Just before 10 a.m. Saturday, about 1,100 motorcycle riders revved up their engines and rallied to the cause.
They set out from Modesto on the 15th annual Sierra Hope Ride, a fund-raiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Four abreast and escorted by law enforcement officers, they roared north on Carpenter Road on a route that would end in Jamestown.
"It's a nice, fun ride with this many bikes," said Dan Neville of Modesto, a three-time participant. "It's for a very good cause, this particular ride, and it's very entertaining at the end."
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The amount raised was not available Saturday. The 14 previous events have raised $2.97 million, including registration fees from riders and donations from other supporters.
The money goes to research, medical care and other services for people with muscular dystrophy and related diseases.
The ride was organized by Mitchell's Modesto Harley-Davidson and Jamestown Harley-Davidson, with help from many sponsors and volunteers. Participants could ride any make of motorcycle, but, as usual, Harleys predominated.
Riders came from all over Central California. At the front of the line was Karen Davidson, creative director for Harley-Davidson Motorclothes and great-granddaughter of the company's co-founder.
At the stroke of 10, the pack set out, turning east on Briggsmore Avenue and north on McHenry Avenue before going through Riverbank and Oakdale.
Motorists at intersections had to wait several minutes for the riders to pass. This has brought some complaints in the past, but organizers said many people appreciate the event.
"There are so many people along the route who wave us on," said Joe Housewright of Modesto, who was in charge of registering riders.
They went two abreast as the roads narrowed, going slower than they would on an ordinary Saturday ride through the foothills.
"You just have to watch out for safety, make sure you stagger your bikes and are aware of what's around you," said Neville, a member of the Modesto chapter of the Harley Owners Group.
Once on Main Street in Jamestown, the riders enjoyed music and other activities, as well as food and drink at the town's businesses.
Thomas Donat, a rider from Modesto, said the event reminded him of his Navy service, where working together was vital.
"What I like about it is not only the cause and the scenery," he said. "Look around you -- it's the camaraderie."
Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2385.