Over 1,200 motorcycles descended on downtown Anchorage on Saturday for the annual Gathering at the Bike Blessing, a season-kickoff organized by the biker advocacy group A.B.A.T.E. "We've been doing this for 15 years, and this year is our largest turnout yet," said organizer Dave Monroe, who also estimated the crowd size at over 2,500.
The Gathering is a chance for riders to come together at the beginning of the season, swap stories and make plans for summer rides. It's also a way to remind motorists that motorcycles will soon be on the roads in greater numbers. "This is our way to reach out into the community and help everyone be safer," said Monroe.
Monroe, who is traveling to Washington, D.C., next week to lobby on behalf of the Motorcycle Riders Association, says he plans on riding before he leaves town. When asked where he likes to ride, he said, "Anywhere. If I'm riding, I'm happy."