Christian Motorcyclist group going young

There’s an organization in Colorado —Soldiers for Christ — with members who ride Harley Davidson motorcycles. And only Harley Davidson.

In fact, a member insisted in the Colorado Springs Independent newspaper, “you know He would have rode a Harley.”

He, of course, being Jesus himself. Though living a few years before Harley Davidson arrived in 1903, the point was made.

Some may debate the speculation. Scott Schulneyer, for one. The Vallejoan is the area representative for the Christian Motorcyclists Association, overseeing chapters in Vallejo, Santa Rosa, Sacramento and Yuba City.

Schulneyer said all kinds of motorcycles are welcome into the CMA. He actually has a BMW and a Harley — “The best of both worlds” — while he’s seeing more young people and “sport bikes” joining the CMA, which boasts around 50 chapters in California and headquarters in Arkansas.

While the brand may vary, the objective is universal, Schulneyer said: Members must be “Bible-believing Christians.”

Beyond that, “there are no fees and anyone can join,” said Schulneyer. “You don’t even have to ride a motorcycle. It’s open to everyone and is a non-denominational ministry primarily but not exclusively to the motorcycle crowd.”

Schulneyer was at last Sunday’s Vallejo Outreach on the waterfront, joining Vallejo-branch board president Sue Neander and vice president Paul Bridges at an information booth, with Neander doing some nifty face-painting.

Bridges, a Napa resident, joined the CMA “because I wanted to get with others who love God,” he said, while being “motorcycle ministers who make a difference.”

After he “swore I’d would never ride a motorcycle,” Bridges bought one in 2007, taking a safety driving class in Benicia.

In 2012, he saw the CMA cloth patch on another member, asked about the organization, and here he is.

“A lot of people wonder who we are,” Bridges said. “So we’re here (at the outreach event) to tell them who we are and what we stand for.”

“Building relationships with the community and with each other, encouraging and strengthening each other, it’s a great organization,” Bridge said.

Yes, noted Bridges, “we pray every time we go on a ride.”

Schulneyer has been involved with the CMA for 14 years.

“It’s gotten a lot younger,” he said. “A lot more ‘sport bikers’ that are starting to ride.”

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Schulneyer has headed the area branches for five years.

“It’s been a pretty neat journey,” Schulneyer said. “It’s a great ministry and we get to work with bikers of all types.”

Motorcycling has “become more than just the ‘cruiser Harley guy.’ A lot of the older guys are retiring and the young guys are riding BMWs, Yamahas and Hondas,” Schulneyer said, noting that his wife “cringed for awhile” until Schulneyer decided to forgo riding when their children were young.

“She didn’t want me riding,” he said.

When the kids got older, Schulneyer got his license reinstated and, as a Valentine’s Day gift, his wife bought him a Harley.

“I was blown away,” said Schulneyer, who rides his motorcycle to work in Santa Rosa.

“A lot of people are commuting on their bikes now,” he said.

Schulneyer and his wife are headed to the national CMA conference in Hatfield, Ark., Oct. 15-17. Two weeks after that, he’s in Honduras giving out several motorcycles to the local pastors.

It’s all part of his work as area rep, not that he ever expected to be leading a Christian motorcycle organization.

“Not in a million years,” Schulneyer said.

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Craig Ballantyne

I love anything to do with Harley Davidson and have two beautiful children and a beautiful partner. In my spare time i like building websites and love anything to do with the internet.

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