Hogs may not fly, but turkeys do. Well, not frozen ones. And certainly not ones carried by the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club-North Bay for their 6th Annual Turkey Run on Friday.
The bikers meet at Iron Steed Harley Davidson in Vacaville from 10 a.m. to noon, joining the public for a free pancake breakfast and raffle for those bringing donated items of toiletries, blankets, socks and “underclothes” for men, women and children.
After the breakfast, the motorcycle club takes the turkeys to the Fairfield church where they will be distributed to the needy.
It’s all part of the community participation aspect of the club, said Felicia Goldwire, vice president of the North Bay chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club and an active member.
The club of “less than 30” pays homage to their namesake Buffalo soldiers, African American soldiers who mainly served on the Western frontier following the American Civil War.
Goldwire started as an “associate” member because her husband’s part of the club. Never did she think she would ever hop on a motorcycle herself … and even own one. But she did and she does. And now she’s a full member.
“I was not interested in motorcycles,” Goldwire said Tuesday by phone from her Sacramento home. “I have met some of the most wonderful people ever by being part of this organization that I don’t think I would have met otherwise.”
Yes, Goldwire said, friends were surprised when she decided to be more than a mere passenger on a motorcycle. Then there’s her mother’s reaction.
“A combination of shock, dismay and fear,” Goldwire said.
“Do what you enjoy and live life to the fullest,” Goldwire said.
There was nothing like that first solo ride, she said.
“It was empowering. You feel you can do anything,” Goldwire said. “I’m a very independent person. I would have to say, I feel empowered being a female riding a motorcycle.”
There are 125 Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club chapters across the nation, Goldwire said, and 10 in California. To be a “full patch” member, individuals most own motorcycles that are at least 750 c.c. A Harley Davidson — thus the aforementioned “hog” reference — isn’t required. Also, a proper motorcycle license is mandatory and proper insurance.
To be an “associate” member is a level for those who don’t want to ride, “but you still want to be part of the organization and participate,” Goldwire said. “And you believe in the mission.”
One edict of the close is it can’t solicit new members.
“We don’t go out asking for people to join us,” Goldwire said. “People will see us on Facebook or out riding in the community and approach us and ask about membership. There’s a process. One of the things we ask is ‘Why do you want to be a Buffalo Soldier?’ We expect them to have some level of knowledge. You don’t have to be a historian.”
Goldwire has been a member since 2006 after her husband joined because of a friend “which is how it usually happens.”
When Goldwire’s husband bought a motorcycle, “I was totally against it,” she said. “He bought one anyway. I started riding with him after awhile.”
Eventually, Goldwire figured she had what it took to be have her own bike.
“And the rest is history,” she said, thrilled that she and her husband rode across the country last year for a club convention in Florida.
“It was awesome,” Goldwire said.
The Turkey Run is a holiday project that the club finds worthy, she said, adding that anyone pondering life on a motorcycle should take a Harley Davidson class.
“At first, my husband wanted me to get out there and start riding. I just didn’t want to do it,” Goldwire said. “He was the one that really got me going. He had more confidence in me.”
When purchasing that first motorcycle, “don’t feel as if you have to buy the biggest bike in the world,” Goldwire said. “You’re going to get a lot of opinions.”
The 6th Annual Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club-North Bay Turkey Run is Friday, 10 a.m. to noon, at Iron Steed Harley Davidson, 100 Auto Center Drive, Vacaville. Free pancake breakfast and raffle for those donating blankets, socks, underclothes and toiletries.