18th Annual Love Ride

But It Never Rains In Southern California...

Every year we write about the Love Ride, we talk about beautifully sunny California days spent rolling along in the hills of Malibu. And every year we get calls from people we know all over the country who are planning their trip in to our little corner of paradise asking what to bring, what to pack, and what to expect.

Well, we were flat-out wrong this year. I personally told a number of people about a dry spell we were having and predicted an unseasonably warm ride. Bzzzt! Wrong answer, Howard. Not even close. We woke up to unseasonably cool temperatures and rain.

What you don't understand is it really never rains here in SoCal and most of the locals (except the East Coast transplants) don't know how to drive in the rain. That means things get crazy around here. The radio station I listen to is so amused by the city's panic over the rain that they have created a sound bite of a guy screaming in a truly panicked voice, "Oh my God, it's raining!"

So when I looked out the window and saw rain, I thought about how many Southern Californians might consider getting out of their nice warm beds to get on a rain-soaked freeway for a charity ride. I expected a bust. Surely these denizens of the home of warm, sunny Sunday rides would stay in bed and not bother getting their overly chromed machines covered in road goo. Bzzzt! Wrong answer again, Howard.

The streets surrounding Glendale Harley-Davidson were full of bikes and rain-suit-wearing riders. Apparently, a good cause was taking precedent over bad weather and the Love Ride would go on. By the time we pulled in the parking lot at Castaic Lake, it was obvious the rain hadn't diluted much of the ride's enthusiasm at all. It was a little weird seeing people wandering through the vender displays in full rain gear during the morning, but by afternoon, the clouds disappeared and things started to dry out. Participants made their way to the grass field in front of the stage for music from Billy Ray Cirus, Kenny Wayne Shepard, and ending with Joe Walsh. The eclectic selection was the perfect complement to the pre-ride concert put on by Vanilla Fudge.

Love Ride 18 participants deserve congratulations on two things: supporting a few charities that really need funding, and toughing out a crappy day in paradise. By the way, it was bright and sunny Monday morning on the way into work. Why? Because it never rains in Southern California.