Faith and Motorcycling Led Me To The CSBA

  • 05 June 2019 |
  • Written by  Mark Hamm
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(Mark reading the scripture at the lunch stop of a ride)

To recall how I came to the CSBA, it makes sense to consider how I came to motorcycling. My brother rode motorcycles for years before I did and I decided to start, so it would be something we could do together. It was around March of 2004 and I bought an old Honda 450 Night Hawk from him. I took the MSF Basic Rider course and finished with my motorcycle license. I rode that 450 until August when the inspection ran out and the repairs necessary for inspection cost more than the bike. I then bought a Buell Lightning that same month, crashed it in October and smashed my right foot. Recovery took until February and by April I was riding again. My brother rides big touring bikes with a moderate pace and I like to ride sport bike style with a slightly faster pace. So, since our styles didn't complement so well, I sought out another group.

I either heard about the CSBA online or a friend recommended them to me, I can't remember which it was. I do know I found out that they met at a diner on the first Saturday of the month and during warmer months, they might ride. I looked them up online and applied for membership immediately. True to their word, it was mostly a ride up, eat breakfast, talk about bikes, then ride home kind of group. We did occasionally go for rides, but not every month. This went on for about a year, then the chapter leader just stopped coming out, no explanation, no goodbye. Within a few months another member took up being the chapter leader and we had a good ride up to the Poconos. I didn't get to finish it because something was on my mind and I couldn't focus. I said good bye to the two other riders and headed home. The next month, that chapter leader stopped coming out, again, no explanation, no goodbye.

Then around April 2006, I asked on the CSBA website forum, "what do we do if we don't have a chapter leader"? Whereupon one of our race chaplains said, "sounds like a volunteer to me". And that is how I became a chapter leader with the CSBA Eastern PA chapter. By the time I had joined the CSBA until now, we also had a new President, and he and I had a long conversation (one of many over the years) on the phone about what was expected of me as a chapter leader. I understood what it meant and took up the challenge. I would like to say the next 8-9 years was nothing but good times and progress, but it wasn't. Oh, we did have great times and we did make progress thanks to the blessings of God and the contributions of a lot of fine people that I have had the privilege of meeting, riding and working with them. There were challenges to overcome, problems to solve, and issues to fix; but the good far outweighed the bad by a large margin.

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(Mark reading the scripture to the group at the lunch stop of a ride)

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(The bikes parked at Hawk's Nest by Port Jervis New York during one of the Chapter's Pocono Screamer rides)

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(Group photo from an Eastern PA Chapter ride)

Around 2014-5 time frame I slowly began turning parts of the Eastern PA chapter over to it's present leader. I also called up our current President of the CSBA and voiced my concerns with the ministry overall and issues I had with gaps that I saw in its governance. He asked me when I wanted to take over, and I told him I would pray about it. I felt that taking the President's position for the CSBA was God's desire for me at that time, so I stepped up to it and took over on the 1st of April. Over the last 3-4 years I have worked with the Board of the CSBA to bring about a more robust business structure and bringing us into compliance with the law, but there wasn't always good news. For the same three years I worked to establish a Central PA chapter but in the end, failed. By the third year none of the 6 riders in the area could commit to the chapter and making 6 rides a year, weather permitting. Thus, I felt that the time had come to close the chapter. My career workload had increased, my children were getting active in sports and activities, and my yard was suffering from the neglect of my absence. Closing that chapter was very hard for me. Riding out to it for rides was 90 miles one way, plus the 200-300 miles of the ride, plus back made for long days. In addition, reconning the ride also ate up a lot of time and gas. The riding out in central PA was great. The roads are good, there is hardly any congestion, and the scenery is fantastic. The fact that some Eastern PA chapter members came out to ride with me on a few of those rides meant a lot to me. To this day, I still wish that chapter would have succeeded.

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(Group photo at NJMP - Current Eastern PA Chapter President John Lasure began the CSBA Day @ The Races to expand upon the CSBA's reach)

So now, as we pass the 20 year mark of a ministry, I am grateful for all the great people I have met, the excellent rallies I attended, the cool roads upon which I travelled, the experiences I had, and how I came much closer to God as a result. My thanks to God, Brian Phillips, and Bill Allen for getting this whole thing started back in 1998.

Mark Hamm

CSBA President


Last modified on Wednesday, 05 June 2019 09:10
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