Weak Economy Torpedoes Love Ride 26

Publish Date: 
Oct 8, 2009

THE ORGANIZERS OF Love Ride 26 have canceled the popular Southern California fund-raising rally, citing the crumbling economy as the main cause.

"This was a gut-wrenching decision for me,” says Oliver Shokouh, Love Ride founder and owner of Glendale Harley-Davidson/Buell, in a release issued Thursday. “I want to make clear that this has absolutely nothing to do with the Love Ride staff, volunteers or organizers. Everyone has worked hard for the past 25 years. Our problem boils down to one thing, the economy. The bottom line is that the Love Ride is a victim of the recession. We did a very careful analysis over the last several months, and realized that ticket sales weren’t enough to offset costs.

"Simply put, there would be no money left to help the kids, the sole reason for the Love Ride.”

In place of the usual event, the dealership is sponsoring an autograph session with Peter Fonda and a free movie screening commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Fonda’s starring role in Easy Rider. The event will take place at the dealership located at 3717 San Fernando Road, in Glendale, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 23, from 4-10 p.m.

The store will also be selling Love Ride memorabilia from all the rallies on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 25, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.. The hope is to recoup some of the costs already incurred this year by the Love Ride Foundation. The dealership will also have representatives on hand to answer any questions.

Donations to benefit our Love Ride beneficiaries are still being accepted and are tax deductible. The top ten fund-raising prizes featured in the Love Ride 26 brochure will still be awarded (excluding opportunity tickets).

Those who have already registered for the ride will receive a Love Ride 26 ride pin, patch and T-shirt. All incentive prizes will be available for pick-up at Glendale Harley on Saturday, Oct. 24, and Sunday, Oct. 25.

The Love Ride started back in 1984 as an event to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. As the Love Ride grew, the destination changed from Calamigos Ranch to Lake Castaic and then to the Fairplex. The list of beneficiaries also grew, from the MDA to more than a dozen children’s charities, including Autism Speaks.

Last year’s Silver Anniversary Love Ride 25 drew about 20,000 bikers for the fund-raising motorcycle ride that featured an afternoon concert headlined by ZZ Top and the Foo Fighters. The event raised more than $1 million. In its history, the event has raised more than $21 million for non-profit groups.

“Things were on track for continued growth, then the economy collapsed,” adds Shokouh. "Circumstances turned against us. 2009 is simply not a good year for a charity event.”

Shokouh was optimistic that the Love Ride would return, if not next year, then in 2011. “Times are tough, we’re lovin’ but not ridin’, at least not this year”, says Shokouh. “After 25 years of expansion, it may be time to return to our roots with a smaller, more intimate event. But we will be back.”

(For more information, call 818-246-5618 ext. 141.)