A miles-long ribbon of colors and chrome snaked along U.S. Route 150 and toward the head of it was a 16-year breast cancer survivor.
Diane Miles, 58, of Leroy joined about 100 other survivors of the disease at the head of a pack of more than 1,000 two- and three-wheeled vehicles Saturday.
The open road and the knowledge of helping a good cause brought the motorcyclists to The Shoppes at Grande Prairie for the 16th annual Ride for the Cure.
All profits from the event – which last year totaled about $35,000 – go to benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure fight against breast cancer.
“I’ve been riding since before it was cool for girls to ride motorcycles,” Miles said before the pack departed Peoria. Their destination was the Avanti’s Dome in Pekin.
Miles’ motorcycle, which was converted to a trike in 2008, is named after her grandmother.
“When I was a kid I wanted a mule, and I wanted to name her after my grandma Janetta. She was just as stubborn as one of them,” Miles said.
Most little girls like ponies. Why a mule?
“They’re just cool,” she said. “They’re stubborn as hell, and you can ride them forever.”
Miles never got her mule. She’s perfectly fine, though, settling for a Honda Valkyrie 1500. The black and chrome trike looks like a car engine was shoved into a motorcycle.
A six-cylinder engine sits between the tires.
“If you (combined all six exhaust pipes into one) it sounds like a stock car, but he won’t let me do that,” Miles said of her husband, Herb, who joined her and their 12-year-old granddaughter, Kea, on the 26-mile ride.
The couple have been participating in the ride for four years. This was the first year they brought along a grandchild.
The riders rolled through Kickapoo and turned south on Taylor Road. At that road’s intersection with Illinois Route 116, two women in pink shirts and hats held a sign that read “Thank You.”
After a short, westerly jaunt on 116, the riders reached Cameron Lane.
The meandering two-lane blacktop provided for the longest, and most scenic, leg of the trip. It was there that the ribbon stretched. Throttles were rolled back, carburetors inhaled a mixture of gasoline and oxygen and exhaust pipes roared.
The collection of riders and survivors had found some room to ride.
Justin Glawe can be reached at 686-3196 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JustinGlawe.