Inaugural Midwest Solidarity Ride reunites IBEW Motorcycle Club members from across the country

By SHERI GASSAWAY
Correspondent

MIDWEST SOLIDARITY RIDE: IBEW members in Electrical Worker riding clubs across the country turned out in force for the Inaugural Midwest Solidarity Ride in St. Louis, sponsored by IBEW Local 1’s riding club. Here, IBEW cyclists leave the Henry Miller Museum, where the IBEW began and held its first convention in 1891. – John Kahrhoff/IBEW Local photo
THE GATEWAY ARCH: Participants of the ride gathered for a photo on the steps under the St. Louis landmark The Gateway Arch, which is the tallest monument in the United States standing at 630 feet. – Bill Keith/IBEW Local 1 photo

For years, motorcycle enthusiasts belonging to International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) riding clubs looked forward to the annual East Coast Solidarity Ride.

It was a time for IBEW brothers and sisters from coast-to-coast to unite in union solidarity and tour an area while enjoying each other’s company and the scenery on the open road from their motorcycles. Then COVID hit and the East Coast Ride came to a screeching halt.

But the solidarity of that ride was missed sorely. That’s why IBEW Local 1’s motorcycle club, which began in December 2019, decided to start a Midwest version of the ride, and it turned out to be a great success with 140 participants.

IMPRESSIVE
“We just wanted to bring everyone together again and experience that solidarity,” said IBEW Local 1 Business Agent Chuck DeMoulin, who serves as the riding club’s treasurer. “As one of the club’s founding members, it was heartwarming and impressive to see the work our members put into the event to make it such a success.”

On July 29, IBEW members from California to New York converged at the newly renovated IBEW Local 1 Hall in St. Louis for a barbeque. Registration for the ride began at the hall the next morning, and kickstands were up by 9 a.m.

The group rode to the famous St. Louis landmark The Gateway Arch, which is the tallest monument in the United States standing at 630 feet.

MAKING HIS MARK, an IBEW Local 245 member with the Toledo, Ohio riding group signs his name and union local on a beam with other electricians’ names and locals in the basement at the Henry Miller Museum. – John Kahrhoff/IBEW Local 1 photo

WHERE THE IBEW BEGAN
After some photos, the group rode to Ballpark Village, had lunch and then headed to the Henry Miller Museum and Founders Park at 2728 Dr. Martin Luther King Dr., where Henry Miller, IBEW’s first president, and nine other men founded the IBEW and held its first convention in 1891.

IBEW Local 1 purchased the abandoned building, and undertook a $6 million all-union restoration in 2015, returning the building to its original style as much as possible so visitors could see what Miller saw in his day. The museum and park opened in 2016.

Ride participants spent a couple hours touring the building and park, learning about IBEW history and signing their names and locals on the building’s beams in the basement. All of the proceeds from the ride were donated to the museum.

“We thought it was important that we give back to the museum,” DeMoulin said. “It’s something that belongs to all electrical workers because it’s where the IBEW began.”

HONORING HISTORY: IBEW members also visited the Henry Miller Museum and Founders Park, which opened in 2016. IBEW Local 1 purchased the abandoned building and managed all the renovations made by the various St. Louis union trades. – John Kahrhoff/IBEW Local 1 photo

After touring the museum, participants drove back the Local 1 hall for dinner, an awards program and raffles and prizes.

The inaugural ride was dedicated to the memory of journeyman Phil Van Tine, a founding member of the Local 1 riding club who helped in the planning of the ride. He unexpectedly passed away June 25 at age 61.

SAFE
Local 1 Riding Club President Norm Moss, Jr. credited the St. Louis Mayor’s office and the St. Louis Police Department for its assistance in leading the group through the city.

CARDINALS NATION: Members from the IBEW Local 245 riding club in Toledo, Ohio check out a popular destination for St. Louisans – Cardinals Nation and had lunch during the ride. – John Kahrhoff/IBEW Local photo

“We are detail oriented and some of our members drove the route six to 10 times because we wanted to ensure a safe ride,” Moss said. “We turned in our plans for the ride to the city and they were a great help. The turnout for the event was spectacular, and members were impressed by the city.”

NEXT YEAR’S RIDE
DeMoulin said there are 52 IBEW riding clubs in the United States and eight in Canada. He’s hoping next year’s Midwest Solidarity Ride will take place in another location like the Ozarks, Kansas City or Chicago.

For more information on joining the IBEW Local 1 Electrical Workers Riding Club, call Moss, Jr. at 314-540-7886 or DeMoulin at 314-226-7870.

To see additional photos and videos from the event, visit https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjA1cHa.


 

One Comment

  • I am a retired member of LU #697,Gary,Hammond In. I am now living in Hudson Fl and am looking for riders to ride with and be apart of. A list of locals with riders would be great.

    Thank you brothers and sisters.

    Reply

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