February 2019 Newsletter

Itch’n to ride in February.

Itch’n to ride in February.


The Border Riders Motorcycle Club (BRMC) is an organized group of guys who like to ride and camp.  Our membership spans the Pacific Northwest, with the greatest participation in Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver B.C.  We have one of the largest memberships of gay clubs in North America, and welcome like-minded guests to join us on our monthly club events and local activities during the riding months.  Check the main page of the website at http://borderriders.com for additional information. 

January AGM Recap

In January, BRMC always holds our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and that is always held at The Cuff (Seattle). This year we were blessed with good weather and safe travels along with a healthy attendance by members and guests alike. We had 23 members present and 6 guests as well as a few drop in guests.  After a pre-meeting social hour giving a chance for everyone to arrive and spin down from their journey, the formal meeting was called to order and business of the day was addressed (see meeting minutes). A new standing order regarding Support Vehicles at camp was introduced and will be discussed more at the March meeting.  Also, an idea about changing the by-laws in regards to voting eligibility was informally presented and talked about.  Of notable mention is the acceptance of our newest BRMC member, Kas C. !!! Give a shout-out to Kas if you get a chance.

Social time resumed following the group photo with a meal of pizza and sandwiches.   Desert was in the form of moist cakes of various flavors, and The Cuff’s bar provided no-host beverages. The Cuff needed the room earlier than anticipated so everyone wandered off to various destinations.  Some returned home, some to their lodging and others to local watering holes.  Overall it was a productive meeting and a good evening. A good time was had by all as illustrated in the photo gallery below. 

Dining room.jpg

49th Anniversary Banquet

Registration is now open for our annual Anniversary Banquet to be held at the Eastmoreland Golf Course in Portland, OR on February 16th.  Eastmoreland Golf Course was established in 1917 as the first public golf course in the City of Portland.  It is set in the beautiful Eastmoreland neighborhood and the water features are fed from natural springs rising in the adjacent Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. 

Jeff B has been working to plan the banquet and has been working with the host facility on the meal.   For additional information please visit the club website . 

The Anniversary Banquet is where we reflect on the past year and look ahead to the coming year, which happens to be our 50th Anniversary.  We will install our 2019 officers and welcome our new member Kas to the club.  We will also recognize our “Rider of the Year” and present our “High Mileage Award”.  Details regarding the 50th Anniversary Rally will be announced.  In addition, it will be an opportunity to purchase club swag from the Gear Store.  We will start the evening off with a social time and no host bar followed by a dinner buffet and the program.  Be sure to register early and invite friends to attend with you.  This is a good opportunity to introduce others that might be interested in the club to come and check us out. 

Come celebrate with us as we kick off our 50th Year!

Gear Swap

If you have motorcycle gear such as boots, jackets, pants, gloves, etc that you no longer are using we will have a table set up for a gear swap.   Use prudence in what you bring to give away or swap with others.  Please bring gear that is in good shape and that others might want.  There is no charge for the gear swap and it is up to you if you want to give your items away, sell them, swap them, etc.   All we ask is that if you bring gear and no one is interested in it to please take it back home with you.  


From the Handlebars of the President

Our 50th Year as a club has officially arrived!   We completed the Annual Meeting last month and have our 49th Anniversary Banquet coming up in Portland on February 16th.  Our officers for 2019 have been elected and will be installed at the banquet as well as our new member Kas. 

During the fourth week of January the starter went out of my pickup and I was without a truck for most of the week.  I had to ride my motorcycle to work.   Fortunately, I only had one day of very heavy rain on the commute with the rest of the time being rather cold.  I was very thankful for my heated gear.  I don’t usually put many miles on my bike during January. 

We received some bad news this past month.  Hugh de Sousa, one of our charter members and Rex Cooley, one of our earlier members and an honorary member both passed away.  Please see the section that Tom C has provided about these two members.  Even though I never had the opportunity to meet either one I am feeling a sense of great loss with their passing.   Some of our history is gone and can no longer be regained.    In looking over our membership roster, we have only one charter member remaining as well as one honorary member from the late sixties.  I am thankful for the members that have gone before us creating the club, establishing traditions, and creating a welcoming group. 

I am really looking forward to this year.  We have some great campouts planned, the opportunity to ride in the Portland Pride Parade again, the Anniversary Rally in September and other events coming up.   I hope that each you reading this can join us at one or more events as we celebrate turning 50 this year. 

Lee Vining, CA Ride

I received an email from Michael Psycle, who has organized the Queer Biker Invasion of Death Valley, that he and Marc Fuentes, Kelly Hill and Frank Biafore are planning a ride August 15th to 19th.  Below are the details from Michael’s email.

“Mark, Kelly, Frank and I have reserved a double wide trailer at the Lakeview Lodge in Lee Vining, http://lakeviewlodgeyosemite.com/.  We are planning on leaving San Francisco on Thursday, August 15th and returning on Monday, August 19th,  This double wide trailer has three bedrooms, plus a large living room, dining room and kitchen. 

 We would like to invite any of you who are interested to join us for part or all of this ride.  Our plan is to do a "shamrock" ride.   That means we will each day do a loop ride, one day to the south of Lee Vining, another to the east of Lee Vining and another to the north of Lee Vining (the Lake Tahoe area).  

 The way this will work is for anyone who wants to join us for part or all of the ride to make your own reservations for a room either at the Lakeview Lodge or any of the other motels in Lee Vining.  We are foreseeing the double wide trailer we are renting as "party central", a place to gather and hang out with others before or after any day's ride. 

 So if you think you might be interested, you are encouraged to make your reservation early since this is a summer weekend at the height of the tourist season in that area.  Remember, it is always easier to cancel reservations at the last minute then to make such a reservation.”

I hope to see you at the banquet.  As usual if you have any questions, concerns, or comments you can always contact me at President@borderriders.com

Jeff C



Road Captain Rumblings

I am happy to say that the run for August has finally been confirmed Lillooet, BC.  Challenges for arranging campsites can be difficult and August was the last to be confirmed.  Great rides heading north on 1 through Hells Gate and Boston Bar to get there.  Day rides to Whistler or other areas.  The website will be updated soon to reflect the summer season.

It’s a really good time to get your bike in for maintenance – short wait times for scheduling and – you get the seasoned mechanics, not the ones that shops just pick up for the heavy season.  Get them in now for tires or whatever you need NOW so you don’t have to miss a ride because “it’s in the shop or can’t get it in for 3 weeks.”

The Seattle Meet and Greets have been well attended in the last several months after years of nonexistence.  Kudos to Jeff, Chris, and Richard who have come from the north to keep it going.   It’s a great time to socialize with friends, grab some dinner and keep the camaraderie going.  Be there at the Cuff Wednesday February 20th (know it’s right after the Banquet) to keep the trend going.


Treasurer’s Ramblings

I want to thank everyone (with 1 exception) for paying your Annual Dues on time. This made it so much easier to prepare for the AGM and it’ll make it easier to reconcile everything in a couple days. THANK YOU!

Club Finances & Such

The club started off the new year by collecting all the Annual Dues, with only 1 exception. I hope this will get resolved soon so I can balance that account and move on.

Club finances are fine. Bank balances haven’t changed much. There is basically nothing new to report here. But, I would like to thank everyone for approving the budget for 2019. I think it will be a fun year for us.  The year-end 2018 report and the 2019 will be posted to the members only area of the website.

I finally did get a letter from the IRS about our Not-for-Profit-Status. It was a reminder for me to make sure I file our 990-N form before 5/15/19. Hm, I’m thinking that means they have us down as a NFP organization. I’d still like a copy of that letter so I will give them a call once the on hold wait time isn’t estimated at less than 2 hours. I’d really like a letter stating we are a NFP.

Portland’s December M&G & Day Ride

Portland had 1 Meet & Greet “M&G” in January and it was attended by 2 people. We decided forego the day ride due to the lack of interest.

Don’t forget, Portland’s next M&G will be on “Wednesday”, February 6th at the Eagle on Lombard at 7:00 pm.

Keep in mind that if you decide to go for a ride and would like someone to ride with, you can always post something on our FB page. Hopefully you’ll get a response and have someone to ride with. If you are not familiar with our FB page and need help finding us, please contact me via e-mail, Treasurer@borderriders.com and let’s get you hooked up.

More Treasurers Ramblings

Do you know the real story about where the Gremlin Bell originally came from?

I was looking for chrome at Bike Bandit .com and found this fun story. I want to make sure they get credit for writing it. Story taken from; https://www.bikebandit.com/blog/the-legend-of-the-gremlin-bell-a-bikers-tradition

The Purpose of the Gremlin Bell

These little bells, known in the motorcycling world as Gremlin Bells, Guardian Bells, or Spirit Bells, are a kind of good luck charm for motorcycle riders. The bell is said to protect them during their travels, like how a pendant or image of St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, is often carried in vehicles to protect their occupants while on the road.

BRMC Guardian Bell on the President’s Bike

BRMC Guardian Bell on the President’s Bike

Here’s how the bell works: legend has it that there are harmful spirits that lurk the roadways, always on the lookout for motorcycles to cling onto and cause mischief. You may have heard of unusual and hard-to-diagnose problems that occur in machines (most often in electrical systems) being called “gremlins,” and supposedly, it is these same unpredictable and harmful spirits that cause problems for motorcycles and their riders.

The Gremlin Bell is a way to ward off these spirits. It is said to work by capturing them in the hollow of the bell and infuriating them with the constant ringing until they release their hold and break free, returning to the roadway to find another unsuspecting rider without a bell to harass instead.

The Origin of the Bell

Like many old-school legends, there is no clear answer as to where the bell tradition (or superstition) comes from. Various explanations range from those “there once was an old biker riding along at night” stories, to having been started by WW2 veteran pilots who had bells for good luck on their aircraft and carried the tradition over to their bikes after the war. One of the most logical explanations, however, is that the bell was used in the early days of bikers in the 1950s and 1960s as a kind of “low-budget alarm system,” to alert the rider if their bike was being moved in the middle of the night – a cheap solution that morphed into a tradition over time.

The Rules of the Bell

There are some “rules,” however, to the Gremlin Bell and how it works:

  • It should not be bought by the user – in order to work, it must be given to a rider from a loved one. According to the legend, a bell is “activated” by the gesture of good will when someone, especially another rider, gives it to a rider they care about, as a gift.

  • It should be attached to the lowest part of the frame. Because gremlins lurk on the roadways and “grab” onto bikes as they pass by, the low-hanging bell should be the first thing they contact, so that they are immediately captured by it. It should be attached securely – safety wire is sometimes used, but that can create rust and scratches, so a zip-tie is generally the preferred method.

  • When a bike with a bell on it is sold, it should be removed. The Gremlin Bell is a gesture of kindness to a rider from someone who cares about them, so it should be kept by the intended recipient, and can be transferred to another bike. If someone sells a bike with a bell and they want the new rider to have it, they should still remove it, and give it to them face to face. A bell that is not given with intentional good will loses its spirit-fighting mojo.

  • If someone steals a Gremlin Bell, the gremlins go with it – and the bell will no longer ward them off. The key to the bell’s power is good will. If it is stolen, it loses its effect…and karma will take care of the rest!

BRMC Bell available in the Gear Store

BRMC Bell available in the Gear Store

Regardless of what the “true” story behind the Gremlin Bell is, it is a fun tradition that continues among bikers to this day, and while it is most common in the Harley community, other cruiser and touring bike riders also participate in it. Whether you genuinely believe in the superstition of the “road gremlins” or not, the Gremlin Bell is a fun way to welcome a new rider into the community, christen a new motorcycle, or just to give a rider you care about something to remember you by. As they say, the rider who possesses a bell has the most powerful blessing of all – the love and good will of a fellow rider who cares about them

But hey, if the superstition is in fact real, and there really are road gremlins being thrown from other bikes into your path – what’s a little cheap insurance, right?

 2019 Team Oregon Motorcycle Class Schedule

In addition to the 50th Anniversary events, I would like to bring to your attention 3 motorcycle skills enhancement classes I have set up with Team Oregon. The first is their RSP class happening on Saturday, June 1st. The second is their ART class happening on Monday, June 17th. The third is their AMT class happening on September 14th.

Registration will open for the RSP & ART classes February 1st and only BRMC members, guest, and friends will be able to register for these classes until May 1st. On May 1st these classes will be opened to the public, so they can sell any spots we did not purchase. We need 12 people to register for the RSP Class and 18 to register for the ART Class to keep it closed for us only.

I normally have a difficult time filling these classes, so I don’t require that you be gay or male in order to attend. All I ask is that you are gay or gay friendly. These events are about learning to ride and becoming a better/safer rider in a non-judgmental environment of people who will support you and want you to succeed without being hackled by non-gay friendly people. Please, if you have a friend or family member that would like to take one of these classes and would be a fun addition to the event, let’s get them informed and have them register to go with us.

To register for one of these classes, call Team Oregon at 541.737.2459 & tell them you would like to register for “The Border Riders Class on June/____/2019. They should be able to get you registered.

There will likely be a social event before and after these classes. For that reason, I am asking everyone who registers to contact me at the same time. This will allow me to make sure they get invited to the whole event and not just the class.


RSP Class

The RSP Class is their Riders Skills Practice Class. It will begin around noon and will last 4 hours. This course is in Oregon City, OR. It’s mostly about emergency maneuvers and working out the cobwebs we acquire during the winter. I have taken this class 3 or 4 times and every time I come away having learned something. I’ll be taking this class again this year as well. The fee for this class is $99 however, an anonymous donor has given us one admission ticket for this class. We will auction off this ticket at the banquet in February to raise money for our 50th Anniversary Celebration. For more information about the class, visit their web site at https://team-oregon.org/training/riderskillspractice/


ART Class

      The ART Class is their Advanced Riders Training Class. It will begin around noon and last for about 4 hours. The course is in Canby, OR. This class is designed to further our cornering skills. The course is a go cart race track and while not intended for high speeds, sorry Dale, I believe it will give us the skills to handle corners more “efficiently”. The fee for this class is $179 however, an anonymous donor has given us one admission ticket for this class as well. We will auction off this ticket at the banquet in February to raise money for the 50th Anniversary Celebration. For more information about the class, visit their web site at https://team-oregon.org/training/advancedridertraining/


AMT Class

OK, as if that wasn’t enough training for one year, Team Oregon and I have worked out a special deal for BRMC. Team Oregon will set up a private class on Saturday, September 14th just for us. I am still working out the time for this class, but this is going to be an abbreviated version of their Police Training Course. Can you believe this? It is called their AMT or Advanced Motors Training Class. I’m so freaking excited.

     I think the version they are putting together for us is the one we all watch on You Tube and wish we could get a chance on that field of orange cones doing tight maneuvers, a clock ticking, music playing on a loud speaker and people cheering us onto a finish line. It turns out Team Oregon trains the police for this and they are offering a version of it to us to help us kick off our 50th Anniversary Rally happening in September. Yahoo!

I doubt we will have a loud speaker and we will need to be our own cheering crowd, but the course is real, and I know many of you have dreamt about this. I know because we’ve talked about it. As Collin would have said, bounce, bounce, bounce.

As if it could get any better, an anonymous donor has donated the entire class for anyone affiliated with BRMC, who would like to attend. Seriously, it’s free to anyone of us who wants to spend a couple hours playing on this course while getting feedback from their instructors. The course is in Albany, OR and it’s on the way to our 1st 50th Anniversary Rally check-in happening that Saturday night in Roseburg, OR. IT’S ON THE WAY. I believe it would be a horrible lost opportunity if we didn’t take advantage of this. I hope you gents are as excited about this as I am. What a hoot! I can’t wait!

I know it will be a stretch for some of you more northern riders to get there by noon or 1 so I am hoping the Seattle and Portland people will open their homes Friday night. This will make it possible for the northerner who want to play on this course but live too far north to get to the course by noon or 1.

Additional information for this class can be found at https://team-oregon.org/training/advancedmotorstraining/

BTW, these events I put together with Team Oregon are not a BRMC sanctioned event. This is just me organizing these classes because I keep getting requests for it, I love them, and I learn something every time I go.

Closing Statement

I hope you all are getting the new year off to a good start. I honestly hope to see you at one of our upcoming events and if you should have any questions or comments about anything I am dealing with, please feel encouraged to contact me & let us chat.

Oh, before I go, we will auction off both tickets for the Team Oregon RSP & ART Classes at the Banquet on February 16, 2019. You must be present to place a bid & win.


Stan Christiansen

BRMC Treasurer


In Memory…….

provided by Tom C

Hugh in 2002 with his original BRMC Colors

Hugh in 2002 with his original BRMC Colors

Francis Lovell Hugh De Souza:

Born in South Africa, he left home in his 20’s to London, started his journalism career & made many Canadian friends. He carried on to Vancouver, working his entire career at The Province newspaper. Reunited with his London friends, he published hilarious London memoirs in his books. His passion was writing, particularly his grandfather’s friendship with Winston Churchill, publishing "A Question of Treason". He was a founding Vancouver member of the Border Riders Motorcycle Club, along with Buzz Taylor and others. Jim Brand and his partner John Mikulik had taken over the B&B ('Betwixt and Between') bar on the south end of Richards Street in 1971. The previous owner had gotten into a situation that culminated in a drive-by shooting with a bullet in the front door, so Jim and John were in the right place at the right time - and re-named it The Playpen, which was the first leather-scene/hangout bar. It was a popular sensation, and Jim thought that a biker club would add to the atmosphere, but there wasn't one - so he and the others created the Border Riders. Hugh rode a BMW, as did Buzz. True to that start, some of the early members were more leathermen than bikers, and Hugh once described himself that way. He was a cerebral, wry, gentle fellow who enjoyed a sharp wit. He died peacefully in his sleep at 90 on January 6th, living life fully on his own terms. He lives on in the DNA of the Border Riders.



Rex on his Guzzi May 1995

Rex on his Guzzi May 1995

Lyman Rex Cooley:

Rex and his sister Nola had tough childhoods, and were foster kids for awhile. They grew up in the Puget Sound area, and except for his time in the Navy, Rex always lived in the area. He met John McLellan when John moved up from Southern California, and they shared "Sodomy Flats" an older apartment building up off Pine Street on Capitol Hill in Seattle. It was the late 1960's, a time of change, a time of discovery, and at Sodomy Flats, a very social time. Rex recalled there was always somebody (or a crowd) at the apartment at all hours, as it was sort of a social hub. John had ridden motorcycles in Southern California (a Suzuki 500cc two-stroke, in shorts and flip-flops) and got a baby blue Norton Commando in Seattle. Nobody quite remembers how they got acquainted with Jim Brand and John Mikulik in Vancouver - possibly through Buzz Taylor (a schoolteacher in Maple Ridge) but they became the nexus of the Washington State side of the Border Riders. Rex was always well-organized and always willing to pitch in, and there are fond memories of him running the kitchen at Victoria Day runs at Chiwaukum Creek and at the Grouse Creek campsite, cooking meals on side-by-side Coleman stoves off the tailgate of John's pickup truck. Rex usually rode one of John's Moto Guzzi motorcycles, then got his own 850 Guzzi. He was a much-loved clerk at the Thriftway in Wedgewood in North Seattle, and worked his final years at the Thriftway in Issaquah when the store ownership moved there. He had a whole-heart transplant when he was 65, saying he had the heart of a 23-year old - which he did! He loved going thrift-store shopping with Ron van Dyk and good friends Ron Schultz. He went into the hospital just before Christmas, and passed on January 25, with his sister Nola by his side. He went through the dying process a lot like how he lived - quietly, not complaining, minimal fuss but with endurance and perseverance. He was 81 years old. He was loved by everyone who knew him, and those left behind are saddened by his departure.

Rex on his Guzzi and John on his Harley in front of Sons of Norway, Poulsbo 1995

Rex on his Guzzi and John on his Harley in front of Sons of Norway, Poulsbo 1995

2019 Board of Directors

The following were elected by the club members at the AGM and have accepted the position to serve as board members for the coming year. Please give a shout out to these guys for their service to the club!

President: Jeff C

Vice President: Dan S

Road Captain: Dennis H

Secretary: John D

Treasurer: Stan C


50th Anniversary Celebration

The 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee is busy planning one heck of a year for us that will not soon be forgotten.  Among the events planned are:

  • Victoria Day, May 17-20, Pine Flats Camp, Ardenvoir, WA - new and old activities planned

  • 50th Anniversary Rally, September 14-21 - come ride with us for an 8 day journey through Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.  Join for all or part of the journey, ride as far and long as you wish.  Guests welcomed.

  • 50th Anniversary Banquet, February 15, 2020 - we will wind down the year with a grand finale event.

Stay tuned each month for more details and also check out the club website.

Calendar of 2019 Events

  • January 19 Annual General Meeting - Seattle, WA

  • February 16 Anniversary Banquet - Portland, OR

  • March 16 Club Meeting - Don W, Lynnwood, WA

  • April 20 Club Meeting - Dan S, Oakville, WA

  • May 17-20 Victoria Day Weekend Camp - Pine Flats Campground, Ardenvoir, WA 

  • June 14-16 Bear Springs Group Campground, Maupin, OR

  • July19-21 Lewis & Clark Trail State Park, Dayton, WA

  • August 16-18, British Columbia, site to be determined

  • September 14-21 50th Anniversary Ride - OR, WA, BC

  • September 21 Club Meeting, Bellingham, WA

  • October 19 Club Meeting - TBD

  • November 16 Club Meeting - TBD

  • December 14 Holiday Party - TBD


We have 1 member with a birthday this month.  Please take a moment to wish him a great day.

  • Alan H - Feb 10

Meet & Greets

BRMC members will be available for new and returning guys to connect and learn more about the club and opportunities to participate.  If you are interested, check out when and where in the cities listed below.  Also, in addition to the club's monthly events, local rides may be organized, weather permitting.  To lean more, email the Road Captain for specific details, or to ensure a member to meet you, at captain@borderriders.com.

Portland: Meet & Greet - 1st Wednesday of the month, 7pm at The Portland Eagle

Vancouver BC Meet & Greet - 2nd Wednesday of the month. Time & Location YTBD

Seattle: Meet & Greet - 3rd Wednesday of the month, 7pm at The Cuff

Contributions of Photos & Stories


If you have photos and stories to share, please send to news@borderriders.com