By: Dave Abrahams
Cape Town – Each year as winter settles in over the Western Cape the Christian Motorcyclists Association puts out a call for bikers to spare a thought - and a blanket - for the children, the homeless and the elderly in havens and shelters across the metropole.
And on Sunday the riders who turned out for the 2015 Blanket Run got a small taste of what it’s like to be homeless in a Cape winter, as they braved rain and icy winds to arrive in their hundreds at the Fairbridge Mall in Brackenfell, their bikes festooned with brightly-coloured parcels.
Given the bitter weather, organisers were expecting the turnout to be mostly on four wheels, but bikers are made of tougher stuff than that. We counted more than 300 motorcycles in the car park of the mall - and that doesn’t include the ones that arrived on trailers, to be displayed by the bike dealers and customisers who’d thrown their weight behind the initiative.
Along with the Opel, Subaru and Toyota owners clubs, a number of spectacular hot rods, a stretched Hummer limo and a Ferrari F430, as well as food and biker memorabilia stalls, they turned a wet, bleak Sunday morning into an outdoor celebration of the special feeling that comes from having fun for a good cause.
1600 BLANKETS AND DONATIONS RECEIVED
But mostly they lined up in the rain to scribble their names in the register and toss their blankets into the organisers’ vehicles - because there were far too many for just one van. A lot of riders brought more than one blanket; one family pitched up with a shopping trolley full of army-style grey blankets.
Even those who were unable to bring a blanket were happy to make a cash donation in lieu; by mid-afternoon convenor Emil Lawrence reported that the CMA had received 1600 blankets and donations, to be distributed among 13 homes and shelters across the Western Cape.
Even the few, rather tatty second-hand blankets that were all some riders could manage wouldn’t go to waste, he said, they would go to the SPCA, where homeless animals suffer from cold just as homeless people do.