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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Burn Ride 2011

****** UPDATE**********UPDATE**********
6/21/2011 - Cancun Cantina reports that a whopping $113,000.00 was raised !!!! Read on for the ride details!
****** UPDATE**********UPDATE**********

If there was ever a reason to ride, and a day to do it, it was Saturday, June 18, starting in Hanover, Maryland. While "Burn Ride" conjures up thoughts of hot days and toasted buns (and that's not far off), it's actually far more than that, and Burn Ride is just one more example, far too often overlooked, of the Biker Community helping those in need.

Yesterday I had the honor of joining the 8th Annual Anne Arundel County Professional Firefighters Burn Foundation ride. Here's some background on it from the Burnriders Helpers Facebook page:

"" "Burn Riders" was founded by a group of local businessmen as a Non-Profit Foundation of Bikers riding to raise money for the rehabilitation of child burn victims.

Over the years we have raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Mid-Atlantic burn camp for children.

"Helping One Child At a Time, One Mile At A Time" ""

The ride began at a local very-biker-friendly club, Cancun Cantina, where bikers registered, bright orange t-shirts were distributed, and breakfast happily served, at the very early hours of 7-9AM. After a way-too-f***g-early wakeup call, I rolled in at 8AM from Alexandria, Virginia, and the lot was filling up already. By 9, it had overflowed! As counted at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge toll both, there were over 1,400 bikes participating. Never let it be said that a biker won't show up, even early on a Saturday morning, for a good cause! (I do suspect some hadn't been home yet from Friday night, but that's an entirely different story......)

We hit the road at 9AM sharp, with none of the usual half-hour of getting peeps motivated and seeing who's still wandering around! We headed east on Route 100 to I-97 South to Rt 50 East, with Red Eye's Dock Bar as our destination. Red Eye's lies across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on the far side of Kent Island at Kent Narrows. It's about a 40 mile ride from Cancun Cantina.

To their full credit, the Anne Arundel County Police, the Maryland State Police, the Maryland Toll Authority Police, and the Caroline County Sheriff's office all joined in to keep the ride organized, and actually provided a full escort, closing off all roads to traffic for the full 40 miles.

Now if you don't live here, that might not sound like much, but these roads are just about the only way to/from the Eastern Shore beaches of Maryland and Delaware, and on a Summer weekend morning, this is no small thing. They even closed the entire eastbound Chesapeake Bay Bridge to let us pass. For the whole ride, there wasn't one single car or truck on the road with us.

The 1,400 bikes, double-file, stretched out about 4 MILES!!! Camera crews followed us the entire distance, getting stills and video, though I've only seen a few bits of the video. Here's a pic from last year's ride over the bridge.

From BR 2010

There were people all along watching us pass, many in the cars being blocked from entering the roads. There were lots of funny stories told later about people taking pics and videos, waving and cheering us on, but there were more than a few giving us the finger for causing a massive backup!! I can hear 'em now: "Goddamned no-good bikers!!! Look at them, Martha. Up to no good, and they even get a police escort!" LOL

After cramming the 1,400 bikes into a very small piece of real estate, Red Eye's served us lunch and entertained the orange-shirted masses with live music and cold drinks. This was no small accomplishment, but somehow they pulled it off.

And so we all hung out, making new friends and telling war stories of past events. We compared plans for future events, checking in to see who was going to Sturgis, and East Coast Sturgis...yeah, I know, it's East Coast Motorcycle Rally, but I'll probably always call it East Coast Sturgis, so just get over it, will ya?

And as a total surprise, I ran into LC again who....among all those damn people....happened to be sitting with the 6 of us eating lunch. (She's one of those Smokin' Hot gals that you just don't forget!) LC was at East Coast Sturgis last year, and had posed for pictures for me!!! Great to see her and to find out she's heading back to Little Orleans for the 2011 event.

From Red Eye's we rolled out, unescorted now, to Bamboo Bernie's to continue the fun. Folks rode in small groups on the way west, giving up on trying to keep 1,400 bikes together for more than one morning. Hell, we did pretty damned good keeping it together all that time! At Bernie's, we had yet more food and cold beverages, meeting even more riders and trading stories and plans. It was really a perfect day for riding, and the scenery at Bernie's was just awesome.

Then it was time to hit Home Territory, and for some of us, that means only one place: Daniel's Restaurant and Bar in Elkridge, Maryland. Though I live in Virginia now, I've been going to Daniel's since I was in my teens, and that will always be a home away from home. Good to see my friends, Jesse, Debi, and Ricky.

And about the time I was thinking about the ride back to Virginia, the Swede said some of the crew were going back to Cancun Cantina for dinner...Yep, three meals in one day. For a single guy, that's progress!. Away we went for BBQ, music, and cold drinks. Cancun Cantina did one hell of a job making this Burn Ride a success and kept the fun going all day. Two Gold Stars. There was also a chance to grab some snapshots taken of just about everyone, which was hard to imagine! EVERYONE? How did they do that? Here's me, on the Joker, with my Bro John just over my shoulder. (Click here to see if your photo is available)

And that's where I finished up, heading back across the Potomac into Virginia that evening. An incredible day of riding, brotherhood, laughs and good memories, not least of which are all the awesome biker girls that were out there. My eyes still hurt.

Speaking of hurt, I'd be remiss if I didn't add that I did this whole 165 mile frickin' run on my Joker bike, which is decidedly NOT the scoot you'd pick for the long-haul. But since the FXSTC is still in the shop, taken out by a minivan, I had to cowboy-up and ride the Joker. I might have to rethink my decision to lower it so there's no shock travel left, but no one's ever accused me of using common sense. After all, it does LOOK good while it's beating me to death.


PS Only one incident I know about all day. A Yamaha "Harley-copy" went up in smoke and flames as we pulled into Red Eye's. Maybe the owner will realize the error of his/her ways and buy an American Made Motorcycle. I think the Harley dealers are open today......