KLIPSAN BEACH - As Mary Dwyer seated herself on a vintage Harley Davidson motorcycle Saturday, she looked right at home - strapping on her "brain bucket" helmet and wearing a black shirt that read "Born To Be Bad." Dwyer has always loved motorcycles, but Saturday was her first opportunity in three years to ride. Her last ride came on her 80th birthday.
"I just had to do it again," she said.
Who would have thought a group of leather-clad bikers could make such a big impression on the residents of Golden Sands at Klipsan Beach retirement center?
Close to two-dozen bikers were greeted by an equal number of Golden Sands residents as they arrived at the retirement center Saturday afternoon. The rally was an effort to create new relationships between the public and the residents of the retirement center.
"We have several residents who really like motorcycles," said Liz Butler, Golden Sands Administrative Assistant. "A lot of it is reminiscing for them, also."
Butler said the idea came from a book used by Golden Sands activities coordinator Nancy Mohler. Butler said she had friends who ride, knew residents who shared the same passion and she put the whole thing into motion by marrying the two groups. Butler called Kris Krane, who has connections with the local chapter of the American Bikers Aim Towards Education (ABATE) and organized a rally that began at Nick's West in Long Beach before riding up to the retirement center in Klipsan Beach.
"We do a lot of these," said Chuck Jensen, coordinator of the Pacific County ABATE chapter. "My mom volunteers at one of these [retirement centers], and I'm real close to being here myself."
For residents at the retirement center, it was a chance to have one more ride, or for some, a first time. Dale Little, who is 92 years old, grew up riding horses.
"I thought that was great," she said after returning from a ride with a bearded biker going by the name "Bear." "I used to ride horses, but nothing like this."
Eighty-five-year-old Dora May Ullrich took her first ride in 30 years Saturday, the last being a 100-mile ride when she was in her 50s.
"It took me a month to recover," she said. "This is fantastic. Now I've got something to talk about."
With the success of Saturday's rally, Butler said she would like to see it become a regular event for the retirement center. Al Jacques, coordinator for the north coast chapter of ABATE in Astoria, said he wouldn't mind that at all.
"It's a lot of fun," he said. "We are a part of the community. That's what we do. That's why we're here.
"I think we'll talk amongst the group and try to get a larger contingency next year."