Celebrities, Bikers Flock to Glendale for Love Ride

Ani Khashadoorian

A sea of leather jackets descended upon Brand Boulevard this past Sunday, as more than 20,000 motorcyclists converged at the Glendale Harley-Davidson dealership for the 25th annual Love Ride fundraiser for various charities.

Love Ride is compromised of two different segments: bikers meet at the dealership and then ride onto the Pomona Fairplex for the concerts held later in the day.

The Glendale portion of Love Ride began at 6:30 in the morning, as bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts from all over Southern California gradually poured into the surrounding area near the Harley Davidson dealership. Riders later began leaving the area at 9 a.m. making the 35-mile long ride to the Pomona Fairplex.
Comedian Jay Leno returned to his post as Grand Marshal this year, as he has hosted every Love Ride since its inception.

Leno said “Why ride alone when you can ride with like 20,000 other people? I’m just hanging out, these are people here I see once a year the one eyed guy, the guy with one leg, the other guy, the guy with the scraggly beard.”

Besides Leno, other celebrity riders included actor Eric Bana (“The Other Boleyn Girl,” 2008), Peter Fonda (“3:10 to Yuma,” 2007), and Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, both of the band Velvet Revolver.

Bana had heard of the event before, but hadn’t had the chance to be in the country as Love Ride was happening. Enthusiastic, he said “It’s always good to see a bunch of bike riders getting together for charity.”
This was Sorum and McKagan’s first Love Ride experience as well. ”

“I’ve never been on a ride where there were 25,000 people; that’s kind of a trip. We just got up really early this morning, we met at the freeway, made a couple of calls, got here,” said McKagan.

The Foo Fighters and ZZ Top headlined performances at the Fairplex.

Oliver Shokouh, owner of the Glendale Harley-Davidson, kicked off the first Love Ride in 1984.

Shokouh had previously unsuccessfully attempted to hold fundraisers at his shop, but Love Ride became a huge triumph over Shokouh’s earlier benefits.

Love Ride has raised more than $20 million dollars for charity since its start.
Charities that have been assisted by the event include the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Reading by 9, and the Providence Saint Joseph Foundation.

The press box on Sartoris Field was a contribution from the dealership.