More than 25 years ago, Oliver Shokouh, the owner of Glendale Harley-Davidson in Glendale, California, wanted to help out those less fortunate than himself and provide a ride and get together for the riders he serviced. He started small with fundraising events at his shop to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Oliver called upon many of the celebrity friends he had, many of which happened to be motorcyclists too.
Eventually, the event evolved and became more org-anized. Peter Fonda, one of the most recognizable biker types in history, came aboard to help promote the first Love Ride. Harley-Davidson and Willie G. were also supportive of the cause. In 1984 a crowd of 500 showed up at the dealership. As time went on a larger venue was needed for the growing popularity of the event. Lake Castaic was the home to the Love Ride for many years, but it too became too small. This past October 26, a huge group of riders 20,000 strong arrived at Oliver's dealership before sunrise on the morning of the Love Ride. From there the group made the ride to the Pomona Fairplex for the second part of the entertaining day.
The Love Ride is now the culminating event to a weekend full of motorcycling action dubbed California Bike Week. Friday and Saturday featured a large vendors village, live music, and flat track racing. For the main event on Sunday the weather was a perfect 85 degrees and the crowd was bustling with excitement for some big time music. The Tubes started it off, followed by the Foo Fighters, and finished up with ZZ Top. Members from the Foo Fighters, Guns N' Roses, and others joined the bearded Texans (except the mysteriously named beardless drummer Frank Beard), for more rock `n' roll.
Backstage was a who's who of Hollywood actors and musicians. Gene Simmons was up to shenanigans with his electric shock chewing gum, Peter Fonda, Robert Patrick, Rutger Hauer, Larry Hagman, the Davidsons, Lorenzo Lamas, master of ceremonies Jay Leno, plus dozens more.
It was a great way to spend a beautiful Sunday and benefit people with disabilities. Mark October 25 on your calendar for Love Ride 26. Log onto loveride.org for more information.