After a one-year hiatus because of the sputtering economy, the Glendale tradition in which motorcycle riders hit the hills to raise money for charity will return Nov. 7.
This year's Love Ride will be limited to 1,000 riders as they rumble from Glendale to the site of the original event ??? Calamigas Ranch in Malibu.
"We wanted to go back to our roots and start over again," said Harley-Davidson of Glendale owner Oliver Shokouh, who started the Love Ride and watch it grow to 20,000 people in 2008. "We wanted to do something simpler, more intimate and exclusive. And more fun, hopefully."
This year's event will feature high-profile riders, including television host Jay Leno and Robbie Krieger, guitar player for the Doors. Krieger is a safe bet to perform "Riders on the Storm" at the festival.
The ride will benefit Autism Speaks, a national organization that researches causes and cures for the developmental disorder that afflicts an estimated one in 110 children.
Shokouh said three members of the Love Ride board of directors have relatives with autism, and that affected families must make major adjustments.
"Autism doesn't end," said Shokouh. "It goes on. Parents with autistic children aren't assured what's going to happen to their children once they themselves pass on."
The Love Ride, which has raised more than $14 million for various children's charities, may again get a small helping hand from Glendale, but the scaled-down ride may not require it, Development Services Director Philip Lanzafame said.
"Not only is the Love Ride a fun event, but it generates a lot of money for philanthropic and charitable purposes," he said. "I can't say enough about the institution that Glendale Harley has started and continued. It's a good event for Glendale in terms of exposure and bringing a number of people into the city."
Shokouh said the relaunch of the ride comes despite continuing business struggles.
"In terms of Harley-Davidson of Glendale, it's still tough," he said. "But despite the fact that things haven't changed a whole lot, we're feeling confident enough to pull this off."
Shokouh said with success this year the ride may grow larger next year.