'Ride to Gettysburg' draws almost 400 to help preserve Civil War monumnets
State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, hosted his 15th annual "Ride to Gettysburg" on Sept. 26, with 397 riders participating in the motorcycle ride from the fountain on Commonwealth Avenue in Harrisburg to Gettysburg.
Rep. Readshaw and his riders, called "Readshaw's Raiders," make the annual trek to support the need to restore and maintain the Pennsylvania Civil War monuments on the Gettysburg battlefield. The B.S.A. Venture Crew 1861, portraying the 1st Pennsylvania Reserves Volunteer Fife & Drum Corps, played The Star-Spangled Banner in Harrisburg before the ride began and also entertained at the end location, Battlefield Harley-Davidson in Gettysburg.
The riders were led to Gettysburg by the God Bless America Motorcycle Color Guard.
"This year's ride was special due to the participation of Unity, a Journey of Hope; a Make-A-Wish organization for adults. Paula Bowman Cummings, a central Pennsylvania woman awaiting a double lung transplant, was able to ride in a sidecar thanks to help from Unity and the Blue Mountain Chapter of ABATE and Two Million Bikers to D.C. The generosity of the riders and supporters never ceases to amaze me," Rep. Readshaw said.
Among those who joined the ride this year were ride marshals state Reps. Bryan Barbin and Mark Keller as well as state Reps. Bill Kortz and Dan Moul. Former state Rep. Teresa Forcier from Crawford County, brought 28 members of her "Motor Maids" from around the state to ride as well.
"This year's ride was a fitting tribute to the memory of long-time supporter Jennifer LeVan," Rep. Readshaw said. "Jennifer, who died earlier this year following a battle with cancer, was a co-partner of the ending location, Battlefield Harley-Davidson."
Local police and fire departments involved in traffic control to allow the group to ride together were the Capitol Police; the Carroll Township and Latimore Township police departments; the Camp Hill, East Pennsboro, Lower and Upper Allen police and fire departments, the Gettysburg, Hampden Township and Shiremanstown fire departments and the Gettysburg substation of the Pennsylvania State Police.
"With their help and support every year, this ride has become known as one of the safest motorcycle rides across the state of Pennsylvania," Rep. Readshaw said. "Many of the riders, who came to support the project and go for a beautiful ride, are not members of ABATE, which has done a great job of sponsoring the ride over the past 14 years.
"President Lincoln once spoke these words in Gettysburg, 'The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here,'" Rep. Readshaw said. "The monuments on the field provide a permanent tribute to those who fought so bravely here, helping Lincoln's words ring true."
Rep. Readshaw added, "I will continue my mission to restore and repair the Pennsylvania monuments at Gettysburg."
Planning for the 16th annual ride is already under way. The scheduled date is Sept. 24, 2016.