Motorcycle rights activist Sputnik dies at 70

Sputnik Strain, 70, of Alvin, a motorcycle activist who strode through the button-down world of the state Capitol wearing a Mohawk and with the word “free” tattooed on his forehead, died Thursday in Elgin.

He had been working at the state office of the Texas Motorcycle Rights Association when he was apparently felled by a heart attack. Strain had just finished lobbying this past session for one of the most comprehensive motorcycle safety bills in the country.

Strain also will be remembered for his determined push to repeal the motorcycle helmet law in Texas. The legislature approved the repeal in 1997.