Friday, April 25, 2008

US 20 in Ohio: The 25th Annual Louie Run

What’s the Louie Run? Any serious biker in the Midwest is probably familiar with this annual motorcycle ride, which serves as the unofficial opening of the motorcycle season in northeast Ohio. It also is an event to benefit charity. Up to 10,000 bikers have participated in this ride, and I believe that to be true because one year I got stopped in traffic by the passing motorcycles, and I think I saw every one of those 10,000 bikers as I sat stuck there almost an hour. It really is a sight to see - and hear.

Here’s some background on the Louie Run, from the official Louie Run web site,

"Just two short decades ago, a handful of local bikers rode together to the cemetery to pay tribute to a lost friend, Louie Ivcovic. Louie was a local businessman who owned the Peppermint Stick Lounge, and he had given the bikers a place where they could meet, relax, and enjoy the company of fellow motorcyclists. At a time when most businesses were turning bikers away, Louie put out the welcome mat and gave them a home.

Louie had welcomed them into his life, and now those bikers felt compelled to nurture his memory and keep Louie alive in their hearts. The group agreed to return the following year and never let the memory, or the man, be forgotten.

As the years went by, more friends joined in the memorial ride, and unfortunately, more friends had been lost. From these humble beginnings, the Louie Run was born. It didn’t take long before the gathering grew into an event, with sheer numbers creating logistical difficulties, but the Peppermint Stick Alumni rose to the challenge by organizing and coordinating what had become one of Northeast Ohio’s premier rides."

This year the Louie Run begins its trek Sunday, May 4, at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 1301 Mentor Avenue (US Route 20), Painesville, Ohio. Gates will open at 9 am and tickets are available at most area motorcycle businesses, or $10 at the gate. Proceeds from the Louie Run benefit local charities. The Louie Run Foundation has donated over $250,000 to numerous charitable institutions in Northeast Ohio. The event also includes live music, bike games, tattoo competition, and a variety of vendors. For more information, visit the Louie Run web site.

The US Route 20 Blog homepage can be found here.

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