After Bethany Presbyterian Church service ends, the pastor grabs a pair of sunglasses and changes into a black Harley-Davidson t-shirt featuring George Washington and Abraham Lincoln on motorcycles. Now he’s ready to ride.
A motorcycle enthusiast, the Rev. Paul Rodkey rides a bike he fixed up after purchasing it wrecked: a 1989 Harley Davidson FXR. Rodkey is the founder of the motorcycle group The Bethany Big Ass Biker Peacemaking Heretics.
On Sunday, the group consisted of two women and three men. They get on their motorcycles and depart from the church parking lot.
“Bethany tends to be outside the box a bit, because you know the box is boring. At least for me the box is boring,” Rodkey said. “How much cooler is it to take people out on a day like this to take motorcycles and go someplace cool?”
The scenery on this ride includes Rathrdum, Spirit Lake, and Priest River in Idaho. The routes taken by the group are secondary roads, allowing them to experience country sides not normally seen from a car. Part-way through, riders stop to chat over a meal and a beer. Topics range from theology to politics to life.
“The function of the ride is to provide an arena where people can come together, enjoy a beautiful day, and ride motorcycles,” Rodkey said. “The motorcycle world is a different breed. It’s being able to enjoy the wind in the hair and the joy of being outdoors and the simplicity of life.”
The ride receives a positive reaction among the Bethany congregation.
“People love it. Everybody I have talked to about it smiles,” Rodkey said. “There’s a whole a lot of people who would like to go, but don’t have motorcycles.”
Rodkey said he hopes that those who participate can achieve and appreciate community and see some of the beauty of the Northwest.
Not all of the members of the ride attend Bethany, such as motorcyclist Chris Montgomery. When he was 8 years old, Montgomery got his first motorcycle. Since then, he has ridden for 17 years.
“I’m not religious,” Montgomery said. “I hang out with Paul. It’s a great group to ride with.”
Christy Shanda, one of the riders, agrees that the riders are a great group of folks.
“My favorite part of the ride is getting together,” Shanda said. “We share stories and take pictures.”
Shanda has biked for four years. She said she hopes to attend as many rides in the future as she can.
“More people should come,” Shanda said. “It is just that fun.”
The next ride is scheduled July 14th. Riders will meet at Bethany Presbyterian Church after worship, on 2607 S Ray Street.
More photos are available on our Facebook page.
Madison Garner is a sophomore at Whitworth University majoring in journalism and mass communication and minoring in philosophy and English.
She loves writing for her school’s newspaper The Whitworthian in the philosophy and religion beat.