The wind blew like hell all day Saturday and on Sunday morning it was still blowing, the forecast was not good so Janet opted out, "I'm staying here, you go." I also had second thoughts about it, I prefer riding in the rain to riding in gale force winds but I also didn't want to miss my fourteenth consecutive annual toy run.
Now in its 26th year the toy run was started by the Italian Motorcycle Owners Club (IMOC) and it has become a national event, bikers all over the country get together on the same day to collect toys for underprivileged children. I headed out at 07h30 to the gathering point at the Engen One-stop on the R27 with the idea that I could call it off and ride back home if that was the general consensus.
Of course that wasn't the general consensus! There were already about a dozen guys and ladies there all eager to get going, the wind didn't feel too bad anyway.
I rode behind this bike most of the way to Capetown and this teddy bear was waving his arms around all the way as if he was really enjoying himself!
We got going shortly after 08h00 and the Undaunted Club riders set a good fast pace, we settled into the staggered formation and cruised down at a steady 140kmh, every now and then I could feel some wind gusts but we were heading directly into it and it would be pushing us home later.
These guys were all going directly to the end venue but I had a different idea and at the outskirts of the city we split with the bunch and headed for the Viper Lounge. We had some time to kill and I could not think of a better place to do it.
There were plenty of people coming and going, like two guys on these BMW "Cafe racers", a 1976 and a 1983 model.
We sat around until just after 10h00, the mass rides were due to start from the two venues at 10h30, so we rode through to a spot en route where I could get some photos. Every year I have taken part in the mass ride but it is a lot of clutch work, braking, foot down, 1st gear riding and I thought that with the gusting wind and the added hazard of lots of inexperienced youngsters all over the place on scramblers and scooters, now would be a good time to have a change, I had always wanted to get photos of the mass ride anyway.
We selected a picturesque spot and settled down to watch the passing parade. At first the bikes went past in dribs and drabs but it wasn't long at all until the road was full of riders.
A traffic cop led the way followed by the mass ride which had started simultaneously from the Ottery supermarket and from the Epping market.
For some unknown reason they let the Harley riders lead, why? You'd think it would be Italian bikes.
All kinds of bikes can be seen in the mass ride;
Tuk-tuks laden with toys;
and thousands and thousands of motorbikes. We sat there for an hour, and in that time the bikes were passing non stop, before we joined in for the short ride to the Maynardville showgrounds. Still it was an unbelievable mob but the traffic cops were doing a splendid job and it wasn't long before we were parked and heading in to the show ground.
A "Sea" of motorcycles in the parking area, still filling up, millions of Rands worth of machinery here!
Thousands upon thousands of people all with the one purpose, well with two aims I suppose; to donate toys for needy children and to have a jol! (a party). Anyone is allowed in and recently we have seen a huge upsurge in the number of non-biker families who come in to mingle with the bikers, the only entry fee is at least one toy.
The first thing we do is make our way to the trailers to get shot of our parcels, it doesn't take long before both are full to overflowing.
The organisers estimated that there would be in the region of 35,000 toys to be distributed this year!
From there we always go to the beer tent which was, as usual, doing a roaring trade. We usually hang about for a while because the beer tent is a good place to see friends passing through.
Jenny and Joos here chatting to Frank. There is plenty to see and do and for a while we wandered around.