What was likely the first organized motorcycle ride to honor those killed on September 11, 2001 occurred just eight weeks after the attacks. The inaugural America's 9/11 Ride was cold and snowy but weather didn't keep 250 motorcyclists from a rally that started in Washington, DC and ended in New York.
Today, America's 9/11 Ride is a little warmer now that it takes place in August and participation has more than doubled. America's 9/11 Ride commences Friday in Somerset, PA at the site where Flight 93 crashed and caravans to the Pentagon. On Saturday, riders saddle up for the long haul from Virginia to New York City.
"It is our annual ride to all three of the 9/11 crash sites," said Roger Flick, promotions manager for America's 911 Foundation which sponsors the ride. "This ride travels through six states and Washington, DC and is fully police escorted."
Ted and Lisa Sjurseth founded the ride after visiting New York within weeks of the attacks. The couple heard from many store owners that they had no customers. The Sjurseth's wanted to help and as avid motorcyclists they decided to do what motorcyclists do - organize a ride. The ride was later changed to August for the warmer weather and to not interfere with memorials in September.
The 10th anniversary ride welcomed 1,800 motorcyclists who spanned the state of Delaware. When the first bikes were leaving the state those at the end were entering. The entire ride is police escorted usually by 100 police officers from around the country. This year's event is expected to bring about 500 riders.
"We're competing with Harley's anniversary in Milwaukee," Flick said. "With the economy the way it is people can't afford to do both."
America's 9/11 Ride benefits America's 911 Foundation which supports the families of active first responders - fire, police and Emergency Medical Services (EMS). In the last nine years, the foundation has awarded $240,000 in college scholarships for children and provided more than $550,000 to various first responder departments.
The 2013 ride is dedicated to the 417 first responders who died in New York. The ride is limited to 1,000 participants so there is still availability. Online registration is closed but you can register onsite at any starting location or stops along the way. There are various starting locations organized around the East Coast that begin Wednesday and Thursday to get all riders together on Friday in Pennsylvania.
"This is truly a bucket list ride," Flick said. "It is one of the most well organized large rides you will ever be on."
Other Rides Scheduled This Weekend
Combined Fund Drive August 17: Washington state's workplace giving program for active and retired public employees sponsors this ride that supports local charities. Ride starts at 8 a.m. Saturday in Olympia, WA.
Ride the Fin August 17: The 3rd annual Ride the Fin benefits Sylvania Area Family Services. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and kickstands up at noon on Saturday at Harley-Davidson Toledo, 7960 W. Central Ave. in Toledo, OH.
Bikers for Paws August 17: A poker run to benefit the Second Chance Center for Animals. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. and kickstands up at 10:15 a.m. Saturday at the Museum Club, 3404 E. Route 66 in Flagstaff, AZ.
Kruzin 4 Kidz August 17: This 8th annual ride benefits the Make A Wish Foundation. Registration is from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Wadena Elks Lodge, 647 Jefferson St. N. in Wadena, MN. Kickstands up at noon.
Run for the Kids August 18: Abate of Delaware hosts this 17th annual ride that benefits the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware monetarily and any toys donated go to Nemours/Alfred I DuPont Hospital for Children.
CHARLIE's Ride August 18: This ride benefits the Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Connecticut. Register online or from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday at TSI Harley-Davidson, 398 Somers Road in Ellington, CT.
Ride for Kids August 18: Ride for Kids benefits the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and features numerous rides throughout the country during the year. This weekend kickstands are up in Massachusetts and St. Louis.
Motorcycle Charity Ride August 18: Inaugural motorcycle ride for the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum raises funds to support the engine rebuild program of the Avro Lancaster. Register online or in person from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the museum, 9280 Airport Road in Mount Hope, ON Canada. Ride starts at 10:30 a.m.
Written By: AndrewT