Cape Town - Hundreds of bikers, on an astonishing variety of machines, turned out for the second annual CMA Blanket Run at the Fairbridge Mall in Brackenfell, on a crisp, chilly autumn Sunday morning.
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.
The organisers had laid on loud music, food vendors and cordoned off areas for car clubs – notably the Subaru Club, which has a tradition of supporting biker charity events – and the entrants for the concours competition, all of which arrived under their own power.
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, standing good-naturedly in queues for hot, sweet coffee and fast food with a cholesterol count that would make a dietician squirm.
But the focal point of the day was two colourful piles of blankets in front of the convenors’ tables, that rapidly grew to shoulder height and more as the bikes kept rolling in. Among them were two conservatively dressed ladies who explained that no, they weren’t bikers, but they’d heard about the run and wanted to add their blankets to the pile.
Convenor Emil Lawrence and Pastor George Lehman of the Biker Curch said the previous year’s Blanket Run had collected more than 2500 blankets in the final reckoning, and that the 2016 event was looking as if it would comfortably exceed that total.
The blankets would be distributed, they said, some on the day and the rest during the following week, to more than two dozen homes, shelters and outreach programmes across the Western Cape – just in time as the bitter cold of a Cape winter begins to bite.