August 22 marked the 5th anniversary of the Centauros Motorcycle Club, El Paso Chapter. They celebrated the event with a charity run for cancer patients here in El Paso. More than 350 persons attended the ride that started at Barnett Harley-Davidson and stopped at various other places like Mulligan’s north. The run had been their first in a few years, but, according to Socorro Chapter Vice President Rogelio Garcia, will continue the club’s charitable work in the area.
Years ago, when a large group of motorcycle riders rode into town, the locals had reason to fear that something
wicked had come their way. It was assumed that a big bunch of guys on bikes were a gang, an assembly of society’s
rebels who scoffed at the law and ran roughshod wherever they wandered.
That bad rap was reinforced by equally bad press. Headlines about bikers causing mayhem were consistently
front-page. When a gang wearing one distinctive motorcycle jacket invaded another gang’s space, brawls would break
out in the bars and other places where they gathered.
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.