Motorcycle trip raises funds for driver training

MOTORCYCLE enthusiasts from throughout the refrigerated transportation and distribution community joined Carrier Transicold and a number of its dealer representatives for three days prior to the Truckload Carriers Association Refrigerated Division annual meeting to raise money to support the Professional Truck Driver Institute. On July 10, 34 participants in the fourth Riders for Drivers Motorcycle Rally left Boston. At a reception dinner on July 13, the last evening of the event, Carrier Transicold presented a check benefiting PTDI to Chris Burruss, president of the Truckload Carriers Association.

The first rally, with 22 riders, traveled from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Vail, Colorado, prior to the Refrigerated Division meeting in July 1999. Since that time, Carrier Transicold has broadened the event to include riders from the food distribution community and its dealers as well as truckload carriers. The rally is scheduled prior to and in the same geographic area as the TCA summer convention.

The motorcycle rally was organized to benefit PTDI, an organization managed by the Truckload Carriers Association. PTDI was formed by the trucking industry in 1986 to advocate standardized training for entry level truck drivers and to certify that participating truck driving schools meet minimum curriculum standards. The institute now certifies courses of study at 59 schools in 26 states and Canada.

Carrier Transicold is a PTDI sponsor. Seeing driver recruitment and retention as a major challenge to the fleets that are its customers, Carrier Transicold saw an opportunity to combine support for a good cause with the hobby shared by its customers and dealers. The Riders for Drivers event was organized by Travis Smith, Carrier Transicold's manager of dealer development.

“We started this event in 1999, because many of our customers and their spouses are avid motorcyclists,” Smith says. “No one in the transportation industry was doing anything like it, and few events were planned to include spouses. Linking the ride to a good cause was important to us. The severity of the driver retention challenge facing our clients makes PTDI a natural fit for the two goals of fun and good works. With four rallies now complete, the enthusiasm of the riders and the financial results have been greatly satisfying. The tour has contributed nearly $30,000 to support PTDI programs and the organization's main mission of certifying truck driver training courses.”

Many of the riders shipped their motorcycles to Boston. Some rode their bikes to New England from as far as Michigan, Oklahoma, and Texas. Others rented motorcycles for the three-day, more than 800-mile trip through New Hampshire, coastal Maine, and Acadia National Park. Carrier Transicold outfitted the riders in official Riders for Drivers motorcycle gear, and a poker run was sponsored by Utility Trailer and Carrier. Gifts were handed out to the winning poker hands at the final awards dinner.

At the end of each tour, Carrier Transicold ensures that those memories are lasting ones. Video footage and still photos taken during the ride, at the dinners, and at the final awards dinner are assembled into a video set to music. The video is then mailed to the participants as a thank-you.

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