Kickstands Down - Wrapping Up the Tulip Ride in 2023

Dear Tulip Riders,

For over twenty years, we’ve been meeting on our bikes for an early spring ride as we raised money for Seattle Humane. Thank you for being a part of our growth as we’ve raised a total of over $600,000 together. That generosity has helped countless thousands of pets find the care and permanent, loving homes they desperately need.

Each year, we’ve tried new things including different venues, warmer months, VIP tickets, and in 2023 we changed the format and brand with “Whiskers & Wheels” as a ride-in festival. Each of these changes has been fun and taught us a lot.

We’ve come a long way from the workday rides with a small group of friends that launched this journey. The growth has been incredible. This first photo was back in 2001, when it all started:

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The Tulip Ride became an important family tradition for us, with three generations volunteering and the event taking over our home in wonderful ways. It generated some life-long friendships with others who love riding and are inspired to help animals.

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It’s never easy to know when to end a tradition. I’m certain, though, that 2023 will mark the final year of The Tulip Ride / Whiskers & Wheels. As the event grew, so did the complexity of organizing it: insurance policies, attorneys, waivers, sponsorship solicitations, food and sanitation, engaging county and city governments, and thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket expenses. In 2022, I moved away from the area, adding another layer of challenge to hosting it.

So, what’s next?

These days, it’s the simple things that bring me joy: riding motorcycles, spending time with good friends, and giving back to the community. Returning to that simplicity means going back to the start: At least once a season, I will call a few friends up, suggest we all donate, and ride out to somewhere beautiful together.

It’ll be simple and fun. It may be a small group, but no waivers or insurance. Celebrities may join us as good friends, but no autograph lines. We’ll enjoy good food, but in a cozy restaurant in a biker-friendly small-town destination. Just the pure joy of riding, smiling friends, and supporting a good cause.

As I get back to my riding and charitable giving roots, I hope you will do the same. Pick a cause that you care about, call your favorite riding buddies, and saddle up for a fun day behind bars. You’ll collect extra bugs in the bigger-than-usual smile that you have from knowing you’re supporting a worthy cause. You don’t need hundreds of people to do this, but you just might find yourself surrounded by them after a few years of growth.

Keep the rubber side down,

-Jeff