Elder bikers in my circle tell stories of being harassed by police and getting turned away from bars, restaurants, and hotels when they were young. Today we enjoy riding without heavy government restrictions throughout most of our country (like no helmets in Wisconsin), are welcomed at most establishments, and celebrate our lifestyle at rallies everywhere.
Have you ever wondered who is responsible for changing the way bikers are viewed? Today, many people consider themselves “freedom fighters” of the biker world, but there is one person who worked to pave the way for today’s freedom fighters and biker’s rights activists. His name is Tony “Pan” Sanfelipo and he is considered a living legend in the biker community.
Since the 1970’s Tony Pan has been known his grass-roots campaigns and informative articles he wrote for magazines like Easyriders, Biker, FTW, Tattoo, Choppers, In the Wind, and many other publications. As a matter of fact, I learned of Tony Pan through his articles on the pages of my stepfather’s Easyriders magazines.
Also in the 1970’s Tony Pan, co-founded a Brotherhood against Totalitarian Enactments (ABATE) of Wisconsin. ABATE fights to keep things like helmet laws, motorcycle parking, licensing, titling laws, and more working for bikers. If you would like to learn more, or fight for your rights as a biker, contact your local ABATE chapter. Most ABATE meetings are open to the public so, sit in on a one or two then consider becoming a member.
Tony Pan is also the founder and National Director of Bikers of Lesser Tolerance (BOLT). This organization takes the fight for biker’s rights to our legislators, and in courtrooms on a “no compromise” mission to correct disinformation, fabricated statistics, and ignorance used to pass laws that endanger our freedoms as bikers.
Despite his style of no compromise, Tony Pan has earned the respect of legislators, politicians, and government officials all over the country and has received many awards and certificates in recognition of his work. In 1996 Tony Pan was inducted into the Easy Riders Hall of Fame in honor of his work with ABATE. In 2002 Tony Pan was the first motorcycle Freedom Fighter to be inducted into the Sturgis Hall of Fame and Museum.
Today, Tony Pan is keeping up his busy pace, on the radio, on television programs, in movies, hosting seminars, teaching conflict avoidance & self-defense classes (yeah, he is a former boxer too), and in his spare time he helps his wife Vicki teach Accident Scene Management classes world-wide from the Road Guardians Compound in Big Bend, Wisconsin. As if all everything else I have mentioned thus far was not enough, for over 25 years Tony Pan has been an Accident Scene Investigator for Hupy and Abraham in Milwaukee, WI.
It is because of people like Tony “Pan” using their educated tongue, a mighty pen, a strong will, and undying determination that we enjoy the biker lifestyle without the discrimination my father’s generation faced in the 60’s and 70’s. Tony Pan Sanfelipo has my vote for role of “Most Interesting Man in the World” on Dos Equis’ beer commercials. I can hear it now, “I don’t always speak out in public, but when I do, it is for biker’s rights.”