Rid­ers in real life

Cruisin for Crit­ters helps Hu­mane So­ci­ety while doc­u­men­tary crew seeks to pro­vide glimpse into biker cul­ture

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Myrick [email protected]­stan­dard­jour­nal.net

Men and women who sport hel­mets and leather were out this week­end help­ing out friends who are more com­fort­able with their fur in the sec­ond an­nual Cruisin for Crit­ters ride.

Mo­tor­cy­cle rid­ers gath­ered on Satur­day at Cedar­town’s First Pres­by­te­rian Church to take part in the fundraiser for the Ce-dar­town-Polk County Hu­mane So­ci­ety, rais­ing money to help the or­ga­ni­za­tion and its mis­sion to make the lives of lo­cal pets all the bet­ter.

Kelly Tay­lor rep­re­sented the Hu­mane So­ci­ety for this year’s ride, and said that all the money raised dur­ing the event is go­ing right back to the ef­forts the or­ga­ni­za­tion puts into ed­u­cat­ing the com­mu­nity about the im­por­tance of tak­ing care of their pets, and their spay and neuter pro­gram.

“The Hu­mane So­ci­ety has made huge strides in this county, as far as ed­u­ca­tion to the pub­lic and our spay and neuter pro­gram has been ex­tremely suc­cess­ful,” Tay­lor said. “This is just an­other way that we can help our mis­sion and give back to the com­mu­nity as well.”

Rid­ers might have en­joyed the beau­ti­ful day on the roads around

Polk County over the week­end, but they also got the chance to par­tic­i­pate in an­other project go­ing on in­volv­ing mo­tor­cy­cles as well.

Sky Atkins and Sean Smith are work­ing to­gether to pro­vide the world a glimpse in­side of the cul­ture of mo­tor­cy­cle en­thu­si­asts in hopes of show­ing what those who are out on their bikes are all about.

“We’re want­ing t o show the side of bik­ers that most peo­ple don’t pay at­ten­tion to, which is ben­e­fit rides, help­ing com­mu­ni­ties and var­i­ous char­ity or­ga­ni­za­tions, things like that,” Atkins said. “Just be­cause you see a guy wear­ing leathers, with a lot of clothes on and a big loud Har­ley, it doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy.”

The per­cep­tion of mo­tor­cy­cle cul­ture is what Atkins and Smith are hop­ing to change. They’ve trav­eled around the area for the past months film­ing a va­ri­ety of peo­ple, and one of their stops to­day was at the Cruisin for Crit­ters ride as rid­ers as­sem­bled in the church park­ing lot.

“We’re here to show peo­ple the 99 per­cent (of rid­ers),” Smith said.

“Also hope­fully we’ll in­trigue a lot of younger peo­ple to get a mo­tor­cy­cle, and how they can have a lot of fun,” Atkins said.

He added that much of the rea­son why peo­ple like him­self ride are to en­joy the freedom of be­ing on the open road. Atkins him­self rides around on a Tri­umph Rocket III, which he said is the largest man­u­fac­tured.

“It’s not a beginner bike,” he said. “But you learn to ride it.”

Po­ten­tial rid­ers can find all sizes of mo­tor­cy­cles, and should get one they feel com­fort­able rid­ing and can also tai­lor to their in­di­vid­ual pref­er­ences.

“They are ba­si­cally an ex­ten­sion of some­one’s per­son­al­ity,” he said. “That’s an­other thing we’re show­ing too. There are rea­son things look and sound… not to be in­tim­i­dat­ing.”

El­liot Rut­ledge, a Cedar­town na­tive, is one of the pro­duc­ers on the doc­u­men­tary that is still in pro­duc­tion but be­ing called “The Last Breath of Freedom.”

Go to the on­line ver­sion of this story to see a trailer for the doc­u­men­tary.

/ Kevin Myrick

Above: Rid­ers joined in a cir­cle and prayed for a safe jour­ney ahead of the start of Cruisin for Crit­ters 2018. Be­low:A va­ri­ety of mo­tor­cy­cles were lined up in front of Cedar­town First Pres­by­te­rian on Satur­day be­fore kick­stands went up in the Cruisin for Crit­ters ben­e­fit ride. Bot­tom: Hu­mane So­ci­ety vol­un­teers signed in rid­ers.

/ Kevin Myrick

A doc­u­men­tary crew headed up by Sky Atkins and Sean Smith took part in the event to show off a pos­i­tive side to mo­tor­cy­cle en­thu­si­asts.

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