Thousands of Harley Davidson riders, as well as other bike and car enthusiasts will be roaring their vehicles from throughout New England, New York and Pennsylvania to Farmington, Ct this weekend to raise money for and awareness of Special Olympics Connecticut athletes.
This is the 10th year of the “Dream Ride” which has raised $965,000 so far, according to the organizers.
“Since 2001, Dream Ride has been bringing people together on the open road to celebrate the achievements of Special Olympics Connecticut athletes. Each year thousands of motorcycle and car enthusiasts rev up their engines to honor this worthy cause,” the organizers say on their website.
“The 2010 event is more than a charity ride for motorcycles and a show for cars; it’s a gathering of people interested in camaraderie, helping out a good cause and having a great time. We hope you can join us for this incredible day. Join us as we welcome 8 states and 29 satellite locations to Dream Ride 2010.”
The major sponsors are Bozzuto’s Inc. and The Hometown Foundation, Inc., for the Saturday and Sunday events where riders will gather near the Farmington Polo Grounds.
There are literally hundreds of people who help organize these charity rides in New England.
One of the behind the scenes people is Norm Leblanc of Enfield whose job it is to make sure no one gets hurt.
A long-time motorcycle enthusiast, Leblanc was hired by the Hartford personal injury law firm of Trantolo & Trantolo (one of my advertisers) to help make sure these charity drives are conducted safely.
Leblanc, a former HD service manager, has been working full-time for the firm for more than two years helping organizing charity events.
He works closely with local and state police departments and with local officials, getting their permission for riders to go through their towns and figuring out the safest routes.
So far this year Leblanc has worked on about 50 charity rides and as far as I am concerned the best riding is coming up in the fall.
Leblanc started working on the Dream Ride for this year, the day after last year’s ride ended.
“We work very dilligenty to make sure we do things right,” he said in a telephone interview today.
As part of his work for the law firm, he conducts motorcycle safety classes for road captains – who help manage actual rides – as well as for riders. Other law firms also get involved in charity rides and some send their people to Leblanc’s classes.
Leblanc says he doesn’t mind since his only job is to make sure there are no injuries.
“Safety is our main concern,” he said, adding that to his knowledge no rider has been injured in a Dream Ride.
Road Captain seminars are conducted by Leblanc together with local and state police to educate riders on how to control traffic at intersections during group rides. They also address other organizing topics like filing for permits from police and towns; developing proper registration forms and processes and how to run a profitable raffle.
He can be contacted at Norml@trantololaw.com.
Trantolo & Trantolo have been involved in working with philanthropy and the motorcycle community for more than 15 years and Atty. Vincent J. Trantolo has been an avid motorcyclist for more than 20 years.
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