Story by Art Hall Photos by Art Hall & Pete Alva
I have been contemplating a lot lately motorcycling, motorcycle events and the general condition of the industry. I have come to the not so remarkable conclusion that I cannot continue to attend the myriad of shows, runs, ride ins, and fund raisers without bringing something to the party. It is really up to me, and you, to not expect to be entertained by wherever you go but to do our part to create the enjoyment by interacting with the social and physical environment at hand. The extravaganzas are not growing in size and scope any longer so I need to eliminate that criteria as a standard of comparison to last year or any other such gathering. If I am gonna have fun I need to decide that I will actively pursue it.
A lot of this philosophical, introspective, self actualization occurs while I am riding my bike. And such was the occasion as I motored down Highway 38 after leaving Big Bear Choppers’ ride in. I sometimes overwhelm myself with these flashes of brilliance.
So what if Ride the Mountain wasn’t as big as last year?! Did I enjoy the ride up the hill? Did I enjoy talking with vendors who I have made friends with over the years? Did I enjoy Bad Pig Brian buying me a hot dog? Did I enjoy the bands playing on stage all day? Did I enjoy the fragrance of pine trees? Sure it all looked the same but it was a different day, a different cast of characters and a different opportunity to enjoy myself however I chose to do it. I thought it was a fine day and YES, I enjoyed myself.
As I got to the Vault in Long Beach I noticed how it looked the same and thought about how I was going enjoy the evening. People come to this same place week after week (It’s a night club) and have a good time. It’s the exact same place and not unlike those exact same places we all have frequented over the years and had some great times on each and every visit. So why can’t we see motorcycle shows, ride-ins and charity rides in the same light?
What has all this got to do with Rip’s BAD Ride? Well in my small mind I have fallen prey to the proposition that I should be entertained when I go places and do things. Over the years the ADA (American Diabetes Foundation) has developed a rather predictable format for this event, a format that likens itself to any event, club, etc. you choose to remember.
It provides a venue for you to come and enjoy the day and what it has to offer. The BAD Ride starts on Saturday night with a VIP party, held at the Vault in Long Beach for the past several years. It’s a chance to thank the sponsors, committee members, potential sponsors and individuals who raise over $500 in donations. It is also part of the fund raising effort that takes place as an auction both live and silent. Generous sponsors donate all sorts of merchandise you can bid on and hopefully take home a bargain or two. This year the live entertainment for your listening and dancing pleasure were two bands, Canned Heat with classic rock and The Sevilles with the Motown sound. A great time was had by all.
Sunday starts early for the participants who gather at one of 17 starting points to ride in convoy to Live Oak Park in Silverado Canyon arriving around 10 am for a full day of festivities. The park is a perfect spot for such a gathering with grassy grounds, lots of trees, and a small lake giving a tranquil setting. Usually the first stop is at the all you can drink for free soda fountain, with some choosing the not all you can drink and ride adult beverage. A quick stroll around the grounds and it is time for the excellent catered BBQ lunch. All this time there are two stages alternately going full time, and the venerable Fryed Brothers played up a storm on the main stage. The Victor McLaughlin Drill Team was on hand to perform their usual amazing stunts on motorcycles. The bike games, organized and run by ABATE, were held in the usual location but there was so much going on that I actually missed them this year. Darn, I really like that weenie bite one too. The bike show was well represented and some pretty fine machines won trophies at the end of the day. Yes there were fewer vendors but those in attendance where quite happy to be there, were it for the altruistic reasons or the actual business done that day.
And speaking of charitable causes, it doesn’t seem widely known that this ride is truly a charity fund raiser with all proceeds going to the ADA.
Another little know fact is that this ride has spawned 12 other such rides around the country since it’s inception 11 years ago. All the manpower for this weekend is free, volunteers doing what they can to help a worthy cause. All the vendors pay to have their spot. I was told a story about a minister who attended Sunday for the first time and in his own divine way perceived “some spiritual aura about the grounds, a gathering of kind hearts all here for the right reason.” Well that sums it up petty well for sure.