By WILLIAM PAINE
On a blustery Saturday morning, a tough looking group of bikers wearing matching leather jackets bearing their club insignia rolled into the Lancer truck stop off Exit 101 in Dublin and pulled into the back lot.
More than a dozen members of a motorcycle club rumbling onto the premises can be a worrisome sight for a business owner … or anyone for that matter.
Was there going to be a rumble?
“The Faith Riders are a motorcycle ministry,” said club member Chris Shaw. “Today we decided we’re going to feed the truckers. We call it Faith Riders feeding the truck drivers.”
Come to think of it, there is what looks to be a Bible and a Cross featured in their club insignia. Clearly these are not the same ruffians featured in movies like “The Wild Ones.” Back when that movie was made, there was no such animal as a Christian Motorcycle Gang … err … Club.
But times have changed and instead of raising heck, the Faith Riders raised portable shelters to serve food and hand out Bibles to truckers.
By 10:30 a.m. Saturday, more than a dozen members of the Faith Riders had set up shop at the Lancer truck stop and began serving free hamburgers, hotdogs, chips and desert to hungry truckers. The Faith Riders are a group of Biblically minded motorcyclists who seem to take joy in serving others and spreading the word of God. But how did they get here?
It turns out, Chris Shaw’s wife, whose club name is Breezy, was the brains behind the Faith Riders feeding the truck drivers.
“It’s my fault,” said Breezy. “I was on Facebook one night and I saw a post that someone had shared about a restaurant owner that yelled at a trucker and told him he was a liability and to get out and that fueled my fire. I was mad and when I showed Chris and it just took off from there.”
“The purpose is to give them a hot meal,” said Chris. “They don’t have to worry about where they’re going to get it from.”
“We hand them a Bible and we pray for them,” said Breezy. “Each little baggy has a note in it from a church or a youth group or something like that, just thanking them for doing what they’re doing.”
The Faith Riders are based out of the New River Valley with most of the members coming from Pulaski County and Radford.
Mike Dickerson is the chaplain and one of the founders of the Faith Riders.
“We started the Faith Riders about 15 years ago,” said Dickerson. “I minister seven days a week in the New River Valley. I send scriptures to between three and 400 people every morning. I was going to nursing homes and hospitals daily, but they’ve restricted that, but I make home visits and stuff to counsel people. I minister to more than just bikers.”
You’re not likely to hear a Hell’s Angel tell you anything like that.
The Faith Riders who came to Feed the Truckers are a varied group. Kat, aka Kathy Archer, drove her trike to the truck stop from her home in Snowville.
“I’ve been with the Faith Riders for about a year,” said Kat. “I like what they do. My husband died and I felt like I needed to get out and do something. I didn’t have any friends. I was lonely and this was a great place just to put everything into God. Work for him. Get together with everybody out here and do God’s work. The best friend I could have is God.”
Not everyone bearing sustenance was part of the Faith Riders.
“I came up here to help out,” said Leslie Capen. “I’m with the Ridge Rider Cabins out of Meadows of Dan. We’re very motorcycle friendly and I wanted to get up here and get involved. I came up in my truck because I had a lot of potato chips to bring.”
Stephanie East of Dublin is the founder of Jujus House Bakery.
“I’m not part of a club,” said East. “I just saw it on Facebook and decided to be a part of it.”
East (Juju) was handing out preacher cookies, lemon sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies to anyone who happened by her popup tent.
Though most of these temporary shelters were dedicated to giving food to hungry truckers, some were slated for more lofty purposes, like the Prayer Tent.
“We have not had anybody come into Prayer Tent yet, but we have passed out several Bibles,” said Charlie Talbert, who was the head of Saturday’s prayer group. “We are giving Bibles out to anyone who wants them. It’s just another way of showing our love for God.”
As Talbert, Club name Tuxedo, describes it, his road to salvation, began as a road to perdition.
“For years I was a bad boy, which most bikers were,” said Tuxedo. “And I would take off with other women, leave my wife and then I’d come home and she’d take me back. Well, I got saved and became a Christian. Sold all my bikes because I knew what it was all about. Then God got to dealing with me and now I ride for him after all these years.”
His daughter gave him the road name Tuxedo because his bike was originally painted black and white … like a tuxedo.
Keith Covey, a member of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, rode in on his motorcycle wearing a plain black leather jacket.
“I didn’t wear my colors out of respect for you all,” said Covey.
“Ah, you could have,” said Mike Dickerson.
“I know but still yet,” said Covey.
Again, it seemed as no brawl between motorcycle gang members was forthcoming. The Christian Motorcyclists Association is a Christian motorcycle club holding similar values as the Faith Riders.
“We support one another for the most part,” said Covey. “They show up at our events and we show up at theirs. It’s just spreading the love of Jesus Christ to bikers. God loves them too.”
The Southwest Times left these happy road warriors to their task of serving the truckers more plates of free food and Bibles, accompanied by encouraging messages tucked in between the pages.
“The scripture says ‘The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord and God directs our path,’” said Mike Dickerson. “We’re driven by the Holy Spirit. We ride by faith but we’re driven by the spirit.”
Amen, and pass the mustard!
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