It’s almost time for the annual Ulysses Club Toy Run! Each year a cavalcade of amazing motorcycles – led by none other than Santa himself – parade through the streets of Armidale, completing their ride at the Visitor Information Centre car park.
The Toy Run aims to raise awareness, funds and charitable donations for the Salvation Army, who provide support and some extra special Christmas cheer for local families. Allan Piddington explains just what will unfold on December 8, and how you, too, can get involved!
Hi Allan. What’s your involvement with the New England Bushrangers branch of the Ulysses Club Inc.?
I instigated the formation of the branch in 2002, and that followed on to becoming the inaugural President of the branch. I have been involved with the Ulysses Club since that date.
For those who may not be in the know, what is the Ulysses Club all about – and what type of members does it typically attract?
Ulysses Club is a social group for motorcyclists over the age of 40 years who enjoy riding motorcycles and going on rides together. This may involve going to other branch “Meet and Greets”, Toy Rides or Christmas functions.
When and where do the “Bushrangers” regularly meet?
We have been regularly meeting at the Royal Hotel on the first Wednesday of the month at 7:30pm.
Tell us a bit about the Toy Run the club is involved with at Christmas. How long has the club been organising this event?
The Toy Run was started 26 years ago by Barry Goyen and was continued on by Tony Cuffe, and also myself, with the help of other branch members.
How does the Toy Run work – and where will it travel to this year?
We meet at Technology Park UNE, Madgwick Drive and ride into town under police escort, through Donnelly Street, Marsh Street, Beardy Street Mall, Moore Street, West Beardy Street and down Dumaresq Street to the Visitor Information Centre car park.
We deliver toys and cash to the Salvation Army Officers, who bring their truck down for us to fill up with lots of goodies.
There’ll be a “Show ‘n’ Shine” display of all the motorcycles involved behind Hungry Jacks at the conclusion of the Toy Run.
What dates are proposed for the Toy Run this year?
Santa always leads the Toy Run, which will be held on 8th December 2018, leaving Technology Park at Midday.
Anyone with a motorcycle can join in the Toy Run – not just members of the Ulysses Club. Everyone is welcome, and all types of motorcycles are welcome too! Come and have a look and a chat.
How can the general public help the Ulysses Club with the Toy Run?
Anyone can come and donate a toy or a non-perishable food item at the Salvos’ truck. No fluffy toys please! Cash donations are also very welcome.
There are a lot of people who usually come down and look at all the different makes and models of motorcycles too.
What other organisations/individuals have come on board to assist with the Toy Run this year?
Armidale North Rotary has been involved also for all these years, providing a delicious BBQ lunch for a small charge. They also make a donation to the Salvos.
Where can we find out more info/contact you?
For anyone wanting more information, don’t hesitate to contact me on 0428 722 706.
Interview: Jo Robinson.
The New England Bushrangers website: newenglandbushrangers.ulyssesclub.org
Many thanks to Lily McFarlane and members of both the Salvation Army and the New England Bushrangers for coming along for the FOCUS photoshoot, and to Holly Harris and Nathan Whitehill from Bicycle Central on Marsh for providing the terrific girl’s bicycle and helmet!
Further info about Ulysses Club Inc. Australia:
There are over 137 branches of the Ulysses Club around Australia.
The aims of the Ulysses Club are:
- To provide opportunities for older motorcyclists to get together for companionship and support
- To show by example that motorcycling can be an enjoyable and practical activity for riders of all ages
- To draw the attention of the public and private institutions to the needs and views of older riders.
If you’d like to “grow old disgracefully” and find out further info about the Ulysses Club Australia-wide, check out UlyssesClubAustralia on Facebook or visit the website: