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Meet The Cross Riders, Georgia's First Motorcycle Club

They are united by their love of motorcycles, the open road and a lifestyle that embraces freedom above all else. Meet the Cross Riders, Georgia's first classic motorcycle club. Established two years ago in the capital, Tbilisi, the club reflects the growing popularity of motorcycles in the country. Despite their tough appearance, the Cross Riders Motorcycle Club (MC) stress their members are not engage in criminal activity. They have opened a bar and welcome anyone with an affection for bikes. British journalist and photographer Onnik James Krikorian spent four months with the Cross Riders MC as part of a new series on Georgian subcultures. For more photos by Krikorian, visit his website http://www.onnik-krikorian.com.

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Nikoloz Koberidze, 24, on his motorbike outside the Cross Riders MC clubhouse and bar on a side street past the Tbilisi Opera House.
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Nikoloz Koberidze, 24, on his motorbike outside the Cross Riders MC clubhouse and bar on a side street past the Tbilisi Opera House.

A member of the Cross Riders MC repairing one of their bikes. Locals didn’t object to the bikers locating their clubhouse in their neighborhood, but they did mind the noise of the motorcycles. The Cross Riders will move to a new location at the end of the month.
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A member of the Cross Riders MC repairing one of their bikes. Locals didn’t object to the bikers locating their clubhouse in their neighborhood, but they did mind the noise of the motorcycles. The Cross Riders will move to a new location at the end of the month.

“Some think that we’re just dirty bikers who swear like sailors which is admittedly true,” says 31-year-old Alexander Didsulovani, “but behind that image there’s a whole philosophy of mutual respect and trust.”
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“Some think that we’re just dirty bikers who swear like sailors which is admittedly true,” says 31-year-old Alexander Didsulovani, “but behind that image there’s a whole philosophy of mutual respect and trust.”

This motorcycle is nicknamed ‘Frankenstein’ and belongs to 'Mad Dachi' Gachechiladze.  It is a so-called 'rat bike' and is made with spare parts cannibalized from other motorcycles.
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This motorcycle is nicknamed ‘Frankenstein’ and belongs to 'Mad Dachi' Gachechiladze.  It is a so-called 'rat bike' and is made with spare parts cannibalized from other motorcycles.

‘Mad Dachi' Gachechiladze's makeshift number plate. He is recovering in hospital after being involved in a serious accident in Tbilisi.  His passenger was fortunately thrown clear of the bike and suffered no injuries from the crash.
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‘Mad Dachi' Gachechiladze's makeshift number plate. He is recovering in hospital after being involved in a serious accident in Tbilisi.  His passenger was fortunately thrown clear of the bike and suffered no injuries from the crash.

A Cross Riders MC member repairs one of their motorbikes. 
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A Cross Riders MC member repairs one of their motorbikes. 

Ankara-based Turkish biker Adilhan Adiloglu shows off his rings while visiting the Cross Riders clubhouse and bar.  He traveled from Turkey to Georgia and makes a point of connecting with bikers around the world via Facebook.
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Ankara-based Turkish biker Adilhan Adiloglu shows off his rings while visiting the Cross Riders clubhouse and bar.  He traveled from Turkey to Georgia and makes a point of connecting with bikers around the world via Facebook.

Alexander Didsulovani reclines on his motorcycle outside the Cross Riders club house. As a new arrival, he must ride with the club for up to a year before being accepted as a full member.
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Alexander Didsulovani reclines on his motorcycle outside the Cross Riders club house. As a new arrival, he must ride with the club for up to a year before being accepted as a full member.

Despite their tough image, 23-year-old Cross Riders MC President, Gio Chkhartishvili, says everyone is welcome at the clubhouse and bar.
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Despite their tough image, 23-year-old Cross Riders MC President, Gio Chkhartishvili, says everyone is welcome at the clubhouse and bar.

Cross Riders MC President Gio Chkhartishvili welcomes a guest, David, visiting from Moscow. David is a member of the Rock Machine Motorcycle Club which was formed in Canada in 1986. The club was outlawed for many years until it disavowed its criminal past in 2008.
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Cross Riders MC President Gio Chkhartishvili welcomes a guest, David, visiting from Moscow. David is a member of the Rock Machine Motorcycle Club which was formed in Canada in 1986. The club was outlawed for many years until it disavowed its criminal past in 2008.

Qeti Mindiashvili jokes with one of the Cross Riders MC clubhouse barmaids. “I don’t like the Cross Riders,” she says. “I love them. We are one big family.”
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Qeti Mindiashvili jokes with one of the Cross Riders MC clubhouse barmaids. “I don’t like the Cross Riders,” she says. “I love them. We are one big family.”

'Wolfblood' is a 20-year-old Georgian soldier enrolled at the Gori Military Academy. He is eager to serve in Georgia's military detachment in Afghanistan. He visits the Cross Riders MC bar to socialize with friends.
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'Wolfblood' is a 20-year-old Georgian soldier enrolled at the Gori Military Academy. He is eager to serve in Georgia's military detachment in Afghanistan. He visits the Cross Riders MC bar to socialize with friends.

“More traditional Georgians don’t like anything different and they’ll judge you on everything,” says Meko Tsikarishvili. “The Cross Riders Motorcycle Club is where I can be who I really am.”
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“More traditional Georgians don’t like anything different and they’ll judge you on everything,” says Meko Tsikarishvili. “The Cross Riders Motorcycle Club is where I can be who I really am.”

“Being part of the Cross Riders MC is about a raging thirst for freedom," says 31-year-old prospective member Alexander Didsulovani. "I find it when we hit the road together or when we just get pissed drunk at the bar.” 
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“Being part of the Cross Riders MC is about a raging thirst for freedom," says 31-year-old prospective member Alexander Didsulovani. "I find it when we hit the road together or when we just get pissed drunk at the bar.” 

“My soul is full of wanderlust and I want to see the world," says 21-year-old psychology graduate Khatia Dardzuli. "I like the craziness of the Cross Riders and the free people the club attracts.”
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“My soul is full of wanderlust and I want to see the world," says 21-year-old psychology graduate Khatia Dardzuli. "I like the craziness of the Cross Riders and the free people the club attracts.”

Cross Rider MC member Nikoloz Koberidze.
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Cross Rider MC member Nikoloz Koberidze.

Ankara-based Turkish biker Adilhan Adiloglu at the Cross Riders clubhouse.
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Ankara-based Turkish biker Adilhan Adiloglu at the Cross Riders clubhouse.

Teona Markozia is one of the two barmaids at the Cross Riders MC clubhouse and bar. A contemporary dancer by education, she poses with a baseball bat taken from behind the bar.
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Teona Markozia is one of the two barmaids at the Cross Riders MC clubhouse and bar. A contemporary dancer by education, she poses with a baseball bat taken from behind the bar.

Members of the Cross Riders MC celebrate the arrival and distribution of their jacket patches. Alt-hough formed two years ago, until this summer most had none.
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Members of the Cross Riders MC celebrate the arrival and distribution of their jacket patches. Alt-hough formed two years ago, until this summer most had none.

A group of Polish bikers enjoy a beer with the Cross Riders at their bar and clubhouse. They ​rode in to Tbilisi from Amsterdam to raise money for disabled children.
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A group of Polish bikers enjoy a beer with the Cross Riders at their bar and clubhouse. They ​rode in to Tbilisi from Amsterdam to raise money for disabled children.

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