So it has been a while since my last post. My personal life and projects have been running at full throttle… and therefore my biking stories have not… A shame I know… Although I haven’t been very active in the bike lifestyle and events, I have been clocking some distance on my machine. Riding generally clears my mind and helps me focus on that which I find important. Now for a back story.
Growing up I was always confronted by the stigma that one cannot associate with bikers, because bikers care for nothing but themselves. Stigmas that bikers are nothing more than outlaws terrorising the streets of quiet neighbourhoods. Although times have changed and bikers have become more sophisticated, the stigma still lives on. Now that I myself am a biker, it is clear… People generally distrust bikers. Most people would rather cross the street than walk next to a biker. Genuine outlaws and tv shows about biker outlaws further worsen the matter. Enthusiasts and outlaws have now been cast into the same basket, labeled steer clear.
This puts the enthusiast in the same light as an outlaw. This is something that I cannot condone. Bikers are people too. We think, we feel, we live, although differently to others, the same as others. So I, and many of my fellow riders attend and support a lot of charity events. We ride against crime, we ride against abuse, we ride for cancer awareness, we ride in support of animal welfare, we ride to help those less fortunate, we ride to break the stigma. Most important in these events is, we ride to really try make a difference in the lives of others.
This brings me to the one event that is really close to my heart. The Annual Gauteng Motorcycle Toy Run. This year the 34th Annual Toy Run will be taking place on 27th November 2016. The event is aimed at bikers donating toys for those who are not as fortunate. In addition thousands of bikers from around the province can prove to others that bikers care about others. During previous events, around 20 000 bikes gather, all carrying a special cargo from teddy bears to educational toys. Filling the highways as a sea of machines. Delivering 25 000 toys to a single collection venue. Where these toys are then distributed to those who deserve them.
This year another initiative to break stigmas will also take place on the same date. The organisers of the toy run have decided to allow a mass ride for female riders only. This is to raise awareness for female riders and to break the stigma that women can’t be bikers.
I do take my hat, or in this case helmet, off to the efforts made by the organisers of the event. The Toy Run has truly helped change the image of motorcyclists and helped those children who are less fortunate. It is definitely an event I will attend for as long as I am able to ride.
On the subject of riding. The Toy Run initiative is not limited to motorcyclists only. Although the main focus is on the riding community, folks who prefer four wheels are welcomed all the same. More people attending lead to more toys, more toys lead to more smiles on the faces of the kids that receive them. That is the entire purpose of the event is it not? Therefore the Toy Run should not be seen as a biker-only event, it is more an event in aid of others, supported mostly by bikers.
For those of you who cannot attend this event for what ever reason, I urge you to find a cause you support. If there is an event for it, attend it. If there isn’t, organise one. It is our duty to break the stigma and show others that we care for our causes. Send us pictures and info on such events and we will share them with everyone. We can change the way the world sees bikers, and we can change the way bikers see the world.
Ride safe and enjoy the journey.