Burly, moustachioed men, their biceps covered in tattoos, faces stern; clad in leather jackets and pants, sitting atop sleek and powerful motorcycles. That's the image most people conjure up when they think of bikers, but one Airdrie-based motorcycle chapter has turned the stereotypical image on its head. 

The Bikers Against Bullying Airdrie chapter is anything but surly. This weekend, on Sunday, August 27, the group is hosting its 13th Annual Ride for Bully Awareness. Resident, Corey Ripley, the founder of Airdrie Bikers Against Bullying, explained that these rides are being held in stages across Canada.

1While bikers and their motorcycles may definitely look tough - an Airdrie-based motorcycle group is doing more than just looking tough - they are getting tough on bullying and letting kids know they aren't alone. (Photo provided by Bikers Against Bullying Airdrie)

Earlier this month the group rode to Chilliwack British Columbia, as well as Kamloops. The bikers did take a week off to re-tool their bikes and will be heading out to Swift Current, Alberta, Brandon, Manitoba, Thunder Bay, Barrie and Kitchener, Ontario. Ripley said that registration will also be available at the meet on Sunday in Airdrie, as the group is looking to expand its membership 

Throughout the years, the organization has been a part of many initiatives to not only raise awareness of bullying but also to encourage kids to come forward if they are being bullied. Ripley believes that the success of the group is rooted in its image.

"I remember we did one presentation where we had a guy who has been involved in the program almost since the beginning - we call him Chainsaw - that's his nickname," he said. "He was just such a big hit with the kids. They all had to have his autograph at the end. It was more effective - these messages coming from these guys to the kids. I feel like if a tough guy or gal tells me not to bully, it's cooler than coming from Mrs. Jones [the teacher]."

1An Airdrie biking chapter has turned their 'tough guy' image into force for good. (Photo provided by Bikers Against Bullying Airdrie)

That message and the fact that the bikers have also driven bullied kids to school on their motorbikes resonated with a youth - so much so, that the same youth, years later, told Ripley something no one knew at the time.

"That person reached out and said that when the bikers took him to his elementary graduation, a celebration he didn't want to go to, he had been contemplating suicide," Ripley said. "And told me that us stepping in and giving him that ride was a game changer for him."

But it's not just bullied kids whom Ripley hopes to reach, it's also the bullies themselves. He admits while this may be difficult it is also important to remember that those who bully may also need help.

"They're all great kids, but with bullies - it may be a self-confidence issue. We're just as much here to try to reach the kids that are bullies. If you get one of those bullies and turn them around - you're probably helping 20 kids down the road."

The 13th Annual Ride for Bully Awareness will be held at 212 Custom Cycle (27 Kingsview Road Southeast) on Sunday, August 27, with kick stands up at 1:00 p.m., while registration begins at 11:30 a.m.

In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, DiscoverAirdrie encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the DiscoveryAirdrie app

Send your news tips, story ideas, pictures, and videos to news@discoverairdrie.com. You can also message and follow us on Twitter@AIR1061FM