Bikers Versus Bullies


noun bul·ly·ing \ˈbu̇-lē-iŋ, ˈbə-\

Definition of bullying: abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger, more powerful, etc. — Merriam-Webster dictionary


So, what can be said about bullying that has not been said before?

We are aware as a society that it is pervasive and not likely to go away. It is in our workplaces, our homes, our schools. It affects people of all ages, from preschoolers to seniors. It is considered part of life.

We have all heard the stories. We have offered our sympathy to the victims of intimidation but have also, no doubt, been guilty of standing by and letting such behavior go unpunished, if not somehow rewarded.

We have heard all the theories:  bullies are processing inferiority complexes; aggression is a learned behavior.

We have also played the blame game: kids need to be tougher, they have to learn to stand up for themselves; schools need to take action; parents need to set a better example. But we know there is no easy solution to this issue, it is a deeply rooted societal disease for which no antibiotic has been found.


(Photos by Charlie Morrison.)


Ride for Xander

Cape Breton has lost three young people to suicide in recent weeks, with bullying believed to have been a factor in all three deaths, forcing us to confront this crisis.

The issue has taken on greater significance for me since, as a member of a motorcycle riding club, I was able to play a small part in helping to raise awareness of the effects of childhood bullying. We do not pretend to have the ultimate solution, but as a group, we were only too happy to lend a hand in any way possible.

It was with great pride (and without prejudice) that a group of us came together on Wednesday, June 21 to support the young man known as Xander who has been the target of bullies. June 21 was about standing proud and shouting loud that bullying cannot and will not be tolerated. I count myself lucky to have been included in this event and consider it an honor to have ridden with and for Xander.

With the help of the Cape Breton Regional Police Department, an estimated 150 bikers made our way from the Prince Street shopping plaza to Harbourside Elementary School in Whitney Pier. The parade was watched by spectators along the way and motorists who cleared a path and welcomed us with chirps of their horns or shout-outs to our honoree, Mr. Xander Rose.



In the wake of this event, we were again asked to ride for awareness in North Sydney, where a community meeting on June 26th gave residents the opportunity to become better informed about the issue and the resources available to those in need.

It’s amazing to see so many bikers come out to fight bullying but it was particularly interesting when you consider the stigma of bikers as bullies themselves.

This, of course, couldn’t be further from the truth as the vast majority of us are your neighbors and friends, your doctors and lawyers, your sisters and brothers — and yes, your mothers and fathers. Now, more than ever before, those of us who ride represent a cross section of the general public who have, without hesitation, made space in our lives for this cause.

So to those bullies of all ages, think about what you’re doing and the harm it causes. Look around and you will discover you have more in common with those you harass than you could ever imagine.





Charlie Morrison


Charlie Morrison is a medic and socially conscious photographer based in Sydney, Nova Scotia. He counts Nairobi, Kibera, Tokyo, New York, Nunavut, Alberta, British Columbia and Germany among the places he has photographed. His work includes portraits of local veterans previously featured in The Spectator.





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