On September 9, 2018 the 37th annual United Bikers of Maine (UBM) toy run took place. As always, it was a chance for bikers around the state to join together and give to an important cause. The toy run has consistently delivered thousands of new, unwrapped toys to less-fortunate, Maine children all across the state.
In many years past, weather has had a somewhat negative impact on attendance. While many riders brave the elements regardless of how wet or cold it gets, a large contingent is understandably less interested in riding potentially hundreds of miles in inclement weather. This year, however, the weather was beautiful. It was sunny, clear, and temperate. Without checking any official figures, all indications are that the most-recent toy run was well attended.
The trip wasn’t all sunshine, however. In 2017, two riders were killed in an accident on the interstate between the civic center and the route three exit. With that as a backdrop, the route and departure time for the toy run this year was altered. While the change in the route and departure time had been, at least to some degree, publicized, it certainly wasn’t common knowledge. Based on the volume of riders included in the traffic backup the changes should have been much more prominently shared with participants.
The problem was compounded by the fact that a lone, Augusta police officer was “following orders”, blocking all of the routes of egress from an important intersection a full half-hour ahead of the passing of the actual toy run actual procession. Even an obviously pregnant and upset lady walking from far back in the gridlock was unable to convince the officer to allow any movement of traffic (even in directions that would not have impacted the toy run).
Aside from the traffic snafu, the toy run itself went off without a hitch. Thousands of motorcyclists from all over the state met at the civic center, followed Santa to the Windsor fairgrounds, and donated thousands of new toys and cash (donations can be made at the fairgrounds) to this worthy cause.
For more information, you can visit the UBM Toy Run Facebook page. Hope to see you next year!