After Sept. 11, 2001, Americans promised to never forget and no place is that more clear in Connecticut than at the annual CT United Ride, which started in 2001 as a tribute and fund-raiser for first responders in New York City.

What started as a charity ride with 500 motorcyclists, has grown each year, with 4,000 riders expected this Sunday, Sept. 7. It has been called by Gov. Dannel Malloy the largest 9/11 tribute in the state and is the largest charity motorcycle ride in New England. The ride now raises money for first responders and the United Way in Connecticut.

Ride Director Fred Garrity Jr., a Trumbull resident, said the motorcade, which starts in Norwalk and ends in Bridgeport, has become a truly unique and patriotic event for both spectators and motorcyclists.

“For those that lost their lives, for those that gave their lives, and for those that continue to put their lives on the line every day to protect us as a result of 9/11 — that’s why we ride,” Garrity said.

The entire route is 60 miles.

The motorcade starts 11:30 a.m. sharp Sunday, Sept. 7 at 10 Norden Place, Norwalk, heads down Route 136 to Route 33 through Westport, to Wilton Route 7, to Route 107 Georgetown, to Route 58 Redding, to Route 302 Bethel, to Newtown Route 25 through Monroe, to Main Street Trumbull, to Old Town Road, to Park Avenue in Fairfield continuing on Park Avenue through Bridgeport down to Seaside Park on the water. The motorcade is expected to arrive in Bridgeport around 1:15 p.m.

Garrity told HanRadio.com’s Coffee Break morning show last week that the event has to be seen to be believed.
“You see thousands of motorcycles, American Flags everywhere, rock and roll, fire trucks with flags raised over the route,” Garrity said. “It’s Americana all rolled up into one place.”

An important part of the event is the people who come out to cheer the riders on.

“The best part is that Fairfield County comes out, probably 10,000 spectators,” Garrity said.

Since the event is so large and passes through so many towns, Garrity said the United Ride has a special Department of Transportation permit as well as permission from each town. Garrity said it can cause some inconvenience for those trying to drive or walk through, but he asks for patience.

“It is in effect a motorcade/parade and if someone tries to interject into the procession and they force motorcyclists to hit their brakes, that reverberation is going to cause 1,000 people behind them to slam their brakes,” Garrity said. “So we ask everyone just to refrain from trying to cross the street or drive through as we pass.”
Ride day
The Opening Ceremony 9/11 Tribute begins at 10:30 a.m. sharp on Sunday, Sept. 7 at 10 Norden Place in Norwalk.
The ceremony will feature the Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem, the Connecticut State Firefighters Pipe and Drum Corp, a moment of silence where the Norwalk Fire rings their Bell 11 times.
Speakers include Gov. Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, Congressmen Jim Himes, local mayors and several other state officials.
Motorcycle police from over a dozen Connecticut towns and cities will ensure the safety of the ride. With local town and escort police — over 25 municipal fire companies, and 35 police departments are involved in the ride.
Motorcyclists’ can register the day before the ride on Sat Sept. 6, 2014 at Captains Cove Seaport in Bridgeport from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; they can also Register on Ride Day Sun. Sept. 7, 2014 at 10 Norden Place in Norwalk, Connecticut from 8 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. The cost is $25 per each person.
For more information, visit CTUnitedRide.com .