Botswana bikers mass ride for charity

It’s becoming common place to wit-ness large groups of motor cyclists on the city’s roads making their Sunday morning breakfast runs. This past Saturday was however a run with a difference. Clad in black leather jackets and boots, and revving their top of the range motorbikes through the roads of Gaborone over the weekend, Botswana Bikers Society riders stopped traffi c, literally, in a mass ride for charity.
In an effort to give back to the community, the Botswana Bikers Society together with associated riders’ clubs held a mass bike rally over the weekend where they collected blankets and warm clothing for the disadvantaged. The ride, dubbed the Winter Warmer Day Joll, was held by riders from Botswana supported by their South African counterparts from Mafi keng. The chairman of the Botswana Bikers Society, Bertus De Klerk said that the blanket drive is a worldwide initiative by riders, adding that “Bikers all round the world ride for charity all the time, collecting blankets and warm clothing every winter. So we also decided to give our weekend ride a little twist by collecting blankets from the public then distributing them to the underprivileged in Gaborone and surrounding areas such as Mankgodi, Tlokweng, Ramotswa etc. We don’t just ride for fun, we ride for a purpose.”
Asked how they will decide who gets the blankets, De Klerk responded, “we will identify the deserving people through the village Kgotlas as they are in a better position to identify who is need of these winter warmers. We therefore ask the public to support our initiative by donating as many blankets and warm clothing as they can.”
Motorcycle owners are always up for any opportunity to get out and ride. Riders know that a good ride can be as important as the destination or purpose, whether it’s an opportunity to help a community member or to raise money for charity. Speaking to Time Out, president of the ‘Ride withMCC’ Motorcycle Club in Mafi keng, Vuyo Mbulawa said, “We are here to support our Biker friends in Botswana. They will also reciprocate by joining us in our blanket ride next weekend. Everywhere you see many riders gathered like this, you should know that they are there for a purpose which is to give back to the community. Having fun during our rides is just an added bonus.”
Mafikeng lady rider, who prefers to go only by the name Lala added, “I have been riding since 2007 and I can definitely tell you that riding is as addictive as the purpose we do it for, which is fun and charity. I’d like to encourage more women to do it!”
The mass ride started at the Airport Junction Mall, circled the city through BBS, Old Naledi and joined the Western bypass and then ended back at Airport Junction. Event coordinator Justice Ditlhong explained, “Over 150 blankets, excluding the jerseys and beanies were collected from the public and riders themselves. The distribution of the blankets will be done in the next two weekends.
Everywhere we riders go, we get a lot of attention from the public, especially in rural areas so we decided why not use this attention to do something good.” The blanket ride was sponsored by BIFM and Gaborone Sun.