Riding a motorcycle is always a feel-good event. But when you combine your riding pleasure with a cause for the greater good of society, benefiting those less fortunate, the experience and personal satisfaction is elevated beyond the common Sunday morning ride.
As a group, motorcyclists are some of the most charitable people in the world – riding millions of miles each year while generating millions of dollars for a variety of good causes. Anyone can donate some money, but only motorcyclists can bring attention to a cause through the simple act of riding en masse with like-minded motorcyclists. Even participating in your local, annual toy run counts, but for those desiring something more, we’ve generated a list of a few larger, longer feel-good causes supported by motorcyclists. Many of which have been going on for decades.
For a little feel good, motorcycle inspiration, check the Dream Rangers video from a few years ago. Yes, it’s an advertisement for a bank, but it’s based on a true story and it certainly tugs at your heart strings as it displays the softer side of motorcycling.
10. The Bikers Reunion
Bikers Reunion has two stated goals: to be a fun, family-oriented weekend celebrating the sport of riding motorcycles, and to raise funds to help people who are battling cancer through the Timiskaming Hospital Community Cancer Care Unit. Timiskaming, for those few people unfamiliar, is New Liskeard-adjacent, on the shores of Lake Timiskaming, in Ontario, Canada. which is where the rally happens (read our rally report from 2013). The Rally became an annual event in 2004, and has donated almost $1 million to the hospital over its history. This year, the Rally goes off June 25-28. See the Cannonlady get shot out of a Canadian cannon. Groove to the life-like tunes of CCR cover band Green River Revival. Win a 2015 H-D Road King. Drink tons of Labatt Blue (it’s Canada), but, if you do, stay off your bike.
While you are in the area, you’d be wise to check out a popular motorcycle tour – the Temiskaming Loop. This 250-mile tour follows along the shores of Lake Temiskaming through Ontario’s Near North and Wilderness Region and part of Quebec, which is nice if you want to hear some French being spoken by the locals. If you stretch it out for two days, you can take a short detour through the top of Algonquin Park. Use the Go Tour Ontario Trip Planner for a detailed map showing locations for fuel, food and motorcycle-friendly accommodations.
9. Kyle Petty Charity Ride
Famed Harley tuner and builder of Lucifer’s Hammer, Don Tilley co-founded the Kyle Petty Charity Ride with Kyle Petty in 1995, and not only led but personally mapped out every KPCR route since. Unfortunately, Mr. T passed last August, so the 2015 ride will not just support Victory Junction, but will also serve as tribute to Tilley. Victory Junction is a camp established in 2004 in Randleman, NC, by the Petty family in honor of Kyle’s late son Adam, who died on the race track in 2000. Kids age six to 16 who aren’t able to attend other camps due to serious medical problems get to experience all the thrills of camp – arts and crafts, archery, swimming, boating, fishing, horseback riding, woodshop, and music and theatre – in a special NASCAR-themed program area. Since its inception, the Ride has raised $16 million for Victory Junction and other charities that support chronically ill children. This year’s ride begins in Santa Cruz, CA, May 2, and winds up in Branson, MO, May 8.
8. Love Ride
What began as a small Harley-dealer benefit in 1981 has grown to the biggest one-day motorcycle fundraising event in the world, as you’d expect from Los Angeles, entertainment capital of the world. Luminarious attendees over the years have run the gamut from Malcolm Forbes to Peter Fonda to Larry Hagman. Jay Leno is a fixture. The main stage has seen everybody from Jackson Browne to Billy Idol, Springsteen and the Foo Fighters. Most years, the Love Ride kicks off at Glendale H-D, and hops on the 5 freeway (usually like all over all five lanes) north to Castaic Lake, where the party begins. Last year, $40,000 of the proceeds went to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, helping send Southern California kids with the disease to a barrier-free summer camp. The 2015 Ride is still in the planning stages, but will happen sometime in October and is really not to be missed if you like motorcycles and music. Visit the website to get on the mailing list.
7. Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride
The Trail of Tears is a dark episode in American history. Tens of thousands of native Americans forced to relocate West of the Mississippi in the early 1830s, many of which died in the process. The Commemorative Ride follows part of the official route from Bridgeport to Waterloo, Alabama, and is recognized by the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission. The 21st annual ride begins Saturday, September 19. There’s no registration or fees to participate, but donations can be made to the Alabama-Tennessee Trail of Tears Corridor Association.
6. Tour Of Honor
The Tour Of Honor is unique among this listing of feel-good events. Unlike the others, the TOH is “a season-long, self-directed ride to memorials and monuments around the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.” TOH is Iron Butt-approved, AMA-sanctioned and begins April 1 and runs through October 15. The foundation supports a few different charities including: Fisher House Foundation, Operation Comfort Warriors, The Fallen Heroes. If you’re wanting to see this great country and its memorials, put a ton of miles on your motorcycle, and do it for a charitable cause, Tour Of Honor may be your calling in 2015. For more information or to register go to: www.tourofhonor.com.
5. 3J’s Motorcycle Track Days
Runs and rallies are all good, but here’s an event for those wanting to go fast for a good cause. Since 2003, 3J’s Motorcycle Track Days have generated nearly $450,000 for charity. Last year, the event’s 20th annual, 3J’s raised more than $30,000 for Speedway Children’s Charities for children in need of educational, financial, social and medical help.
“The event we started a long time ago has morphed into something else,” said Jere Starks, vice president of facilities at Sonoma Raceway. “It’s a charity-driven event that allows us to do what we love to do with people who want to share that experience.”
This year’s event is scheduled for Wednesday, April 29 from 8am to 5pm. To register for the event go to www.racesonoma.com.
4. Run For The Wall
The annual Run For The Wall event is specifically dedicated to US soldiers who are missing in action or prisoners of war. “The Wall” is the national memorial in Washington D.C. built to honor U.S. soldiers who fought, died or are unaccounted for during America’s conflict with Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The event is comprised of three different ride routes – Central, Midway, Southern – and takes place over the course of nine days, May 13 – 22. Started in 1989, the Run For The Wall celebrates its 26th run in 2015. To be a part of event go to rftw.org.
3. Ride For Kids
Any toy run or other two-wheel function that benefits children – especially those suffering any variety of disability – is a good one in our book. Ride For Kids, though, has probably done more for pediatric brain tumor research than any other entity. Established in 1984, Ride For Kids features numerous events around the country each year in which motorcyclists may partake for a good cause. Already this year the organization has raised more than $226k, with $3.4 million the goal for 2015. To get involved visit Cure The Kids.
2. International Female Ride Day
On Saturday, May 2nd of this year all the ladies with motorcycles in their garages are urged to take this opportunity to display the popularity of motorcycling among women. Celebrating its ninth year of operation, International Female Ride Day claims to be the world’s largest synchronized motorcycle ride for women. Vicki Gray (2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S First Ride Review – Female Perspective), the event’s founder, is also the director and editor of Motoress, a website dedicated to all things femmoto. Another source for a variety of female-specific motorcycle events is womenridersnow.
1. Ride To Work Day
Ride To Work Day is the one day per year motorcyclists from around the globe – regardless of motorcycle type or brand, political or religious conviction – share in the common expression of simply riding a motorcycle. According to the event’s website Ride To Work Day illustrates:
- The number of motorcyclists to the general public and to politicians.
- That motorcyclists are from all occupations and all walks of life.
- That motorcyclists can reduce traffic and parking congestion in large cities.
- That motorcycles are for transportation as well as recreation.
- That motorcycling is a social good.
Beginning in 1992, the Ride To Work Day celebrates its 23rd year in 2015. After decades of continuing success, the informal grassroots demonstration, in 2002, got organized into 501 (c) (4) non-profit entity. Proceeds go to organizing and promoting Ride To Work Day. The non-profit’s organizers include Andy Goldfine (founder of Aerostich), Lynn Wisneski and Christine Holt.