Yesterday’s ride for Brantford’s Lansdowne Centre wasn’t your run of the mill gathering of bikers.
For starters, it was the biggest ride I’ve ever been on and one of the bigger ones around. More than 500 bikes went out and more than 200 passengers road along. It was difficult to get a picture of what so many bikes looks like but I tried to capture the rows upon rows of them.
There were big bad Harleys and luxurious Gold Wings and Valkeries and crotch rockets and one trike up front, ridden by Chris the founder of the ride with Bernice and me right behind him. It’s an unimaginable kick to look in the rear-view and see bikes as far as one can see. The 70 km ride took us through Brantford, north and east to Paris and back down again through beautiful countryside.
But the most amazing part wasn’t that $62,000 was raised or that it was the most professionally organized event I’ve ever co-emceed. It was the police escort. Usually on a group ride for charity the officers get the parade of partakers through the city and then wave us goodbye. Not these guys and gals, partly because of the sheer size of the group and partly because of who they are as people. About a dozen motorcycle cops and a couple of cruisers took us on the WHOLE ride! Lights flashing, sirens blipping at intersections, we would not have had to put our feet down once if not for a couple of foolish car drivers on Colborne Street who apparently thought getting in our way was what they were supposed to do. It was an amazing ride, coordinated perfectly by smiling, happy officers from several forces including Brantford, London and Hamilton. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I later joked to the crowd that I was afraid I’d ignore the traffic lights and forget to use my turn signals on the way home! It was so much fun. They kept us safe and moving. And they were all off-duty and doing this on their own time. Many of them raised money on their own for Lansdowne Centre too.
May the force be with you!
They were called to the foot of the stage to be recognized for their contributions.
All in all it was a great day. It’s no wonder so many riders come out for the tour, the BBQ and to help support the Centre that provides care and learning for children with special needs. I’d like to get a gaggle of riders from London to go with me next year. Maybe I can get tips on the powers of persuasion from the woman who raised nearly $5,000 all on her own!