Cycle World Athens hosted it’s 12th annual Ride to Remember on September 9, and the event surpassed all expectations, in attendance and impact.
What began as a customer appreciation ride back in the early 2000s quickly morphed into the 9-11 Ride to Remember by 2006, growing from a healthy 300 bikes to over 850 last year, then exploding to over 1100 bikes this year, according to Kevin King of Cycle World Athens. The event is free to all, but donations go to a variety of “fallen heroes” foundations and public safety support causes in the southeast.
The ride began at Cycle World, then wound through numerous small towns in north Georgia, snaking through various winding roads in the mountains, ultimately arriving at Copperhead Lodge in Hiawassee. Riders were then treated to a free barbecue meal on site, sponsored and provided by the Athens HOG chapter.
Mike Newell, marketing director for CW Athens and ride director for the event, gave us some amazing additional details. “There are dozens of local groups and clubs that come together behind the scenes that make Ride To Remember happen. 26 public safety agencies assisted along the 110 mile route. A group of 12 American Legion Riders lead by Robert Wilson performed as scouts along the route to ensure the ride was clear and safe.”
Every town we rode through, local PD assisted in coordinating and blocking traffic, every FD elevated flags on ladder trucks, and locals poured into the streets to wave, salute, display flags, or just snap photos. Even some churches brought their children’s classes out to enjoy the spectacle as the procession rumbled by. As the entourage wound up through the north Georgia mountains, great care was taken to insure riders didn’t bunch up but kept moving through the frequent twists and turns. Copperhead was fully prepared to receive the massive numbers, and the afternoon feeding and festivities came off without a hitch.
Newell noted, “The entire biker community is just amazing. Clubs, groups, organizations and individuals that may not normally associate, join as one group of patriotic Americans and ride together as one… that makes me so proud to be part of this event. We will ‘Never Forget.’”
We, with our friends at Born to Ride, were humbled to have been a part of this momentous event, and proud to support our military, public safety, and first responders every day.