A group of motorcycles rolls through a small village in Germany. While riding, this group’s line is approximately one to two kilometers long—so large that when the head of the group is leaving the town, the last rider is just entering.
“If you see a big motorcycle group you might be scared,” said Thorsten Hadzik, one of the riders. “But this is totally the opposite. We are very friendly and open minded. We invite people to join us. We actually live the principles we believe in.”
This isn’t just any old biker group; the Mormon Bikers of Germany comprises 180 riders and enthusiasts of various backgrounds. This diverse group has riders ranging from 14 to 65 years of age, with approximately 20 percent females. There are fathers who take their sons or daughters on rides. Most of the riders are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but almost 20 percent are not. The unique community where spirituality can flourish and uplifting values can be maintained while still enjoying a scenic view on their motorcycles is what draws these Latter-day Saint bikers together.
This year the group is celebrating their 15th anniversary since its formation. Riders usually unite once or twice a year for a week or weekend with two common interests: their love of the gospel and their love of motorcycling, touring places in Germany they normally wouldn’t visit.
They pray every morning, sing hymns, and share spiritual thoughts. Even those who are not LDS join in on these activities. On Sundays, the group makes a point to attend a nearby church to have sacrament and a testimony meeting with fellow members. “There’s always a positive feedback from those nonmembers of the Church, and they say they’d like to come [to church]again,” Hadzik said.
Riders usually form a “Bikers Choir” and sing a song in the sacrament meeting they attend. On their most recent trip, they attended the Ravensburg branch, which has about 20 active members. Hadzik said because the biker group was so big and their meeting rooms were so small, the branch rented a bigger venue to worship that Sunday. “In that sacrament meeting our biker choir sang ‘Gently Raise the Sacred Strain’ out of the hymn book, which we practiced every evening on that biker trip,” Hadzik said.
The idea for the group came during a stake presidency meeting, when Thorsten’s dad, Michael Hadzik, and others talked about motorcycle riding and the group was founded with five to seven members in the Dusseldorf stake. As more people showed interest, the group spread to provide a positive and uplifting recreational activity for motorcycle enthusiasts throughout Germany to enjoy.
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