Love for ride still thrives

GLENDALE — The official ride may have been canceled, but the love’s apparently still there.

While poor ticket sales and anemic corporate sponsorships may have killed what would have been the 26th annual Love Ride fundraiser, organizers at Glendale Harley-Davidson have made plans to accommodate what could be hundreds of bikers who turn up Saturday anyway, officials said.

Allstate Insurance Co. has announced it will donate $10,000 to the Love Ride alternative, which city officials said would include three days of events in which bikers could drop in and still donate to the cause.

The Love Ride started in 1984 as a fundraising event for the Muscular Dystrophy Assn. and had grown to benefit more than a dozen children’s charities. It typically raises $1 million for about a dozen charities.

Glendale partnered with the event last year and marshaled about $29,000 worth of police and traffic control for about $14,000. In September, the City Council approved $17,000 to co-sponsor the event, along with $2,000 for advertising.

With the Love Ride canceled, city officials said there was no longer a need to commit those resources. They have instead lent a hand with marketing efforts, Development Services Director Philip Lanzafame said.

Tickets to the Love Ride haven’t been for sale, and organizers have been doing their best to spread the word, but hundreds of bikers who’ve made the annual trek to Glendale and then on to Pomona could still show up.

Permits have been submitted for minor side-street closures near the Harley-Davidson shop at 3717 San Fernando Road, said Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz. Despite the best efforts of organizers to get the word out about the Love Ride’s cancellation, he acknowledged that the city would “prepare for the worst, but it’s only a precaution.”

“Should even hundreds show up Sunday morning, that’s an insignificant number to cause an impact,” he said, citing other bike fundraisers throughout the year that attract hundreds of motorists with little to no impact on city traffic.

Harley-Davidson Glendale representatives could not be reached for comment Monday.

Typically, bikers gather at Harley-Davidson Glendale to register and prepare before riding out to Pomona, where trade shows, exhibits and entertainers like ZZ Top and the Foo Fighters await.

Peter Fonda, who starred in “Easy Rider,” has been booked to sign autographs Friday and commemorate the 40th anniversary of the movie with a free screening from 4 to 10 p.m.

Owners and managers of storefronts near the Harley-Davidson dealer said that the Love Ride has proceeded without any problems in the past, and that they expected the scaled-down event to carry on that tradition.

“They’ve never bothered us. They are nice people,” said Erik Nudaphyan, a projects specialist at Fusion, a window and door design company.

The Luxe Group, a jewelry store across the street, is closed Sundays, but Manager Armen Muradyan said his experience with the confluence of bikers from all over Southern California had been nothing but positive.

“They are well organized,” he said.

Michelle Kole, a receptionist at nearby Color Me Mine, said she wasn’t concerned about the unknown number of bikers coming from all over Southern California.

“If you are participating in something called the Love Ride, you aren’t coming for destruction,” she said.

— Jason Wells contributed to this report.


 MAX ZIMBERT covers education. He may be reached at (818) 637-3215 or by e-mail at max.zimbert@latimes.com.

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