’Tis the season for toys runs

’Tis the season for toys runs

Posted by Ben Baker on Dec 6th 2016

Just about every MC in the nation has a toy run between mid-November and mid-December.

The nation’s most famous and infamous MC, the Hells Angels, has toys runs. Last year the MC members were packed into big box store buying bicycles in California.

"It's not a jacket, it's not a glove, it's a bicycle," HA member Merl Hefferman told ABC 7 News. "You ain't got enough money in this station that makes me feel the way I feel when I give these kids these bikes."

The idea behind these toys runs is simple.

Get a bunch of bikers together to ride. To ride, bring a toy.

Biker toy runs count as some of the nation’s largest one-event efforts to gather toys. Some runs in urban areas see huge numbers of bikers get together. The Olympia Toy Run puts thousands of bikers on the road every year.

MCs that normally avoid each other or fight when they do come together can put aside differences. Other riders who just love to get on their steel steed don’t really need an excuse to get together to ride. So why toys runs?

The Olympia Toy Run offers this explanation, “For this day, we are one sister/brotherhood of riders thinking of the smiles our toys will bring to kids’ faces.”

Toy runs are global too. A run in Johannesburg, South Africa, is billed at the largest in the world. This one also brings bikers from different MCs and independents together to make a holiday a bit brighter for some children.


The best place to find a local toy run is to check the motorcycle shops in your area. Whether or not there’s a posted flier, the people working probably will know about MCs that are planning a run.

Look online. Google “toy run” and your region. Don’t just check by city or county. Cover the geographic area where you live. In my case, I’d look up Southwest Georgia. Someone in California might check LA for the Los Angeles metro area.


If you don’t have a toy run close enough, start one. You can easily find an organization to take any toys you get. The school system, especially the elementary schools, will know about Toys for Tots, Secret Santa or other programs. Your chamber of commerce can also help.

Connect with the agency that will distribute the toys. This is vital. You need to make sure they are willing to help. Once you arrange a meeting with that group, here’s what you need to decide:

A date and time

A starting point and ending point

Some way to collect the toys at the end



The toy distributing group can help with publicity. They might be able to make fliers. Most likely, they do have experience with the press and media contacts. Ask for help in contacting the local newspaper, radio and TV stations.

Expect to be interviewed by media outlets. Wear your leathers and show up on your bike for the interview if possible.

Make announces in social media. Ask your rider friends to help. Contact local groups that are friendly toward bikers and ask them to help as well. Since this is a charity event, you may be able to get a law enforcement escort. That could bring in other riders from the Thin Blue Line.

If the ride is small, in the first year anyway, try to have a giant pot of chili and drinks waiting at the end of the ride. If that’s not possible, try to end near a restaurant big enough to seat all the riders.