Sunday, July 8, 2007


With two finally full-functioning bikes in our possession, my sweetie and I went out on the bikes today. Our first group ride for the summer, our first ride together, his first group ride at all, the day was full of firsts. And we have the sunburns to prove it.

Our American Legion Riders was joining two other Legion posts to sponsor children from an orphanage on a trip to a local amusement park. The kids ride their buses for a couple hours to get to us. (We had to ride 45 miniutes to get to them, but something tells me we had more fun.) They eat lunch, cooked by the wonderful ladies of the Legion Auxillary. We sweat profusely trying to corral 50 bikers and 100 kids into a group photo, and handed over the check funding NEXT year's trip. Then the bikes (accompanied by a police escort) lead the buses through town, and into the entrance of the park. Apparently, in past years, the bike escort has been as big of a hit with the kids at the park itself. After doing our civic duty, the bikers return to the Legion for our lunch, then hang out for a while before proceeding on our merry way. Pictures may take a while, since I was using the last disposable camera leftover from the honeymoon. You know, the kind that you have to go to have developed, AFTER the roll is finished. We are barely halfway through.

On the way home, my darling husband and I took the long way home to stop off at his grandfather's house, to say hello, he said. I personally believe that he just wanted to show off our shiny chromed two-wheeled wedding present. Grandpa used to ride himself, in his younger days, and hadn't seen the Harley yet. Between our two families, we both ride, as did our parents, our grandparents, and assorted uncles. . . Our child are doomed to be uttering from their strollers: "Vroom, vroom, potato, potato." (That is the sound of a Harley engine, for the non-bikers out there.)

With swelling pride at the outpouring of charity I witnessed today, it is with heavy heart that I acknowledge Indiana has sought to limit biker charity. Biker frequently do "poker rides" for charity. We choose a worthy cause, whether something large and organized like MDA or small, local and personal, like benefitting the family of a recently fallen fireman. Plan a route, set a date, and hope it doesn't rain. The rides include five stops, when each rider picks a card to form a poker hand. Highest hand at the end of the night wins cash, which is frequently donated in part or in whole back to the charity. It is an enjoyable day to benefit charity, and you have a one in several hundred chance of winning some money. . . .and as of July 1st, the State of Indiana has determined that this is illegal gamlbing and outlawed poken rides. Neglected and abused children cases are doubling every three years, real issues could be considered, and the State chose to prevent charity poker rides. I am so proud. Are there any other forms of cahrity to stomp out? Does everyone in the Indiana legislature think that all bikers are a pack of local "Hells Angels" drug-dealing, hell-raising type of people? Don't they realize that we are good people as normal as any of your neighbors, who happen to ride two wheels instead of four as we try to live our lives, raise our children, salute our flag, and try to make the world just a tiny bit better than when we entered it?

Today, it is all about the pride. . . . and the shame.

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