by Noel Baker, B.A.D. Rep – Central New York
by Noel Baker on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 9:46am ·
This was originally written in 2002 and I had some requests to post it here……….
??Are you a ‘Freedom Rider’ or a ‘Welfare Rider’??
Now there is a question that will turn a lot of heads I’m sure. I’m sure
there are many who will quickly jump up and say “I’m a ‘Freedom Rider”
“I got a brand new Harley that I ride on sunny afternoons.”
“I ride my Goldwing to Americade every year.”
“I go to Daytona every year.”
“ I rode in that benefit run last summer.”
“Of course I believe in Freedom, I ride a Harley.”
“Well of course I’m a “Freedom Rider”, I joined that ABATE thing last year
at the swap meet, I just haven’t had time to go to a meeting or read their
“Of course I’m a HOG, Star Society, GWRRA member.”
I’m sure there will be others who are asking, “What’s a welfare Rider?”
“What do you mean a welfare rider my bike costs 40 grand.”
“What do you mean welfare I’m a doctor, lawyer, accountant, whatever.”
“What do you mean welfare I don’t dress like one of ‘them’ bikers.”
Well first I think we need to take a look at what a welfare rider might be.
Is it that guy riding that beat up old import over there?
Is it that rider that the media portrays as them ‘bad’ guys?
What is a rider?
Websters says: a rider is someone who rides, therefore a motorcycle rider is
someone who rides a motorcycle.
To me a rider is anyone who chooses to ride a motorcycle. No matter what
they ride, no matter how they dress, no matter what their standing in life.
If they ride, they are a rider.
What is Welfare?
We all know what welfare is, assistance from the Government. Something the
Government gives you to live life. Most people out there know it’s usually a
great way of life to be dependent on them to live. Waiting for them to give
you what they believe you need to live.
So I guess the definition of a ‘Welfare rider’ would be someone who his
happy to be controlled by his government, when it comes to decisions about
He is content to sit back and watch as more and more of his personal
freedoms and liberties are taken away from him.
He doesn’t get involved with Motorcycle Rights Organizations because he
doesn’t mind being told he has to wear a helmet and isn’t that all they care
It doesn’t affect him when proposed EPA regulations will forever change the
face of motorcycling.
His bike just came off the showroom floor and he is very content to ride it
just the way it was sold to him.
He doesn’t care about tamper proof parts; he wasn’t going to change anything
It doesn’t affect him when these regulations will put many small businesses
out of work, his job is secure.
He can not fathom the fact that there may come a day when he is told, by
law, what to ride, where to ride, when to ride, whom he can ride with, and
what to wear while he’s riding.
Well I bet a lot of you are probably thinking I’m crazy. Well, you might be
Some of you are probably wondering what I think a Liberty rider is?
Well to me liberty is the ability to live my life the way I choose, without
being over governed. I believe that as an adult I have the right to make my
own choices as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others. I
also believe that I have the right to question and try to change my
Government when they infringe upon my personal rights.
I believe that I should have the right to ride what I want, when I want,
where I want, with whom I want, and dressed the way I choose.
So has everyone answered the first question yet? What kind of rider are you?
There is only one person that can answer that question and that is you.
Please remember that not all welfare riders are in that class because they
want to be; Hell I’ll bet many of them have never even looked at things this
Many have never been informed that they are losing more and more liberties
Some people have been liberty riders only to give it up due to outside
reasons and decided it wasn’t worth it.
Some have allowed themselves to believe that there is nothing they can do to
How many have said “I’m not ‘that’ kind of rider so it doesn’t matter to
There’s a poem I read years ago that sums that up for me, it’s following
How many SMRO’s have seen their memberships decline over personal conflicts?
How many more liberties are we going to allow them to take away before we
How many fellow bikers are we going to bury because the Government spends
more money to pass laws to protect us from ourselves, than it does to
educate other drivers, who are at fault about 85% of the time in
When will they decide that our lives are just as valuable as those who
choose to drive other vehicles?
How many small businesses will have to close due to Government over
Well, I hope that I have a lot of you thinking now. I hope you are thinking
that the time to get involved and be a ‘liberty rider’ is now. I hope that
you are wondering what you can do to get involved in the fight for liberty.
One thing you can do is get involved with you local ABATE chapter.
“Awwwwww man, you mean I’ve got to join something?”
Well yes, I believe you do. How else are you going to stay informed of the
things that affect you and motorcycling?
“But, I’m already a member of HOG, Star Society, or GWRRA.”
And when was the last time they sent you information pertaining to your
rights and liberties?
Riding groups are fine, but they were not created to fight for your rights.
“But I ride in all of those benefit rides every year”
When was the last time one of those organizations stood up for the rights of
They are there to raise funds for whatever cause it is, and some are very
good ones, but they are not there to fight for your rights.
ABATE was created to give riders a place to go to stand up for their rights.
We send newsletters to our members to keep them informed. We have meetings
to give them a place to have their voices heard. We work to make our members
and the public more aware. We work to implement legislation that gives us
the right to ride what we want, when we want, where we want, and with whom
we want, without unnecessary restrictions. We work to make the public more
aware of our presence on the roadways, therefore hoping to reduce the number
of accidents and deaths. We work to introduce the lifestyle of riding to
everyone who wishes to share it.
Whether you ride everyday or only when the sun is shining, whether you
dress in a suit and tie, the colors of your club, or anything in-between,
whether you ride a Harley or a Honda, a Beemer or a Bourget. All that
matters is you ride, and if you don’t get involved, someday you may not ride
Well by now I hope you are better able to answer that first question. I
personally don’t think that there is one clear cut answer. I think most
people can fall into both catagories with varying degrees. There are many
freedom riders out there. They are involved with ABATE and other MRO’s. They
believe that they need to stay involved and work to keep their liberties and
freedoms. There are many who have joined an MRO and just havent had the time
to get involved. There are also those that give as much time as they can
devote to this. And like all things this comes in varying degrees. Some
people have the time to become officers and continue the fight. Some only
have time to join and read their newsletter and maybe write a letter once in
a while when needed. There are many that attend our events because they know
that only together can we become strong enough to have liberty prevail.
I hope that by reading this you will be able to answer to yourself the
question that I asked. Here is a simple test that I use:
Are you a freedom fighter? Do you ride for liberty? Have you done your best
for biker rights? If so take the “Mirror Test.”
Mirror Test: Each morning when you first look into the mirror, look straight
into your eyes and ask yourself “Have I done that which I can do to the best
of my ability?” If the answer is no try to find something more to do that
day. The best answer I have been able to give is “I’m trying.”
©’Nasty’ Noel Baker
December 3, 2002