Penny Pike was a bit surprised when she found out that there has never been a Lions Foundation of Canada Ride for Guide Dogs held in Newfoundland.
As the Newfoundland director for the foundation, the Corner Brook Lion saw an opportunity that left her thinking ‘why not, let’s go with it.’
The Corner Brook Lions Club, together with the Pasadena and Norris Point Lions Clubs, will host the province’s first Ride for Guide Dogs on Aug. 11.
To help with the organization and logistics of the motorcycle ride Pike reached out to someone who’s no stranger to doing just that.
Jeff Smith has been riding motorcycle for about 42 years.
He’s organized rides like the Ride for Dad, Ride for Sight and Ride for Autism. And he set up the West Coast Riders group as a way for riders to connect and get together and ride.
“It’s just basically freedom,” said Smith of the feeling he gets from riding.
He said people can sit in a car all day and not really see the things they pass. But that’s different on motorcycle.
He said to imagine driving by someone mowing their lawn.
“If you drove by in a car you might never notice it. Drive by on a motorcycle and it’s just like oh my God the smell of fresh cut grass. When you drive by an ocean, you get the ocean smells.”
Smith laughs when he adds there can also be some unpleasant smells.
He thinks combining motorcycling with charitable groups and organizations is a great idea.
“Usually when there’s an event on the go and there’s a motorcycle affiliation to it, it just for some reason or other brings people out.”
He said the rides serve a dual purpose, raising awareness about motorcycle riding and of the event or organization it is supporting.
“I think there’s such a vast variety of people who ride and they just got that love of riding, but they also are a great group of people for doing fundraising.”
The Ride of Guide Dogs will start at 10 a.m. on Aug. 11 from the Corner Brook Lions Club on Wellington Street. Riders will travel to the Pasadena Lions Club and then to the Norris Point club where they will be served dinner. Then it’s back to the Corner Brook club where a barbecue will take place and the final tally will be announced.
“We’re encouraging everybody from the whole island of Newfoundland to get involved,” said Pike.
“We really want to raise funds for a dog.”
A dog that could end up in Newfoundland as Pike said there are currently several people from the province on the waitlist for guide dogs.
To register for the ride, and get a pledge sheet, call Pike at 632-8386 or Smith at 632-0532.
Anyone interested in sponsoring a rider or the event can also contact Pike.