Random, inclusive and ready to ride
Nothing beats the feeling of the open road on a motorcycle and the escape of reality while hearing the roaring engine of a Harley-Davidson.
That is according to the Random Riders.
But leathers aside, the Tokoroa- based motorcycle clan does not fit the stereotypical hardcore biker image.
They come from all walks of life and share a love of cruising open roads on two wheels.
Five of the founding members Shawn Evans, Thomas Lee, Maryanne Crapp and Keith and Julie Kelly decided to create the group at a rally 10 years ago.
‘‘We’re just a random bunch of people, with random bikes that do things pretty randomly and nothing has changed really,’’ Evans said.
They noticed the vast number of bikers in the South Waikato who rode in separate groups and wanted to connect the like-minded people.
Evans, owner of Gateway Glass, said riders shed all labels when they get on the back of a bike.
‘‘It doesn’t matter how old you are, what you ride, what you do for a job or even if you have a job, no-one needs to know your second name,’’ Evans said.
The group quickly expanded in its first year when close to 80 people flooded in to join the group.
‘‘It’s not just Tokoroa-based, there are riders from Tauranga, Bay of Plenty and Taupo,’’ Evans said.
Ten years and 120 members on, the tight-knit group is still going strong.
That is largely down to its protective, inclusive nature.
Evans said email is their means of communication and is used for inviting members on trips
‘‘If 100 people turned up or one person did, it didn’t matter, you did what you want,’’ he said.
The fun trips away are always remembered, yet the sad occasions are never forgotten.
Random Riders strive to make it to funerals of members who die.
‘‘That is the hardest thing we have gone through as a group in the 10 years,’’ he said.
As well as the close friendships and support for each other, they support their beloved community.
Fundraisers are held for the people of the South Waikato.
One of their more wellknown events is the annual poker run.
Evans said the amount of input from members and businesses was amazing.
He never imagined the event, filled with bikers and ending with a poker tournament, would continue 10 years on.
Last year’s proceeds went towards the Westpac rescue helicopter.
JOY RIDERS: Thomas Lee, left, and Shawn Evans share their enthusiasm with fellow bikers from the region.