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Published by: Random House Canada
Release Date: May 2, 2017
The spiritual godfather of Canadian bikers tells the story of his fascinating life.
You could call Bernie Guindon the Sonny Barger of Canadian bikers (but not to his face). The founder of Satan’s Choice, Guindon led what was in the 1960s the second-largest biker club in the world (after the Hells Angels, which Bernie would join briefly in the early 2000s) to national prominence and international infamy. His life wasn’t all bikes and crime. He was also a medalist in boxing for Canada at the Pan Am Games. That tension between the very rough life he was born into and the possibility for success in the straight world (and how aspirations in each fed his success in the other) layer Guindon’s story, one of the great untold stories in biker history. Friends from the biker world and Guindon’s family have given extensive interviews for Hard Road, including his son, Harley, a convict and outlaw biker himself.
“Hard Road pulses with action and takes you deep inside the realm of outlaw biker gangs. Peter Edwards is a master guide with an eye for detail and the breadth of knowledge to explain the underworld like no one else.”
—Joe Friesen, author of The Ballad of Danny Wolfe: Life of a Modern Outlaw
“Hard Road is a full throttle ride in the fast lane. Peter Edwards accurately chronicles the history of outlaw motorcycle clubs in Canada.”
—Ed Winterhalder, former Bandido and author of Out in Bad Standings
Lucien Guindon gave his youngest son a 25-cent weekly allowance when he was growing up in the early 1950s, but there was a catch. Bernie could only collect it if he punched out his older brother, Jack, in front of often-drunk customers of the family bootlegging business. Lucien peddled his booze from the Guindon family home on Simcoe St. South for double the going price after Oshawa’s bars and liquor stores had closed. “Bootleggers have to be available at all hours,” Bernie recalls. “He’d get woken up early in the morning and late at night.”
Punching out Jack with his bare knuckles wasn’t that tough a chore for young Bernie, even though Jack was 10 months older and scrappy. Bernie had a natural grasp of the footwork, balance and leverage that help make a great fighter, which contributed to his paralyzing left hook. He also possessed a fighter’s inborn desire to be the last one standing, so it wasn’t a particularly emotional thing to put a beating on his only sibling.
Jack was hobbled by a short leg that had never healed correctly after a bad break. He also wasn’t a fighter at heart. In Jack’s perfect world, he would be an altar boy in a grand cathedral and a recreational body-builder. No part of him took joy in trading punches with his younger brother for the promise of a coin he never won….
Personal shortcomings aside, Lucien did attempt to provide his boys with direction, summarized by Bernie as: “Shut your goddamn mouth and keep your ears open.”