Cape Town: More than 100 riders on a variety of machines ranging from a 1947 Harley-Davidson with a factory-fitted sidecar to state-of-the-art sports machines and long-legged tourers gathered, some from as far away as the Strand, at the Cape Town Harley-Davidson dealership on Saturday morning for the first Winter Warmth Blanket Ride, hosted by the Two Oceans Group motorcycle club.

But the one thing most of the motorcycles had in common was that they showed evidence of being ridden regularly, weather notwithstanding. I mentioned this to a staff member at the dealership and he agreed, pointing out that the riders most likely to turn out for a charity event on a miserably cold winter morning with the threat of rain were the year-round bikers, rather than the weekend warriors for whom riding in the rain means having to get the bike valeted again.

The best illustration of that came from the rider of the vintage sidecar rig, who mentioned in passing that “The exhaust isn’t original - my grandfather made it, back in the day.”

Viv Reyneke (he’s the tall one in the middle) and his wife Petal, third from right with pink hair, of the Two Oceans Group, with sponsors from OneFM and volunteers from TLC Outreach Projects. Pictures: Dave Abrahams

But soon it was time for the mass ride, escorted by traffic officials and the marshals of the Harley Owners Group of Cape Town, to Pick ‘n Pay Table view, where they were met by The Harley-Davidson Legends ‘gig rig’ and the smell of pancakes and sizzling boerewors rolls – and a big tea-chest-on-wheels marked “Donation Box”, which soon overflowed with brightly-coloured blankets, and had to be supplemented by a couple of trolleys, borrowed from Pick ‘n Pay!

Literally hundreds of blankets (nobody brought just one) were handed over to TLC Outreach Projects, an unfunded welfare organisation in the Table View area that cares for the elderly, and destitute toddlers, and youth on the streets as well as children at risk living in several informal settlements in the area.

Their approach is practical and hands-on; the blankets would be warming street kids and children in shacks almost immediately, while the joyous, anything-but-serious attitude of the volunteers who were there to accept the donations struck a chord with the riders - as did Mark Haze and the OneFM band, belting out old-school biker rock from the stage of the Legend truck.

IOL Motoring

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