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BIKERS REV ENGINES FOR CHARITY.

Byline: Yvette Cabrera Daily News Staff Writer

That trembling of the ground and distant rumble Sunday wasn't an earthquake, it was thousands of bikers with a cause roaring up the freeway.

The 13th annual Love Ride turned the Golden State Freeway into a sea of glistening chrome, black leather and wind-whipped hair as about 25,000 bikers cruised 50 miles from Glendale to Castaic Lake to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Touted by organizers as the world's largest motorcycle fund-raiser, Love Ride raised more than $1.25 million for the association and featured a lakeside concert by Crosby, Stills and Nash.

``It was the best. I've always wanted to do it,'' said Heidi Braverman of Sylmar as she sat with her two sons in a taxi-yellow side car attached to her husband's Yamaha.

``Just the thought of being with all the different bikers and the sense of togetherness is great.''

Bikers descended on Glendale at dawn, setting off from the Harley-Davidson shop owned by Love Ride founder Oliver Shokouh. The businessman started the event in 1984 to promote a positive image for motorcyclists.

By 9 a.m., as far as the eye could see, sparkling motorcycles packed San Fernando Road, spilling onto side streets and into gasoline stations, hamburger-joint parking lots and the Amtrak station.

Led by four-time grand marshal Jay Leno, riding a blue Harley-Davidson, the caravan thundered out of Glendale like a small army and headed north.

The pace may have been slow, but it suited Braverman.

``I think it was probably safer riding in the Love Ride than taking a Sunday afternoon putt,'' Braverman said.

Even though Harley riders went mainstream long ago, bikers are still trying to shake that bad-boy - and bad-girl - image. The ride helps, Leno said.

``It's amazing. There's like 30,000 bikers, and in the eight or nine times I've done this I've never seen a fight, I've never seen anybody arrested, I've never seen anybody drunk,'' Leno said.

Though better known for his extensive car collection, the ``Tonight Show'' host is the envy of many bikers with his collection of 40 motorcycles.

Rider John Pugliese of Ontario said the event is a bonding experience for motorcyclists.

``It's the two-wheel experience. That's what everyone has in common,'' said Pugliese as he slipped his helmet over his bandanna-clad head.

There were bikers of every stripe. Bikers in dreadlocks. Bikers in khaki. Bikers who carry briefcases to work.

``I can say this is the only place where you don't find discrimination, regardless of your race, creed, color or nationality,'' said Pugliese's wife, Gina.

Of course, the attire of choice was black leather and tight jeans. But for hairstyles, it was anything goes, from ZZ Top-style beards to military-style cuts.

``You meet all kinds of different people with the same thing in common,'' said Jane Elder of Huntington Beach.

While many came for the camaraderie, some said the main attraction was the opportunity to help children with muscular dystrophy.

Participants each paid a minimum $45 to ride. Many, such as Mark Raphael of Van Nuys, raised several hundred dollars through pledges.

``I do it primarily for the enjoyment of giving to the kids,'' said Raphael, who rode his Gold Wing Honda touring bike to deliver the $421 he raised. ``My Harley wouldn't start, and I was determined to come because I had gotten all these donations. I would have even come in my pickup and just dropped off the money if I had to.''

The California Highway Patrol reported two Love Ride-related crashes with minor injuries. One occurred near the Los Feliz on-ramp to the Golden State freeway, where a motorcycle toppled after hitting a traffic cone and caught fire. The rider suffered a wrist injury and chin cuts, according to the Los Angeles city Fire Department.

CAPTION(S):

3 Photos

PHOTO (1 -- color) Motorcycles move down Glendale Boulevard at the start of a massive ride.

(2) Wes Fitzgerald gets a glance from a dog in sunglasses on the Harley next to him Sunday in Glendale.

(3) Rider Dusty Switzer shows off her Indian jewelry.

John McCoy/Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 11, 1996
Words:685
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