In late July, 2022, the Sikh Motorcycle Club USA set off from Stockton, California, on a 2,700-mile ride to Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Their purpose: a Ride Against Hate, raising awareness of the Sikh community (both on motorbikes and off) as they proceeded to their destination: the Oak Creek gurdwara (or Sikh temple).
The ride was timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of an incredibly deadly and horrific attack on that house of worship, which took place in the form of a mass shooting on August 5, 2012. On that terrible day, a white supremacist murdered seven Sikhs who had gathered to worship. He also shot the first responders who arrived on the scene before eventually taking his own life. The story made national and international headlines, while the family and friends affected were left to pick up the pieces and process their unfathomable loss.
As with most long-distance motorcycle rides, the journey was of similar importance to the destination. While the SMC, on their Harleys and Indians and in their leather vests and turbans, had an extremely important place to be at a specific time, raising awareness of themselves and their culture as they rode across America was another extremely important goal of the trip. They planned their travels to allow plenty of time to stop and chat with the people they met along the way, at gas stations, food stops, and elsewhere.
Travel is often regarded as an amazing tool for opening minds—your own, as well as those of the people you meet along the way. Not everyone has the opportunity to travel, since we all have various responsibilities and financial constraints to consider—but sometimes, even just getting outside and interacting with people you don’t see every day can be nothing short of sheer magic.
There’s a powerful piece in the Los Angeles Times about SMC member Gurdeep Singh Saggu, his friends, and their ride across the country to Oak Creek for this memorial. It’s an important demonstration of how one of the great strengths of the motorcycle community is how it can bring people together. I like bikes, you like bikes, why can’t we like bikes together? Pretty soon, you’re talking about other things, and you’re relating on a whole new level with folks that you may never have met otherwise. If that’s not magic, I’m not sure what is.
We’ll link the piece in our Sources so you can read it (and also see some great photography). While the Ride Against Hate was a specific event, it’s a valuable sentiment to carry every time we ride, no matter who we are. We have more in common than we think. Let’s share the road—and the world.
Source: Los Angeles Times