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.'”