Hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists around the world are gearing up for the annual toy run season, delivering charity and goodwill to those who need it most.
The world’s first toy run was held in 1973 in LA by the San Fernando Valley Charter of the Hells Angels with a truck load of toys delivered to the Salvation Army.
The New York Times reported that residents were “terrified”. However, there were no gang fights and people soon saw the charity work they did. The idea quickly spread throughout the USA.
There is some dispute about the first toy run in Australia.
The Perth Bikers Charity Ride is claimed to be the first, starting in 1976. However, the Motorcycle Riders Association of Victoria, the Newcastle Bikes for Kids and Downs Motorcycle Sporting Club also claim they were first with toy runs in 1978.
Does it really matter who was first? It seems Australia was at least fairly quickly on to the idea after it was started by a known “outlaw” club!
The biggest seems to have been the MRA Toy Run in Melbourne in 1996 which attracted more than 18,000 bikes and brought the city to a halt.
There are now more than 50 toy runs all over the country organised by motorcycle clubs and rider representative groups including branches of the Motorcycle Riders Association, Australian Motorcycle Council, Ulysses Club, Harley Owners Group and many others.
Toy runs take a variety of donations, but check first with your toy run as some don’t accept wrapped gifts, fluffy toys or food.
Most toy runs have prizes for the best-dressed motorcycles, but make sure your decorations do not make the bike unroadworthy!
Check your local motorcycle club for more details on Motorcycle Writer website