Three hundred riders raise nearly #036;4,500 for a good cause

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

While they were plotting out the course for the &uot;Riding the Road to Recovery&uot; charity motorcycle ride over the past few weeks, Brian Mathis and some of his fellow American Cruisers were lucky. The most time-consuming part of the job was the one that they enjoyed the most.

&uot;We had to drive over it several times,&uot; Mathis said of the nearly 100-mile course, which stretched throughout Suffolk and Smithfield. &uot;But we all love to ride. It was a good scenic route, switching between highways and country roads. The Suffolk and Smithfield police all helped us out, stopping traffic so we could get through.&uot;


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The police were busy – 170 bikes carried 300 riders through the event, which ended back where it started later Saturday afternoon – at the Western Tidewater Community Service Board on Godwin Boulevard. By day’s end, nearly $4,500 had been raised for the Board’s consumers.

&uot;It was fun, doing something for a good cause like the Board,&uot; said Mike Barnes, who piloted his Honda Goldwing down the pike. &uot;They’re a great group of people, and we were really blessed this year with good weather.&uot;

Doing 60 miles an hour down a country road can help clear the mind, said John West, who rode a 1988 Harley Davidson.

&uot;When you have the freedom of the road, the stress from your daily life just evaporates,&uot; he said. &uot;It was a good time with good people. This was a very comfortable ride; we saw a lot of nice scenery and farmland.&uot;

Back at the Board building, an auction raised a few more dollars for the consumers. Employee Edwina Morrison took home the biggest prize of all – for $500, she drove off in a 1989 Toyota Camry.

&uot;I was surprised, because I thought someone else would get it,&uot; she said. &uot;I just bid and held my breath. I might have been able to get it cheaper at another auction, but I wanted to do it here to help the consumers.&uot;

One such consumer was Chester Bates, who drank soda and chowed down on barbecue while listening to the local band Island Boy.

&uot;As a consumer, I appreciate the ride,&uot; he said, &uot;and I think all the rest of the consumers appreciate it too. It makes me feel really good to see people caring about other people.&uot;

Because of the ride, some of the consumers will be able to keep their heat on when the cold weather arrives, said the Board’s consumer affairs director April Knight. Mothers will be able to give their children birthday presents. Some won’t have to choose between medicine and food. A person might not have to struggle to make their next rent payment.

&uot;It was amazing for a first ride,&uot; she said. &uot;Every penny we raised will go to people in this area with mental disabilities. A lot of them live with nothing but necessities, and some can’t even afford that.

&uot;We’re going to do this ride every year,&uot; she said, &uot;and it’s just going to get bigger.&uot;