Bikers prepare for Toy Run
SANTA Claus is coming to town – and he has swapped his reindeer for a Harley-Davidson.
The annual Reading Toy Run in aid of Barnardo’s is heading to Wokingham next Sunday.
Last year’s event was cancelled due to wintry conditions – an unexpected snowfall hit the roads – so bikers are looking forward to getting back into the saddle.
When it takes place on December 9, more than 2,000 bikers are expected to take part in what is officially the world’s biggest motorcycle toy run.
Every rider will carry a toy which is donated to Barnardo’s and other children’s charities over Christmas.
When the event was launched 33 years ago, only 18 riders took part.
Now, organiser Ben Spiller says around 1,700 big hearted motorcyclists are expected riding everything from small trikes to monster machines.
“The idea just caught on and it has become the biggest of its kind in the world,” he explained.
“It’s easy to just put your hand in your pocket and not know where your money will go to. But with the Toy Run, people make the effort to turn up from all over the country with a toy that will delight a young person this Christmas.”
Thousands of people are expected to turn out to welcome the riders and cheer them on.
“Inevitably, some roads are closed but we have already put up signs to alert people,” added Ben.
“We want to thank motorists for their patience and apologise in advance for delays that might be experienced because roads will be closed on the route as the bikes come through.”
Roads affected are Whitley Wood Lane, Lower Earley Way between The Black Boy Roundabout and The Showcase cinema.
Then it will be the A329 Reading Road between the Showcase and Shute End and Rectory Road and Wiltshire Road to High Close School.
These closures will affect traffic on adjacent roads too.
“This is the 33rd Anniversary of the Toy Run and countless children have benefited at Christmas from the toys and gifts brought by the bikers,” said Ben.
“The crowds lining the streets are always fantastic. If you can spare time to watch along the route, that would be great.”