Original rider hits the road for charity

When Barry Berkshire moved to Mandurah in 1990 with his wife Shirley, he brought his passion for motorbikes - and charity - with him.

Collecting bikes had always been in his family.

“My dad collected bikes, my brother collected bikes,” Mr Berkshire said.

“I’ve been collecting them since about 1965, I got my first one. I’ve always had bikes of some sort… I’ve had modern bikes as well, but I’ve always had old vintage bikes.”

He had always ridden on the annual Perth Toy Ride, where bikers would bring something to donate to charity for Christmas.

“It was always such fun,” he said, and decided that Mandurah needed one of its own.

In 1991, less than 90 motorbikes set out for the first Mandurah Toy Ride.

“We didn’t know if it was going to be a success or not, so we did the posters by hand, copied them, go distribute them everywhere,” Mr Berkshire said.

They used to meet at the Ravenswood Hotel on the second Saturday in December, and then wind their way down to the Eastern Foreshore where the toys and other donations would be collected.

“Then it went to 150, 200, 500, and so in the end we moved to the other side,” Mr Berkshire said.

For 15 years he was president of the organising committee, before handing on the responsibility to the Mandurah Street Riders, then the Freemasons, then the Ulysses Club.

Today, the event side is managed by the Ulysses Club, and the donation collection and distribution by the local Freemasons. 

Though happy now just to ride in the event, Mr Berkshire is proud to see the event he helped start grow to such proportions.

“I can remember, even after ten or fifteen years, just pulling off to the side of the road and watching the bikes go by. It was really something to see… it’s great for the community as well,” he said.

“We have the vintage motorcycle club from Perth… we get people from Bunbury, different groups, we get scooter clubs… plus private riders, Harleys, mopeds.

“We’ve had bikes here from about 1908 right through to the modern day bikes, everyone’s riding. It’s well-represented.”

This year the ride will be held on Saturday December 10, with riders meeting at the Red Lion in South Yunderup to depart at 10am on a route towards the Western Foreshore.

There will be stalls, a sausage sizzle and entertainment at Hall Park on the Western Foreshore on the day.

To contact the Mandurah Murray Ulysses Club for more information or to get involved, visit their website at mandurahmurray.ulyssesclub.org

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