The Ride Annie Ride benefit run took place Saturday, April 24th. Ninety-two riders and 20 volunteers made the run a huge success. The weather gods were smiling, providing warm temperatures ideal for cruising from the lazy foothills of Grass Valley to the hustle-bustle of downtown Yuba City. We gathered at Sam Brannan Park where a second group of riders from the Yuba City HOG club and the Ironworkers Bike Club joined the parade.
The best part for me was when this rumbling group of colorful characters intruded on the peaceful neighborhood where Annie lived. Neighbors peered from their windows, while those more daring ventured outside to witness the thunderous roar of V-Twin engines emerging upon Ward and June Cleaver’s turf. Beaver was nowhere to be found, but rumor has it he was wearing a black leather vest and matching chaps, looking to hitch a ride with one of the female bikers in the group.
Annie watched from her wheelchair as the endless brigade filled the cul-de-sac overflowing into the streets. It was gratifying to see that the Cleaver’s and the rest of the neighborhood seemed excited with the event and were happy that Annie was the reason they were here, and not to take over the neighborhood. The gang, dressed mostly in black, gathered around Annie expressing their appreciation for her courage and strength and her warm, bubbly personality.
They were there to support Annie, who is a victim of Osteosarcoma (bone cancer). Annie is 28 and a single mom; her son Jake is only three years old. She knew about the ride, which was one of the things on her so called “bucket list,” to ride on the back of a Harley- Davidson. What she didn’t know was that the original plan of myself and a couple of my friends taking her on a little jaunt through the hills, would in reality be nearly 100 riders strong. The moment was overwhelming, to see this group of brash, hairy-faced, large-framed men with tears in their eyes, it was a moment none of us will soon forget.
While traveling through the Sutter Buttes mountain range, we did have one casualty. Jim Moser, who did the custom lettering on Annie’s donated helmet, went down, suffering a broken collarbone. We hated for this to happen, but Jim has been released from the hospital and is at home on the mend. Get well soon, Jim!
The ride through the Buttes was amazing. At one point a herd of grazing sheep watched nervously as our army of leather clad soldiers marched down the two lane winding thoroughfare, intentionally getting a rise out of the wooly onlookers by honking their horns or gunning their engines. They took it with a blade of grass, seemingly unconcerned as long as we kept to our side of the barbed wire fence.
The ending destination was back at the park for barbecue
and bench racing. Spirited conversation about the event was the common theme. A large banner of Annie and the ride was laid out and signed by all. Donations were collected and as a whole it was a very generous bunch. Members of a local Rotary Club were also among those who came to celebrate Annie’s special day. We concluded the event with a group photo and the promise that this will be an annual event continuing our support of those like Annie suffering from Osteosarcoma.
On a final note, Annie was concerned that she couldn’t possibly thank everyone involved in putting on the ride and helping make her wish come true. So, “Thank you all”, from Annie herself.
*This was the first of what will be an annual event celebrating those battling Osteosarcoma. We hope you’ll join us next year and be a part of Ride Annie Ride…