Here is a video showing just how many motorcycles turned out for my buddy, Gary Biggerstaff’s, Remember 9/11 The Ride. Check out the video above, to see for yourself how big this event is! There is also a great story below about Gary and the impact he has had on our community with the annual ride. Remember to keep supporting his efforts 365 days a year.
My wife, Erin and I, joined in and it was truly amazing to see how many people were out to remember what happened 10 years ago.
Over 3,000 riders cruising down the coast. 2,998 Harleys, 2 Ducatis!!! Let’s just say nobody challenged us to a race! Really wonderful to see everyone out celebrating the lives of those who gave it their all.
UPDATE 5:18 p.m.: Military planes are flying in formation over Belmont Shore en route to Los Alamitos Bay Landing, where the riders have arrived. They are assembling in the parking lot at the border of Long Beach and Seal Beach. The anthem has been sung and the celebration is getting underway. Patch’s videographer, Matt Schaffer, rode IN the parade with the lead firetruck and will have video in a few hours, so check back to see if you’re in it.
As many as 3,000 bikers are expected to ride through the streets of Orange County into Long Beach today in the 9th annual Remember 9/11 Motorcycle Ride.
It was 10 years ago that Long Beach Firefighter Gary Biggerstaff first visited ground zero. After witnessing the wreckage, he came across a heart-wrenching note taped to a pole at Firehouse 10.
Left by a 9-year-old boy to his father, a firefighter killed on Sept. 11, 2001, the note read: “Daddy I miss you, I love you so much. You will always be my hero. I hope I get to see you in heaven. Please don’t forget me, I promise not to forget you.”
Biggerstaff, a Belmont Heights father of two, decided at that time he had to do something to ensure people would “never forget.”
On the second anniversary, he built 343 white crosses — one for each firefighter lost in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — and planted them in his front lawn on Bennett Avenue, along with a plaque to remember the 61 police officers killed.
The following year, in 2003, he decided to do a ride with a handful of firefighters. Word spread, nearly 55 people showed up and it has just ballooned from there.
“The Ride” will take place Sunday, starting at Cook’s Corner in Trabuco Canyon. Participants will follow El Toro Road through the cities of Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, Also Viejo, before turning north on Coast Highway at Main Beach in Laguna. They will continue north through Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Seal Beach before arriving in Long Beach, at McKenna’s on the Bay. You can follow the ride live on this map here.
Biggerstaff said the event has more than doubled in size, with more than 1,000 riders taking to the road last year. This year, Biggerstaff said a record number of bikers will hit the road.
“The response this year has been overwhelming,” he said.
Riders have always been met with cheering crowds, as people along the parade route line the streets. Biggerstaff said that boats in Newport and Long Beach harbors sound their horns and spray water fountains in the air as the bikers pass.
“People have been so supportive, and they come from all across the world to participate or be a part of this event,” he said. “It was made real clear to me early on that people needed a place to go, they needed a place to remember and mourn and this is that place.”
The ride will conclude in Long Beach at McKenna’s on the Bay at Alamitos Bay Landing. This is also, where the morning of Sept. 11, the 343 white crosses now displayed at Biggerstaff’s home, will be moved.
Biggerstaff said that event organizers have stated that nearly 50,000 people will be in attendance to take part in the ceremony, during which the Long Beach Fire Department will dedicate two pieces of steel from the World Trade Center. There will also be speakers, a concert, fireworks and a military flyover.
For the first time Biggerstaff is charging riders to participate in the Remember 911 Motorcycle Ride.
“The turnout for the ride has been amazing, but it has grown so much that I have had to get insurance and permits,” he said. “All the money that we are taking in goes to cover the cost of the event, and the money that is leftover from the ride will go to nonprofit groups — Wounded Warriors, the George S. Howard Scholarship Fund and the Long Beach Firefighter’s Museum.”
Biggerstaff said this is an emotional time for the country, and he just wanted to ensure that people who needed to mourn or be a part of something had a place to go.
“Everyone is impacted, and on this day, everyone remembers,” he said. “I have given these people a place to come, and every year I continue to be amazed at the turnout, at the patriotism.”
It is said to be among the largest 9/11 events in the nation, Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong said Saturday.