When the idea to start a newsletter that would help riders find out what was going on in our community formed in my head almost 7 years ago, I went to a number of local businesses, shared the idea, some began advertising right away and the Busted Knuckle Chronicles was born. I look back on my naïveté, my enthusiasm and my passion... I had finally found my home, my place.

I knew NOTHING about computers, nothing about publishing or the internet and I certainly did not understand how important diplomacy is.

I only knew that my community seriously needed some information and communication tools.

I went to all of the local dealerships and bike shops to get them to put the newsletter on their counters. I got approval from the various managers and started making my weekly deliveries, back then we were delivered on Tuesdays. After one such Tuesday I found myself in need of a special bolt for my motorcycle and I went to a local dealer to get one. While at the parts counter, I noticed that there were no news letters in the display stand. Upon investigation I found out that the owner of the dealership had thrown them out because a competitors ad was on the front page.

Well, being new to all of this I messed that whole scene up so bad. I confronted the dealer, he and I had words and to make a long story short I wrote an unflattering article and urged people to contact customer service at the head office if they found the treatment as offending as I did. Any charity I worked with I steered away from that dealer as I had no desire to ever be treated that way again.

Over time, as I grew into this editor’s position I had taken on, I started to realize a whole lot of things. I realized I had acted wrongly all those years ago. That perpetuating a feud, a personality conflict served no one. I wanted to see everyone working together and the entire community benefiting but, I hadn’t done a very good job with my very first encounter with resistance.  If I was to hold true to my beliefs and core values, I knew I had to apologize, I had to let go of the feud.

It took me some time to come to this realization, three years to be exact.
One day I screwed up the courage and prepared to eat some humble pie.

I went to his place of business, I looked him in the eye and told him that what I had done was wrong and that I regretted it. I expressed that I had taken his actions as a personal insult  and that I had been unprofessional. I shook the man’s hand, he said he appreciated the apology and thanked me for coming in.

From then on, I made a point to invite the dealer and its riding club to every function being held with in the larger motorcycle community here.

The riding club as a group has come out to two functions and the dealer to one.
My heart was happy. It appeared we were beginning to get past some of the hurt and animosity.

Recently, I had a discussion with a member of the said dealer's motorcycle group.
I have dealt with this individual over a number of years and have always had a friendly relationship with him. This man had come to me with an idea for Toys for Tots 30th Anniversary and how he and his group had some interest in working with Toys for Tots. Well, I took that information back to our president, he and the board felt it would be terrific for our group to have this riding club working so closely with us.

Things were looking up, wounds were being healed, but apparently not for all.

I phoned this riding club member recently to see how plans were progressing for this special little project and I was told that plans were not progressing and that in fact his chapter had decided to not be involved after all. I was flabbergasted. I did not see that one coming at all.

I asked why. This man had a hard time spitting it out. He tried every way he could to dance around the answer, but finally he told me that I was the reason. It appears that some of the the new executive of this riding club would rather hold on to the old grudge.

He told me that if I had anything to do with the organization of any event, his Chapter would not be a part of it. It appears that this feud has not stopped for some of the members of this dealers riding club after all.

Some people in this riding club took the dealers side in the feud. These members of this dealers riding club have either have no knowledge that I had apologized and have been working at rebuilding a relationship. Or maybe they know but just don't care.

All I know is that for some of them this feud isn’t over.

I volunteer within my community for two reasons.
I like making a difference and it feels good.

I was a volunteer long before I became "Belt Drive Betty"

The two groups I work the hardest for are Toys for Tots and AIM-Can.
Why? Because my daughter was once a child who had a Christmas because of bikers and I have seen so many of my friends get injured or killed over 30 years of being around the riding community.

These two causes hold special meaning in my heart.
To me, when a rider is injured or a child is in need, there is no room for politics.

The rider who is fighting for their life doesn’t care how his or her wife/husband got to their bed side, just that he/she did.

The child who wasn’t so sure they would get a toy for Christmas doesn’t care who gave him/her that toy but that they got one.

I have made many, many mistakes in my lifetime. I have even learned from a few of them.

This is one mistake that I deeply regret. Why?

Because of my faux pas, the very things I believe in the most, community, charity and cooperation have been compromised in my own community.

Charities, wonderful, wonderful causes that deserve support are being denied that support because one very powerful man's riding club either won’t accept my apology and forgive me, they don't know that I did apologize and have been working to correct a wrong or they don't care.

What do you do when no matter what you do or say you can’t right a wrong? 

What do you do when your actions adversely affect the charitable causes you volunteer for?

What do you do when you are "Belt Drive Betty" and you find yourself in that position?

Do I step back and stop volunteering for the causes I believe in, the causes that have supported and sustained me and those I love in our times of need…

Do I stop paying it forward with my time and effort or do I just keep on being me and doing my part?

If I step back will 20 or 30 more step up?

If I step back will it make any difference?

All of our groups and charities are short of volunteers.
If the members of this other riding club would really step up if I bowed out, you bet I’d bow out. It's in the greater good of the community. I would simply sponsor the events of this community if it meant more volunteers would help out.

I am conflicted. I am uncertain and I really would appreciate some feed back and advice because I truly do not know what to do here.

If you were in my shoes, what would you do?

If you are fortunate enough to be riding today, please ride like everyone around you is blind and can't see you.

Belt Drive Betty
National VP - AIM-Can

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