For most people, what they know of biker clubs comes from news reports of gangland killings and the hit TV show Sons of Anarchy. But if you were to wander into the Adelaide clubhouse of the Longriders you might find your preconceptions challenged.
Shaun McGraw is a long-term member of the Longriders, a Christian motorcycle club, which he explains is a “patch club” in the old school tradition.
You can’t just sign up on a website – to be a Longrider you “really have to pay your dues” if you want to join. This means spending years with the club while they assess your character and what you stand for.
Members sew patches onto their leather jackets that show their allegiance to and milestones with the club.
“Having a Christian club we can support each other in our faith … so that makes us better husbands for our wives, better fathers for our kids, and basically better men.” – Shaun McGraw
On Shaun’s jacket he proudly displays a ten-year patch, just above a patch with his nickname ‘Shifty.’ When I asked how he got the name ‘Shifty’, he said, “that’s for my past misdeeds,” and, “it was only one used car.”
For Shaun, the club is a place where outsiders can feel welcomed.
“Many of us have been scarred and hurt by the established church, so by having a Christian club we can support each other in our faith and also have our own Bible studies and church services … so that makes us better husbands for our wives, better fathers for our kids, and basically better men.”