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AUBURN — At 90, Marty DeFazio loves putting rubber to the road.

The oldest member of Cayuga County's branch of the organization American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, Marty and his wife, Barbara, brought their motorized trike to the group's fall foliage ride Saturday in Auburn.

Marty said he has enjoyed riding since he started around age 36. Barbara said she simply sits behind Marty when they ride and doesn't drive, but loves it anyway.

"The fresh air, the scenery, you get it all when you're on a bike or trike," she said.

The nonprofit ABATE, which educates people about motorcycle safety and fights for the interest of motorcyclists, holds the annual fundraising ride. Group president Don "Duffy" Sweeney said the group will give the money raised to different organizations and causes.

Bands and games of chance were available during stops along the ride. The riders met at the Auburn Veterans of Foreign Wars post 1975, and were set to head out to the Cato Motel for horseshoes, then to Captain Jack's Good Time Tavern in Sodus for games of cornhole, then to the Montezuma VFW for dice toss before circling back to Curley's for an after party where everyone could tally the points accrued during the games.

Sweeney said group members are avid motorcyclists focused on educating people on road safety, adding that he believes members simply like assisting their surrounding area.

"What better way of having a hobby than giving back to your community?" he said.

Group member Russell Brown, who has been riding for 45 years, and his wife, Diane Brown, believe it is critical to emphasize safety for all people on the road and pass on that knowledge to younger people.

"We're supposed to be mentors as we age," Russell said.

The cyclists largely took off from the VFW parking lot one by one, with Sweeney at the front of the pack and others following along in cars.

ABATE vice president David Lichtblau said members don't need to be motorcyclists to join, but emphasized the organization wants everyone to stay in one piece while riding.

"The one number one concern about us: It's all about safety," Lichtblau said. "When we ride, we want everybody to come in and leave the same way they came when they showed up and signed up."

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Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.


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