Thousands of riders joined in for the return of Love Ride, the world-famous motorcycle charity ride that made a comeback Sunday after a four-year hiatus.
The ride, which began at Glendale Harley-Davidson, led riders to Harley-Davidson of Santa Clarita, where participants could enjoy live music by Chevy Metal, barbecue served by none other than Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and more.
Grohl, who loves to grill and owns Backbeat BBQ, played at Love Ride a few years ago and offered to cater the event.
“I’ve been buying motorcycles from these guys for years,” Grohl said. “(Playing at this event is) always really fun, but coming out to feed everybody is even better — I love doing barbecue.”
Grohl began preparation at 9 a.m. the day before the event.
“This stuff takes a long time to cook,” he added. “We’ve got a lot of friends and chefs helping … I think I slept for an hour last night, but it’s for a good cause.”
Rider “Crazy Dave” Mendelsohn has participated in every Love Ride since the inception.
“I love all the people,” he said, adding that he continued to attend for the community feel. “You feel like you’re a part of something cool.”
Mendelsohn made a shirt for the ninth Love Ride, and once they announced the hiatus, he added a “33” to cover the “9” and wore it into Love Ride founder Oliver Shokouh’s office.
“I asked if he liked my new shirt,” Mendelsohn said. “He said, ‘We’re done,’ but I said, ‘No, there’s gonna be a Love Ride 33.’ That was two years ago.”
Mendelsohn was right — this was the 33rd Love Ride, an event that has been a staple in the motorcycle community since 1984 to raise money for various charities over the years.
“In 1984, (Shokouh) came up with an idea for a ride to raise some money, and he knew it was going to be a labor of love, so he called it the Love Ride,” said actor Robert Patrick, co-owner of Harley-Davidson of Santa Clarita. “There are so many volunteers and people behind the scenes that pull off the Love Ride, and it takes a lot of inspiration from everybody to make it happen … It’s a nice, little event to bring recognition to this wonderful store we have … and we’re bringing a little bit of Hollywood out here to Santa Clarita.”
This year, the ride, which has raised more than $25 million during its 32 years, is set to benefit the Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation, an organization that promotes innovation in education with a number of school programs.
“I’m a big supporter of kids’ futures and the arts because the arts saved my life,” added Emilio Rivera, grand marshal of the event. “They helped me express myself in a positive way. So, this is an encouragement for them. It’s beautiful.”
Patrick agreed, adding that they chose the foundation because it benefits all schools in the Santa Clarita Valley and is focused on music and the arts.
“We love that, being most of us are artists from Hollywood, and we said it sounds fantastic,” Patrick added.