Photos | Ray LaVoie
INCREASING PRIDE: Be a Pride Leader
Pride Leadership is an intense 8-month training program designed to prepare participants to service on nonprofit boards in an effort to bring more LGBTQ people into leadership positions throughout Central Ohio.
Cycle 8 Recruitment Reception
D: Wednesday, January 14
T: 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
L: Barley’s Brewing Company, 467 N. High Street
Applications for Cycle 8 are available at:
Applications are due January 30.
PHOTOS | Ira Graham II
| MIKE MOFFO
Back when I was barely old enough to walk, my parents bought me my first dirt bike. I remember taping flashlights to the front of that bike so that I could ride at night. We lived out in the country and there were no neighbors close enough to bother, so I rode. Constantly. From there, motorcycles – especially road bikes became an obsession.
As I aged, the thought of having a road bike wouldn’t leave my head. At the age of 16, I got my license and I rode. I submerged myself into the biker culture. I was part of a now defunct motorcycle club and continued that way until coming out 12 years ago.
Back then, I never expected that I would ever be allowed into that biker culture again. I assumed the camaraderie of being a motorcyclist was something that was “no longer,” so I almost gave up on riding.
A few years back, the urge hit me again, and hard. It became an obsession again. I had to be on the open road. My husband Craig and I talked it through and decided it was something that we could swing. I bought a bike again. After riding passenger for a while, Craig decided he wanted to give it a try. We got him a bike and we started riding together. That feeling of being together yet being lost in our own thoughts was something we both fell in love with.
As we continued, we befriended many other bikers. Straight bikers. Those people you see and assume that they would be mean and gruff and would hate on gays. But they didn’t. They accepted us into their biker families like we were no different than the next guy. No judgment, no harassment, no negativity. In the mind of most bikers, if you’re “on two,” you’re family, no matter who you love or what sexuality you claim. You, to them, are a brother or sister of the road.
We have been on many long-distance rides with our new-found families. Myrtle Beach, Chicago and all over Ohio. Never have we had an issue. We have gained such a mass of friends and supporters out of this that we feel silly for ever expecting otherwise.
Recently, we befriended a motorcycle club. These men and women dedicate so much time and money to charities that you would think they would never have time to ride. They are solidly some of the best people we have ever met.
Last spring, their president approached us about becoming members. He had talked to everyone in his chapter and made sure no one had a problem with us being who we are. Unanimously, they decided that they wanted us to be part of the group.
Though we didn’t choose to become full members, we do consider ourselves “hang-arounds,” people who support this brotherhood as much as we can. We often will ride with the group to different destinations. Be it a poker run or just a ride for fun, these are some of the greatest people to ride with. And it isn’t that they accept us; it is that they don’t even acknowledge that we are “different.” We are their brothers, no matter what.
Riding a motorcycle, be it solo or with a group, is the most freeing feeling you could ever experience. The fear of the unknown, the beautiful scenery, the feeling of absolute freedom … the experience is something that I have never found anywhere else.
I have always joked, ”One minute you hold your breath to keep from smelling the road kill you just passed, and the next, you are breathing in the lilacs you see growing down the hill.” Riding puts you in touch with all things nature. Riding clears your mind. Riding sets you free.
If you want to learn more about motorcycles and riding in an LGBTQ-friendly environment, check out: C&A Harley Davidson® at 7610 Commerce Place, Plain City, OH.