Good Morning Obots!
I’ve known 2 “Pee Wee’s” in my life, and BOTH rode HARD. Maybe its something in the name. LOL, I don’t know, but here’s another.
An influential leader of the Los Angeles biker community for more than 50 years, John Wesley McCollum, known to everyone as P. Wee, was present at the beginning of the urban biker scene in southern California. An early member of the seminal all-black Defiant Ones MC, P. Wee has lived the black biker experience almost since it started. A Navy veteran riding a 1941 Knucklehead out of San Diego, P. Wee gained a reputation as a lone wolf. A passage in Soul on Bikes: The East Bay Dragons MC and the Black Biker Set, the 2004 memoir by Dragons founder and president Tobie Gene Levingston, explains that P. Wee earned his name because he was a small guy on a big Harley chopper with high handlebars, and every time he pulled onto the L.A. set guys would look at him and shout, “Here comes P. Wee hanging off them handlebars,” and the name stuck.
“I considered myself a young man’s man, so a chopped bike was my way to go,” said P. Wee. “It showed off my chopper, my style, my being. You know – a little of what they call flashiness. “
P. Wee started riding with the Los Angeles-based Defiant Ones in 1957, and moved to L.A. and became a member in 1959. The club was going through a change in leadership, with some members objecting to being branded outlaws, Levingston recalls in Soul on Ice. The Defiant Ones rode choppers and dressed tough, and had a problem being labeled as one-percenters, or gangsters. That element, including P. Wee, broke away and became the Defiant Ones.
“I got to hang out with the boys up here in L.A.,” said P. Wee. “You see things going on in the streets that you like to do, ride around and have fun, play with the girls, crack a beer and whatever else.”
P. Wee became president of the Defiant Ones in 1964, and has served the club in that position several times over the years, drilling younger members on the club’s history and legacy. The club’s current roster includes P. Wee’s grandson, Andrew Thompson.
“I get a lot of respect because of my grandpa,” says Thompson with pride. “I just try to carry the legacy and stay positive with it. He got the people who were acting a mess to be good and calm down on the bullshit they was doing. He got awards for being a part of the community.” While one-percenters are prevalent in the motorcycle world, the biggest shock to anyone outside the circle is how community-driven most clubs are.
The Defiant Ones have always been a Harley-only club, and P. Wee is still an everyday rider, and runs a motorcycle shop.
“Best freedom I ever had was on my bike, man,” says P. Wee. “By the time I put it into fourth gear, I feel like I can take on the world.”