Eighth annual Martinsburg Bike Night benefits local charities

August 20, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • With the streets of downtown Martinsburg closed off, bikes and riders showed up from all over to take part in the Martinsburg Bike Night sponsored by the Blue Knights of Martinsburg W.Va.
By Chris Tilley/Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Hundreds of motorcycles, followed by a wave of even more people, streamed into downtown Martinsburg Saturday night for the eighth edition of Martinsburg Bike Night.

Saturday's police-escorted ride through the Eastern Panhandle capped off by a street festival in downtown Martinsburg lured Jerry Evans of Fredericksburg, Va., to the city for the first time.

"I try to hit as many (bike rides) as I can," said Evans, 65, who retired in 2005 after selling his collision repair business.

Evans rode into town on a turquoise and cream 2009 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic. The bike had about 19,000 miles on the odometer, he said while smoking a Dutch Masters cigar.

Evans was among about 400 people to register for the bike ride, according to West Virginia Chapter V of Blue Knights International, which sponsors the event with Main Street Martinsburg.

The event benefits Hospice of the Panhandle, a number of other charities and Main Street, an organization focused on redevelopment and revitalization of the city's historic business district.

Main Street Martinsburg Executive Director Randy Lewis said the event raised a total of more than $40,000 last year, and he hoped to raise even more this year.

The Blue Knights, which is a group of active and retired law-enforcement officers who enjoy motorcycle riding, had donated a total of $60,000 to Hospice as of last year's event.

Robin Henry said she and her husband, R.B. Henry, also took the motorcycle ride for the first time this year.

"It was beautiful," Henry said outside the Peking restaurant, where the Inwood, W.Va., couple dined after the hour-long trip.

Henry said they couldn't get over how many people gathered along the route — "everywhere we went."

Jefferson County Sheriff Robert "Bobby" Shirley, road captain for the Blue Knights chapter, led the pack of motorcycles aboard a 2011 Can-Am Spyder. The new roadster recently was given to the department by the state for certain law-enforcement activities, Shirley said.

A line of people quickly formed to get autographs from former Washington Redskins kicker Mark Moseley, who said he doesn't ride motorcycles anymore.

"My wife would really divorce me," Moseley said, chuckling.

While his NFL career ended more than 20 years ago, Moseley, 63, said he feels honored that people still remember his years with the Washington Redskins.

"They've never been able to find anybody to replace me," Moseley said when asked why people still follow him. "They've been trying for 20-some years to get somebody that could be consistent like I was and they just haven't had them."

Moseley, who is part-owner of the Five Guys restaurant, said he is working on opening a franchise location in Martinsburg after opening stores in Ranson, W.Va., and Winchester, Va., where he resides.

"We have 850 stores, and I've got 3,500 that I've got to get built over the next few years, so I'm pretty busy," Moseley said.

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