BALDWINSVILLE – Cliff McKeen – better known by his road name, “Clutch” – and his biker gang seek to leave the public’s impressions of motorcycle clubs in the dust by giving back to the community.
Earlier this month, Clutch and the Three Rivers Chapter of the Hades Hounds Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club organized a charity ride to raise funds for the Maureen’s Hope Foundation. Bikers gathered at the JP Tavern in Baldwinsville on June 12, raising approximately $ 1,400 for the B’ville-based cancer charity.
“This is the very first [charity] ride that we did and it turned out to be phenomenal, ”said Clutch.
Hades Hounds Three Rivers is hoping the June 12 hike will be the first of many upcoming charity hikes.
“We want to diversify and create good support for the B’ville-Liverpool-Cicero region,” Clutch said.
Clutch, a veteran who grew up in Baldwinsville and now lives in Liverpool, was looking for different charities the club could support when he ran into Maureen’s Hope. He fell in love with the organization’s Beads of Courage program, which offers pediatric cancer patients personalized pearl chains to mark milestones in their treatment journey.
“I fell in love with the idea of the kid getting something out of it, even if it’s just a little pearl,” Clutch said.
Hades Hounds Three Rivers set out to collect donations from local businesses. In addition to hosting the event, JP’s Tavern donated $ 100 to Maureen’s Hope, and The Home Depot donated a grill for the bikers to raffle off.
“Then we do what we do best: ride our motorcycles,” Clutch said.
Clutch started motorcycling when he was 16. He is now 44 years old.
“The simple fact of being on two wheels is what brings me the closest to total freedom. All my worries go away – it’s just very nice, ”he said.
Clutch said people often think of bikers – beefy, tattooed and clad in leather – are troublemakers who like to provoke brawls. This couldn’t be further from the truth for the members of Hades Hounds LEMC.
“A lot of our guys are cops, firefighters, veterans,” Clutch said. “We just really like to ride and have fun, and we’re very polite.”
The Three Rivers Chapter began about a year and a half ago.
“COVID has put a big brake on us trying to do something this first year,” Clutch said. “Right now we’re basically preparing to look at other charities to do more rides for next year.”
As the club plans to make their charity hike an annual event, Hades Hounds Three Rivers look forward to participating in other local charity hikes. The club will participate in Ride for the Ribbons on July 24 from Sharkey’s Bar and Grill in Liverpool. The event benefits Ronald McDonald House.
“The more people involved, the more money we make,” Clutch said.
For more information on Ride for the Ribbons, visit sharkeysbarandgrill.com.