Motorcyclists - the Fun of a Christmas Toy Run
Bob Friesen interviewed by Kevin Miller Share page


christmas motorcyclists toysIt’s every driver’s worst nightmare. You look in your rear-view mirror and see a pack of bikers revving their engines behind you. As you pull over to let them pass, however, you note that in addition to the typical burly men sporting skullcap helmets and tattoos, this “gang” also includes teenagers, senior citizens and other ordinary folk. Despite the diversity in appearance, they all share one thing in common—they’re carrying sacks on the back of their bikes. What gives?

toy run christmas motorcycleThe truth is, this isn’t a gang at all. It’s merely a group of participants from the Fraser Valley Toy Run, an annual event for motorcycle enthusiasts in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. “The purpose of the ride is to raise money and toys for the local community, from Hope to Langley,” says Bob Friesen, who participated in the ride for the first time this year. A manager of a meat department by day, Friesen has been riding for 30 years. He appreciated the opportunity to use his hobby for a higher purpose. “It’s also a fun time to be with other people that enjoy doing the same type of thing you do.”

Over 1,200 bikers participated in this year’s ride, the 22nd running of the event, which took place on October 17. One group started in Mission, the other in nearby Chilliwack. They converged in Abbotsford, which is roughly halfway in between, for fellowship and refreshments. “You get a lot of funny reactions along the way,” says Friesen. “Some people are frustrated at having to wait for us to pass. But most are excited to see so many bikers in one place.” By the time the ride was over, they had raised over $40,000 in toys, cash and gift certificates.

But the Toy Ride isn’t just about helping kids. It also provides an opportunity for bikers from all sorts of different backgrounds to gather together and admire each other’s bikes and trade tips and stories. “It’s a pretty broad group,” says Friesen. “There were bikers for Christ. And then there were other guys who, if they weren’t already members, were probably pretty close to being Hell’s Angels.” Friesen says the group also included one rider who was only 16 and another who was 83. No matter their background, all of the riders were united by their love of riding and their desire to make a difference in their community. “Everybody wants to do something for a kid,” says Friesen.

As a Christian, the ride also had a higher purpose for Friesen. “Part of what we need to do as Christians is get out and be with people who aren’t. The Toy Ride is a great opportunity to do this, to make some non-Christian friends and share our lives with them.”

Here is a link to one, of the many, groups doing a Toy Run: http://www.coastriders.ca/vancouver-toy-run


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