Motorcycles and religion

A welcoming atmosphere for anyone wanting to celebrate religion is the driving force of a motorcycle ride coming up this weekend.

Biker Faith is a brand new ministry started up by a Lexington couple that incorporates both a motorcycle ride starting from Wildcat Harley-Davidson in the morning followed by a tent rally, also at Wildcat, in the afternoon featuring speakers sharing testimonies of their faith.

Ernie and Sheila Martin are both members of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, which encourages all of their members to spread their faith through missionary work. And Ernie, being a rider himself, saw this as an opportunity to create an open environment to spread the joy of his faith.

“There are some people out there that don’t feel like they can go to church, for several different reasons,” Ernie said. “We wanted to make a non-intimidating atmosphere for people to share their testimony.”

The event takes place on Friday and Saturday at Wildcat, and kicks off with a bike ride at 10 a.m. on both days. The two are unsure of exactly where the ride is going to take the riders, but they know for a fact they want to go down the Rattlesnake route, which Ernie calls one of the pinnacle rides through Kentucky. Where it goes from there they will decide closer to the event.

“And as you know a ride through Eastern Kentucky is as beautiful as any ride you’ll get in the world,” Sheila added.

This isn’t to say that the event is only for bikers though, as the Martin’s want to encourage anyone and everyone to come out for the afternoon portions of the two-day event.

To this effect they have added a tent rally to start at two on both days that features guest speakers sharing their own testimony.

This isn’t going to be a like a church environment, the Martin’s said, and they don’t want people to think these speakers will be preaching, or trying to convert people to Christianity.

“We just want to expose people in a loving, open way,” Ernie said. “We can plant that seed that might take root down the line. But if not, that’s OK too.”

Each day will have two separate speakers, so even though the format of the days will stay the same - with the ride in the morning and the rally in the afternoon - guests can go to both events and hear from someone new each time.

Speakers include Gary Shank Parker, founder of Baptist Bikers of Kentucky; Brian Gabbard, pastor of Rocky Hill Mission Church; Dr. Mike Duffy, director of the Gene Duffye Foundation; and Jesse Acosta, pastor of the River of Life Church of God.

Ernie added that there will be time for anyone who wants to get up and share their own testimonies.

Food and music will also be provided at the tent rally throughout the afternoon.

“Motorcycle riders like three things,” Ernie said. “Riding, riding in groups, and eating. And we’re providing all things.”

The event is free to the public but there will be a cost for food, riders can also pre-register online at and receive a free Biker Faith patch.