Santa’s little helpers: The bikers spreading Christmas cheer

Santa on motorcycle decorated like sleigh

Every year at Christmas bikers up and down the country organise local ‘Toy Runs’, where hundreds of bikers and spectators alike turn out to donate sacks of toys to children’s hospitals and charities.

These toys make a world of difference to the children who are set to spend a bleak Christmas in hospital and the collected donations go a long way to improving the lives of so many young people.

Toy runs take months of hard work as permission first needs to be granted from local councils and police, then hundreds of marshals and volunteers must be recruited and the correct signage displayed all along the route.

What happens on the day?

The planning and organising for each toy run can take up to six months or longer and holding outdoor events in winter already comes with its own set of challenges.

On the actual day the weather has to be assessed and the roads deemed safe to ride before the run can finally go ahead and once the all clear’s been given, there’s the usual difficulty of keeping everyone together on the ride.

All types of motorbikes are welcome to join the runs, from scooters to trikes and everything in between – the more decorated the better!

Bikers will often dress up as Santa and his elves as they spread their festive cheer, and tooting your horn is always encouraged.

Peter Vasey, one of the organisers of the Cambridge Toy Run, had this to say:

“I don’t think people fully understand the impact of a toy run. Yes, it is a great ride and full of cheer, but the toys go much further than you think.

“Not only do children get gifts, but the toys are used throughout the year to replenish waiting rooms and distract siblings who have to be in hospital because their brother or sister is.

“This goes far further than just giving some toys for Christmas.”

Why are toy runs so popular?

Often when people think of bikers, they picture Hells Angels and the hard as nails image to go with it.

But in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Bikers have a long history of doing their bit for charity and with organisations like Blood Bikers, not to mention the ongoing fundraising events for air ambulances all over the country, that doesn’t look likely to change any time soon.

Peter Vasey said, “Bikers don’t always get the best of images, but we are just humans, and we do a lot for charity as a collective bunch.

“Toy runs are all over the place and bring so much joy, happiness or distraction to those involved. Let’s face it, even the most hardened road user or pedestrian will find it difficult not to smile as a Christmas Pudding rides by with 500 Santas for company.

“If you have never done one, just look up your local toy run and do it! You won’t regret it.”

Upcoming events

If you fancy joining in with a toy run or other Christmas events, have a look at the list below and head on down!

16th December 2017

Jingle Jam

17th December 2017

Bugsplatz MCC’s 17th Annual Telford Christmas Motorcycle Run

17th December 2017

Ace Café Toy Run followed by their annual carol service

24th December 2017

All day Ace Café Bike Day

26th December 2017

Annual Plum Pudding Races at Mallory Park

31st December 2017

One for the New Years Road at The Chase Inn

Next page: VIDEO: Blood Bikers at the Ace Cafe