The stereotyped image of the menacing biker gang depicted so often in movies has to move over; there are plenty of good guys out there. These "good guys" enjoy the feeling of the wind in their faces and doing lots of good deeds. Scores of motorcycle clubs organize regular outings to have fun and to help support and raise funds for a multitude of very important causes.
*Divas For A Cure was established by three-time cancer survivor Jan Emanuel-Costley in 2005. "Each year, I invited women and men to join me on a Cross-Country Breast Cancer Motorcycle Run to raise awareness and much-needed funds for research," Emanuel-Costley says. "Over the last four years, we've donated $117,500 to MD Anderson Cancer Center (in Texas). Our funds have been designated to breast cancer research. We now have a treatment room at MD Anderson named in our honor."
*The Buffalo Chip Campground and the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce, both in South Dakota, host the Legends Ride, an annual celebrity charity ride. This past year's participants included Steven Tyler of Aerosmith; Paul DeJoria of Paul Mitchell hair products; Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain; and actor Lorenzo Lamas. The bikers raised $61,600 for the Black Hills Children's Home and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. The third annual Legends Ride is set for Monday, Aug. 9, the official opening day of the 70th Anniversary Sturgis Rally. For more information, visit http://www.LegendsRide.com.
*"We are a group of friends who produce two charity motorcycle rides every year to benefit the Dream House for Medically Fragile Children," group organizer Sam Shaw says. The Dream House receives combined effort and support from several Georgia-based motorcycle groups, such as the Southeastern Enduro & Trail Riders Association, the Georgia Recreational Trail Riders Association and Georgia Off Road. Two fundraising events are hosted yearly, one off-road and one on-road. The Family Fun Trail Ride is an off-road event (http://www.FamilyFunRide.com). The sixth annual Dream House 500, a road event in northern Georgia, is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 2 (http://www.DreamHouse500.com).
*"For the past 14 years, the Alliance Motorcycle Club has sponsored Liferide in an effort to raise funds for various charities," says Tom Spina, a member of the club. "The Alliance Motorcycle Club is an organization that brings motorcyclists together in the spirit of brotherhood to promote clean and sober events and to help others do the same. For the past four years, the club has used Liferide to support Bridges of New York, which is an organization that helps people with substance abuse problems transition back into the community after being released from jail." This past August, the event went from East Meadow to Wantagh Park on New York's Long Island. The event raised $3,000 for Bridges.
*Motorcycle clubs and events have raised funds for families of law enforcement killed or seriously injured in the line of duty, supported vets and raised POW/MIA awareness, benefited the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation, and made commitments to end childhood hunger in the United States. Some charity rides offer more than just money, such as providing motorcycle escorts for returning military personnel, encouraging acts of kindness and social justice, sponsoring toy and clothing drives for the underprivileged, and encouraging education and awareness of legislative issues. Go to the individual Web sites for complete information on how to get involved.
*Author Julie Compton discovered she liked riding after doing research on motorcycles for a book. Compton joined the national organization and local Florida chapter of Chrome Divas; the Florida chapter of Chrome Divas hosts events to support SafeHouse of Seminole, a shelter for abused women and children. Compton offers the following from the group's national Web site: "Chrome Divas, a female motorcycle organization, was formed to provide a means of camaraderie, community participation, and a national link to all women who ride motorcycles and strive to be known as outstanding citizens in their communities with a preference to ride, have fun and share their talents and compassion in group effort." For more information on how to get involved, visit http://www.ChromeDivas.com.