Bikers dig deep to help needy ward off cold

ORIELLE BERRY AND STAFF REPORTER

Hundreds of bikers, on an astonishing variety of machines, turned out for the annual Christian Motorcyclists’ Association (CMA) Blanket Run, held recently at the Fairbridge Mall, in Brackenfell.

Arriving in club strength on big muscle-bikes, custom tourers and sleek sportsbikes, they were joined by an almost endless stream of individual riders on everything from mopeds to Monsters, all bringing blankets or banknotes in lieu thereof.

Emil Lawrence, the convenor, who lives in Kuils River, told Northern News there were more than 600 hundred assorted bikes, not to mention a huge strength of car clubs. The Subaru Club was one of the strongest representatives.

More than 1 325 blankets were collected on the day, he said, of which, at the time of going to press, 860 had been handed out to a range of beneficiaries. These included, said Mr Lawrence, the Cotlands home, the Bottelary informal settlement and the Agter Kraaifontein settlement. All are in need of help to ward off the cold as winter stretches its long icy arms around the Cape Peninsula.

“Our target for this year was 2 700 blankets, and we want to buy an additional plus-minus 545 blankets to hand out to the needy,” said Mr Lawrence.

In all, the CMA which has a church in Brackenfell, on Okavango Road, has 36 beneficiaries spread from Malmesbury to Wellington and Grabouw.

The organisation started about 15 years ago and has grown considerably over the years, to incorporate faith with goodwill and biking. It’s the second year tthe parking lot at Fairbridge Mall on Old Paarl Road was converted into a lively gathering place for biking enthusiasts and petrolheads who dug deep into their pockets to help out.

The mall car-park became a pop-up celebration of the biker spirit, as riders greeted each other with the quick shoulder-to-shoulder hug common to bikers the world over, exclaimed over old friends and new machines and stood good-naturedly in queues for coffee and refreshments.

But the focal point of the day were the two colourful piles of blankets in front of the convenors’ tables. They grew rapidly to shoulder height as the bikers atop their machines kept rolling in, offloading their donations.

Mr Lawrence and Pastor George Lehman of the Biker Church said the previous year’s Blanket Run had collected more than 2 500 blankets and they were hoping to top this substantially in the final reckoning this week.