NEW: Here’s why hundreds of bikers will be in Wellington this weekend

5:08 p.m Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 Local
Motorcyclists participating in the Cruizin’ for Crime Stoppers motorcycle ride arrive in Abacoa in Jupiter on Jan. 25, 2015. This year’s ride will leave from Wellington’s Village Hall, bringing hundreds of bikers to the area on Saturday morning. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

An 85-mile fundraising motorcycle ride will bring hundreds of bikers to Wellington on Saturday morning.

The seventh annual Cruizin’ for Crime Stoppers ride launches from the area around Village Hall, with “kickstands up” at 10:30 a.m.

“This is our major fundraiser for rewards, so we’ve got to do it to the top,” Crime Stoppers board of directors president Anthony Genovese said. The program allows tipsters to remain anonymous and collect up to $3,000 in cash for providing information that leads to an arrest.

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The ride will take the group of motorcyclists — Genovese estimates there will be about 325 — out through the Glades and then back east along a scenic route that ends at Abacoa in Jupiter.

Through it all, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputies on motorcycles will provide a rolling motorcade for the bikers, blocking side streets along the route so the ride is uninterrupted. That’s a big plus for attendees, Genovese said.

“As we’re going through these cities, you have the sheriff’s department and they have all their lights on, and people are lining up along the road and taking photos of this long line of motorcycles making all this noise,” he said.

At Wellington’s Village Hall on Saturday morning, bikers will start their day by checking in for the event — it’s $25 in advance at www.cruizinforcrimestoppers.info, or $30 Saturday morning — then lining up two-by-two and grabbing a coffee and doughnut, provided by the Crime Stoppers team.

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Their route will take them north from Village Hall along Forest Hill Boulevard to Southern Boulevard, so drivers can expect some delays along Forest Hill on Saturday morning.

The group then will turn and go west on State Road 80, then north to the Pahokee Marina. After a break there, they return east and then north to Abacoa, where Crime Stoppers volunteers will have burgers, potato salad, cole slaw, drinks, cookies and more for the bikers and the PBSO motor units, Genovese said.

Participants receive a free shirt and can buy headbands and pins.

“It’s so exciting,” Genovese said. “It’s an amazing ride.”

He called the event “a nice family ride,” noting many women participate. “We have a lady who comes, she wears a pink outfit, has a pink trike (a three-wheel motorcycle), has a dog and a pink helmet, and she rides with a bunch of other ladies,” Genovese said. “It’s terrific.”

Much of the success of the event depends on whether the skies stay sunny, he said. “I’m a member of Christ Fellowship and I’ve got every Bible study praying for good weather,” he added, laughing.

According to the National Weather Service, there is a slight chance of showers in Wellington on Saturday morning, with mostly cloudly skies and highs in the low 70s — not the kind of weather that could put the brakes on the fundraising ride.

Crime Stoppers Palm Beach County is a nonprofit organization set up to help law enforcement agencies cut crime.

“We get a lot of great tips,” said Genovese, a former New York City police officer who has been with Crime Stoppers for about 25 years. “We put a lot of people in jail.”

Saturday’s fundraising ride will be a big part of that effort. “They’re having a great ride but they’re doing something good for Palm Beach County, too,” Genovese said.