(Photo of Bob Brown [pictured on the right] and his son)
Many years ago, I had a customer who told me about the CSBA, I was intrigued. The concept of Christ, fast motorcycles and adrenaline seemed like a very odd mix. I knew as a Christian I did not fit in with the stereotypical version of what a Christian was. Attendance in the little church on the corner, white picket fence, a wife and 2.2 children. I was and still am an adrenaline junky. Fast riding, pushing it to the edge applied not just to my style of riding but to how I lived my life and ran a business. I was fed up with the feminization of the church and was not one of those guys that was going to lay down with the little lamb and be soft spoken.
I check out the bulletin board back then, you could just post and wait for a response, it was very old technology, but it worked. I posted a query about joining, being very honest about who I was and how I rode, I expected a very nice note refusing my membership. Instead, I got a call from Brian Philips who was more than glad to have me.
I chatted on the board for a few months before attending my first rally in Ohio. Back then Brian was the only one besides me on a sport bike. Their passion for Christ was real and it felt great to be among Christian believers. My brother Dave had a church in Columbus, and I had shared with Brian about his success in building a church from scratch and turning it into a very large church. Dave was to join us that Saturday evening around the camp fire. In true Brown fashion Dave managed to wreck a borrowed bike on the way to the retreat. He showed up a little banged up, a little stressed out and a little overwhelmed from the experience of sliding off the road with his first crash, and wrecking a friend’s bike.
He joined the group around the campfire and asked only for something to drink. We walked to a cooler to grab something when he shared with me the experience. I told him not to worry, I would take care of the wrecked bike and to just enjoy the evening and relax.
(Bob's brother Pastor Dave Brown)
Before he even sat down Brian asked the question, “So what does it take to build a Christian Group?”
Without a thought Dave replied, “Humility!” he winked at me when he said this, never once sharing with the group, the experience he had on the trip there.
The next rally I attended was in Vermont, it was a rally that consisted of a couple from Nova Scotia who carried their pet ferret on the back of one of their bikes. Brian, me and Dave. While I am sure at first it was viewed as a bust by Brian to have a national rally, with an attendance of four, it became a time to strategize and organize our group. David agreed to pastoral duties. I volunteered to organize a ride in Pennsylvania. I put my skills together as a salesman to sell the ride. Three short months later we held another ride, this time we had 56 riders in attendance.
(Group photo from the 2010 Spring Rally in West Virginia)
(Sharing the scripture at the 2010 Spring Rally in West Virginia)
(Group photo from the 2010 Spring Rally in West Virginia)
David and Brian put the CSBA on its path, prompting manhood and faith in Christ. It was a place that welcomed the young hotshots who wanted to ride a 100 mph plus and pass anywhere, to those who wanted to ride at merely a spirited pace. Everyone was welcome. The word of God was preached and we all had a blast. As simple as it sounds, this was the key to growth, leadership that understood both man’s nature and God’s desire and will for us. The Chaplain duties were passed on to Art Lowman after a few years, our ministry at the track grew with the development of the CSBA racing team. Joe Cotterino would take over as Chaplain, and our group grew even more. Our Chapters went from a handful of people to a growing to becoming a vibrant evangelical group. It took many men but all with a common vision and purpose.
(Photo of Joe Cotterino [left] and Bob Brown [right] - CSBA Racing)
I said in the beginning there is a time and a season for all things. Brian wanted to step down and I was chosen by Brian and Dave to lead. We are one of the few groups that is not run as a democracy, but by the instincts of its leader. I lead the group for years and it continued to grow. Art, Joe and I followed the same path that Brian and Dave had charted.. We grew to include chapters from all over the country and even helped get the Australian chapter started. I still have a very warm spot in my heart for the guys down under and keep up with their happenings and growth. They are only following the model of what works.
Today Brian and I are both gray haired old men. Brian rides a bicycle now pushing his physical limits, I still ride a motorcycle or race a car way too fast continuing to temping fate.
I had always told the chapter leaders in the group, I knew the day would come for me to step down when someone stepped forward because they thought they could do a better job. I encouraged this, as true leadership always develops the next generation of leadership. That day came when Mark Hamm called. I am old enough where the whole Facebook and social media craze was beyond my grasp. The age of the forum was gone, and it required a younger man who could both utilize the newest technology and still identify with a younger group of riders and newer generations of CSBA members. Mark has done a great job; his replacement should be in the wings.
I hope to join you guys on a ride again soon. I hope to maybe one day travel to the Australia to ride with my brothers and sisters down there. I would like to do it while I can still tell the current batch of riders who raised their hand, to ride in the fast group.
“In the fast group we will be riding fast enough to go to jail if caught.” Let the spirit of some of the world’s last real men continue to grow under the banner of Christ and the CSBA.
(Photo riding the dragon on the Tennessee / North Carolina border)
To those who maybe discouraged, twenty years ago this group was started by Brian, who just wanted to ride his motorcycle and fellowship with other Christians, it started out as a group of three men who shared the same thing that all CSBA members still share today.
To encourage and facilitate
View more great photos from the past that have been shared on the CSBA Facebook page