As the time for holiday charity rides is right around the corner, I’m going to offer an unsolicited tip for the organizers: Make certain that whoever your ride captains are, they are there to lead a safe ride that benefits those in need. Charity rides are not the outing in which one should be aiming to set new time trial records. Back in September, I was looking forward to participating in a ride that was benefiting a very worthwhile charity and plug it here in this column. Granted, the organizers hired motorcycle escorts—the types you use for funerals and not actually law enforcement officers—and the ride was the better part of 70 miles long on the Dallas highways on a Sunday morning so there was low traffic. But, there is no sane reason to lead approximately 100 riders in a heavily urban environment at 80 mph. Not joking—on at least two occasions, my speedometer was pegged at 80. As much as I love speed, I love my motorcycle more and I wanted to peel off but the escorts were all over the place and it was safer to remain in formation. Be safe out there and save the speed for the track days!… The legendary—and notorious—Oliver Peck is the toothpick-chewing, always-smiling judge on Ink Masters, however, he’s also a dedicated H-D rider himself and each year he throws one helluva free party celebrating all things motorcycle with his Southern Throwdown event. The 5th annual incarnation of this event was held on Sunday, September 10, in Dallas at the Bomb Factory and some truly stellar builds were on display inside along with live music and merchandise while on the outside it was open to custom and hot rod vans for a new twist… Midway between Austin and San Antonio is the little outpost of Martindale which is a surprisingly popular location for many film and video shoots. Things got even more lively with the Rider Built Bike Show on Saturday, September 23, when more than 100 die-hard enthusiasts showed up because the organizers made one thing clear: this was all about the builds! Swapped out your seat and tins? You would be welcomed but it would be made painfully clear that you are by no means a proper “builder.” Further, bikes that were not ridden to the show could not be in the show. It’s nice to see crews out there that are organizing events for the die-hard enthusiasts that can actually wrench on their own builds. Shout out to Moto Lab & Machine, San Marcos Motorcycles, Rathbone Moto Works, and Martindale Motorcycle Works for pulling this great event together… The month of September ended with the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride within five cities around Texas on Sunday, September 24, in an effort to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer research. The cities that participated in 2017 included Austin with 229 riders raising $21,123, Dallas with 335 riders raising $32,671, El Paso with 42 riders raising $1,691, Houston with 187 riders raising $9,149, and San Antonio with 258 riders raising $24,598. That is a healthy chunk of change going to a great cause and, in Texas style, I expect to see even bigger numbers in 2018! (gentlemansride.com)… Keep the shiny side up and I’ll see you next month!