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article imageOp-Ed: Photo Essay: Thin Blue Line 2013 - charity ride season is here Special

By Elizabeth Parker     Apr 15, 2013 in Lifestyle
Charlotte - The Thin Blue Ride Line ride, running from from Cox Harley-Davidson in Rock Hill, SC to Harley-Davidson of Charlotte, NC, starts off my season of great rides and stands out as my favorite for many good reasons.
What ever your charity is, a great way to combine giving with something you love, if you're a motorcycle enthusiast, is to sign up for a charity ride and have fun. What a great cause The Forever Blue Foundation is.
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department and Charlotte Mecklenburg Sheriff Department Motorcycle ...
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department and Charlotte Mecklenburg Sheriff Department Motorcycle squads waiting to escort the Thin Blue Line Ride. Photo from 2012 ride.
The organization was started by John Rainier and his wife when a close friend and fellow officer was shot in the line of duty. Jeffery Shelton and Sean Clark were both shot and killed in 2007 in Charlotte, NC while responding to a call leaving young families to find a way to look after themselves.
John tells me when he lost his good friend Jeff he just wanted to be able to help and so he and his wife Melanie started up Forever Blue to assist the families of fallen officers. The Thin Blue Line Ride is a major and growing event, with all funds raised going to the charity to support families of fallen officers. John says there is over 500 riders attending this year. Locally the ride gets quite a bit of press, with the local television news running bits on the ride and here John tells the Charlotte Observer,
"“It's very overwhelming and you feel like you have to do something, you know, paying it forward and so, we really feel the loss especially when it's one of our own,".
Thin Blue Line Ride escort  Amada Cater
Thin Blue Line Ride escort, Amada Cater
The ride has become my favorite of the season. The Thin Blue Line Ride brings together a diverse collection of riders to support a great cause. I couldn't help but notice the increase of women riding their own bikes and the addition of a second female officer, Amanda Cater, above, to the CMPD motorcycle squad which already had Officer Cheryl Barrineau, highlighting the diversity of people now enjoying motorcycling as a hobby.
The Thin Blue Line Ride heading out of Rock Hill SC for the less busy country roads along the route.
The Thin Blue Line Ride heading out of Rock Hill SC for the less busy country roads along the route.
The route skirts along the scenic paved country roads and secondary highways of the border towns of North and South Carolina between Rock Hill, SC and Charlotte, NC. The perfect early spring weather, with trees and flowers in bloom, temperatures typically in the 70's, are perfect for riding.
The Thin Blue Line Ride as it travels along a country road on it s route.
The Thin Blue Line Ride as it travels along a country road on it's route.
The Thin Blue Line Ride goes on out of sight ahead.
The Thin Blue Line Ride goes on out of sight ahead.
Thin Blue Line Ride on country road heading out sight behind.
Thin Blue Line Ride on country road heading out sight behind.
The coordinated efforts of 5 different county and town police forces come together and two states, to keep riders safe and together for the entire ride. Intersections are patrolled and traffic stops as we ride all together through traffic lights and corners all along the route.
One of many corners with town police out assisting to direct the Thin Blue Line Ride through togethe...
One of many corners with town police out assisting to direct the Thin Blue Line Ride through together.
A motorcycle officer escorting the Thin Blue Line Rides past.
A motorcycle officer escorting the Thin Blue Line Rides past.
The police cars and motorcyclists that escort the ride keep lights on and traffic stops, pulling to the right of their lanes where they sit, wave and watch in awe as a line of apx. 500 motorcycles ride through. When the route was advertised in past (it wasn't advertised this year), John tells me that spectators would line the route waving flags and taking photos. There was many getting their phone cameras out this year for photos and waving from their homes as we passed.
The Thin Blue Line ride with cars on left pulled to the side.
The Thin Blue Line ride with cars on left pulled to the side.
The band paid for by Harley Davidson of Charlotte for the Thin Blue Line Ride entertainment.
The band paid for by Harley Davidson of Charlotte for the Thin Blue Line Ride entertainment.
The breakfast and lunch supplied by the Harley Dealers and live entertainment supplied by Harley-Davidson of Charlotte, shouldn't go unmentioned. Sandy Pullin, the event coordinator for Charlotte Harley-Davidson gave me a little tour of the site and is thankful to be able to assist with hosting the charity ride, supplying a band (Stella Rising) this year (last year one donated their time), the space for all the bikes and lunch. Sandy mentions that lunch was fully donated for 500 by Finz's of Matthews this year and that Adam's Beverages donated the free (donations only) Budweiser for the bar.
Photo off the reprinted article from Charlotte  NC  showing the 1922 motorcycle squad  supplied moto...
Photo off the reprinted article from Charlotte, NC, showing the 1922 motorcycle squad, supplied motorbikes from Charlotte Harley-Davidson.
Sandy Pullin, event coordinator for Harley-Davidson Charlotte says,
"Anything we can do to assist the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Sheriff office is welcomed by the dealership",
who have supplied Harley's to the Mecklenburg police forces since 1922. Sandy pointed to the blow up of an early news paper clipping hanging in their service depot showing the police motorcycle squad from 1922.
Over all it's a great fun day, a safe and scenic ride, with entertainment for a great price, going to a super cause. Only $50.00 for a rider and passenger when registering late and $35.00 if you register early gets you the escorted ride, breakfast, lunch and entertainment; great value for your dollars. For the VIP treatment, special breakfast and to ride up front, you can pay a little more, remembering it's all for charity.
See all the photos here and more from the ride in the slide show.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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