As motorcyclists gather in Delano this weekend for the Wichita Toy Run Rally, another group of bikers is putting its own twist on the popular toy collection event.
Local bicyclists will gather this weekend for the second Toys for Tots Bicycle Ride, set for Sunday in Wichita. Road bicycles, mountain bikes, low riders, tandems, cruisers, parents with children buckled into bike trailers or carriers — even unicycles — are all welcome along the 6.5-mile course, said event organizer Lee Engler, owner of Lee’s Bike Shop.
Just strap a new, unwrapped toy, cash or nonperishable food item to your bicycle and meet at 12:30 p.m. at Exploration Place, 300 N. McLean. The ride leaves at 1 p.m.
“I did the toy run with motorcyclists … and I thought why not have it for non-motorized bicycles” after one of his former employees, Genai Heyer, suggested starting the event, Engler said.
Last year, the ride drew more than 100 bicyclists. All ages are welcome, but training wheels are discouraged.
“It gets a different group of people into the giving spirit,” he said.
Participants will ride on bike paths and sidewalks past the Keeper of the Plains, then along the north side of the Arkansas River, to McLean. The route continues west on Central to Zoo Boulevard and turns into Sedgwick County Park at Windmill Road.
The ride ends at Shelter No. 1 on the south side of the park.
A Lee’s Bike Shop van will be on hand to help haul toys or repair bicycles. Cookies and cocoa will be served at the shelter after the ride.
Proceeds benefit the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots. The program is requesting items for teenage girls, but books are not needed.
“It’s a healthier spin on a toy run,” said Heyer, who helped found the event. “It’s something that the whole family can take part in.”
For more information, call 316-978-9623 or go to www.leesbike.com.