The first Sikh Motorcycle Club in Australia was formed in April 2015 and already has 30 members and their first female member.
One of the founding members, Daljeet Singh, says the aim of the club is to “just enjoy Australia”, but they also attend a lot of charity rides and have contributed thousands of dollars to diverse charities.
“As new immigrants over the past eight to 10 years we are so busy in our lives making a living and paying the bills that we tend to forget about ourselves,” he says.
“So we are getting people out and enjoying the roads and beautiful weather.”
Daljeet says he was riding on his own and was introduced to some other Sikh riders who then decided to organise the club which has no single leader but is run by a committee of five.
“There are Sikh motorcycle clubs in Canada, the US and Punjab, so that’s why we started,” he says.
“Then people started asking us to attend charity events, so we have.
“We haven’t organised our own yet, but we support Khalsa Aid which is an international aid organisation based in the UK and doing work in Syria, Nepal and everywhere they are needed.
“We have also supported events such as Australian Sikh Support and supported the Brain Cancer Foundation and a lot of other things.”
The Springvale Sikh Community in Melbourne has even held a special celebration at the Town Hall to honour them for their charity work.
While initiated male and female Sikhs must cover their hair with a turban, Sikh Motorcycle Clubmembers wear a bandana-style scarf underneath their helmets.
“In Canada and the UK they can ride with turbans, but here we aren’t allowed,” he says.
“We were actually fined riding out of a temple celebration with turbans on instead of our helmets.
“But that’s not the reason why we started wearing helmets.
“It’s how we feel. We respect wearing the turban, but because the law doesn’t allow it we wear a little scarf underneath the helmet.”
Surprisingly most of the members ride Harleys, not Indian-made Royal Enfields.
“Riding has always been my passion,” Dal meet says. “I had a Yamaha RD350 and a Vespa in Punjab and most of our guys had Royal Enfields.
“But if you ask any Punjabi boy what bike he likes, he’ll say Harley. It’s like the dream bike of everyone riding back home.”
When Daljeet arrived in Australia eight years ago, he bought a Yamaha Dragster 650, then a Harley Sportster 1200, then Softail Deluxe which he has retained as a show bike. He also has a Street Glide for touring.
He says others in the club own a variety of bikes, but his closest friends Param and Harry ride Harleys and their first female member, Swati Sharma, rides a Harley Street 500.
“We want more females to join,” he says.
There are more than 150,000 Sikhs in Victoria alone and the club has received inquiries from Sikhs in other states to take the club nationwide. The club can be contacted through their Facebook page.
Sikhs believe in one god and the teachings of 10 gurus. Sikhism began in the 15th century in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent.