Over 300 motorcycles hit the roads of Brantford and Brant County for the 18th annual Lansdowne Motorcycle Ride on Saturday, June 9.
After raising $93,000 in 2019, the ride went virtual in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. This year, the event returned in person while also keeping the virtual element for those who wished to participate.
“We’re really happy with our turnout this year, our numbers are definitely up from our last event,” said Angee Turnbull, Executive Director of the Lansdowne Children’s Foundation. “We made some changes this year, we had a new location as our homebase and we moved the date from May to July. We had about 100 more riders come out than our ride in 2019.”
The ride, led by members of the Brantford Police, Ontario Provincial Police and police service members of surrounding communities, toured past downtown Brantford and the Lansdowne Children’s Centre before cruising alongside the Grand River to Hagersville and back through Brant County to the finish point at Brimich Logistics.
Funds from the ride go towards supporting children and youth with special needs involved in Recreation Programs at the Lansdowne Children’s Centre.
Lansdowne believes that, “every child should have the opportunity to be involved in offered community activities, to learn new skills to improve their social and physical development, and to be able to gain confidence to do daily tasks independently.”
This year, 12-year-old Zoe Duggan served as the ride’s ambassador. A member of the Lansdowne Children’s Centre since she was three, Duggan lives with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a motor neuron disease that affects the voluntary muscles in the body. Her condition causes her to have weakness throughout her body and confines her to a power wheelchair to get around.
“I’ve had so much fun being the ambassador this year,” Duggan said. “My favourite part of the whole thing was getting to meet and talk to so many new people.”
While serving as the ambassador, Duggan ranked as one of the event’s top fundraisers.
“I was able to raise $5000 for the ride this year. We had special fundraising days at school, like selling freezies, and my mom and I made 12 raffle baskets to sell tickets for.”
Riders were treated to breakfast and lunch courtesy of Strodes BBQ and Deli, while Chris Strei provided musical entertainment.
Organizers have yet to tabulate fundraising totals but said that between riders, pledges, sponsors and top fundraisers like Zoe, they were on pace to reach the totals of 2019, if not surpass them.