That’s the name the C.R.A.B.s (Cancer Research Advocate Bikers) give to their run in their fight against cancer. A run from the North East of Adelaide to Freeling in the North via the Barossa Valley. Freeling oval was the destination with bands, food and a show and shine on offer. The C.R.A.B.s were originally formed in 2004 in Queensland when Rob Grimstone lost his mum to cancer and Wally Crook became a survivor. They now have various chapters around the country and one in Switzerland. This particular run takes place in South Australia with the ‘blueys’ chapter.

Neil Paltridge is the president and was kind enough to give me some background information on the club. As we were talking, Wally the secretary of the club, invited me to go along with him and the ride marshals to the first corner so that I could set up for some photos. With the car park at St Agnes shopping centre at almost capacity it was looking to be a great turnout with an incredible variety of every style of bike. Jumping on my bike I caught up with the guys just as the boys in blue were pulling in. I’m sure they were concerned that the shoppers were getting in the way of the bikes and just wanted to lend a hand.

The sun was shining with the odd cloud or two but the forecast was for late showers, fingers crossed. The road was tight and twisty until just after Chain of Ponds where we pulled up, past the reservoir, with Wally going over the map. Justin, who had officially joined the club a month prior, and I were to stay here while Buck went on to the next corner. Wally took the last with his son Bradley. Justin explained to me how the Blueys like to get out and support the other clubs with charity runs as well, which just goes to show what a caring lot we bikers are.

As we were scouting around for the best position to stand we noticed Wally heading back towards us. “Wrong corner” he shouted out as Justin and I looked at each other in shock. The bikes would have already started their run into the hills so we had to move. Now. We took off faster than Usain Bolt in the 100 metre dash and leapt onto the bikes. Checking our mirrors for the oncoming wave of bikes, we managed to get to the right corner, at Gumeracha, with Wally’s apologies as he headed off to his station. Within minutes the run came our way, and with a little persuasion, turned left and off to the Barossa Valley.

As the rear ride marshal went past us we started putting our gear back on and Justin took off to catch up with the pack. I think he forgot something as he seemed  to hit top gear in about 5 seconds. I was about to get on when two bikes went past slowly giving me the, do we turn here look? Using the technique I observed Justin using I sheepishly waved left and watched them turn around and come back. “Got lost” the first bloke called out as he rode past. Having done my good deed for the day I headed off and caught up to the ‘lost riders’. It wasn’t long before we went past Justin and Buck at the next corner getting ready to take off. The road became faster with sweeping corners through a state forest. After ten minutes I thought hang on, I’m following the bloke who was lost; maybe I should drop back and follow the other guys.

At Williamstown we caught up and then it was off to Nurioopta through the vineyards for a drink and refuel stop. This gave me a chance to do a quick bike count, about 200, and notice the other club jackets. There was the Longriders, Easyriders, C.M.A and Ulysses. Apologies to any I missed. I was pleasantly surprised to see the amount of female riders and passengers. Another example of riders from all walks supporting charity where they can. How we get perceived as yobbos is beyond me. 

Next we headed out to Kapunda along straight roads where the more eager of us lead the way. We turned to Freeling where the oval was our final destination after approx 110 kms from the start of the ride. At this stage the sky had become overcast and a light misty rain was starting to fall. The ovals driveway was lined with large pine trees which made a great place to pull the bike up and partly shelter it. The oval had 3 large semis, about 12 cars and up to 50 bikes lined up for the show and shine. Rides were set up for the kids and a bar was set up for the adults. With bands playing on a trailer, headline act The Giants, there was merchandise, a raffle and food to be had.

A memorable part of the day was when The Giants demanded everyone come up to the stage and sing along to Billy Thorpe’s ‘Most people I know think that I’m crazy’. Like a paramedic with a set of paddles they brought the whole place to life and it stayed that way to the end. After they finished and announced the raffle a local band, The Thieves, came on with a punk/rock band that used a banjo. Don’t ask me how but it worked and entertained the crowd as it wound up. A lady called Tara won the first prize which was an all expenses paid tour of the Barossa Valley in a stretch limo for 16 people. Walking from the stage she became a very popular person in deed. 

The day raised $14,000 for the Hanson Institute at the Royal Adelaide Hospital via the national cancer research foundation. Numbers were up from previous years and everyone had a ball. I urge all of you to get along next year and make this a regular event that goes from strength to strength.