This is the 30th anniversary of the Love Ride that raises money for philanthropic organizations. A kick-off was held at Harley-Davidson of Glendale.
By Michael YEGHIAYAN
The official start to the Love Ride season began with a day of music and festivities at Harley-Davidson of Glendale on Saturday, marking the organization’s 30th annual event. Riders will travel on Oct. 20 from Glendale to Castaic Lake, taking part in an annual tradition that raises money for charity.
Motorcycle enthusiasts and Love Ride supporters gathered to pose for pictures with the Budweiser Girls, enjoyed a car and bike show, and signed up as participants in this year’s ride, set to benefit the USO.
Races in the past have drawn as many as 18,000 participants annually, with a strong turnout expected this year for the organization’s 30th anniversary.
Over the past three decades, over $24 million has been raised for a number of various charities. The event has seen significant growth over the years, earning the distinction as the world’s largest single-day motorcycle event.
This comes as little surprise to John Berman, a volunteer with the Love Ride who has been riding motorcycles since being introduced to them by his father at the tender age of 9. He summarized the attitude of most riders with two words: “brotherhood” and “philanthropy.”
“They might look scary in an alley, but they will open their wallets for charity without thinking,” said Berman.
“Unless you are here, you aren’t going to understand the brotherhood. A lot of people wouldn’t expect the generosity, but these guys have the biggest hearts.”
With the event marking the beginning of the Love Ride season, announcements and a first push for fundraising efforts will continue in the coming weeks. Jay Leno returns this year as the grand marshal with Jackson Browne headlining a concert at Castaic Lake.
The scope of this year’s event is expected to be bigger, with the organization planning on reaching out to all of Southern California’s riders. The ride’s coordinators hope to draw a broad group of participants and volunteers.
“Volunteers form the backbone of the Love Ride,” said Berman. “We count on the hundreds who turn out to contribute to the event and they do a great job.”
This year’s fundraising will also resemble a grassroots campaign, with participants encouraged to seek out a broader range of modest donations.
Participants will also have the ability to create a profile page on the Love Ride website, making them able to share the event with friends and family through email and on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
For more information on the Love Ride, visit www.loveride.org.