The members of First United Methodist Church in Spring Hill have made their peace with the fact that their pastor, the Rev. Greg Freeze, is a “casual dressing, Harley riding, high sacramentalist.”
“I've been riding a motorcycle as my main mode of transportation for about 10 years, ever since my kids turned 16 and commandeered my pickup truck,” Freeze said. “I have participated in a few rides with friends, but I’ve had a passion to do something with the church for a long time.”
And now he’s turned his passion into a ministry—Bible, Bikes and Breakfast.
“I take the work of the church very seriously, but I take every opportunity I can to make it fun and reach out to new people,” Freeze said.
Hurricane Irma rescheduled the first ride in September. But when they finally got to rev their engines on Sept. 23, 11 riders turned out.
“The idea is to build friendship and fellowship around a common interest,” Freeze said. “We share a devotion before we ride, discuss the rules for safe riding, give the destination in case someone gets lost, take a ride through the beautiful countryside and find a special place to stop and have breakfast.”
The conversation over breakfast ranged from how long they had been members at First Methodist to what kept them coming back, Freeze said. And then they moved on to motorcycles: how they started riding and what they ride.
“Some of the riders were on special bikes,” Freeze said. “One was on his dad’s Yamaha cruiser that he inherited when his dad died. Another couple was riding their son’s custom bike they inherited after he passed away.”
Most came on Harleys or Yamaha cruisers, except for the one guy who showed up on a sport bike, a Yamaha FJ-09.
“I tried to make him feel better by saying the sport bike was leading all the cruisers,” Freeze said. “Someone else quipped, ‘Yeah…or it could be that all these Harleys are stacked up behind the sport bike looking for an opportunity to pass.’”
The first outing got rave reviews. A second ride was planned for Oct. 21.
“With the weather getting cooler, we hope to have rides each month,” Freeze said. “We have a new destination and a new route to take, never coming back the same way we went.
“Riders are always looking for beauty in God's countryside, the wind in our hair—for those who still have hair—the sense of freedom being out on the open road and riding with friends.”
--Lilla Ross is a freelance writer based in Jacksonville.