beards and leather, boots and chrome, they stand united, trading hugs and small talk until the order comes… Time to ride. The ground trembles as dozens of shining steeds rumble to life. People nearby stop and stare as the ominous sound penetrates their personal bubbles, and even those who are blocks away stop and look toward the sound. They, who were many, now ride as one.
Some distance away, a quiet, unsuspecting neighborhood seems the picture of tranquility. The sun is shining, birds are singing, and the laughs of playing children fill the air, yet most of those living there have no idea, not a clue, that their kingdom will soon be invaded. One child knows. He doesn’t play like the other children, but rather sits on his steps, casting nervous glances over his shoulder at every little noise. Most days, he’d rather sit inside and hide in his room, but today he’s found the courage to venture out and wait. You see… today is the day. He knows they’re coming. They’re coming for him.
Off in the distance, things begin to change. The stillness of the morning disintegrates. Starting as nothing more than a quiet growl, barely on the edge of hearing, a growing roar soon conquers every other sound. All down the street, doors open. Dishes and lawnmowers have been forgotten. Televisions and cell phones no longer hold attention. Everyone stops to see the cause of this commotion. One child stands, squaring his shoulders, encouraged by the smile and nod from his mother.
His eyes grow wide as he spots them. Motorcycles. They fill the street as they come, rattling windows as they pass by each home, and slowly, they surround his yard. Red, White, and Black patches adorn the back of each rider, a clenched fist with a skull on one knuckle, and the initials B. A. C. A. across the fingers. Each rider dismounts and slowly begins to gather around him. Sinking to one knee, so he can look them in the eye, they settle in as their leader demands his attention and speaks… “We came. Just for you.”
One by one, gifts are shared, and tears spring to eyes across the group as a young man accepts every one. Then, the time arrives for the final presentation. From the depths of a bag full of goodies comes a vest, just his size. His roadname is sewn on the front, and on the back, a patch that proclaims his new affiliation. Placing it on his shoulders, the leader's gruff voice begins to crack as he says, “You are now a part of our family. You no longer have to be afraid.”
Many more things occur that day, including a ride for their newly adopted brother. The roar comes and goes, but the smile on his face never wavers. And when all is said and done, they mount up as one and ride back the way they came. Loud pipes declaring their passage to one and all, all who witness know that this child is now protected by Bikers Against Child Abuse.
The bikers will return to this neighborhood; a few times, maybe more, but the important thing is this: One more child, once a frightened young man, will return to his life… as a child. And for the rest of his life, the rumble of a loud set of pipes may cause him to smile, and stand proud, even on the darkest of days.
No matter how you choose to ride, please don’t regulate my freedom/ability to announce my mission or make a child smile.
BACA Pretzel - Flyin' the highways in OK!
'08 Vulcan 1600 Nomad - "Grace"
Metallic Diablo Black/Candy Fire Red
Vance and Hines Duals
Kuryakyn Flame grips with Throttle Boss and Stiletto endcaps
Kuryakyn Longhorn offset highway pegs
Vista throttle lock
OEM light bar and luggage rack
B.A.C.A. Member, Oklahoma Chapter
Out to pasture - 2008 Vulcan 900 Custom: Redemption