At first glance, they appear to be regular bikers. But if you look a little closer, you’ll see things such as crosses, Bible verses and other Christian-related items on their vests.
They are members of Route 66 Rescue Riders #1044. They support and are supported by the inter-denominational National Christian Motorcyclists Association, which encourages members to share their faith stories on the road, support Christian fellowship ride groups and provides an evangelistic association for motorcycling.
The core members of the local chapter are from Arcadia, but others live in Edmond, Guthrie, Wellston and elsewhere, said member Danny Davis. Each chapter works under the leadership of a state coordinator and area representatives to further the work of God’s kingdom, Davis said.
“Our motto is ‘Changing the World One Heart at a Time,’” he said.
Members abide by biblical principles of moral conduct as stated in verses like Galatians 5:13: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love;” Titus 3:1-11, Matthew 18:15-19; 1 Corinthians 6; and James 4:1-10.
Generally speaking, members said, they don’t use an in-your-face style of evangelism. Instead, their approach is based on building relationships and trust, and sharing the gospel as opportunities arise.
Route 66 Rescue Riders support a variety of causes including helping individuals with solvable financial needs, setting up ministry tents at various events, supporting a related youth movement, visiting local hospitals and promoting motorcycle safety.
Davis said safety is an important part of the motorcycle ministry.
All 20 or so members of the local chapter have completed the Edmond Police Department’s Civilian Motorcycle School, a free, six-hour course based on the Police Department’s motorcycle unit taught by motorcycle officers.
Route 66 Rescue Riders provides complimentary lunch during the one-day course. Member Sondra Danner said when she took lunch, she saw that doing so would make things more convenient for participants.
The number of motorcycle riders in Oklahoma continues to increase, said Edmond Police Sgt. Acey Hopper, who coordinates the civilian course.
Slots remain open for the Oct. 19 and Nov. 9 opportunities at Fire Station 5, located near the Interstate 35-Covell interchange. The course is for all skill levels and can be adapted for more experienced riders, Hopper said.
“The idea is to challenge the rider, to figure out where their skill level is and to improve that skill level,” he said.
Issues taught include picking up a motorcycle that has fallen on its side, something that can be done no matter what a person’s height or strength, and emergency braking, Hopper said. The rear brake is the least effective bake on a motorcycle yet some riders rely heavily on it, Hopper said.
“Most people are scared of the front brake because if you lock the front brake on a motorcycle you’re going to go down,” Hopper said. “The front brake is the most important one on your motorcycle.”
Usually six or seven officers teach the course. Instructors perform demonstrations showing participants best practices for braking. Hope urged riders to wear their gear properly and to get training.
For more information about the department’s Civilian Motorcycle School including motorcycle requirements, visit the City of Edmond’s website — edmondok.com — where participants can register online.
Visitors are welcome to Route 66 Rescue Riders meetings and they don’t have to be a Christian Motorcycle Association member to attend. Outside of holiday periods, the chapter meets the fourth Thursday of each month 6 miles east of Interstate 35 at Arcadia Tag and Title, Highway 66 and Odor Street.
FOR MORE information about the local chapter, visit cmascr4.org/OK/route66rescueriders.