Mod­ern Fam­ily

These bik­ers are bound by their faith and a love of raw horse­power.

Vancouver Magazine - - June - AS TOLD TO Drew Clarke PHOTO BY Carlo Ricci

On the road with the Sikh Mo­tor­cy­cle Club.

In 1999, the BC Hu­man Rights Tri­bunal ruled that the pro­vin­cial mo­tor­cy­cle hel­met law was dis­crim­i­na­tory and should be amended to ac­com­mo­date Sikhs wear­ing a tur­ban—a fight that be­gan with mo­tor­cy­clist Av­tar Dhillon. Not long af­ter, the Sikh Mo­tor­cy­cle Club was born. This badass broth­er­hood ad­vo­cates road safety and giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity.

1 “I called the RCMP and said, ‘Some­one’s rid­ing on No. 3 Road with no hel­met,’ and then I got on the road. They pulled me over and asked why I had no hel­met and I told them that my re­li­gion does not al­low me. They gave me a ticket, and I said, ‘Okay, see you in court.’”— Av­tar Singh Dhillon,dhillon Dhillon, 71, ac­tivist and re­tired truck driver

2 “Luck­ily, there are no ac­ci­dents I have ever heard of. No ac­ci­dents, no noth­ing, be­cause every­body just fol­lows the law, they know what they’re do­ing. Safe ride, safe sea­son. When the sea­son starts, we do a prayer in the Gur­d­wara, our Sikh tem­ple. That’s for the safety of all the rid­ers across the world— not only for us.” — Harinder Singh Deol, 32, truck driver

Group por­trait taken at Akali Singh Sikh So­ci­ety, April 17, 2018

3 “We try to do char­ity work as much as we can. We did a char­ity run for the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety and col­lected $115,000. We went all the way from Vancouver to Ot­tawa, Mon­treal, Toronto—we rode for about 16 days. All to­gether, almost 12,000 kilo­me­tres. I was so hon­oured to be a part of that.”— Rachh­pal Singh Dhali­wal, 49, com­mer­cial trans­port me­chanic

4 “Ev­ery in­ter­sec­tion, I get the thumbs up, y’know? Ev­ery in­ter­sec­tion—i can hardly believe it. The older mem­bers, who have been rid­ing for 20 years, they say peo­ple are not used to the colour. They like the colour, it’s rare. It’s an eye- eye-eye­catch­ing thing.” — Gur­dip Singh, Singh , 39, truck driver

5 “When I was in In­dia, I saw the Sikh Mo­tor­cy­cle Club on Youtube and from that time I was think­ing, ‘I want to be a mem-mem- mem­ber of that club.’ Last year, fi­nally my dream came true.”— Sukh­preet Singh Sidhu Sidhu, 29, phar­ma­cist

6 “My fam­ily told me that I should join, to con­nect with my cul­ture, my com­mu­nity. Then I came here and the peo­ple are so nice, very friendly, so I just love to stay in the club. Day by day, my in­ter­est is go­ing up and up, liv­ing with these guys and talk­ing with these guys.”— Su­mit “Ricky” Singh, 24, con­struc­tion worker

7 “When I was a kid, I used to hear sto­ries about mo­tor­cy­clists, about big guys do­ing bad things and gangs and all that stu‡. That’s one of the rea­sons I wanted to join this club; I wanted to change peo­ple’s per­cep­tions. Not all peo­ple who ride mo­tor­cy­cles are bad guys.”— Jaskaran­bir Singh Singh, 28, IT engi­neer

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