BENNINGTON -- Ronnie's Cycle Sales held a ride to benefit the fight against Alzheimer's disease on Saturday, leading motorcycle riders from Ronnie's locations in Pittsfield, Mass. through New York state, to Bennington and finally to Adams, Mass.

Before the day's start, Ronnie's raised over $300 in donations and registration to go to the benefit. It's the second year of the ride. In its first year, Ronnie's raised $400. All proceeds went to the Alzheimer's Association.

"We did our first one last year, but we did it quickly, so we didn't have much time to prepare," said event organizer and Bennington parts and accessories manager Claudia Birkland. "We started preparing a few months ago on this one. We wanted to incorporate all the stores and raise awareness for Alzheimer's."

The event began with a pancake breakfast at Ronnie's Harley-Davidson in Pittsfield. After an hour and a half ride to Bennington, 2601 West Road, the dozen riders ate lunch and stayed for a raffle.

Helmets, jackets and bike accessories were donated by some of Ronnie's suppliers and raffled off at the Bennington store. Each rider pledged $10 to tag along for the ride and receive 10 raffle tickets.

The raffle was open to all customers throughout the day at $5 for six tickets.

The Bennington Ronnie's employees all wore purple ribbons and purple workshirts to signify Alzheimer's awareness throughout the day.


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After leaving Bennington, riders drove a 45-minute route to the Adams store for a dessert bar and refreshments to end the day.

Bennington Ronnie's service manager Dave Munson led the ride. He said the event was a great idea brought up by Birkland last year. "Everyone knows someone who is affected by Alzheimer's. My mother suffers from dementia, which is similar."

Munson said he hopes Ronnie's will continue the ride every year on the last Saturday of June, and see growth in participation.

"I lost my father to Alzheimer's," Birkland said. We do a lot of benefit rides, but why not incorporate all our stores in a ride (for Alzheimers)? Everyone seems pretty pleased and on board with it."

All customers were given 15-percent off all parts and accessories throughout the day Saturday as a promotion to tell customers of Ronnie's efforts in Alzheimer's awareness.

Ronnie's does the fundraising in affiliation with the Alzheimer's Association's Walk to End Alzheimer's, of which Ronnie's employees put together a team, "Team Ronnie," every year. The walk will begin at upper Willow Park on Sept. 28 at 1:45 p.m. this year

Donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Association on Ronnie's behalf up until the day of the walk by visiting http://bit.ly/1pKi7oV. Learn more about the Alzheimer's Association's research and mission at http://act.alz.org/.

Contact Tom Momberg at tmomberg@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg