by Bryan Harley

There’s nothing like it. Packing your bags, loading up your bike, and hitting the open road for the journey to Sturgis. We have the privilege to live in a country with unbridled beauty and contrast, wide-open plains and majestic mountains, searing hot deserts and densely wooded forests. Our canyons are “Grand,” our fountains “Faithful,” our rivers “Mighty.” The journey to Sturgis is freedom at its finest.

It’s easy to take this freedom for granted though. Because while we’re taking in the splendors of our country from the saddles of our motorcycles, thousands of brave Americans are spread around the globe ensuring that we get to enjoy simple liberties like riding a motorcycle cross-country. Freedom doesn’t come without a price and sacrifice. For us, those dues are paid daily by the brave men and women who serve in the U.S. military, proud people who believe in the core principals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and who put it all on the line to protect our way of life.

To say we as a country are indebted to those who serve is an understatement. Fortunately there’s organizations out there like the Veterans Charity Ride (VCR) who strive to give back to those who have given so much for us. VCR does this by taking wounded warriors on the adventure of a lifetime, a nine-day motorcycle journey over the back roads of America to Sturgis, South Dakota, for the most famous motorcycle rally in the world. Some of the veterans are provided Indian Motorcycles while others whose injuries prevent them from piloting a bike get to ride along in Champion Sidecars or on trikes. There are celebrations planned along the way, from a Monster party in Las Vegas to stops at veteran memorials to parades through small towns. There are retreats that allow veterans to connect on levels with mentors and other vets in a way that they can’t connect with others who haven’t lived through the same experiences. It offers healing and hope in a heaping dose of what has become known as “Moto Therapy.”
American Iron Magazine is proud to be a part of this year’s Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis. Needless to say, it is a tremendous honor to be the only motorcycle magazine accompanying the group on its ride to Sturgis. As if the journey to Sturgis wasn’t special enough, to share the road and to be a part of the Veterans Charity Ride unit is a privilege we don’t take lightly. In addition to a feature article in our next American Iron Salute special issue, we will also be doing daily posts on our social media channels along with stories and photos from the road at www.aimag.com Our objective is to bring as much awareness as possible to this wonderful organization and pay tribute to U.S. Veterans.

The ride kicks off Friday, July 28, at 8 a.m. with a “Grand Send-Off & Media Event” at Sun Valley Fire Station #77, 9224 Sunland Blvd., Sun Valley, CA. We’d love to see lots of American Iron readers at the send-off celebration. Come up and say “Hi” and I’ll give you an American Iron sticker. Nine days later we’ll be parading into Main Street Sturgis with a police escort for our grand entrance and welcome reception.

To learn more about the Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis or if you’d like to donate to the cause, click on the following link: www.veteranscharityride.org
Click here to meet this year’s group of veterans: veteranscharityride.org/meet-the-veterans-2017/