Look bad. Do good. This is the motto long-time biker John Baker and his son, James, have been using since mounting their Harley Davidson motorcycles in Vancouver on July 29. They’re in the middle of what is a 39-day trek across Canada to fulfil a shared dream of biking the nation and of raising money and awareness about autism.
The love of motorcycles for John and his 29-year-old son, both of whom sport the leathers and tattoos stereotypical of bikers, is a natural passion.
John remembers years ago throwing an 11-year old James on the back of his motorcycle to help the lad finish his paper route.
The pair’s passion for raising awareness about autism is also based on love.
James’ 4-year-old cousin, Jude, has the neurological disorder.
In Richmond Hill on Tuesday, the father and son — known simply as Bikers for Autism — plan on ending their journey St. John’s. N.L., on Sept. 3.
Originally, John was going to ride solo — simply for the fun of it — after retiring as a tugboat captain.
James, the manager of a Vancouver sports bar and an organizer of autism fund raisers in the past, approached his dad with the idea of the cross-country ride.
John’s wife, Debbie, booked the hotel accommodations, and a goal of raising $100,000 was set.
“A light went on in my head ... We can fulfil our lifelong dream of riding across the country and raise money and awareness for a great cause,” said James, adding that complete strangers have reached out to the pair via social media to offer a “hot meal” or beds for the night.
According to Autism Speaks Canada, autism is “a complex group of disorders of brain development,” with symptoms including difficulties in social interaction and problems with communication.