Lions Ride takes a bath

By on June 12, 2009

Rain keeps bikers away from annual charitable fundraiser
by Martha Quetsch
Elburn—Timing is everything, at least for outdoor events that depend on good weather. Unfortunately, at the time of the Elburn Lions Ride charitable fundraiser Saturday, it was pouring outside.

“The rain couldn’t have come at a worse time,” said Lions member Joe Kryszak, who manned the registration desk at Lions Park in Elburn.

“People get up, they’re having breakfast and they’re looking outside and the rain’s coming down. It’s not the best environment to ride a bike,” Kryszak said.

Just 20 motorcyclists came out for the 50-mile scenic ride, for which registration was from 9 to 11 a.m. Among them was Art Bensen of Schaumburg. He bikes in the Lions event every year with friends.

“I like that it’s for a good cause,” he said.

The event’s profit helps to support club charities such as assisting needy, hearing-impaired and blind individuals. Kryszak said that amount would be down this year because of the poor turnout.

“We’re definitely going to take a bath. But you can’t fight the weather,” he said.

When weather is good, the Lions Ride has drawn as many as 500 bikers. With each participant paying $15 and riders $10, the Lions collect nearly $10,000 when attendance is that high. The club also sells raffle tickets during the event, this year offering a 50-50 cash drawing.

Some of the money pays for the band and park set-up, but the rest goes to club causes including buying seeing eye dogs for individuals in need. But with the cost now being about $28,000 for dog, the club will not be able to purchase one in the near future, Kryszak says.

Saturday was not the first time bad weather spoiled a Lions fundraiser. The club’s biggest event, Elburn Days, was rained out in 2007, so the club’s charitable coffer took a hit that year.

“But it is what it is. It’s just one of those things,” Kryszak said. “There’s nothing you can do about it.”

Photo: Art Benson of Schaumburg was one of just 20 bikers who braved the rain to participate in the Elburn Lions Ride for charity Saturday. Photo by Martha Quetsch