A church-based, patch-wearing, motorcycle ministry

‘By the grace of God - set free to ride.’


July 29: (level 1) leave at 11:30 a.m. for the “Historic Johnston Farm & Indian Agency/Canal Boat Rides” near the Cracker Barrel in Piqua. Cost TBA.

Aug. 4: (level 3) leave at 8 a.m. for the “All Day Ride to AMA Motorcycle Museum” in Pickerington, Ohio. Cost is $5-10.

Aug. 12 (level 1) leave at 11:30 a.m. for Walneck’s Motorcycle Swap Meet in Springfield, Ohio. Cost TBA.

Aug. 18 (level 3) leave at 8 a.m. for the “All Day Ride to the Motorcycle Rally on the River” in Ironton, Ohio.

Aug. 26 (level 1) leave at 11:30 a.m. for Estelle’s Leather and Dock Restaurant in Enon, Ohio.

Usually a person already has a bike before they join a motorcycle group. This time, it was the other way around. Lee Helton of Tipp City talks about why he wanted to buy a bike.

“I grew up in Dayton; I only went to church a handful of times with my grandmother,” said Helton. “I got into trouble with the law and was doing things I shouldn’t have done. Most of the people I grew up with are either in prison, or they’re dead.”

Then he met his future wife, Shannon. Her parents had sold everything they owned and moved to Romania to take care of handicapped orphans.

“When her dad first suggested I start going to church and be the man of the family, I told him, “You can’t pay me to go to church,’” remembers Helton.

But the nudge to check in out weighed on his mind. Soon afterward, his family, including his stepdaughter, Rachel, went to a Christmas service at Ginghamsburg Church. About six years ago, they started attending every week. A year after that, Helton bought a Harley Sportster Screaming Eagle so he could join another group.

“I noticed that they had a motorcycle club, and three of the pastors were in it. I wanted to join for selfish reasons. I wanted to get a neat patch for my jacket, be part of a group and look cool,” said Helton. “But through the church and Broken Chains, my life has turned around 180 degrees.”

The outreach ministry was formed in 2003 for three reasons: safety, organization, and outreach. Its motto is “By the Grace of God - Set Free to Ride.”

“Since I’ve been a part of this great group, I’ve seen the ministry affect a lot of people for the better,” said Helton, who works as an over-the-road truck driver driving to seven states. “It’s just a good group of people. We share a common bond of riding motorcycles.”

They offer safe, alcohol-free rides and good fellowship with bikers from all walks of life. The group builds community with other bikers with scheduled rides from April through October. In the off-season, they have occasional meetings for socializing and training.

They designate the following levels of riding expertise for your safety:

Level 1: Easy Rider

Designed for beginning riders; these routes are less than 100 miles and stay clear of interstate highways. Enjoy a leisurely pace.

Level 2: Movin' Along Rider

Designed for riders with intermediate skills; these rides may be over 100 miles and include highway riding. For both leisure and fast-paced riding.

Level 3: Lookin' for a Challenge Rider

Designed for the experienced rider; these rides will be long in duration and include interstate travel. Some trips will be overnight destinations.

Today, they are having an “All Day Ride to AMA Motorcycle Vintage Days.” Riders leave at 8 a.m. and will travel to Lexington, Ohio to the “World’s Largest Swap Meet” racing and vintage bike show. The cost is $25, and the ride is Level 3.

If you want to sign up to receive Broken Chains’ ride schedule updates or have questions, call Tony Miltenberger at (937) 667-1069, Ext. 227, or e-mail him at tmiltenberger@ginghamsburg.org.

Ginghamsburg Church is located at 6759 S. County Road 25A in Tipp City. All riders leave from the church’s west parking lot.