Sunday, 14 December 2008

Ace Cafe Xmas Toy Run

Every year just before Christmas, the Ace Cafe hosts the Xmas Toy Run - whereby hundreds of bikes ride from the Cafe, stopping off a three London hospitals to give out presents to children.

This year is the first time I have taken part, and it was such a great atmosphere that it will definitely be on the calendar for next year!

Although I had been planning to take part in the Ace Cafe Xmas Toy Run for several weeks, I forgot about the event until late on Saturday night.

I had planned to decorate my bike, however by the time I remembered all the closest shops were shut. I had a little bit of wrapping paper left over and decided to wake up early the next morning to do the best I could.

Childrens Presents

Every biker that turns up to take part in the run brings along a childrens toy, wrapped up and labelled with age and sex. I brought a couple of Doctor Who books.

These get put into sacks and loaded into the back of a van, which comes with us an the run. After parking my bike and handing over my presents, I headed inside the Cafe to get a cup of tea.

The great thing about bike runs, is that you always meet new people, and everyone is very friendly. I got talking to a couple who were riding a new CBR 1000, as well as someone who had the 'naked' version of my bike.

At around 10.30 in the morning, bikes started to line up on the road opposite the Cafe, getting ready to leave. I finished my tea and heading over to put on all my thermals: it was a very cold day!

Ready for the off

I found myself somewhere in the middle of the bikes, with a Police escort bike to the right of me. Once all the bikes were out of the parking lot, we were off!!

Having a Police escort was amazing. Being able to get all the bikes onto the North Circular at once, while the Police blocked the cars from moving was a sight to see.

As we were going up the hill, all I could see in front was a sea of all different kinds of bikes; from cruisers and sportsbikes, to tourers, scooters and even a couple of trikes.

Fancy Dress

Most of the riders had either decorated their bike, or dressed up themselves. It was great to see a snowman overtake you, followed closely by a santa clause and a turkey!

There were many notable costumes, one of which was a woman who had turned herself and her bike into a moving Christmas tree, complete with fairy lights.

Another was the couple who were both dressed as bears and riding with a sidecar. Riding in the sidecar was a soft toy bear!

The best dressed bike had to be the one that had been made to look like a reindeer, complete with red nose and antlers!

The Hospitals

By the time we reached the first hospital, St Mary's, it was time for a well earned rest. Not that we had ridden far, but it was so cold everything felt a bit numb.

I got talking to a guy who had only recently taken up motorbiking, and this was his first big ride out. He told me he was thinking of buying heated gloves after today!

The van was unloaded, and a few people went it to give out presents. All too soon it was time to get back on a head off to the next hospital.

The great thing about the Police escort, was being able to go through traffic lights even when they were red. All the cars and buses stopped to let us pass, and many people honked or waved hello.

The second hospital was St Thomas's in Lambeth, where we stopped for quite a while, and I got talking to a woman dressed as a turkey.

She was videoing the ride as she was riding pillion on the back of a bike belonging to a snowman.

End of the Day

After the third and final hospital, where there was not enough room to park all our bikes so we all parked in a long line downt he side of the road, we headed back to the Ace Cafe.

I didn't stay for long once we were back, just long enough to buy a cup of tea and sit inside in the warm!

In the end it was a great day, everyone who was stopped to let us pass was friendly enough, and it must have been an amazing sight to see hundreds of Santa's ride past on motorbikes!


fasthair said...

Ms. Fylix: Looks like lots of fun. I didn't see you in the video but I might have missed you. Toy Runs are a lot of fun.


Liz said...

Me and my Dad went on the Ace Cafe Toy Run last year too but we were in one of the two cars that joined you!! We were at the back and watching a good 350 - 400 bikes infront of us is just something that you cant begin to explain.

It was such an amazing day and definately on our calender again this year also so i guess we'll see you at christmas!