With Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix canceled, classic motorcycles hit the road in Ligonier for charity

Motorcycles new and old left Ligonier with engines roaring Saturday morning for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix’s motorbike back roads tour.

The tour is a new event this year, organized after the July cancellation of the Grand Prix because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Those of us that are on the operating committee tried to find some other ways to raise some money,” Grand Prix security chief Karen Hanchett said.

The 10-day Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix attracts hundreds of thousands of people, which was an impossible proposition in the year of covid-19. These smaller gatherings give enthusiasts a safer way to get together, have fun and support charity, Hanchett said.

The event benefits The Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Merakey Allegheny Valley School.

The organization hosted a motorcycle ride in July, which was successful enough that another was scheduled for this month.

“We decided to do a second one because we had so much fun in July,” Hanchett said.

Saturday’s riders got off to a chilly start, but temperatures in the mid-40s didn’t deter them.

“It’s a beautiful morning for a ride,” said Dave “DJ” Jordan of Evans City. “I would rather have the chillier temps than 90 degrees.”

About 20 riders departed from Fort Ligonier with plans to travel 75 miles of back roads through the Laurel Highlands, stopping for lunch at Jamison Farm near Crabtree.

The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix hosts a countryside tour for vintage cars every year. Motorcyclists followed the same route on the July and September rides.

Numerous models and eras of motorcycles took part, from the 1940s to the modern day.

Todd Mickinak, president of the Allegheny Mountain Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club, rode his 1965 Harley-Davidson.

He’s been involved in antique motorcycles for 20 years.

“I started out with antique cars, and I just like vintage equipment,” he said. “I started with antique bikes, and I never looked back.”

Motorcyclists have played an increasingly prominent role in the grand prix since the introduction of a vintage motorcycle show in 2012.

“It was sort of a no-brainer to invite those same people to come out and bring their bikes,” Hanchett said.

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Source: Trib Live