In March, 2004, the Long Beach Long Riders set off on a cross country charity ride. The goal was to raise money and awareness for BroadwayCares/Equity Fights AIDS within the technical community in the entertainment business, and have some fun along the way. By any measure you choose to use, we succeeded. In fact, the trip went so well and we had so much fun that we decided to turn what was supposed to be a one-time trip into an annual event. We decided that Long Beach would not be the destination point, at least not for the next several trips, so a name change was in order. After much debate and the consulting of oracles, the Long Reach Long Riders were born. We also added a new charity. The ESTA Foundation's Behind the Scenes program offers grants to technicians who, through illness or injury, find themselves in crisis.
Trips 2 & 3, in 2005 and 2006, had the group going to Rapid City, South Dakota. The Badlands, Mount Rushmore and the Chief Crazy Horse Memorial were all on the agenda as well as some terrific go-cart racing on a track in town. Between the two rides we raised over $60,000.00
In 2007 we changed the route. We started out in Philadelphia and, seven days later, found ourselves back in Philly. In between we meandered through the New England countryside stopping in places like Waterbury, VT, home of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, and Eastland, ME, the easternmost point in the US. The group on this trip was the largest to date with 19 riders at one time.
Ride number 5 saw the group thundering through the canyons and deserts of the Southwest. We were awed and inspired by places like Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef and, of course, the Grand Canyon. We also raised more money that any previous trip, topping the till off at $70,000.
Richmond, Virginia was the starting point for ride # 6 in 2009. From there we meandered south through the North Carolina countryside riding the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. We also ran roads with more colorful names like "The Snake" in Shady Valley and "The Tail of The Dragon" in Deals Gap. While we meandered we raised $45,000.00 which put us over the $200,000 mark for total donations to date. Not too shabby for a recession year, eh?
Ride number 7 started in San Francisco. We went north into wine country, east to Truckee and Lake Tahoe, south to Hollister, over to the coast, and back up the PCH to San Francisco. It was, to say the least, an amazingly wonderful ride. We had up to 25 bikes with us and we topped $250,000.00. Pretty darn awesome.
2011, Ride 8, started out in Billings, Montana and headed west through some of the most beautiful national parks in the country. Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Glacier National Parks were all part of one of our most memorable trips. July 4th in front of Old Faithful, ya had to love it! Oh yeah, and we had two marriage proposals (and thankfully acceptances!) on this ride. Mark & Ali got engaged on the top of the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, and Carly & Sam got engaged in front of Old Faithful (after she finally realized he wasn't kidding...). All told, we broke the $300,000 barrier with this trip.
For 2012, we began and ended in Seattle, the Emerald City of the Northwest. The theme of the ride was "9th x Northwest". We gathered on Friday August 3rd, and welcomed some new riders and caught up with some repeat offenders. We rode to Vancouver, B.C., over to Vancouver Island, back to the Olympic Peninsula and down the Oregon coast before turning back north in Ashland OR and heading back up through Crater Lake and back to Seattle. Along the way we made some new friends, met up with old friends, and raised money and awareness wherever we went.
2013 was another great year. The theme of the ride was "Ten Great Years, Five Great Lakes". We gathered in Cleveland Ohio on June 28th, and rode along, slept beside, and dipped our toes in each of the five great lakes before ending back in Cleveland 8 days later.
2014 saw us once again among the mountains and curves as the theme was "Carpe Diem, Carpe Twisty!". The eleventh annual ride began and ended in Baltimore, and swung west into the mountains of West Virginia, through Pennsylvania, down into Virginia, and out to the Maryland shoreline. We added several new faces for 2014, and we topped the $450,000 mark in funds raised!
2015's theme will be "Cruzin' the Ozarks, the Dozenth Year", proving once again we're better at fundraising and riding than alliteration ! Beginning and ending in Nashville, TN, the ride will take us down the Natchez Trace, out and around and through the Ozarks, up to the Land Between the Lakes, and then back to Nashville several days later. The dates are May 31st to June 7th, and we'd love to have you join us or donate to the charities.
The ride is fun, the people are great and the need is very real. If you think you might want to ride with us, please browse the website and see what we're about. If you have any questions, send them to info@LRLR.org. If you don't want to ride you can still participate by making a donation.
The Long Reach Long Riders
www.lrlr.org • 800.727.7471
3883 Ridge Avenue • Philadelphia, PA 19132