ADAMS, Mass. — After 35 rides and more than $500,000 raised for charity, the Custom City Cycle Fall Run will cease to roar through Western Massachusetts.
"It’s a tough thing to give up and it is probably one of the biggest organized rides," Co-founder and owner of Custom City Cycle Mike Roberts said.
"I know people are going to be disappointed. It’s a rough thing and I didn’t want to tell anybody."
Roberts said the 60-mile ride that starts in Adams, goes over the Mohawk Trail and ends in Charlemont at Mohawk Park and is coupled with bike night, simply became too expensive between insurance, extra police detail and the disbanding of the Events Committee.
"For years we worked with the Events Committee and they covered the police, the outhouses, the band and stuff like that but they are gone now and that put the hurt on us," he said. "I don’t want to go out begging people for money."
Roberts co-founded the Fall Run in 1982 and what started as a small convoy morphed into a ride that drew thousands of bikers from throughout New England.
"I don’t know how it grew like that and it kind of just did it on its own," he said. "Over the years we got it perfected."
Longtime secretary for the run Melanie Gelaznik agreed.
"It started out so small and then it grew. Some years we would look out into Bowe Field where all the bikes lined up and said, ‘oh my god’," she said.
Gelaznik said there was a core group of organizers that really kept the event alive.
"We had meetings every week and we all got together like a big family," she said. "We had a lot of fun but people leave and we tried to get younger people involved but they would just stay for a year then leave."
"We are getting old and tired and some of the people kicked back and others filled in but trying to get replacements is hard," he said. "Some people have stepped up but not enough it is a lot of work."
The Fall Run proceeds have gone to various charities throughout the years but in 1989 the Fall Run partnered with the Shriners Hospital.
Roberts said in total they raised $575,000 and received a special plaque from the Shriners.
"We didn’t think we would ever hit the half million point but when we hit it was a huge accomplishment," he said. "After that, we petered on a few more years."
The Fall Run and Bike Night were also important to the town of Adams. The events drew hundreds to the downtown to watch the bikes ride through. Local business such as Forest Park Country Club and Aladco Linen Service also made donations throughout the Fall Run’s existence and provided a financial backbone for the ride.
Roberts said someone may come forward and try to take over the run but with so many new roadblocks in the way, the Fall Run may just be too big of a challenge to get rolling again.
"I am sure someone will come forward but it’s a lot of work and may not be doable anymore maybe Jay Leno will come in with a million dollars or something," Roberts joked. "We had a lot of good people working with us and a lot of good times."
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