Ride to Malibu for charity exceeds expectations

SOUTH GLENDALE — Hundreds of motorcyclists lined San Fernando Road outside the Glendale Harley Davidson shop and revved their motors Sunday before they took off for a ride that raised funds for the YWCA of Glendale and its domestic violence programs for victims.

The “A Day in the Bu” ride started in the city at the shop, went along Sunset Boulevard and into Malibu, where motorcyclists stopped for food and drinks at the Beachcomber Cafe.

Sunday’s warm weather brought out more than 200 Los Angeles County-area motorcyclists, which was more than organizers expected, said Steve Fisher, the shop’s marketing director.

“We didn’t expect many riders to come out because of the economy,” Fisher said.

Only 29 motorcyclists attended last year’s event for the nonprofit organization, he said.

They predicted that about 40 motorcyclists would attend this year’s event and prepared for 100 riders, Fisher said.

But they got many more registrations and served up more breakfasts, which the shop provided to riders who participated in the event.

“I think people still want to give back and we gave them a cause with value,” Fisher said.

Fisher always wanted to organize a ride that benefited victims of domestic violence since he said he received a call from Denise Brown, the sister of Nicole Brown, the ex-wife of professional football player O.J. Simpson who was murdered, along with Ronald Goldman, in 1994 in her Los Angeles home.

Denise Brown asked him to organize a ride that benefited victims of domestic violence, so he said he decided to put on a ride for the organization because its helped local battered women and children.

Proceeds from the event go to the organization, which is in dire need of funding, said Carol Ann Burton, YWCA of Glendale Board of Directors president.

Since the economic downturn, the organization has seen funding from donors get smaller and the number of women and children, who need help, has grown, she said.

“Our services have been hit more than anyone would have wanted them to be,” Burton said.

The organization needs money in order to help pay for its 10-unit emergency domestic violence shelter and for programs, such as counseling, job training or English as a second language, that help empower women of domestic violence, she said.

The organization’s ENCOREplus program, which provides free mammograms and pelvic checks to low-income women, lost one of its largest grantors, from whom it was supposed to receive $25,000 to pay for mobile breast cancer screening machines, Burton said.

The grantor had also suffered setbacks from the recession and wasn’t able to donate to the organization this year, she said.

Money raised at the ride will help pay for the machines, Burton said.

The organization has seen 100 women each month and the shelter has remained full since the economic downturn, she said.

“Unfortunately when the economy gets worse, violence escalates,” Burton said.

Glendale resident Nancy Novak and three other riders of the Women on Wheels’ Iron Angels Los Chapter attended the ride because their group supports organizations that help victims of domestic violence, she said.

“It’s important because it can happen to anybody,” she said.

Rider Kimberly Wong of Burbank used to work with battered women, whom she saw physically and emotionally hurt, and often in need of great help.

“When I saw that they were doing this ride for victims of domestic violence, I thought ‘I got to do it,’ ” she said.

 VERONICA ROCHA covers public safety and the courts. She may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at veronica.rocha@latimes.com.

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