Meet Vancouver’s Sikh Motorcycle Club
These bikers are bound by their faith—and a love of raw horsepower.
June 27, 2018
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, 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
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-catching thing.”—Gurdip 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 member of that club.’ Last year, finally my dream came true.”—Sukhpreet Singh 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 stuff. 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, 28, IT engineer