By Laura Medina
This fifth anniversary of the Kiehl's Life Riders Motorcycle Gang is the fifth leg and an half-way tour from the MidWest to New York, raising funds for amfAR's research in a cure for AIDS.
The facts break down into this...
It was a ten days ride through various weather conditions, road-hogging 1,600 miles.
They started their trip picking choppers at the Harley-Davidson Headquarters in Milwaukee, making stops and appearances in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Massachusetts, Niagara Fall, New York; Governor’s Island, New York; then Manhattan.
The Life Riders, Gilles Marini and Malcolm Jamal-Warner donated $150,000 for the cause.
For Gilles, it was an amazing road trip getting to know the wide-cross swatch of America, from Middle America to New York. He was honored to throw the first pitch at a Chicago White Soxs game.
The real story arc of the ride was between Chicago and Cleveland, he and the gang encountered rain and had to carefully ride through it. Gilles, "This is where things get dangerous."
The trip really hit home for him when he met people, babies, kids, and adults infected with AIDS at a Kiehl's store in Detroit.
The Life Riders Gang made a grand entrance into a Detroit Mall where the Mayor declared that day to be Kiehl's Life Riders for amfAR Day. At the mall, the riders were introduced to AIDS researchers then were further educated on the disease and the on-going research and progress for the vaccine.
From, they made stops at the Norman Rockwell Museum and Lake Niagara, New York where Gilles gets to delve deeper into American history and culture. British rugby player and Life Rider, Ben C0hen said it's "bloody powerful" to visit Niagara Falls.
The obvious finale was making the finishing line in Manhattan with Mary J. Blige presenting the check and Samantha Ronson D.J.ing.
But, it really hit home for them, when they rode the ferry then strode onto Governor’s Island to the AIDS Quilts. This reminds them why they rode in the first place. This is the real finish line for them, reminding what this road trip is all about.