Wayne Reville, president of the B.C. chapter of Knights on Bikes. Submitted photo

Catholic bikers get their motors running

By  Agnieszka Ruck, Canadian Catholic News
  • October 2, 2020

VANCOUVER -- Wayne Reville first got his motorcycle licence at age 19, and he hasn’t lost his love for riding since.

Fifty years and a few degrees into the Knights of Columbus later, the Okanagan Valley resident’s hobby has taken up a whole new meaning. Reville has just become B.C.’s first provincial president for Knights on Bikes, an organization of Knights of Columbus members who own motorcycles.

“We follow the Knights’ goals. We follow the councils. We don’t do anything different than what the councils do, other than participate in charities and things like that on our motorcycles,” said Reville.

It may be a simple idea, but it has opened up a whole new world of evangelism and personal faith formation for bikers like Reville.

Canadian national vice-president Dennis Mailloux, who cruises Ontario on his Yamaha V-Star 1100, said the thunderous roar of a group of motorcycles attracts unique attention to the Knights and events they support.

“It brings out what the Knights of Columbus do in a more visual way,” he said. “You call on the Knights on Bikes to show up to do a bike show or a car show and it helps to bring the people in.”

But the influence goes deeper than the surface. In a Salt + Light TV special about Knights on Bikes, Mailloux said there is a unique bond between people who ride, Catholic or not.

“As soon as you meet someone else on a motorcycle, it’s an instantaneous friendship,” he said.

That can lead to conversations about faith with people they may never have had the chance to connect with otherwise.

Raymond Medina, a member of the Knights of Columbus in Fort Worth, Tex., founded Knights on Bikes in 2003 after purchasing a motorcycle and in a moment of pride placing a Knights of Columbus decal on it. When fellow Knights with motorcycles saw it, all wanted to do the same.

Now Knights on Bikes participate in charity rides, bike shows and other creative ways of bringing attention to parish fundraisers and other events under the motto, “In God we trust and ride.”

Canadian Patrick Malloy was on a road trip through Texas when he met the newly founded Knights on Bikes and brought the idea home to Ontario in 2006. The idea caught on quickly and soon spread to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and, recently, B.C. and Quebec. There are now about 200 Canadian members of Knights on Bikes.

Members are finding creative ways to connect their faith with their love of the ride. They have made pilgrimages between churches, praying the rosary along the way. They have prayed outside abortion clinics. They have escorted the silver rose, a Knights of Columbus tradition that honours Our Lady of Guadalupe, across the country and have collected teddy bears and funds for children’s charities.

There are only eight members in B.C. right now, said Reville. He hopes to grow that number but admits it has been difficult to attract new members during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as rallies and charity events are cancelled across the country. He is hopeful by the time the international Knights on Bikes conference in Louisiana rolls around in 2021, he and others can make the trip.

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