By Maria-Jose Subiria
Rick "Big Rick" Lanier is no stranger to charity motorcycle rides.
As a writer and photographer for a motorcycle magazine, he said he's emceed local magazine-sponsored fund-raising rides for individuals and nonprofit organizations for the past eight years.
"I get a lot of enjoyment out of it, but it's stressful," he said.
On May 16, however, Lanier will be the beneficiary of a fund-raising ride in his honor.
"Big Rick's Ride" will begin at 10:30 a.m., according to his friend, Sandee Clark, who is promoting the ride. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to offset Lanier's medical expenses associated with a tractor-trailer accident he was involved in last year, she added.
Lanier said he has been riding motorcycles since he graduated from Forest Park High School in 1969.
He said he participated in his first charity ride in the mid-1970s, for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
"I got to thinking how I didn't have it so bad and these kids don't have a chance ... I guess that's what got me started in it [charity rides]," he said.
In addition to his work with Southland's Full Throttle Magazine for Motorcycle Enthusiasts, Lanier said he is a driver for Con-way Freight, a shipping company.
Lanier, who lives in Hampton, said he had back surgery several weeks ago because of a herniated disk in his spine that was due to the accident.
He said he hasn't started physical therapy and has trouble walking around. He uses a cane for support.
"It is driving me crazy not to be able to ride my motorcycle ... I am going to go back one way or another, whether it is on this one [his current motorcycle] or if I have to, I'll ride one with three wheels on it," he said.
Clark said the fund-raising ride in Lanier's honor will begin at Harley-Davidson of Clayton County, at 1384 Southlake Parkway in Morrow. Riders will stop at The Grove Bar and Grill, at 4681 Bill Gardner Parkway in Locust Grove, and will continue their journey at 3 p.m., she explained. The ride will end at 8 p.m., at the Ale House Saloon, at 507 North Expressway in Griffin, she said.
The event will provide participants with live music, raffles and door prizes, she added.
The cost to participate is $10 per motorcycle, and $5 per passenger, and individuals may call (404) 886-8955 for more information, Clark said.
"Everyone is pulling together for him because he was always there when you needed him," Clark said. "He is like a big teddy bear. He [is] a big man with a big heart."