Calling all bikers: Who’s up for a charity ride?


By Karen T. Braeckel
HSPA Foundation

A former educator in my (much) younger days, I always advocate lifelong learning. And through the years the more experience I gain, the more I realize I don’t know.

So because I practice what I preach, I now know the difference bet­ween a motorcycle ride and a motorcycle rally.

Three weeks ago, I didn’t even know I cared.

Why now?

David McChesney, chief executive officer and co-founder of 1Up! – an HSPA sustaining member – wants to organize a motorcycle ride to benefit the HSPA Foundation.

HSPA Foundation gauging interest in fundraising motorcycle ride

Are you, your employees or friends up for a charity motorcycle ride in August?

Email Foundation Dir­ector Karen T. Braeckel at with Parade Ride Info in the subject line by
July 17.

If enough people are interested and the ride is scheduled, riders will receive information including date, time, place and cost.

(Don’t go back. You read it correctly the first time.)

Liability problems immediately popped into our minds. Dave knows the answer. Riders sign waivers.

When would we hold such an event? Dave answered sometime around the MotoGP Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Aug. 9 – or maybe Ernie Pyle’s birthday Aug. 3.

(For those of us who enjoy racing but know nothing about motorcycle competitions, MotoGP ranks as the premier motorcycle racing World Championship. Indy is one of 18 races in the series in 14 countries. Don’t try to buy one of these machines to participate in our ride. You cannot ride them legally on public roads or purchase them except for racing.)

As Foundation director I will listen to any and all ideas that bring members together, raise money for our programs and are legal and moral.

And while I don’t own any racing gear and would probably fall off a motorcycle before the ride began, the idea excites me.

Not everyone plays golf – though I’m happy many of you do in our annual HSPA Foundation golf outing. (I did for about seven years, and my father did everything in his power to convince me it was the greatest thing on the planet. But I never understood why people would chase that little ball around acres of land, swing sticks at it and end up swearing when it did not drop in that tiny little cup decorated with a numbered flag. I found my comfort zone in a swimming pool – and sounded less like a sailor.)

I digress.

We probably have even fewer bikers than golfers.

But our members not only thought of a fun way to raise money for the Foundation, they offered to arrange it.

That means a lot – to all of us.

It shows recognition of our work and an appreciation of our mission.

To bring this to fruition we need your help. I joke about everyone talking golf lessons before our outing. I won’t even suggest you start riding. (Personally it terrifies me to even think of climbing on a bike.)

But Dave asks all publishers and managers to please pass along this information to any bike enthusiasts at your newspaper or in your contact list. The organizers would appreciate it greatly.

Anyone interested in participating should email me at by Friday, July 17. Just put Parade Ride Info in the subject line and your name and newspaper in the email. We will send you information including date, time, place and cost.

This allows us to know if we can rally enough bikers for a ride.

As of this writing, the organizers contacted the IMS to see what options might be available to the group.

If nothing works with the race, the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum in Dana would make an interesting – though more distant – destination.

Or a shorter trip might include a stop at Ernie’s statue on the IU campus (where we learn one can correct mistakes written in stone – well, actually bronze).

More details will follow as soon as we gauge the interest.

I promise to distribute water – and for the safety of others stay off a bike.

We recently sent thank-you letters to those who included voluntary donations to the Foundation with your 2015 HSPA dues. We depend on those contributions for our annual operations.

But each year we also encourage individuals to donate through various funds and activities. This explains our enthusiasm for this event. Individuals came up with this creative way to raise a little money and awareness for the Foundation – and to bring together members of the industry and their friends.

The board, staff and I truly appreciate hearing any ideas you have for fundraising.

Jim Brown, our Eugene S. Pulliam Internship Program multimedia adviser and executive associate dean emeritus of the former IU School of Journalism at Indianapolis, serves as my motorcycle vocabulary coach.

He rides thousands of miles out West each summer to volunteer for the Boy Scouts.

You just never know who bikes until you ask!

Karen T. Braeckel is director of the HSPA Foundation.