A NEW FRIENDSHIP
Ron "Hot" Rodden and "Indian" Bill (During the summer of 1974) took off after a night of partying with no rest in between from the city of Oakland to Calistoga for a motorcycle event. Upon the arrival to Calistoga, Ron noticed a 1945 Army style Flat Head, he asked who the owner of the classic was? A man named Eppie stepped forward... Ron introduced himself and said, "nice looking bike. I really like it." This was the start of one of the friendships Oakland Stroke Motorcycle Club would eventually rise from.
OAKLAND STROKE IS BORN
One night, on their way back from a Carlos Santana and Tower of Power concert in San Francisco, Ron and some of the guys were on the Bay Bridge headed back to Oakland. The album, "Back to Oakland," and the song, "Oakland Stroke," by "Tower of Power" came to mind they started singing it and inspiration just hit. Right then and there, on the way back to Oakland in 1977, it was agreed that the new club would be dubbed - Oakland Stroke Motorcycle Club. The founders being Oakland boys, were avid fans of the Raiders Football team. So for this reason, it was decided that the colors of this new club would be Black and Silver. The patches were made and the members of Oakland Stroke were ready to ride!
The Moon-Dog / Gargoyle Original Colors 1977
Photo of a Moon-Dog... but not the original picture the idea was taken from.
THE DORMANT YEARS
During this time many clubs came and went. Oakland Stroke partied and rode with the best of them. Unfortunately, too much partying and not enough organization soon caused Oakland Stroke MC to fall by the wayside. all though the club was never officially disbanded, there came a time when Ron the president and founder of the club felt compelled to collect the Oakland Stroke patches from the remaining members. However he let a couple of his close friends keep theirs and told them. If you choose to start it up again, you have my blessing. From that point, the club lie dormant until 2007.
Ron's life during these dormant years of the club was far from dormant. Partying became his business and he knew it well. He was known by those in his circle to have the finest women, beautiful custom cars and bikes, the best parties, he had a ton of admirers and an endless supply. Although he soon gained a great deal of success and popularity, by the late 1980s Ron came to the realization that he didn't like where his life was going. He had become someone that he did not like and saw that his life needed a drastic change. So the partying for Ron ended and he embarked on a new spiritual path. Ron being an avid motorcycle enthusiast, took his bikes along with him on this new path. Ron enjoyed riding cross country and attending Sturgis Rallies every year. On the way to one of the Strurgis Rallies, Easy Rider Magazine, was taking pictures of riders and captured Ron in a shadowy silhouette with the sun setting in the background. The people of "Easy Rider" liked this picture of Ron so much that they decided to make it the cover of one of the issues. Ron passed on his love for riding to his sons, Marty and Craig, who eventually rode Ron's bikes as they grew up. Ron and Craig bonded through riding and rode often, they enjoyed Father's Day runs and rode cross country together. Ron also was part of a group that founded another club called B.A.D. MC, Bikers Against Drugs in the early 1990"s which stayed together for some time. He became someone people admired again but for all the positive things he accomplished.
Craig had a 1958 Pan-head that he bought from "Indian" Bill. Craig wanted to put that bike in the 1998 Grand National Roadster Show, but it needed some work.Craig and Eppie teamed up to work on the bike to get it ready for the event. Ron was also working on his own bike to enter in the same show. Ron inherited this bike from "Indian" Bill who passed away in the late nineties while living at Ron's house. Ron wanted to fulfill a promise to himself and Bill that Ron would complete the bike and enter it into the show. He -dubbed the bike "Bill's Bagger." Both Ron and Craig walked home with second place trophies each, in their class.
Ron at the Roadster Show with "Bill's Bagger 1998
Ron became busy with his other fulfilling life pursuits but he always made time to ride. Craig and Eppie bonded while working on the ‘58 Pan-head and started riding a lot together. They would go to various organized rides and runs and do their own riding. Craig, on occasion, would mention that he wanted the to start up a motorcycle club and bring back Oakland Stroke. Eppie wasn't ready at the time because he was raising his family and the idea just didn't feel right. Neither of them could have anticipated the events that would come to pass.
RON’S PASSING AND OAKLAND STROKE’S RESURRECTION
In late 2006, Ron had a series of strokes that left him physically incapacitated. Craig took it upon him self to call Ron's friends telling them what happened. About a month later, Eppie received a distressed call from Craig saying that if he wanted to see Ron one last time he should come back to Oakland, He made it in time to see his old friend Ron's face light up the way he remembered it.While alone with Ron in his hospital room he said,"Ya -know Ron, in all these years, I've never been able to capture the magic we had as friends." Referring to the times back in the days of riding with Oakland Stroke. Ron smiled and nodded vigorously in agreement, Not being able to speak because of his strokes. A short month later, Ron passed peacefully at home on April 19, 2007. Craig and family lost a father, many people lost a friend and the world lost a great man.
After Ron's first couple of strokes, while he still had his speech, Ron requested to be cremated. He also requested to have his ashes along with the ashes of his great friend "Indian" Bill (that Ron kept in his glass cabinet since the late nineties) to be spread together. "Take our ashes and spread them through the hills of Altamonte" Ron said to his two sons, Marty and Craig. Ron loved to ride through those hills with all the peaceful windmills on his way to one of his favorite stops– the Mountain House. Craig learned how much his father loved those windmills after talking with his dad's close friend Jimi K who often rode through the hills with Ron. Jimi knew of the perfect spot and took Craig to where he and Ron had stopped and admired the peaceful windmills.They both knew that it was the perfect place to spread the ashes.The only thing left to carry on Ron's wishes was the Memorial Ride. Craig gathered as many of Ron's riding friends available to participate. With Eppie still having his old set of the Oakland Stroke colors and Craig having two left from Ron. Craig made sure the colors were worn by family (Craig and his cousin Ken Potter) The ride was graceful, with over twenty bikes present. Before setting out on the ride through the Altamonte Hills,The riders went to visit Ron's memorial site at the Mountain View Cemetery where they all prayed and had themselves and their bikes blessed with some of the ashes from both Ron and "Indian" Bill. With the original Oakland Stroke patches leading the pack, some former members of B.A.D. together with other good friends of Ron rode through the Altamonte hills as Craig let some of the ashes of Ron "Hot" Rodden and "Indian" Bill be carried on the wind.
After the ride, Craig, and Ken discussed the idea of resurrecting the club. This would be a difficult job, they thought, as Eppie, the only original member of Oakland Stroke, interested was living in Las-Vegas. Eppie told Craig and Ken "I may not be able to come back for some time and it could be a year or more, if at all.
Soon after, Craig called Jimi K. asking if he would be interested in being a part of resurrecting the old club to honor Ron's passing. Jimi thought this was a great idea and told Craig that he would get in touch with some of the former members of B.A.D. and other close friends of Ron. All the men agreed this would be a great way to honor Ron, their friend, mentor and original founder/president of Oakland Stroke. Craig, and the new members were now in place, ready to resurrect the old MC
While admiring the old colors, Craig wanted to give the patches a more modern look and feel without losing the original overall idea. His idea of replacing the moon on the original patch with a human skull adding red and moving the MC to the bottom, fit well, the new center patch was made the top and bottom rockers were kept original. All of the members loved the updated version and it was unanimously agreed that this would be the new patch for Oakland Stroke. Oakland Stroke Motorcycle Club rides today with the spirits of Ron "Hot" Rodden and "Indian" Bill riding with them freely in the wind…That's our story and we're sticking to it.
Ron (HOT) Rodden Ride Free - In the wind Forever
You are missed and will not be forgotten