"Peacekeepers" drive to change Bike Fest's infamous image
Sun, 27 May 2012 23:08:32 GMT —
The sun is setting on the Atlantic Beach Bike Fest, but not before a group of riders carried their message to the masses.
"All it takes is one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch," said biker Duane Henry. When he's not riding, he's a Sgt. for the Baltimore Police Department.
In 2003, he came to Bike Fest and saw what he called "lawlessness."
"They had people riding around with no licenses, no training and didn't really have respect for the other bikers," said Henry. "We got back to Baltimore, and we started brainstorming and putting the club together."
The club he and his two other friends founded is now known as the Peacekeepers because that's what they do to earn a living.
All the members serve in law enforcement, the military or are veterans.
"We are chivalrous," said club president and BPD Lt. Desmond Carter-Bay. "We open doors for ladies and those types of things. It gives us the opportunity to segway or open the door to conversation."
"We just want to show there is another side and we are the law. We come out here and do things for the community," said club member and Homeland Security agent Kevin Brown. "We do toy drives, clothing drives, food drives and we even do things for animal abuse back in Baltimore."
At this year's event, the club made an effort to change the biker stereotypes some possess.
"I think that a significant number of people who come to bike week want the stereotype to change they want to be accepted by Myrtle Beach," said Carter-Bay.
But the group said the bad rep is often warranted.
"Of course we know there is the some few that out there that rip and run up and down the highway and cause traffic accidents but that's a small minority compared to a lot of things out there that people are doing positive," said Brown.
On occasions, the group's members have talked to those they see weaving in and out of traffic.
"We talk to them and explain to them if you act this way, you are going to take away the privilege for people who want to enjoy it," said Henry.
"Illustrating words to people what our club represents is usually really successful," said Carter-Bay.
Driving to change the face of a lifestyle by focusing not on how much they can show out but on how much they give back.
"We're pretty much known as a small group but with big hearts," said Henry.
He said the Bike Fest is definitely toned it down from when he felt inspired to start the group.
"It's 300 percent better," said Henry. "But it still can use some more."