A biker gang is coming to Langley and the Fraser Valley to spread their message that kindness is a mark of strength.
Bikers Against Bullying launches its Fraser Valley chapter Saturday with its anti-bullying awareness ride.
“We’re a community-based organization. Our focus is kids and the problems around bullying,” explained chapter co-founder David Toner.
The two-hour leisurely ride starts at Sea to Sky Motorsports, 22454 48th Ave., in Langley before the participants head up to Fort Langley, then along the Fraser River, over Sumas Mountain in Abbotsford before looping back around through Aldergrove and back to Sea to Sky for entertainment and a barbecue until about 4 p.m.
Registration is by donation. Sign up opens at 9 a.m. and the riders hit the road at 9:30 a.m. The public is also invited to come out for the send-off or the post-ride barbecue to learn more about the organization. There will be raffles, music, vendors and more.
“We want the event to be safe as well as informative.”
So there are safety protocols in place.
“Our registration people, our people preparing food at the barbecue, all of them will be masked and gloved, and keeping social distance,” David explained. “We’ll also have members circulating throughout the day to enforce the social distance protocol.”
Sandie Martins-Toner and David Toner started the Burnaby chapter in summer 2019.
“When we got involved in riding motorcycles, we wanted some friends who were like minded to ride with and we came upon this organization called Bikers Against Bullying,” David explained.
The initiative to have bikers stand up against bullying started more than a decade ago with riders escorting bullied children into places such as their schools to show that adults have their backs. The effort has expanded to include anti-bullying seminars in schools, mentoring youth at risk who may be engaging in bullying, and raising funds to support youth, including sending them to camps. They are working to change society one child at a time.
“We’ll also act as a mentor to the kids who might be doing some of the bullying,” David noted.
Sandie and David have been involved in a variety of community initiatives after their child, Matthew Martins, was murdered in the summer of 2005 at the Surrey Central SkyTrain station by two people who chased the 16-year-old to steal his gold chain and crucifix.
Sandie and David have distributed items to women and others on the Downtown Eastside, fundraised for community outreach groups, supported a pitbull rescue group and more. Soon after Matthew’s murder, they started an advocacy and support group for crime victims.
WATCH: Sandi Martins-Toner on the 15th anniversary of her son’s murder
The biker group is “primarily aimed at kids but there’s a lot of different people who might be marginalized or find themselves the victims of harassment or bullying,” David said. “The LGBTQ community, we’ve done some stuff with them. Homeless, the downtown eastside. Lots of different groups that I think can use our support so we’ve tried to branch out.”
The goal is to help people see that no matter what they’ve been through, other paths are open to them to change their life for the better.
“It’s all about being kind to one another,” he said.
The Burnaby chapter of Bikers Against Bullying has attracted people from around the Lower Mainland but now there will be a Fraser Valley based chapter.
“We also had had interesting in people from as far out as Chilliwack,” David noted.
They won’t have to travel all the way to Burnaby to be part of the philanthropic riding club.
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