What is the most important thing about motorcycling? No, it’s not necessarily about safety. It is not really about proficiency in riding. When we think about why we were attracted to motorcycling we realize that we are into it to have fun. We want to enjoy ourselves. We want to experience the thrills, excitement and the tranquility that only motorcycle riding can provide. We also want to do this while promoting our inherent Jewish values and traditions.
We live in the best of times. We live in the worst of times. When we think about it, we are fortunate enough to enjoy a most rewarding activity, such as motorcycling, having the time for leisurely rides and attending club events. On the other hand, there is much angst and divisiveness in our society. One simply has to look at the recent presidential election to see that people feel very strongly about the various issues that affect them. However, we have to be extra careful not to bring this sort of uneasiness and disharmony into our personal lives. We are all better off experiencing peace and tranquility, leaving strife and bad “vibes” outside the door.
We all joined the Chai Rider’s Motorcycle Club (CRMC) for various reasons. I know I was very proud to see Jews on powerful motorcycles coming up Fifth Avenue participating in the Celebrate Israel Parade. We were able to project the image of “Am Yisrael Chai!” Many outside people still cannot believe that there are Jews riding bikes. It goes against the stereotyped image of a frail group of people, immersed in book studies. Instead, we portray ourselves and our people as having strength and formidability.
We also joined CRMC to participate in the many events we engage in as a club. We enjoy the first ride of the season organized by Dr. Charlie. We package food for the needy every Passover in collaboration with the NYPD Shomrim Society. We show support for the disabled Israeli warriors in the “Belev Echad” ride. Others participate in the Wounded Warriors annual run or the Andiamo police escorted annual charity run. We bring joy to disabled or chronically ill children in Camp HASC, Camp Simcha and Camp Kaylie every Summer. David and Benny keep traveling to faraway places always trying to set new distance records while Larry tracks the mileage for all our club members. We get together with our fellow Jewish motorcyclists at the annual Ride to Remember event, paying tribute to holocaust museums and projects. We celebrate Chanukah together and listen to Sue and Steve’s jokes. We enjoy our monthly dinner meetings organized by Steve Gottesman. This year, a bunch of us were included in the filming of the music video featuring the Macabeats and Lipa Shmeltzer. That was a blast!
The one thing that keeps us together is our sense of comradery. We meet every month to share our adventures, joys, and sorrows. (At our Sukkah get-together, for example, we had a large turnout of 28 members.) We share the experiences that make us proud members of a unique Jewish motorcycle club. We make plans for the future.
Going forward, let’s keep our eye on the donut and not the hole. Let’s focus on what brings us together as a club, not what causes division. Let us strive to contribute our efforts together to make this an even better club. As president, I am always available and open to creative ideas on recruitment, retention and new ways to make the CRMC experience as positive as possible. Working together with the club members and the board, we all need to strive to volunteer, contribute and promote the club and its various activities. Most importantly, we have to remember the reason we all got involved in motorcycling, to begin with… Let’s have fun! Enjoy!
Chai Riders President