The rebirth of a great motorcycle tradition

Story and photos by Super Glide Gail

I once wrote that the Love Ride, from humble beginnings in 1984 to a gloriously indulgent weekend affair and then back again, would never be allowed to die by the SoCal bikerhood. 

And after a four-year hiatus it hasn’t, thanks to Love Ride Foundation chairman and Glendale Harley-Davidson owner Oliver Shokouh. Changed this year to a set entry fee, the November 10 event, kept participation to a manageable 800 people.

It was a familiar sight to see hundreds of motorcycles on a side street adjacent to the Glendale dealership as pre-ride adrenaline was flowing while folks checked out the bikes and formed clusters of friends. With a ubiquitous stogie clenched firmly in teeth, actor Robert Patrick mingled with the crowd, obviously proud of his efforts helping resurrect the event.

At 11 a.m. sharp the caravan of bikes rolled out, heading up the Golden State Freeway below clear blue skies. You couldn’t have asked for a prettier day. Once to Patrick’s Santa Clarita dealership we picked up our souvenirs, complete with bandana, enameled pin (a dying art) and embroidered patch.

The aroma of Backbeat BBQ, a smoky/culinary project of musician Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame, filled the lot. 

Musical entertainment featured Robby Krieger of Doors fame, and Grohl sitting in with Chevy Metal, a ‘dirt rock’ 1970s cover band that played such hits as “Stay With Me” and “My Sharona.” .

Patrick’s dealership was impressive, with 60-odd bikes on the showroom floor along with a miniature sculpture of Patrick’s T-1000 character at the register. An auction included a Love Ride poster by famed artist Stanley Mouse; Gibson SG [$1400] and Les Paul Jr [$1200] guitars and a Remo base drum head [$750] each autographed by Kreiger and Grohl to benefit the Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation. Approximately $100,000 was raised, enough for LR 34 to be seriously considered. Oliver is ready and deeply appreciative by the continued support of talented musicians and celebrities that lend their generosity to the event.

“Our objective was to re-introduce the Love Ride brand,” he says, “and to show everyone a memorable time, with good food, great music and other fun activities. I think we achieved our goal.”

I was asked by someone, “How do you like it?” Having seen it all, through thick and thin, it was exactly what I expected, and nothing less than the biker community reuniting for the rebirth and continuation of a great motorcycle tradition.


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