The bright sun glistened off the polished motorcycles that lined the streets outside Building Community Bridges as bikers from across the country jump-started their backroads tour from Mid-Missouri to Lincoln, Nebraska, with a little volunteer work Monday.
"It's a beautiful thing that these people took time out of their day and chose this organization to come over here and do a day of service," BCB founder Doug Wright said. "It's just an honor to have it reciprocated -- what we do over here."
Even in the 95-degree heat, Riding Ultimate Scenic Highways (RUSH) members were outside planting vegetable gardens and landscaping, as well as inside assembling food packages. Everyone was busy and excited to pay it forward.
"We volunteer and help people out, and hopefully somebody gets something out of it," RUSH member Dan Ross said. "It's a win-win."
Members from 11 states were present to help the nonprofit organization with its weekly food pantry, which serves more than 200 families.
"It's a pleasure to reach out and touch a city that not one of us lives in," ride coordinator Tim Dano said. "When we leave, we put a memory in for them so next time they see a Harley Davidson rider, they wave."
Every year, RUSH puts together a week-long historic and cultural trip that begins in mid-June.
This year, roughly 78 motorcyclists began in Mid-Missouri and will soon head to St. Joseph. After their two-night stay, they will set out for their final destination: Lincoln, Nebraska.
RUSH rode all over Mid-Missouri, exploring Lake of the Ozarks, traveling through Hermann and visiting the state Capitol.
"We're fortunate enough to be able to get together and ride around the country," Ross said. "We don't get to just help people in our areas, we get to help people across the country, and that's pretty cool."
Volunteering is an important aspect of RUSH, and in the words of community member Keith Wehmeyer, "It's pretty nice."