Jan 102010
 

This morning, over the proverbial cup of coffee and Sunday Times (i.e. leftover pizza, Diet Coke, and checking my fave blogs), I came across a nice little article from the Toronto Star by author Bill Taylor.  It is a short story and interview with Don Norris, an early president of the Satan’s Choice Motorcycle Club.  You may know them from the patch over with the Hells Angels in 2000.  Anyway, it is a nice read and a great way to start your Sunday.  If it is not too cold where you are (ie- you live in SoCal cause the rest of the country is friggin’ frigid right now), then enjoy your bros, have a beer for me, and just cruise.  For the rest of us it is a good way to kick off a day of wrenching, picking up around the garage, and hanging with friends or family.  I am going to play with my girls, toss a ball for the puppy, and tinker with the sidecar rig to see if I can get closer closer to getting it back in rotation… said girls and puppy would appreciate the riding when it warms back up.

Love, Respect, and Club Life,

ArtBiker

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Jan 09, 2010

Bill Taylor

Special to the Star

BOLTON–”You don’t look like a bad-guy biker.”

In certain circles, saying that could get you punched out.

Don Norris smiles. “Thank you,” he says.

With his white hair, gentle demeanour and blue, knitted slippers, he doesn’t look like a one-percenter.

Except for the “Department of Homeland Security” T-shirt, which shows a bunch of long-haired motorcyclists.

And the tattoo: a grinning devil’s head and the name Satan’s Choice.

Norris was an outlaw, all right. President of the Choice back in the early ’60s.

Who else in this comfortable sub-division off Hwy. 50 could sit in his living room and jog his memory with, “That would be the night the Vagabonds beat the s – – – outta me?”

Satan’s Choice was front and centre in the famous “patch-over” of 2000-01 when members of several Ontario clubs became Hells Angels. Norris was long gone by then. But he’s still close to a number of guys who live the outlaw life.

“Friends are friends,” he says. “They’re good people.”

If he more resembles a retired scoutmaster, well, he’s been that, too. And a karate instructor. He may be 67 but you wouldn’t want to cross him even now.

“I’m not a tough guy any more,” he says. “I’ve had heart problems and diabetes. I would avoid a fight. But, still, some things are ingrained.”

He most wants to be thought of as a writer, author of the self-published memoir Riding With Attitude.

You can order it from him (email donnorris©rogers.com) for $22.50 plus $2.50 postage, or from Chapters/Indigo. If you see Norris at a rally, 20 bucks and it’s yours. This weekend, he’ll be selling copies at his own booth at the motorcycle Supershow at the International Centre.

Norris is retired from the trucking industry and lives with his wife, Carolyn, and a cat named Riggs, after the Mel Gibson character in Lethal Weapon.

He has four children, who are “fascinated by the biker stuff,” and six grandchildren. He no longer carries a “gator-skinner” knife with a 30-centimetre blade, or rides with three sticks of dynamite wrapped up in his bedroll – “another of my quirks.”

It was through one of his son’s scouting activities that he became a troop leader. “I always get a kick out of the people who say, `I can’t believe you were in Satan’s Choice,’ ” says Carolyn. “Or, `I can’t believe you were a scoutmaster.’ ”

Riding With Attitude is sometimes lurid. Norris writes of losing his virginity “with Lulu in the Golden Hawks’ clubhouse … while the guys sat around drinking and watching.”

He opens a window into a time when outlaw bikers were hellraisers who hadn’t yet been tarred with the “organized crime” brush. That’s a label that irks him mightily.

As a teenager in Scarborough, Norris earned 35 cents an hour “as a carhop at a drive-in restaurant – no roller skates. I’d saved 100 bucks and I knew some fellers who belonged to the Saddle Tramps club. Through them, I bought a ’52 Triumph.”

(Biker clubs then weren’t mandating that their members ride Harleys.)

“I hooked up with Satan’s Choice and a year later I became president. That would be 1959 or ’60. There was only one chapter back then, about 45 members. We hung out at Aida’s restaurant at Kingston Rd. and St. Clair Ave. There were no initiation rituals. You just needed a motorcycle and $3 for the patch.”

What was it like being in Satan’s Choice?

“Party, party, party,” Norris recalls with a grin. “And some ongoing rivalry with other clubs. The Black Diamond Riders tended to try to wipe out other clubs. I was beaten up a few times.”

And beat up people himself?

“Of course. It was all challenges. You can’t reject a challenge.

“We were treated with respect by people, given a wide berth wherever we went. They saw your patch and they stepped aside.”

The Choice disbanded temporarily in 1963 but Norris joined the Swamphawks and Golden Hawk Riders. “And I was always very friendly with the Para-Dice Riders.”

He spent most weekends at Bernie Guindon’s house. It was Guindon, co-founder of the Phantom Riders, who in 1965 masterminded an amalgamation of his club, the Canadian Lancers, the Throttle Twisters and the Wild Ones.

Satan’s Choice was reborn.

The four club presidents visited Norris to see what he thought of the idea.

“I could hardly contain my enthusiasm,” he writes. “I loaned them my old crest as a sample and told them where they could be made. For aiding in the new beginning, I was presented with a new set of colours.”

But Norris was a family man by then and never went back to the Choice.

“Do I miss it?” he says. “Not really. I’m enjoying saner times. Would I live in that culture again? Yes, absolutely.”

He owns a 1997 Honda Gold Wing that he’s ridden all over the continent.

“Most of my neighbours have no idea about any of the biker stuff,” he says. “They know I ride. Maybe that’s what keeps them away!”

His wife had no idea either when they met “or I wouldn’t have touched him with a 10-foot pole!”

Norris looks at her in mock disbelief. “I never could talk her into getting a `Property of Satan’s Choice’ tattoo.”

He backs his Gold Wing out into the rain for pictures.

“Where do you want me?” he asks. “By this tree?”

Sure. Unless you’d like to ride around the block and look as if you’re terrorizing the neighbourhood.

His wife laughs. “He’s the quietest guy on the street.”

In certain circles, saying that could get you punched out.

Norris smiles. “Thank you,” he says.

Toronto Star

http://www.wheels.ca/newsFeatures/article/783681

  11 Responses to “When Satan’s Choice drew a line”

  1. I DO MISS ALL BEST CULB LIKE SATAN’S CHOICE
    AND PARA DICE RIDER AND OUTLAWS AND ALL OTHER
    CULB IT WAS A BAD THKING WANT THE HELL
    ANGEL COME TO ONT

  2. I just want to say that Bernie Guindon is one of the best men I’ve ever met in my life. He’s done exceptionally nice things for me like help out with one of my 1st recordings done in the best recording studio around. I’m just finishing a new CD and one of the tracks from that recording session I’ve re-recorded it and I’m making sure Bernie has a copy of it.
    He’s a man of his word, a true born leader, a hard worker and all I can think is good things when I think of Bernie. He taught me alot about life and people when I was younger. People think because of SCMC that he’s this bad wicked man. Well all I know is besides my Father (RIP) that Bernie is the most honest man I know.
    If you read this Bernie, please contact me at thechriswilsonband@hotmail.com I’d love to show you what I’ve accomplished in music. You would be proud of me Bernie.
    I sure do miss you. Much love & respect to you!
    Chris Wilson-THE CHRIS WILSON BANDD OSHAWA http://www.myspace.com/509607257

  3. I hear ya Don… I personally missed the good years of the Choice, though I knew and respected Bernie and several other patched friends around the Oshawa / Port Perry area. Great times.
    I miss the brotherhood of the erra, but out here in Medicine Hat now, ya can’t get more than 2 guys to agree on a coffee shop, never mind committing to and supporting a club.
    Now a days, I mostly ride solo (with my memories) or with my wife. What a trooper, she rode 7K on a Sporty without a wind shield this summer on our trip from Alberta to Sturgis, to PD13 and back.Loves it.
    Anyway good to get your take on things now. And keep on, keepin’ on, eh.
    Paul Skinner

  4. Fond memories!

  5. Crusin down memory lane any of you old guys know if Sweat is still kicking Im going back to 71-72 for this one

    Still got some of PDR Pete’s art work bout 1/4 sleeve worth

    Dont know if the angles was a good or bad thing- i have my own floor to sweep down here in Texas

  6. Recently I’ve been doing some reminiscing about the good old days when I lived in Oshawa, ON. One of the stories my dad told me was of a school age Reggie Hawks, founder of Golden Hawks MC. Reggie and my dad attended Mary Street P.S. This school had 2 levels with only stairs (no elevator). Reggie didn’t have legs so my dad would carry Reggie up the stairs to attend classes. I thought this to be an extremely kind deed!
    Does anyone out there remember Reggie and if so can you please share your thoughts and/or experiences of this fellow? Thanks

    Jeanette Marchant

    Jeanette

  7. Wow i remember the first time i saw the a pack of bikes at morning side and lawrence the club house was just down the street form my house man that was the coolest thing i had ever saw i have always held you i high regard with nothing but repect peace to all you brothers

  8. When will the Mc world learn that the patch over by the HA is bullshit. It is a from to overcome and take over without fighting ” the art of fighting without fighting” the 81ers in the end get rid, use and abuse the patchovers…

  9. looking for info on a biker named bob the hairdresser looking for my mother……, please respond terylyn@hotmail.com

  10. Hi i hope someone can help me and answer some of my questions. I am looking for my mother she went missing roughly late 80’s early 90’s i was about 17 the last time i saw her. Aparantly she left to Vancouver with her boyfriend Bob the hairdresser a member of the Oshawa chapter of the Satan’s Choice. Her name is Dianne Gregoire she also went by Lady Di and Stinky. If anyone remembers her or Bob the hairdresser or knows what happened to her after she left Oshawa please reply to me.
    …………..Please respond to…… terylyn@hotmail.com ……..or this blog

    Thank you

  11. I just watched the show on bio with Bernie Guindon…Im a little too young to remember Satans Choice so it was a very interesting show to watch. Bernie seems like a good guy, AND hes pretty hot for an old man=0) I wish him and his family all the best…Amanda PEARLAND, TEXAS

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