Love Ride rumbles into town Sunday

Don't be fooled by their leather jackets and roaring motorcycles — bikers have a lot of love to give.

Bikers are often portrayed in films and TV as hoodlums or troublemakers, but Oliver Shokouh, owner of Harley-Davidson of Glendale, said he wants to dispel that stereotype.

“Bikers have a heart,” he said, adding they want to contribute and help others in need.

Thus, the Love Ride was born. The ride, which is celebrating its 30th year this Sunday in Glendale, is one of the largest motorcycle events that raises funds for local charities.

This year, Shokouh, who founded the event, said proceeds raised will benefit the nonprofit USO, which supports U.S. troops and their families.

Love Ride organizers have donated $14 million over the years to autism charities, the Muscular Dystrophy Assn., the child literacy program Reading by 9, and the USO.

“A good portion of the funds remain in the region, which is a good thing,” he said.

Organizers are expecting between 8,000 and 10,000 riders, which is far fewer than the 20,000 bikers who participated before the economic recession. Entry to the event costs $60.

The ride kicks off at 6 a.m. with check-in at Harley-Davidson of Glendale in the 3700 block of San Fernando Road, where the “The Tonight Show's” Jay Leno will host a short concert before riders head to Castaic Lake.

Willie G. Davidson, grandson of the company's founder and former chief Harley designer, along with actors Robert Patrick and Lorenzo Llamas, will lead the ride to Castaic Lake, where festivities commence at 10 a.m.

The bands American Hitmen and the Loveless will perform in Glendale, while Jackson Browne and the Forest Rangers, with “Sons of Anarchy” star Katey Sagal, will be among the entertainment at Castaic Lake.

Police plan to close a portion of San Fernando Road just south of Los Feliz Road for the Love Ride, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said. Eastbound and westbound streets along San Fernando will be closed to accommodate motorcycles.

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