Erik and I went for a benefit motorcycle ride yesterday, before today’s blistering heat (thank goodness!). It was the Alzheimer’s Ride for the Mind and, in my rough estimate, about 100 motorcycles showed up at the Buckman Bank Tavern to take part.
Hubby recently purchased a new-to-him Harley Davidson, having gone many years without riding due to a back injury. Prior to that, he had a Honda Shadow Ace 1100 Tourer and we used to take that on rides, including benefit rides. In fact, we’ve done the Alzheimer’s Ride for the Mind before. My Grandma Florence had Alzheimer’s, so it’s a cause with personal meaning for me.
Having missed many years of benefit rides, I was surprised to see that this year’s Alzheimer’s ride also included ATVs and other off-road vehicles, which was a pretty cool addition. I believe those riders had a different route to follow on the ride because they weren’t in our lineup of motorcycles.
There is nothing more impressive than lining up among 100 motorcycles (and 2 scooters!) and rumbling out of town, watching people come out of their houses to see what the commotion is about and to wave.
According to the organizers’ Facebook page, 187 people registered to ride. That would include all the motorcyclists and their passengers, along with all the folks on/in off-road vehicles.
For benefit rides such as this one, it is common for cycles to have a beginning point and two stops along the way, ending back at the beginning. Usually, the stops are bars in small towns and the routes are in the country, away from areas with heavy traffic. Organizers will station bikers along crossroads to stop traffic and allow the long column of motorcycles through. It would not be fun to be in a car and get stuck in the middle of such a ride.
This year’s ride could have used better organization. Normally, benefit rides will have a lead cycle with a large flag to get the entire group going. There is often an end cycle with a flag to follow along in case there are problems. Without a lead flag cycle, no one knew when we were starting and the ride started later than we expected. The distance between our stops was longer than we have experienced in the past, as well. Plus, our stops at the bars along the way were longer than normal. While drinking is common in motorcycle culture, it’s risky to allow people to have too many alcoholic drinks during a ride. Keeping stops short helps prevent this. Most of motorcyclists left the ride before returning to Buckman, including us, due to the length of the ride and stops.
I suspect this ride was halted during the pandemic lockdowns, so organizers are having to get up to speed again and work out any kinks.
Having run a nonprofit, I was curious about what organization the money raised was going to. Was Alzheimer’s Ride for the Mind a formal nonprofit or was the group raising money for another nonprofit? When Erik and I registered, I asked whether Alzheimer’s Ride for the Mind was a nonprofit organization and got a vague affirmative response. Unfortunately, in doing a search on Guidestar, an organization that tracks the status of nonprofits, I can’t find any listing for “Alzheimer’s Ride for the Mind” or “Motorcycle Ride for the Mind,” or even “Ride for the Mind.” I also can’t find an organization by that name on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, where nonprofits and businesses are required to register. When I checked the website link on the Ride’s Facebook page, http://rideforthemind.com, I got a 404 Not Found error. I also tried searching for rideforthemind.org in case the link was typed in wrong, but that’s giving me a different kind of error message.
An article from 2015 on CARE – Community Action Respecting Elders, an organization based in Foley, MN, shows that Alzheimer’s Ride for the Mind donated $3,500 to the organization that year. CARE is registered with the Secretary of State’s Office and appears on Guidestar.
I do hope money raised from this year’s ride goes to a registered nonprofit, like CARE, and that next year the Ride’s organizers are more clear about where the money is going. If any of the Ride’s organizers read this post, please let me know in the comments which nonprofit(s) received funding. (If you let me know, I will update this post with the information.)
Before closing out this blog post, I want to point out something that warms this Pragmatic Historian’s heart.
The business where this year’s Ride for the Mind started was at Buckman Bank Tavern, as mentioned above. The tavern is in an old bank and there are two great nods to its history. One is on the business’s sign. Under the business name, it says, “Reinventing History.”
The other is a door cling that looks like the door to a bank vault.
Isn’t that a great use of history to appeal to customers?
Okay, two more photos and I’m calling it quits on this post.
Someone in Buckman has a sense of humor with this sign on a building across the street from the Buckman Bank Tavern. It reads, “Buckman Eyesore.”
One of the things I love about small rural towns in Minnesota is that they often have agricultural buildings in their main business district. Buckman has what appears to be a GIANT feed mill operation on main street.
I have a fondness for the architecture of feed mills because they make great photographic subjects. One is only a block from my house and I have taken more photos of it than I can count.
Over and out on today’s blog post.