Although sometimes the public forgets, riders of Harley-Davidson’s and other motorcycles are people too. We have the same concerns and needs as anyone else and the same desire to help those less fortunate. There are dozens of biker-sponsored charities out there including the few mentioned here.
Bikers Against Child Abuse
Founder John Paul Chief Lilly is a Licensed Social Worker and avid biker. Chief was trying to find a way to help an abused eight-year-old boy and bring him out of his shell of fear. He brought the boy into his circle of biker friends and this boy opened up over the next few weeks.
In 1995, the first ride to help abused kids was held. The event was such a success that new chapters started springing up around the nation.
This biker family exists to work with law enforcement and the court system to help abused kids get the help and protection they need. They help raise money to fund therapy for abused children that is often not covered by medical insurance.
Long Reach Long Riders
One of the more recent biker charities, this organization held its first ride in support of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS in 2004. Since then they have raised over $130,000 and have added another charity, ESTA Foundations Behind the Scenes.
They hold rides each year and success has skyrocketed. The 2007 ride through New England raised more than double what 2006 raised and they have high hopes for the 2008 ride in the Southwest.
Not wanting to limit participation to beefy guys on their Harley-Davidson’s, in 2007 they added the “Short Reach Short Riders” annual event. Teenagers ride tricycles to raise money for LRLR charities.
This charity goes back to 1981 when Harley-Davidson became a Muscular Dystrophy Association sponsor. A Harley-Davidson shop owner named Oliver Shokouh held two Biker’s Carnivals in support of the MDA. The carnivals were only marginally successful as fundraisers so Shokouh and his friends came up with another idea: the Love Ride.
The first ride in 1984 was a huge success. Not only did over 500 people show up, but these people included Peter Fonda, Robbie Krieger of The Doors, and Willie G. Davidson, the grandson of one of Harley-Davidson’s original founders.
The annual ride has become more successful every year, raising over twenty million dollars for the MDA, Special Olympics, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and many others.
Bikers all over the country are doing what they can to give back to the community doing what they love: riding their bikes. They are raising money, helping the community, and spreading awareness of serious problems. Although Hollywood loves to use the bad-biker cliche, real bikers are doing what they can to make our world a better place.
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