Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Xmas Toy Ride - 2005

All year long we pass each other like ships in the night - not a nod, wink or a glance gets exchanged. But on that one day in December, the Geelong Harley Owners Group welcomes bikes of all makes and sizes to ride with them in the annual Xmas Toy Ride.
It’s a great event and to see those bikes laden with toys makes you feel very privileged to belong to this very unique group of people. Credit must be given to the Geelong Chapter of HOG for their great enthusiasm and the organisation and effort involved in this great event.

As we lined up in Mercer Street it was eerie to see all the Triumphs that had come out of the woodwork – where had they all come from? The Triumph brand had the second largest display of bikes after Harley and yet only a small number of those were from the Geelong Group. Somehow it made us think about the Triumph RAT ideology - maybe we’re the last of a dying breed!
The loudhailer called us all to attention and gave us a quick briefing & an order to fire up our bikes & get on the starting grid. The noise of those Harleys firing up always makes the hairs stand and we were quickly jostling for position.
Then just as they do in the marathons - we were off! As we thundered thorough the centre of Geelong the Xmas shopping stopped briefly as traders and shoppers alike stopped to recognise the efforts of this mighty charitable machine.
Portarlington was our first stop and as we snaked our way through the suburbs on the way the support from the community on the road sides was inspiring. Families waved and clapped as we passed by – some even holding out toys for us to add to our collection. A shady tree was found for our first stop at Portarlington.

It must be the only time of the year that The Rebels and The Black Uhlans can be seen drinking in the same pub less than a few feet away from one another!

A short break and then it was off again around the Bellarine Peninsula and on to Queenscliff for lunch. Bruce was riding his Harley and was spotted at one of the roundabouts clearing the path for the procession of bikes. I don’t think many car drivers would want to try and get past him!
As we rode into Queenscliff it was heart-warming to see all the kids from “Cottage By the Sea” on the roadside excitedly waving and showing support. They were getting a preview of some of the toys & gifts they would be receiving from Santa! After all, how else would they get them if Santa’s little (some big ones too) helpers weren’t riding along giving him a hand! Only difference is – these reindeers have two wheels!
The Geelong Triumphs quickly found another shady tree and set up camp.
Walking around it was great to see some old faces.There was no luck in the ticket raffle and after a quick bite to eat we were off again – back to Geelong via Ocean Grove & Barwon Heads. As the Trumps pulled out through a back entrance we ended up merging with the leaders of the Toy Ride. There we were in the middle of a HOG Chapter with the Harleys and Triumphs riding side by side – a line of Harleys on the left and Triumphs on the right!

Back in Geelong the Trumps departed to their usual meeting place at the Wharfshed while the Harleys kept going to the Charles Hotham Hotel.
It was a relaxing end to the day, sitting outside the Wharfshed Cafe with drinks and good food, reflecting on the ways of the world and Triumph RAT - the Harley Owners Groups had given us an eye opener.

Maybe it was the sun, the heat of the day, fatigue or maybe the emotions stirred up on the ride, but the same question was on many minds… this blonde waitress chick ain’t really gonna take up Paul’s offer is she…!
Oh and one other thing I almost forgot – PJ came up with a great idea for raising money for charity next year – a nude calendar. So 12 willing participants required – better start pumping!!

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