Despite chilly air and a lot of rain, the 11th annual Chicago Ride for Autism Speaks took place on Sunday, September 15, 2013.
About 500 motorcycles arrived at Fox River Harley-Davidson, our new start location early Sunday morning. They were treated to a moving speech by Diane Gedik Tavolacci, Ride co-chair, who started the event 11 years ago with her family. The Begley Family of Canada, Karla, Max and Jackson, were our honorary guests for the day. Diane and her cousin Barbara reach out to the Begley family after they received a hate-filled letter, and took the liberty of paying for flights and hotel rooms to show support from the Chicago autism and riding communities. The Begleys rode in one of the lead cars to start the ride.
The great Wayne Messmer and his wife Kathleen sang both the Canadian and U.S. National anthems, with not a dry eye in the room and rousing cheers.
Before kickstands went up, two bike blessings were made to wish the riders a safe journey to the After Party. The 65 mile course throughout the Western suburbs concluded at City Limits Harley-Davidson and Alley 64 Palatine. When the riders arrived, they were treated to amazing food, drinks and an outstanding merchandise raffle and silent auction. The 50/50 cash raffle raised over $12,000 –the largest we have ever had. Local band Mistaken Identity rocked the house, despite the soggy weather. We were also treated to a song by Jackson Begley, accompanied by the band.
The Ride has raised almost $75,000 and counting! Huge thanks goes out to Diane and Leo Tavolacci, our 2013 Ride co-chairs as well as our tireless committee and supporting municipalities who put on a great ride with ZERO accidents.