2019 Toys for Tots Toy Ride
The Day Before
Around this time last year, I participated in my first Toy Run. Before then, I had no idea there was even such a thing as a Toy Run, let alone join one. For those that have never heard of a toy run, in a nutshell it is a bunch of bikers who parade through town bringing toys to children who may otherwise go without a toy for Christmas. It’s a very fun event that happens in most every town with a sizable biker population.
This year, and somewhat out of character for me, I decided to decorate my bike for this ride. As you will see, lots of riders decorate their bikes for these runs, and I decided to try my hand (with the wife’s help, because I’m not that creative) at making my bike Christmasy.
After several trips to Walmart (ugh) and a few other places that shall not be named, we returned home with all the decorations we would need (and then some.) So we got started on wrapping the crash bars, handlebars and luggage rack with tinsel (more on this later) and stuffing some garland between the handlebars and the windshield and wrapping the same around the sissybar.
After we got everything setup, more or less, we added the elf and the toy of honor — a stuffed sloth — I took it out for a test ride to make sure nothing would fall off along the way the next day and test the gopro, then called it an evening. The entire decorative process, not including shopping, was about an hour or so and cost about $30 all told.
The morning of the 2019 Toys for Tots Toy Ride was cold and cloudy — about 45 degrees when we left the house. After meeting some folks at my local Kroger, we headed down to our first stop along the trip at Circle K in Little Rock where another group of riders was meeting us to ride to the event as one large group.
Along the way, we had to make an emergency stop so that I could fix my tinsel. It was starting to unravel and pose a threat to the safe operation of my bike, so I had to pull over and cut some off and re-tie the ends back down. I also learned that my GoPro did not charge the night before so I wouldn’t be able to record the ride. I did end up getting the ride recorded, thanks to the wife and her cell phone, but it’s nowhere near as stable and focused as it would have been on the GoPro. But I digress.
Once everyone made it to the pit-stop, we headed out towards Rodney’s Cycle House where we were to line-up for the ride, which started a few hours later at 2pm. After getting our bikes parked in the massive line, we socialize with other riders before heading into Rodney’s to warm up and perhaps get some new gear.
The wife ended up purchasing a neck sock and bandana to help stay a bit warmer and we discussed dining options because we still had a few hours before kickstands up. So we opted for BBQ outside and while the wife kept eating, I walked around and snapped some photos.
After the wife finished with her lunch, Rodney called everyone wearing an ugly sweater up on stage for an ugly sweater contest. I just so happened to be wearing mine and was told by several folks I was with that I needed to be up on stage for this. Alas, I didn’t win, but it was fun nonetheless.
A while later, while we were sitting at the bikes talking to friends, the LRFD raised the American Flag and the Lt. Governor (or Sec. of State, I can’t remember which) led the crowd in the Pledge.
After the pledge and the ugly sweater contest, I took a quick video and photosphere of all the bikes from my position in the line. I’m still waiting on an official count, but judging from my photos and videos, I’d say probably between 1300 and 1500 bikes. What do you think?
The 2019 Toys for Tots Toy Ride
After that, we pretty much just waited the last 15 minutes or so before folks started getting their bikes started up and ready to head out on the actual ride. The ride itself is is about 6 miles long and takes us from Rodney’s to the Outlets of Little Rock, where Toy Hill is located.
Watch the 2019 Toys for Tots Toy Ride Video
A view from Toy Hill
I think next year I will decorate my bike again, but spend a little more time than an hour the night before doing it. The event itself was fun, if not a tad cold, but I saw lots of people I knew and met even more that I didn’t know. Weather permitting, I’ll be back next year for the Toys for Tots Ride. I hope you will be too!
Did you go to the 2019 Toys for Tots Ride? Have you been on a toy run before? Let me know how it went in the comments.