About 50 local “easy riders” polished motorcycle chrome, donned helmets and mounted gleaming bikes Saturday morning at Stafford Pavilion off Highway 84.
Some rode classic Harley Davidsons, others rode Hondas and Kawasaki’s. Whatever style bike they rode, the purpose was the same; to benefit the City of Hinesville’s Mayors Motorcade by participating in the fifth annual Cycles for Charity. Proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to buy gifts for Georgia Regional Hospital patients.
“Any excuse to ride is a welcome thing, especially when it’s for a great cause,” Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards said.
Edwards rides a “wide glide” Harley.
“I just got this one three years ago,” he said. “I’ve been riding since I was a kid. I rode a motorcycle in college but sold my bike when I got out of school.”
Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas led riders on a 75-mile trek from Hinesville through Glennville, Jesup and Ludowici in his black Porsche. Thomas thanked riders and non-riders who donated. He said Christmas is often the only time of year many Georgia Regional Hospital patients receive gifts.
“Plus it provides our riding clubs an opportunity to ride,” Thomas said. The mayor said there are nine or 10 men’s riding clubs and two or three women’s riding clubs in Hinesville. He praised the clubs for their civic-mindedness, saying they participate in many charitable events.
Members of the Southern Cruisers of Savannah, riders from American Legion Post 168 of Hinesville and Soldiers United rode in this year’s Cycles for Charity. Riders paid a $10 fee or donated a $10 unwrapped gift to participate.
The area mayors’ motorcade will be at the Georgia Regional in Savannah on Dec. 7, Hinesville Public Relations Manager Krystal Britton said.
“This is our major fundraiser,” Britton said. “Each year we take all the funds we raise and go shopping for the patients, buying items they need from our list.”
Britton said any gifts not given out at Christmas will be presented to patients as birthday gifts or given to new patients. Many of the gifts patients receive are personal products, such as body wash or socks, she said.
Britton said although the regional hospital is in Savannah, local residents benefit because the hospital serves patients from this area, including Liberty, Long and Bryan counties. The Cycles for Charity ride was once scheduled closer to the December motorcade in years past, Britton said, but the weather proved too cold for the riders.
“Everyone who participates shows up happy and excited,” Britton said. “I wish they could see the patients’ faces when we present the gifts. That’s what makes it worthwhile every year.”