Motorcycle club speeds toward helping others
In 1990, Bobby Terrell, aka “Bobby T,” had sought happiness in a bottle but came to the point where it had “gotten the best” of him.
Urged by family and friends, he realized he needed to quit drinking and decided to give up his playmates and playgrounds. One friend told him, “You probably need to give up your motorcycle, too.”
They butted heads over this important facet of Bobby’s life for a few days, and Terrell emphatically insisted that he could never give up his motorcycle.
“I decided that I would find other people who love to ride and can do so in a clean and sober environment,” he said. His friends and family agreed, and from that point forward he pursued a new, positive focus for his life.
He found a dozen new friends from the Columbus area who thought similarly, and began the Straight Spokes Motorcycle Club.
The rules were straightforward: No drinking or drugging while driving a motorcycle or while wearing the club patch. Bobby discovered this new lifestyle was exhilarating and enjoyed the camaraderie with like-minded individuals.
Shortly thereafter, Desert Storm cranked up. Many club members were stationed at Fort Benning, so they had to depart for duty, leaving about three members.
Soon everyone moved in different directions and areas, so Bobby found himself the lone member of the club, but kept himself grounded in his now-serene life.
Fast forward to 2008-09.
One day while cycling around country roads, Bobby stopped into the Manchester restaurant Duck’s Trolley for a bite. Two motorcycle enthusiasts had also stopped by to grab lunch, and they struck up a conversation with Bobby.
Not only did Mark Grubb, aka “Foots,” and Chris Breed share a passion for motorcycles, but as they talked, he discovered that they, too, had “turned over new leaves.” Drinking and/or drugging was already a past nightmare, and “clean living” was important to them, as well.
As the guys bonded over Southern cooking, Bobby shared his past trials and how great his life had become through Straight Spokes. Mark and Chris eagerly listened to their new friend, who also rode a Harley, and then shared their stories.
They, too, were grateful to be clean and sober and were interested in the club. The men got together several times, reviewing the parameters of the by-laws. The bottom line was that “Straight Spokes Motorcycle Club is not affiliated with any recovery program, church, religion, or political persuasion; it is basically a group of friends who have a similar value system, are family-oriented, love to ride motorcycles and enjoy helping others.”
Straight Spokes started expanding under the leadership of “Bobby T,” with Mark serving as road captain and Chris serving as sergeant-at-arms. Mark enjoys mapping out the routes and teaching motorcycle safety, while Chris enjoys his role of policing the club to ensure everyone abides by their code of ethics.
There are now three different chapters south of Atlanta, and the Straight Spokes group meets regularly at a Manchester Clubhouse.
As Straight Spokes continued to grow, the group became active in charitable causes. One of those charitable efforts began when friends of Bobby’s, Gene and Cathy Williams, lost their grandson, David Scott Coulter, at 13 to juvenile diabetes.
Straight Spokes members were so touched by this tragedy that they began an annual David Scott Coulter Memorial Cookout. This summer will commemorate their third event, which is held the last Sunday of every August as a benefit for juvenile diabetes research.
Other areas where Straight Spokes has made a difference in people’s lives with charitable rides/ events are: Community Welcome House in Newnan for abused and battered women, and the Wounded Warrior Project’s Annual Charity Ride to the National POW museum in Andersonville.
There are numerous other anonymous projects such as helping people when out of work or sick. As Chris Breed states when people are interested in their club: “We get together because we like riding without drinking and drugging. We ride, we eat, we pool our money and give it to somebody else who needs it more than we do.”
Straight Spokes has two female members, one of whom is secretary of the group.
Affectionately known as Margie “Road Queen” Coleman, she recently was in a motorcycle accident, and was in the intensive care unit at Atlanta Medical Center for two weeks.
Although it will be a slow recovery, she is making a comeback.
Straight Spokes members recently organized a Motorcycle Awareness Ride as a benefit for Margie and her husband, Ed, who is also a club member and treasurer.
Donations for the Colemans’ medical expenses are still being accepted.
Checks should be made to Straight Spokes Motorcycle Club with “Coleman benefit” in the memo line. Donations may be sent to Straight Spokes, 148 Summerfield Drive, McDonough, GA 30253.