The cause for Ride Into History is one that’s close to the heart of Troy Gaglardi, chair of the fifth annual fundraising motorcycle cruise.
Proceeds from the two-day event that took place July 22 and 23 support the Salvation Army Gateway of Hope, which provides shelter and support to Langley’s homeless population, as well as to others who need it.
The Gateway of Hope is where Gaglardi worked for seven-and-a-half years.
“The need is there,” Gaglardi said early Saturday morning, July 23, as the mostly leather-clad motorcyclists gathered with their bikes in the Kwantlen Polytechnic University parking lot, next door to the Gateway of Hope.
“There are a lot of people who do need help, and it’s not only homeless people. It’s working people just making ends meet and there are a lot of lonely people in the community. The Salvation Army bridges that community. There is a lot of good, hand-to-hand work being done.”
Located at 5787 Langley Bypass, the Gateway of Hope helps the homeless and those at risk with material assistance and other supports, with a goal of helping them move forward.
The facility also provides an emergency shelter that can house up to 22 men and 10 women.
Gaglardi noted that the Ride Into History team was impressed with the Gateway of Hope’s “less than 10 per cent administration cost, effective service delivery, and a genuine care for people.”
Envision Financial and Aldergrove Credit Union were the sponsors and lent manpower in the form of volunteers from both financial institutions.
Last year’s ride raised roughly $22,000, supporting programs at the Gateway of Hope.
Proceeds from this year’s event will be announced in September, as organizers will need to continue with the final payments and accounting. As well, some funds are being donated into August.
A total of 115 motorcyclists participated, and the July 22 Cruise ‘N’ Concert drew about 70 motorcycles and 100 cars for a show-and-shine that featured the Sea Billy’s Celtic music, the Thunder Kings Motor Group, and a 14-pound cannon brought in by the Canadian Military Museum.
Gaglardi said roughly 700 people attended the Cruise ‘N’ Concert and the night featured a significantly emotional moment.
“The whole event was a community gathering of people enjoying the beautiful summer’s evening, [and] hearing Russ’s story of how his life history saw significant change – from a path that seemed to have little value to a positive future where he will make positive change in the lives of those around him,” Gaglardi said.
The July 23 tour traveled on secondary roads to Abbotsford, over the Mission Bridge and into Steelhead with a stop at the Stave Lake visitor centre. Then, the motorcyclists made their way through Maple Ridge and up to White Pine beach in Belcarra Provincial Park for lunch.
After that, it was back through Maple Ridge and over the Golden Ears Bridge, through Derby Reach and Fort Langley, and back to the Gateway of Hope.
Gaglardi said the fundraiser had a “real community feel,” with “people working with people” to make it happen.