A GROUP of avid motorcyclists will hit the road this weekend in support of battling Singleton village Putty, which has been devastated by the recent bushfire crisis.
Fire Aid Ride is kicking off in Windsor on Sunday, February 23, and ending at the Grey Gum International Cafe in Putty.
Music, '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 NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS).
Every summer, tourist hordes descend on coastal and country towns of NSW bringing life and trade to 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 per cent 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's 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 more than $35 million for men's health.
"There are not a lot of people in Australia who haven't been impacted by these fires," Woodriff said.
"Now that the fire threat has eased there's a 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 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 is generously supporting the event, providing a recovery vehicle and mechanic for any bike needing attention along the way.
Throwing their support behind the initiative include familiar faces like Osher Gunsberg, Barry Du Bois and Brendan "Jonesy" Jones.
Speaking about Fire Aid Ride, Gunsberg 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," he said.
"Always supporting those who have experienced such an intense tragedy, like so many families in NSW 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 two 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.