I read with interest the letter to the editor published on Sunday that primarily was an effort to complain about the noise and inconvenience caused by the charitable motorcycle ride that left Sunbury on Sept. 15. The letter irritated me frankly, but I dismissed it because everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, once I got to the part where you said "the cyclists … create a tacky atmosphere in the area", well let's just say my ire increased.
I've ridden in countless charity events over the years. I have ridden over 100 miles just to get to some rides.
These "tacky" men and women I associate with are comprised of business owners, doctors, lawyers, government officials, law enforcement, fire fighters, clergy and countless other professional and hardworking laborer type folks.
Many of these riders are also veterans or support veterans' causes. Each and every one reaches deep in their wallets to pay for the privilege to ride in one of these events in support of a cause they personally believe to be righteous.
I have ridden for cancer research, memorial scholastic scholarships, support for children's organizations, child abuse awareness and countless events such as this one, to benefit a family in their time of loss and need.
The riders themselves were inconvenienced by a delay when we received information that the mayor had called to request the ride be delayed because of a wedding being conducted near the bridge. Some riders had already been there for hours waiting to ride but I heard not one complaint in the crowd of hundreds.
So see, we do care.
Sure these rides can be loud.
And yes, they can cause some traffic delays, but no more so than an occasional parade or the repeated train traffic through town.
Anytime you see a larger group of motorcycles, be there 20 or 4,000, you can bet that they are riding for a cause, a cause that may directly or indirectly help you or your neighbor.
Rather than complain about the minor 10-minute inconvenience or the noise, step outside and tip your hat to these men and women. During the 9-11 Memorial ride in the Williamsport area, the citizens show up by the tens of thousands every year as the bike procession passes through their area. All, young and old alike, are cheering and waving with American pride.
The particular ride that resulted in the complaint was a benefit ride for the Mahaffey family who recently lost a very young father and his toddler son in a horrifically fatal crash on the Veterans' Memorial Bridge in Sunbury.
I understand this event raised thousands of dollars for a very appreciative family.
Perhaps if others in Sunbury were as charitable as bikers, Sunbury may once again become the kind neighborhood I'm sure you'd like it to be.
So please, before you implore the mayor, the police force or the county commissioners to curtail these events, reconsider the intentional or unintentional consequences of your actions.
Until then, I pray you never experience the grief and financial burden of a double funeral.
You too could someday be in a position where accepting charity, from any "tacky" source, may become a little more palatable. I didn't even know the Mahaffey family but it was an honor and a privilege to ride in this event and help them in some small way. We all know that our contribution in any amount will never ever compensate them for their loss but we do what we can.
I am truly sorry that you were disturbed and/or inconvenienced by this honorable event.