February 24 - March 2, 2013: Issue 99

 Northern Beaches Social Riders

For the last few years you may have seen a great display of beautiful motorbikes at the various Annual Market Days that occur at Newport, Narrabeen and Avalon. Once you have finished marvelling at these polished vehicles for moving through the air a quick chat to those who own them helps you quickly realise this is no bike gang of old with all associated stereotypes.

From the Northern Beaches Social Riders website:
The Northern Beaches Social Riders are a group of like minded people from different backgrounds & walks of life. Mothers, Fathers, Grandparents, Tradespersons & Professionals, whose passion is riding Motorcycles, attending family involved events, and fundraising for Children’s charities. Northern Beaches Social Riders was established in July 2004, and in the last eight years the club has consistently seen its membership numbers increase. The Members of The Northern Beaches Social Riders are proud fundraisers with donations being given to numerous charities including, The Apex Club of Belrose, The Mona Vale Hospital Children’s Ward, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, The Donna Handley Pink Ribbon & Woman’s Breast Cancer ride, Cure Our Kids Foundation, Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets program & HeartKids Australia.

The club raises its donations by holding weekly meat raffles at The Terrey Hills Tavern, conducting major raffle draws with tickets being sold within the Northern Beaches community and at regular social functions which are popular with the members and their families.

The Northern Beaches Social Riders hold several organised rides a month. Members are contacted via e-mail and SMS and can keep up with the rides & other information from the clubs website. The calendar is updated on a regular basis at our monthly meetings held on the second Tuesday of each month at The Belrose Bowling Club at 7:30pm. All members and their guests who participate on club organised rides are given a set of club rides rules prior to departing, these rules are also announced by a road captain five minutes before the scheduled departure time. All riders are required to obey not only the club ride rules but the RTA’S rules.

A few weeks ago we spotted club members outside the Chill Bar in Avalon on a Thursday evening eating ice creams and asked Club President Glenn Nicholls and Club Vice President J P Fisher to visit the office so we could have a talk about the Northern Beaches Social riders:

How did the Northern Beaches Social Riders come about?

In July 2004 a group of people with a common interest in motor bike riding decided to do something, not only with their passion for riding but their passions towards raising money. A short time later the club was formed and we picked two charities which were Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets Program and Cure Our Kids with Cancer, who were down at Brookvale then, and Mona Vale Hospital.

We began doing meat tray raffles where we purchased the meat for these and sold them at Terrey Hills Tavern and made a couple of hundred dollars a week that way. We also started getting donations through our donations page on our website.

We started giving these donations to Mona Vale Hospital and then from there we decided to concentrate more on the Cure Our Kids and Father Riley’s Youth off The Street Program (www.youthoffthestreets.com.au/ ). A short time later we began getting very serious about making money and having an impact and beating the perception that bikers are all thugs. We certainly weren’t and aren’t; we’re a mixed group from all walks of life, i.e.; from young mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, teenagers…there’s employed, unemployed, tradespeople, corporate professionals, people from all walks of life who have a common interest in supporting youth and children and a passion for motor bikes.

The club grew and grew and we decided to take on a third charity which was Heart Kids Australia (www.heartkids.org.au ). We currently sponsor the Heartbeat Program nationwide, and we also look after the scholarship program for Youth Off The Streets and have for eight years now, and we look after the Cure Our Kids (www.cureourkids.com.au/ )still as well.

You have raised a phenomenal amount of funds to support these causes in the short time you have been a club, how much is this to date?

In the last eight years we have raised and donated $427, 000.00.

Harley motor bikes, most members seem to be riding these. What’s the attraction to these?

It’s not all about Harleys, you can ride any kind of motor bike you like bar a scooter or dirt bike, but Harley’s are what a lot of people like because they’re a good cruiser bike. You either love them or hate them.

You also take the children you look after for a ride on these; are they safer for the children ?

Yes, children are allowed on bikes from the age of 8, as per the law of the RTA, and they also have to be able to have both feet firmly on the footpegs. What we do with the children as an example; we go out to Youth off the Street and we take a number of the kiddies there for a ride or we have auctions where people buy the rides and we take you for a ride into the city or wherever. We raise quite a lot of money doing that; we don’t charge a specific amount for taking people on a ride but we do ask for a donation and those donations usually come in from $200.00 and upwards per person.

You recently took the children visiting here from Brewarrina on a ride; what was that like; where did you take them and what did you do?

We left Narrabeen and took them all the way out to Palm Beach, there would have been about 30 of us, and we had a few photos for the kids with the bikes and then came back to the Avalon Chill bar and they had a gelato and then we took them back to Narrabeen.

Did they like it?

They loved it. They loved the Harley’s. I went to the Warringah Council farewell for them, they had been surfing, done a lot of things, seen parts of Home and Away filming, and all they talked about were the Harley rides.

What other activities do you engage in that include children?

Once a year we put on a Heart Kids day and that’s held, thanks to the Rural Fire Services, at their headquarters at Terrey Hills; they donate the premises. In September last year we had 160 children with congenital heart disease attend the day. The day is completely free. We had a jumping castle, face painting, kindy farms, a petting zoo, temporary tattoos, activities that children know and love. The Police turned up with their display, and the Firies let them all shoot the water cannons and it’s all provided free of charge. This occurs due to sponsors like the Chill Bar in Avalon, the RFS, Terrey Hills Tavern, the Ferris Group, Coca Cola and Amatyl all getting behind these events. It enables us to provide these days, to put a smile on these children’s faces.

Anthony Johnstone, J P Fisher and Kevein Shadforth, Group Captain

It was incredible. One of the special moments for me this year, and I’ve been with the club from day one, was an email I received from a lady who said she thought it was fantastic that a group of people who she didn’t even know were caring for her child. An invitation was extended to her to come up to the day and she replied that her son was going in the following day, the Monday, to have a zipper put, so open heart surgery, and that they were probably going to spend the time with the other children in the family, as of course there is a risk with this kind of operation. I said that’s good and that when she is ready I’d like to introduce her to people who are going through what they’re going through at the moment and people who have been through what you’ve been through.

When she walked through the door and was greeted by all the members up the front, and as she was walking through I just knew it was her; it was so emotional because I couldn’t believe she would bring her family up to the day to meet other people, and to receive the emails in the days after that informing us how the operation went, that everything went fine, and that she found it so rewarding coming along and meeting the people that had been through similar experiences. That makes it all worthwhile.

So it helps families being able to meet and speak with others who have or are going through a similar experience, just being able tot alk about it?


Apart from your focus on helping children, you also do social riding. Can you share an example of one of these?

A social ride can be anything from people in the club deciding to go on a club ride; so we may go up to the Central Coast or down to Wollongong, out to the Blue Mountains. We do weekends away; a group went down to Phillip Island for the Motor GP, the emphasis is on going riding and having fun.

What was it like going to the Phillip Island GP as a group?

It was fine on the plane.

Didn’t you ride down?

No, everyone else did. We do a lot of events; Friday night rides, weekend day trips; if there’s nothing on the Club Schedule then someone may ring up the club telephone and say ‘hey anyone want to go to….wherever…and you’ll get 20 or 30 bikes just turn up and go for a ride. People may be approached by people on the street who say “Geez, I’ve always wanted to go for a ride on a Harley.” And we’ll say, “Look, you can do that; give the club phone a ring and we’ll organise a great night for you for a donation.”

We’ve had all sorts of people from Consulates from America, we’ve had Diplomats, everyday folk, winners of raffles of Pink Ribbon prizes, numerous people from many places.

When we’ve got guests on the bikes, people who have never been on the back of a bike, you can see that smile to the point of jaw ache, you just give them more; the more they smile and the more they complain that their jaw is hurting the more that we give them more pleasure. That’s also how we make a lot of money. We’ve received donations from $200.00 to $3000.00 for a ride.

Again the emphasis is on the perception of the Club; we’re motorbike riders from all walks of life. When you see us at Avalon Market Day you can be assured that the $7000.00 we make from selling raffle tickets there last year, every cent of that $7000.00 went to the children. At Newport Market Day, when people purchased raffle tickets there, I will assure you, the $6000.00 raised this way last year, 100% goes to the children. When you saw us at Narrabeen Markets I will assure you that every cent of the $2000.00 raised there goes to the children to brighten their lives.

The running costs; people say, ‘well how does the club exist when you don’t have expenses?’;  well we do have expenses but we make our money in other ways to cover these; we have a magazine that comes out, we have videos that come out with rides on them, we have fines when people do the wrong thing…

What’s the wrong thing?

They might ride in front of the President or the Vice President, they might need to go to a Service Station and we’ve got 25 riders on a ride, then it’s $2.00 per bike; so that’s $50.00 out of just 25 bikes. Someone may want to have an extra toilet stop, so we’ll stop, but it’s $2.00 per bike…or turning up late…they are fun fines, and it is a lot of fun when the fines are read out at the meeting the following month. It’s all a fun joking thing and while the fine might only be 50 cents or a dollar, it’s whatever you can put in, and that’s how we run it and cover our expenses.

We also have a huge range of merchandise and accessory market available to members. They can purchase items like belts and number plate frames, key rings, badges, shirts and jackets, hats and sloppy joes, and of course we make money out of those too.

How many members are there at present?

Approximately 74.

How does someone become a member?

Come up to Terrey Hills Tavern on a Thursday evening and introduce yourself or contact us via email at harley@rideforthekids.com.au  or approach any member and get to know the club. Three to six months is normally the probationary period we put anyone through and that is mainly to help them know that they are joining a club fully aware of what is expected of them. It’s not just to wear a shirt and ride in a big group, it’s actually to participate in helping brighten the lives of children.

What is the NBSC’s favourite place or places in Pitwtater and why?

Palm Beach and Avalon Chill Bar. The Chill Bar at Avalon has been a huge supporter of the club for five years now; they pay for our stand at Market Day, they give us great support during the year, they’re on hand to constantly support us if we need it. When we take kids like the Brewarrina kids or kids from Youth Off The Streets on things they’ll always throw in the ice creams for free for those people.
Palm Beach because it’s an iconic landmark on the Northern Beaches. It’s the same as Manly, as Bondi. When you have indigenous kids that have been brought down from Brewarrina, some of these kids have never seen a building over five storeys, some of these kids have never seen waves crashing onto the sand, …they’ve all seen Home and Away though!

Are these children taught about the indigenous history of the area while they’re here?

The Council does. Justin Bourke from Warringah Council takes them out to West Head. We have with Youth Off the Streets. Our very first scholarship recipient and the first of the eight we’ve had over the years, was and is an indigenous boy who found it very interesting. We arranged for him to be taken by an aboriginal elder and be taken into the Garrigal National Park and be sown places that only the aboriginals go to.

What’s coming up this year for the Northern Beaches Social Riders?

This year we have the numerous rides that we do and the calendar of events which are available online. Our two major events this year are the Heart Kids Day which will be held in September, and our raffle days at Newport, Avalon and Narrabeen Market Days.

What is the Club’s Motto?

Ride for the kids!

If you have any further enquiries or you would like to know when the next function or ride is on please contact the club either by e-mail on harley@rideforthekids.com.au, on the club phone 0410.583.395 or by post at P.O Box 570, Terrey Hills N.S.W 2084.

Copyright Northern Beaches Social Riders, 2013. All Rights Reserved.