By Travis Miller
May 28, 2014. Every Summer, Len Mink, famed Christian singer-songwriter and television host, takes his motorcycle troupe through the Blue Ridge Mountains on a nearly week-long tour.
The members of Len Mink’s troupe are not what people would expect out of a pack of cross-country bikers. Most of the troupe are practicing church ministers, hailing from as far away as New York, California and Canada.
This year, Twila Bridges, an 80-year-old great-grandmother, joins the troupe.
Bridges, born in 1934, is a founder and the pastor of Agape Live Fellowship in Springfield.
She originally worked as a teacher for 24 years, beginning her career in a one-room schoolhouse.
“I loved my job,” she said. “I loved working with people. I loved the contact with parents.”
Although she loved teaching, she felt compelled by God to leave her profession and focus her energy toward religion. She became an Evangelist for 14 years until she began a weekly Bible study in a friend’s home. Eventually, the congregation grew and she found herself in the position of founding a church and becoming a pastor.
As a pastor, she met Len Mink and his wife Cathy, who are famous for their work in the Christian community, and began to get involved with Mink’s annual motorcycle trek.
In 2010, she bought a motorcycle and planned her first excursion, a 2,800-mile trip across the country with a group of friends. Her friends canceled, but she decided to take the trip anyway by herself. Knowing her family would object to her decision, Bridges attempted to hide the truth.
“I’m just an adventurous person,” she said. “I always wanted to ride. That’s just something I wanted to do, to take the curves on a motorcycle and not in a car. I wanted to ride.”
Eventually, her daughter learned the truth about the trip and protested, expressing concerns of her elderly mother alone on foreign roads.
“I’m not alone,” Bridges said. “God is with me.”
Fearlessly, Bridges set out on her first motorcycle trip, seeing distant corners of America and meeting nothing but friendly people along the way.
Ever since, she has maintained her motorcycle hobby, riding any chance she can get away from work.
“I ride with my husband. We ride any opportunity we get,” she said.
“We take short rides in the evening. Sometimes we’ll take a long ride of 300 miles or so.”
Twila Bridges has been all over the country on her motorcycle, from Virginia to Ohio and the Grand Canyon. Since being involved with Len Mink, she has seen the Blue Ridge Mountains numerous times and she always looks forward to his annual trek.
“I love it. It’s an awesome, awesome experience, the hills and the curves. It’s just gorgeous.”
Twila Bridges and the rest of Len Mink’s troupe will set off, as per tradition, from Cherokee on Sunday, June 8, ending back in Cherokee the following Friday, June 13.
For more information about Len Mink or his motorcycle troupe, visit LenMink.com