Born to ride – “Rebels’ with a cause

Legion motorcycle riders hit the highway for charity

You will see them out on the road in all their blazing glory, wind in their hair and a huge smile on their faces. Who are they? They are the Cavaliers Legion Riders, a group of “older” motorcycle riders who do good deeds.

Biker gangs and good deeds, seems kind of incongruous, but no, they are motorcyclists who still love to hit the highway and ride.

In fact, a couple of members of the Cavaliers feel they were born to ride.

“I had a bike before I had a car,” said 78-year-old Henry Strong.

Bikers love to talk about their bikes and Strong and Gerry Dunn are no exception.

Strong’s first motorcycle was a Whizzer and American made bike with a two-stroke engine on a Schwinn bicycle.

“Like Gerry I had a ‘39 engine that I sold for $75,” said Strong. “I could trade that bike for a brand new one now.”

Dunn has been riding since he was 16 and his  first bike was a 1942 Harley Davidson that he bought for $50 and later sold for $75.

Dunn went flying over the handlebars when the bike kicked back and he sold that particular bike.

“I’m now back to a big touring bike, I own a chopper too,” said Dunn.

The Cavaliers was formed in September 2013 with three members and now has 20 Sooke motorcyclists, both men and women.

The Cavaliers are not hell raisers, they are fund raisers. They raise money for veterans, Cockrell House and PTSD support. Cockrell House is a facility that serves to keep veterans off the streets. Since it opened in 2009, the facility has helped more than two dozen veterans get back on their feet. Many had found themselves homeless after struggling with depression or post traumatic stress disorder linked to their experience in war zones or places devastated by natural disasters.

“We’re trying to helps the vets,” said Dunn. “I’m proud to be a member of this, they (the vets) gave so much.”

They have a couple of fund raising events planned; a garage sale on April 5 at the Legion (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and a Poker Run later in the year on June 14.

Everyone knows what a garage sale is but maybe not a poker run. The poker run is an event for motorcycle riders. This one will take place along the Pacific Marine Circle Route  beginning in Sooke, going through Port Renfrew to Lake Cowichan through Langford and back to Sooke.  Riders pick up playing cards at each location and the person with the best and worst hand wins a prize. It starts at 7 a.m. with a breakfast at the Sooke Legion and ends with supper at the same place.

When asked what the  thrill of motorcycle riding was? Dunn responded by saying, “It’s freedom.” Strong said, “It’s like going horseback riding, you’re in charge.”

The thrill of the open road and riding with people of like mind for a good cause seems like a good thing all around.

If you were a rider, owned a bike or still ride you can join this “gang” of do good riders. You need to be over 21-years-of-age, a member in good standing of the Legion, own a licensed and insured motorcycle, or have given up motorcycle ownerships for a variety of reasons. Check at the Sooke Legion, 6726 Eustace Road,  for more details.

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