I am a “lone wolf” motorcyclist.
A mystic biker.
It has always been this way.
To ride, is to escape.
To find solace, in solitude.
To be alone, with one’s own.
And yet, the times they are a-changin’.
For if ever there was a brotherhood of men.
One whom I would wish to befriend.
It seems to me that this would be them.
Roaring through Moscow after dark with their big bikes, long hair and leather jackets, the Night Wolves could be Russia’s answer to the Hell’s Angels. But these are riders with a cause, and that cause is the motherland.
“Our values are quite simple: love your country, have faith and don’t use or sell drugs” summed up Alexander Benish, second in command of the powerful motorcycle club whose members President Vladimir Putin calls his “brothers”.
They may share a passion for the open road, but the Night Wolves — “Nochnye Volki” in Russian — reject the American biker label altogether.
The Night Wolves say they welcome members from across the former Soviet Union, regardless of their religious beliefs – and count Muslims in their ranks, alongside the Orthodox Christian majority.
Likewise its riders come from varied social backgrounds, from car mechanics, to businessmen — even a few monks.
“Everyone is free to join — except for women. ‘No woman no cry,” joked Benish in a play on the Bob Marley lyric.
“Years ago when it was founded, the club was a kind of symbol of virility, of what it means to be a man.”
Alongside the tough-guy routine, the riders also play what they see as a pastoral role, striving for “the moral and spiritual development of the young generation based on patriotism and traditions.”
“The words of Saint Augustine could sum up the philosophy of the Night Wolves,” said Benish, quoting the words of the medieval theologian: ‘In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.'”
Considering a Le Pera “Cherokee” seat for your motorcycle? I recommend it. An excellent balance of form, and function.
I usually run a Le Pera “Silhouette Solo”. It is almost perfect for me: just the right combination of width, and firmness. And it looks great. I have done 600+ km (375 mile) all day rides on the Silhouette … with the help of soft luggage to lean on. For me, the only thing it lacks is the obvious: back support.
That’s where the “Cherokee” comes in. It appears to be about the same width, thickness, and firmness, with the added plus of outstanding lower back support. And all while still looking (I think) really, really good.
Now, tassels and conchos are not really my thing. A little OTT for me. So I would honestly have preferred the plain side, pleated stitch version. It is available as an option but only to suit later model ‘wide tyre’ Softails. Since I picked this one up on eBay for a very low price — brand new, but with a tear in the cover, which I repaired well enough with Loctite Vinyl Fabric & Plastic Flexible Adhesive — I decided to live with it.
But I really couldn’t abide the original (and oh so cliched) Western Star concho. Cheap, flimsy, a bit “wanky”. I first tried painting it black, hoping to disguise it as much as possible.
Dissatisfied with that, I went back to eBay. “Kristi” from West Coast Tack kindly helped out with a couple of attractive, and much higher quality alternatives, produced by Jeremiah Watt. Much better! Now only to settle on which of the two I prefer.
More photographs: Psalmistice on Flickr