His kind is all that stands between us and slavery
Bike riders are not given to counting their blessings. When it comes time to
jam, we just light the fire and split on down the road with no thought to what
made our fun possible or to whom we should offer up a silent prayer of thanks.
Most of us, especially the young hotbloods consider the right to truck a
God-given destiny, one that was always there and always will be. How wrong we
What is left of free spirit bike riding and what will remain in the future is a
direct legacy from guys like Donald Pappy” Pittsley of the Huns MC in
Waterford, Connecticut. Pappy is devoting himself to stopping the forest fire
of anti-bike legislation—he has been mopping up brush fires since 1967.
Anti-bike legislation is an insidious thing. It creeps and it slithers and it
consumes. Slowly, imperceptibly, it intends to shut us off from our fun. Right
and wrong make no difference. Like a forest fire it will consume all in its path
unless checked. To do what he can toward that goal is Pappy’s intent.
Pappy is president of the Connecticut Motorcycle Association, an organization of
slightly over 2000 members who charge themselves with support of the anti-bike
legislation struggle. The organization was formed in 1967 when it became
apparent Connecticut favored enforcing a helmet law. The CMA was instrumental
in getting the existing law shelved. Since then the CMA has organized opposition
to the daylight lights-on bill and has so far prevented its passage, and largely
as a result of CMA effort bikes were excluded from the Connecticut no-fault
Pappy carries much of the weight of these efforts on his own shoulders. He is
currently attending five workshops—committee meetings between various
legislation advisory groups and representatives from biking interests, all
concerning pending legislation.
Commencing January 1, 1974, the helmet law on the Connecticut books since 1963
is now enforced. Pappy’s biggest, most consuming effort will be to educate
and argue to lawmakers not only the inappropriateness of the helmet law, but
the danger of it, based on a statistical study which proves the helmet not only
does not reduce accidental death from head injury, it increases death from neck
fractures. This flight, when won in Connecticut, will help interests in other
states win similar battles.
The question we might ask ourselves is, “Why does Pappy devote the
equivalent of one week a month to the interests of bikers everywhere and the
goals of the CMA?
After all, Pappy is appropriately named, He is 50, has been riding his 15 or
more bikes for over 22 years. He is retired from Navy submarine service with a
pension, has worked 17 years for Ralph Strong, a motorcycle dealer in Waterford,
Connecticut and has no financial obligations. He could easily shine it on and
play out his riding days without being hurt by bike legislation at all. What he
does he doesn’t do for himself.
If Pappy knows the answer he can’t put it into convincing words. He admits
that he sometimes gets discouraged and considers chucking the whole thing,
especially when lawmakers appear to be impervious• to common sense and
logic. Then, Pappy says, he is heartened by the sensitive understanding of men
like Representative Rufus Rose of Water-ford who has become the catalyst in the
biker’s fight for intelligent fairplay, and he is fired up to continue the
cause. Pappy says he does the work simply because it needs doing.
But we can find a more concise answer to the question. All of man’s efforts
are divided into two columns—acts of giving and acts of taking. Pappy was born
a giver. He will be a giver the rest of his life. Whether or not he gets a
personal benefit from his own actions is unimportant.
Someday bikers in all states will ride without helmets if that is their desire.
This freedom will have been fought for and earned by the Pappys of the world.
Every time you crank up your scooter and let out the ponies for a canter,
consider that, except for the Pappys, you wouldn’t be there feeling the wind
tug at your flares and hearing the husky chug of the iron between your knees.
You’d be sitting in a Vette at best or a Vega at worst, wasting yourself on
insidious rock music, cigarette lighters, and knobby frieze carpeting, a
slave to encapsulating boredom. At these times of super-keen sensitivity,
offer a silent, “Thanks, Pappy.”
old man’s got it comin’ CC
Anyone anywhere may join the Connecticut Motorcycle Association by simply paying a modest membership fee, The money is used to further the aims of bikers everywhere. Connecticut has been a leader in passing anti-bike legislation. Any law reversals here will serve as landmark precedent in other states. For full membership in formation write.’ Mr. Donald Pittsley, Connecticut Motorcycle Association, P.O. Box 62, Waterford, Connecticut 06385.
This article appeared in Custom Chopper March 1974
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