Despite Near-Tragedy, Weekend Maine Motorcycle Ride Was an Unreal Experience
It could've been bad. It could've been so bad. Thankfully, it wasn't. More on that later.
Bikers for Boobies 2022
This past Saturday was not only my first-ever Bikers for Boobies -- an annual motorcycle ride to raise money for Maine Cancer Foundation and help our local neighbors and family members in their cancer battle -- but also my first-ever motorcycle ride in general. And while I wasn't on a bike, I was still part of the massive motorcade, following behind the bikes in my truck along with a couple other trucks and SUVs.
Before we even did any riding to raise cancer, we all gathered at Big Moose Harley in Portland and right off the bat you could tell it was going to be something special. Cancer is nothing to be in good spirits about, but kicking cancer's ass is -- and that's what we were all there for. And you could just feel the brother and sisterhood not only between the Vacationland V-Twin Cruisers motorcycle club that was there, but the other motorcycle clubs in attendance and even just people there to support the cause.
And other than actually raising the money to kick cancer in the junk and hopefully someday cure it and end it permanently, the brother and sisterhood was easily the best part of the entire event. Because it happened so instantly -- whether it was the crew from Maine Cancer Foundation that was on hand, the members of any motorcycle club on hand -- it didn't matter. If you were there, you were instantly a brother or sister of the entire crew. If you showed up as a stranger, you weren't considered a stranger for long.
Motorcycle Club brotherhood/sisterhood
Before the entire crew left for the 100+ ride, Ratchet, one of the members of the Vacationland V-Twin Cruisers, welcomed everyone to the event, reminded everyone why we were there, then shared a personal story of how two weeks after last year's Bikers for Boobies event, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thankfully, she was able to beat it, but right away, as I was listening to the words pouring out of this stranger's mouth, I immediately started inwardly rooting for his mother and that his story would have a happy ending.
Thankfully, it did. They were able to remove all the cancer and his mother is in remission. Everyone listening to Ratchet applauded and cheered for a woman most of us didn't know existed. After a blessing was given -- one that we found out would be more important than we realized -- the bikers lined up and set off for our first destination -- a scenic overlook in Limerick.
Navigating the roads with the 65+ registered bikers (but a lot more joined last minute because we had a lot more than a crew of 65 there) and the other vehicles that were part of the motorcade was where I felt the brother and sisterhood the most, honestly. Bikers blocking intersections for each other to keep the pack together. Some of us in trucks coming to the rescue of some bikers that were being advanced on by impatient drivers at intersections and providing more blocking -- the thrill wasn't about going against "the rules of the road," it was all of us protecting everyone else and getting each others' backs.
Just like every Mainer, resident, and person from away taking part in the ride were getting the back of every single Mainer and resident battling cancer.
And after hours of riding together and protecting each other, just two miles away from our final destination of Bentley's Saloon in Arundel, that's where tragedy almost struck.
The group of us in trucks and SUVs were at the back of the pack and the last to encounter everything. And that included the full stop we randomly came to as we were coming up to a down slope in the road that also included a curve. We assumed it was one of the casual slowdowns we had encountered along the way either from a traffic light or everyone making a turn.
And then from the top of the hill, we noticed toward the bottom of the hill around the bend, bikers were walking around. And there was a car parked off to the side of the road. And that's when our hearts fell down to our butts because our first thought was someone in our brother and sisterhood -- a brother and sisterhood that legit somehow felt like family even though we only met just hours before -- had been knocked out by a car.
Most of us at the back of the pack blocked the road from any oncoming traffic and fully abandoned our vehicles to head down the hill to see what was going on. And what we were met with was a scary, frightening sight.
After confusion of what actually happened, it turns out one rider ended up hitting some gravel and over-corrected when trying to get back on the road safely, and ended up dumping her bike. A few bikers behind her also went down due to trying to avoid her. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured (or worse.) Those involved were fully checked out by first responders that literally took two minutes max to show up at the scene.
But as scary and frightening as that situation was -- since all involved were checked out, cleared, and no serious injuries or surgeries or anything were needed -- that ended up also being one of the most amazing moments. Which sounds confusing to say, but follow me for a second.
Of course it's a situation no one should ever wish on anyone. It's a situation no one should ever want to hear about, come across, or see first hand. But what I saw first hand out of all of that?
People literally abandoning their vehicles without thinking to rush down to the scene to not only find out what happened, but more importantly, to find out how they could help. What they could do. For some, these bikers were literal strangers met just hours before. Yet SUVs and trucks were left on the side of the road to rush down to help.
Shows like Sons of Anarchy and Mayans make motorcycle clubs out to be nothing but violent gangs that engage in wars with each other. On Saturday, I learned that's partially true. Because the Vacationland V-Twin Cruisers, other motorcycle clubs, and individuals part of Bikers for Boobies? We were all engaged in a war.
A war against cancer. A war against anything that put any of us at risk of being hurt -- traffic, gravel -- anything. And in that war, a good amount of money was raised to benefit our local, Maine cancer patients through Maine Cancer Foundation.