Legendary Memorial Day Motorcycle Ride to Return After Four-Year Pause

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – After a four-year suspension that began with the coronavirus public health lockdowns, a celebrated motorcycle ride through Riverside and surrounding locations that’s intended to honor members of the U.S. Armed Services will return this Memorial Day.

“West Coast Thunder” is slated for May 29 — the first ride since Memorial Day 2019.

Riverside Harley-Davidson hosts the events, which began in 2000 when the dealership belonged to Skip Fordyce and operated under that banner.

In the past, the rides have attracted upwards of 7,500 motorcycle enthusiasts, joined by area political figures.

The 2020 ride was nixed due to Riverside County’s and the state’s COVID-driven prohibitions on mass public gatherings, and ongoing concerns about exposure risks led to cancellations in 2021 and 2022.

However, organizers said the ride will resume for the upcoming Memorial Day ceremonies, though specific details regarding the route and where the motorcyclists will end their journey after leaving Riverside Harley-Davison on Indiana Avenue have not been finalized.

The rides often draw thousands of people, mainly along streets running between Riverside and Moreno Valley, to watch as the participants head over to Riverside National Cemetery before turning south. In the past, riders have rendezvoused for a finale barbecue and musical celebration at the Soboba Casino or Perris Fairgrounds.

A large share of proceeds raised from the rides and musical shows are donated to the Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee, which relies on contributions to build monuments and make other improvements at the hallowed grounds, where nearly 300,000 U.S. military veterans, police officers, firefighters and others are interred.

More than $1 million has been generated over the past two decades, and even when the rides weren’t held, the West Coast Thunder Foundation continued with donation drives to support the cemetery, with $25,000 going to the American Indian Veterans Memorial in 2021.

More information about the rides is available at https://www.westcoastthunder.com/.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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