Every summer, tourist hordes descend on coastal and country towns of NSW bringing life and trade to local business owners. This year, due to the most catastrophic fire season in recent history, roads were closed, towns were evacuated, and people stayed home. The absence of travellers has justified concern as this mass retreat has already shattered local economies with many businesses missing out on the summer peak season trade responsible for up to 80% of annual income. These regional areas need to be rebuilt physically, emotionally and financially; so a few mates have gotten together to bring support to those in need.
Fire Aid Ride is an inclusive response from dedicated members of the Sydney motorcycling community who are banding together in hope of driving visitors to areas that are doing it tough. The event is a collaboration between Sydney creative consultant, Jimmy Woodriff, and the team behind the famous The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride, which since it began in 2012 has raised over $35M AUD for men’s health.
Jimmy Woodriff, Founder of Fire Aid Ride, said, “There’s not a lot of people in Australia who haven’t been impacted by these fires. Now that the fire threat has eased there’s real economic, social and psychological danger to people in affected areas, giving back should be our focus.
“Going to meet people, saying G’day, spending money with them or just rumbling through towns on a bunch of cool bikes and being present tells our regional communities that we care, that they’re not alone. That’s what Fire Aid Ride is all about. We’re planning to visit and bring more cash, bikes and smiles to other areas of NSW every two months to help stimulate these shattered local economies.”
Fire Aid Ride aims to bring financial stimulus to local areas visited during group ride events in NSW throughout 2020. That money will go directly into the pockets of local businesses such as petrol stations, cafes, accommodation venues, and shops. Local charities, farmers, vendors and makers will be encouraged to attend the February event at The Grey Gum International Cafe to create a mini-market allowing riders to support more than just the venue. The local RFS teams will also be onsite to collect funds. Yamaha Australia will also be generously supporting the Feb. 23rd event, providing a recovery vehicle and mechanic for any bike needing attention along the way. Also supporting the initiative is television and radio presenter Osher Günsberg, host of ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette’ reality TV series.
Speaking about Fire Aid Ride, Osher decided to get involved as a way to give back with more than just a donation. “Motorcyclists often tend to be the first ones to hit the road and lend a helping hand to those who need it. Always supporting those who have experienced such an intense tragedy, like so many families in New South Wales this summer. This is such a worthy cause to get behind and I really urge anyone who was fortunate enough to get through these fires unscathed, riders and non-riders alike, to get on the road, to come and support those in affected areas, to help build back their local economies.”
This bushfire season saw a record-breaking 4.9m hectares of NSW burned, an area equivalent to entire countries. With an estimated 2 billion animals, birds and reptiles killed, and a human toll of 25, there is little doubt that motivated and prolonged community activism is required to plaster-cast rebuild efforts.
The first ride details:
As the first of many to come, the Fire Aid Ride on February 23rd will kick off in Windsor, and end at the Grey Gum International Cafe in Putty. A live music event, ‘Buy a Firefighter a Beer Bar’ and food from local vendors will be awaiting the riders along with stickers and patches available for a cash donation towards supporting the Putty Rural Fire Service.
When: Sunday, 23 February 2020
Time: 9am until 3pm
Where: Meet at Macquarie Park, Windsor NSW 2756
End: Grey Gum International Cafe, Putty NSW 2330
To attend or ride our events please visit our Facebook page for info and the latest updates:
Management & accountability:
Fire Aid Ride is managed by event founder James 'Jimmy' Woodriff. A Sydney-based creative consultant.
Any funds raised during these events by direct donation will be donated to relevant local charities who have been selected based on firsthand accounts of who needs financial assistance according to the communities involved in the events.
All donated funds or purchased items that will be donated will be accounted for via the Facebook group linked above.
For any enquiries regarding the events, rides, fundraising or anything else please email:
You can contact Jimmy at [email redacted].au