By Laurie Montoya, BikerDown Foundation
There is nothing more fulfilling than organizing a charity motorcycle ride and having riders show up! All weekend riders pay for the privilege of riding on majestic Colorado roads to help every type of cause or charity.
The planning involved in putting together a safe ride is very time-consuming, it is so much more than if we route it….they will come. I have been preaching for years to organized charity rides and events that you must have more than just a first aid kit on a ride, you must have a moral compass and level of responsibility when putting a ride together.
When you are sponsoring or promoting a ride, you are taking the lives of those riders into your hands, waivers are of course signed, and every rider should ride their own ride, but it is important that organizers think about their ride and do everything possible to ensure SAFETY FIRST.
BIKERS LIVES MATTER BLOCK TEAM
Blocking or Leapfrogging is a term that most will not recognize unless you have done it. The purpose of those terms is to get groups of riders thru intersections and not break up the group. There are many that don’t feel bikers should be blocking intersections. I am a proponent of safety first and apologies later. I would rather see a group of 100 riders make it to their destination than worry about upsetting a few drivers who are inconvenienced for a few moments.
In 2020, Lyndell “Fuzz” Elliott founded Bikers Lives Matter Blocking Team with a few of his friends. His sole purpose was to help BikerDown and a few other charity rides he attended with a team of blockers that shared the same vision of motorcycle safety in a group setting and to have a Facebook page where others could volunteer to assist him. Fuzz has a long history in the biker community and has ridden on many charity rides in Colorado and has seen the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY when it comes to things that can go wrong on a ride.
A few weeks ago, I broke out and attended the 15th Annual Molly-Dharma Motorcycle charity run. If you have never run this ride, put it on your calendar for 2022. This event supports a variety of no-kill shelters in our community and draws a large crowd every year. There were puppies and dogs/cats looking for their forever family running around the Resolute Brewery in Arvada, and it took all my strength not to bring Gerda home for Noel.
150 riders attended this ride which started in Arvada and then headed up Coal Creek Canyon, a route that can be challenging for a large group of riders.
Prior to the ride leaving, I watched Jeff Busch and Fuzz, detail every stop, and turn along the route and the duties and responsibilities of the Bikers Lives Blocking Team. These types of pre-ride meetings can seem overzealous at times, and too much information for others who just came to ride. However, watching Fuzz and Jeff layout everyone’s responsibility is something that most riders don’t get to see which is the goal of a good ride.
The weather was warming up and Fuzz and Jeff did the safety meeting to the crowd, and I thought to myself, guy’s you are going too long…you are losing the crowd. This ride thru Coal Creek has a lot of sharp curves at 10-15 mph and it was important that riders understand and be prepared for the ride ahead.
My responsibilities during the ride was to ride behind approximately 10 blockers (which to me, seemed like way too many) and when we did the 3 designated hard stops, I was supposed to leave enough room for the blockers to get back in the front. I was up to the task but nervous as I have never had that level of responsibility.
As we proceeded thru Coal Creek it became clear that had any of the riders listened to the safety meeting, they should now be prepared for the tight curves and to watch their speed. I would glance in my rear-view mirror and could see that everyone was leaving enough room and being patient with other riders that may not have had their skill level.
As we proceeded to the first hard stop Hwy 72 meets Hwy 119 – the road gets quite steep to the intersection, so the blocker in front of me stopped about 75 yards before the intersection. I began to understand right away that the pre-riders had decided that they didn’t want the riders to come to a full stop on such a steep road. I did my job and stopped the riders about 10 feet away from that blocker. Suddenly all the blockers caught up and several went ahead to the intersection. This break also gave all the riders time to catch up so that when we turned, we could get everyone thru at 1 time.
Our ride on Hwy 119 to Black Hawk was beautiful and the weather while warm was cooler than in Denver and we all really began to enjoy the ride. However, I still was pondering why did we have so many blockers in the front. I was given my answer when we entered Black Hawk and I began to see Fuzz designate each blocker to go to each of the 3 intersections and block so that 150 riders could get thru with ease. Hard Stop #2 was at Johnny Z’s Shell Station on our way down and again, my job was to stop and leave enough room for all the blockers in Black Hawk to catch back up and get in line.
I won’t finish the number of incidents where the blockers made sure the group got safely to the END stop. What was noticeably clear to me was how important it is to have a good blocking TEAM with you on an organized ride. The precision and planning to ensure that 150 riders didn’t get lost or left behind made the event all that more enjoyable for everyone. Riders at the end of the event kept commenting that the ride was great and how much they enjoyed themselves.
These are the comments that you want when hosting a charity ride. A ride was so enjoyable that riders will come back the next year and support you again. A huge thank you to Jeff Bush and Fuzz and their team of riders with Bikers Lives Matter Blocking Team.
The TEAM has accumulated quite a resume of rides that they have blocked for including
- International Female Ride,
- Cruizin for Kruzer,
- BikerDown’s 9th Annual Look Twice Save a Life ride; and
- 15th Annual Molly-Dharma Motorcycle ride.
A special thanks and honorable mention to their TEAM members including
- Steve Cox,
- Superman John Dentin Asdourian ,
- kickstand Joe Rivera,
- Rick Bouska,
- Jeff Bush,
- Michael Valles
And a special thanks to the Team for Molly-Dharma included
- Rob Bagforb
- Jake Marr
- Charles Holland Jr
- Joey Hackney
- Dave Wynn
- Chad McCullough
- Randy Barnett