Georgia: Bikers' Club Travels Its Own Road, Despite Challenges

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Members of the Cross Riders MC celebrate the arrival and distribution of their jacket patches.

They have their own rules and lifestyle, but stress that they’re not criminal.

Rather, the 15 members of Tbilisi’s Cross Riders Motorcycle Club see motorcycles as an opportunity to travel immersed in their surroundings. And, essentially, to be free.

“The main purpose of establishing Cross Riders was to gather like-minded people who don’t give a damn about the sun and the moon and who are only about riding,” explained the club’s 23-year-old president, Gio Chkhartishvili. “It’s never happened before in Georgia, so it’s fresh and new for everyone.”

But to pursue that dream in Georgia, where well-paying jobs run scarce, can be a challenge.

While some of the Cross Riders have jobs, with a few working for the Georgian Post Office or in IT and marketing, others are unemployed. A bar allows the two-year-old motorcycle club (MC) to cover its costs and help out members who sometimes can’t even afford gasoline.

Some take out bank loans to import their motorcycles. Others buy used bikes locally. One member even put together his own “rat” bike — an old motorcycle kept running by cannibalizing parts from anything that can be used.

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Onnik Krikorian is a freelance journalist and photojournalist reporting in the south Caucasus.

Georgia: Bikers' Club Travels Its Own Road, Despite Challenges

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