This year marked our third anti-Black Friday fundraising ride for Alameda County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), and like last year, it was bigger than the year before. Way bigger. Although it’ll always be known to us as the Fuck Black Friday ride, we downplayed the real name a bit because Facebook has tightened up its editorial guidelines as a result of all the recent shenanigans, and wouldn’t let us advertise it with that name, or even if the fuckin’ F word was present in the event description.
Come on! It’s not like Putin and friends are funding ads for our ride in hopes of destroying the American economy along with our previously perfectly-functional voting systems. I really wanted to rename the ride “The Fuck Black Friday and Facebook Ride” but being able to advertise the ride on Facebook is critical—we spend a couple hundred bucks each year out of CityBike’s corporate PR budget to publicize the ride amongst the youngsters and other people who may not be aware that words can exist on paper as well as on screens.
Ride Friday Give Back 2017 was our biggest yet: 101 people came out to ride with us, and we raised $4,450 in donations. CityBike added $550, again out of our vast corporate PR budget, to make it an even five grand, because “We raised five grand!” sounds cooler. And remember, we don’t do that “we’ll donate the proceeds after we cover our costs” shit. Every penny donated goes to CASA.
We had to change up the route again this year, since Redwood Road is still closed, but Cornerstone Coffee Brewing in Castro Valley still hosted and caffeinated us at the beginning, and Lanesplitter Pizza still fed us at the end.
This is serious shit, you guys—these are small local businesses that made room for a lot of bikes and riders, and donated food and staffing to help us have a good time while we were going about the serious business of skipping out on the idiocy of Black Friday in order to raise money for Alameda County CASA. That’s a big deal.
The weather was gorgeous, and though we had to include a bit of freeway to get us to the beginning of the route, the rest of the ride was on seriously fun East Bay back roads.
We posted CityBike’s world-famous photographers along the route again this year, and shared all the photos of the ride with everyone who made an additional donation of $20 or more. Just like last year, most riders, who don’t work for motorcycle magazines, seemed to dig the idea of having their picture taken in motion, and the majority of participants chipped in for photos.
This year, in the spirit of further increasing our donation to CASA, we added a pretty serious raffle. Thanks to extremely generous donations from SF Moto, Aerostich, Racer Gloves USA, Inked Iron, MotoChic Gear, Moto Guild SF, ABUS Mobile Security and California Sport Touring, who donated over $2,000 worth of killer stuff, the raffle was a big part of increasing donations.
It wasn’t perfect—we experienced some growing pains with the unexpected doubling of attendance. We’re already working on plans to handle more riders next year, and believe me, we’re serious about making this thing work better as it grows, because it’s a lot of fun and we raise some serious money for Alameda County CASA.
As with last year, I’m humbled by the generosity of our sponsors and amazed by the diversity of riders that show up to support our cause: BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse) brought riders from all over northern California, our friends from the OMC (Oakland Motorcycle Club) showed up in force, some of our sponsors were able to ride with us, and we had damn near every type of motorcycle and rider, from young to old, male and female, sportbike to cruiser to sidecar to adventure bike, even a TW200!
We couldn’t do this without you all, so from the bottom of my heart: thank you. I hope to see you at RFGB 2018!
Learn more about Alameda County CASA at CASAofAlamedaCounty.org. Wanna ride with us next year? Keep reading this website, or like us at facebook.com/CityBikeMag to get the heads up, but it’ll be on Black Friday, duh. So mark your calendar now!
This story originally appeared in our January 2018 issue, which you can read in all its original high-res glory here.