ABOUT 200 Bendigo bikers rode in the annual Bendigo Motorcycle Toy Run on Saturday, which raised more than $7000 for charity.
The swarm of black-clad bikers, sporting tinsel, Santa beards and hats, left Bendigo at 8.30am from Lansell Plaza Car Park.
They visited Castlemaine, Long Gully, Eaglehawk and White Hills before finishing the ride at Lake Weeroona.
Allies Motorcycle Club president Tony "Blaster" Warhurst, who co-organised the ride, said the line of bikes from Castlemaine was an impressive sight, stretching two kilometres along the Calder Highway.
"The weather was perfect and everyone was happy," he said.
"A lot of people came up to me afterward and thanked us for the run.
"It affected a lot of people... a couple of older people came up and thanked us for the ride and gave (event coordinator) Ossie (Mason) a cuddle.
"There were a lot more kids there too. It was appreciated by all ages."
Marie and Les McGenniskin were among those who enjoyed the run, their first one.
“It was a brilliant day, everyone rode really well,” Mrs McGenniskin said.
In the annual toy run bikers join forces to collect toys for St Vincent de Paul for distribution to disadvantaged children in central Victoria at Christmas. This year about $20,000 worth of toys was donated.
The event also raises funds for St Vincent de Paul to buy IGA food vouchers.
This year’s barbecue, raffle, badge sales and auction raised more than $7000 – less than last year's final tally of $10,200.
But it was $7000 that disadvantaged Bendigo families would otherwise not have got, said Ossie Mason.
She said the 2013 toy run was “bigger than Ben Hur”.
“It’s getting bigger and bigger - more and more riders join every year,” she said.
“It’s good to see, and the community loves to see it as well.”
Although the run raised less than last year, Ms Mason was particularly impressed with the fundraising effort of Kennington Primary School student Bradley Sheddon, 12, who raised $2500 in five-cent pieces.
He has been raising funds in for the toy run for five years. This is his last year before he goes to high school.
“I just want to say how fantastic the Kennington Primary School has been in supporting Bradley and the toy run,” Ms Mason said.