Sydney West Riders is a social motorcycling community that was founded by twin brothers Kevin and Steven Lam in June 2012. The group conducts weekly rides every Wednesday to unite other local riders in Western Sydney. Over time, the group grew exponentially to almost 10,000 members (still growing) and became engaged in numerous community projects with charitable organisations and local businesses. This included raising money for Youth Off The Streets (2014), Nepal Disasters (2015), Whitelion (2016), Inspire180 (2017), Kids Under Cover (2018), Fusion Western Sydney (2019) and Reachout Australia (2020). These rides attracted up to 100- 200 riders respectively.
The Sydney West Riders is reaching its 8th year and is still growing rapidly with now almost 10,000 members. It has been a roller coaster of a journey for simple idea by my twin brother Kevin Lam that turned into becoming one of the largest social motorcycling communities in Australia. An idea that created life long friendships, relationships, opportunities, a movement for youths, unity of riders and so much more.
The SWR journey from our late teens had been very exciting, memorable, confronting and emotional. Starting the group together, we had no direction and certainly didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. We were discovering as it goes whilst developing and transforming as individuals. Sharing our story, we hope to inspire others to transform their ideas into reality and even if its not motorcycling, because you never know where it will take you.
It began in 2012, we both managed to save enough to purchase our first bikes after flipping burgers at McDonalds. We struggled through the Learner course of taking grasp the manual proccess of operating the motorbike. There were times where I thought it wasn’t for me but reminded myself that I purchased the bike already.
Purchasing the bike was easy, learning to ride was hard but letting our mum know was the toughest. As a result, we actually bought and left the bikes at a friends house and occasionally visited them to just sit and warm it up.We were so satisfied with the purchase that we wore motorcycle jackets around the house and told her it was a jacket for the snows. After her suspicion, Kevin and I finally had to bring the bikes home.
The moment we arrived home with the bikes, she screamed in shock. Through her eyes I felt that we’ve lost her love and trust . She didn’t talk or look at us and resented us for a good week. Gradually she began to accept our rebellious actions through the help of our sister. She confronted us that if we did anything bad like this again that she wouldn’t be our mother anymore. We acknowledged she didn’t want us to be on bikes because she loved us very much and witnessed many accidents back in her home town, Vietnam.
The start of our riding experience was exciting but somewhat just ordinary. We knew only knew a handful of riders and often used the bikes for just commuting to work or going on cruises locally together. It was until Kevin came up with the idea of creating Sydney West Youth Riders, that things started to change. I was not supportive of the idea at the time and was very against it. I just didn’t think it was appropriate and suitable to have a group led by a learner rider. The real inauthenticy was that i was concerned about being embarrassed and judged. The group started with just me, Kevin and my neighbour Chris Bui. From here we just added whoever we knew and there friends of friends that owned a bike. It was a ripple effect of riders from our area Cabramatta, particularly Asians because of our meet location and early networks. Little did we expect know that our primary Asian based group (at the time) would become targeted among other motorcycling communities later on.
Our first ever SWR meet was on the 14th of June 2012 at Cabramatta Hungry Jacks. I still remember the night vividly and the riders that came along; Chris, Cathy, Troy and Chitra. The goosebumps and excitement of having 4 bikes around you riding at the time was insane. The excitment and feeling we had that night is not even near equivalent to the much bigger rides we have today. I suppose it was a breakthrough for us, something new and something we just didn’t ever think we would be involved in. Despite it being just a short ride through Cabramata and Canley Heights, It was the night that marked the beginning of our extraordinary journey.
Although things were beginning to happen for SWR, my head was with full of concerns, especially not knowing how it all unfold. On the other hand, Kevin was full of passion and energy. He took initiative, did things on his own and stuck to the principles of his first ever group post.