For 25 years, bikers from throughout Southern California have turned out in droves, wearing their hearts on their sleeves and riding for charity.
Beginning in 1984, the annual Love Ride grew to be one the largest motorcycle fundraising events in the world, raising millions of dollars for the Muscular Dystrophy Assn. and other children’s charities.
But not this year.
The event’s organizer, Glendale Harley-Davidson owner and Love Ride founder Oliver Shokouh, called it off following poor ticket sales and a glum financial forecast, what he called “scary dismal” numbers.
If ever there was an anecdote for how the protracted recession has ravaged charitable fundraising, this is it.
Even with the city kicking in thousands of dollars’ worth of public services to help pull the event off, in the end, the lack of corporate sponsors and public support doomed the long-running fundraiser.
It’s a sad commentary on how entrenched everyone’s become since the economy went south. Businesses are still treading water, and many of those who might have participated in the past have no doubt felt the chill on their own finances.
There is no bad guy here, just an unfortunate set of circumstances that have combined to sap yet another important revenue source for the charities that typically benefit from the Love Ride.
Organizers plan on holding a scaled down charity event at Glendale Harley-Davidson, 3717 San Fernando Road, Oct. 23 with Peter Fonda. Show up, support the cause, and don’t let the love die with the ride.