Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Meet the biker teddy bear, Charlie

Hyderabad: Since June 2013, a teddy bear has been on a non-stop trip around the world, traveling with those you don’t really associate with soft toys — bikers.

Meet Charlie Bear. He symbolises hope, harmony and brotherhood across borders. Now, half a world away from his birthplace in Arizona, he has reached Hyderabad.

On his last stop in the Indian leg of the World Wide Biker Rally in Hyderabad, Charlie Bear has already visited the Charminar, the Macca Masjid, rubbed shoulders with locals and even met actors like Nani. He spread some smiles at an orphanage where he brought the children some clothes and toys, and on Tuesday, he was going to share some love at a corporate office.

An idea of biker David Perkin, Charlie Bear has been cruising for a cause — saving lives, literally.

He has become the vehicle for the bikers to spread awareness and even collect money for various causes, including funding cancer treatment for children.
And the man who made Charlie’s India trip possible is city’s own biker cult figure, Jack or Papa Wolfe. As the national coordinator of the India-Nepal ride and the godfather for the All India Motorcycling Club, Jack tied up with the bikers to show Charlie “our beautiful country”.

With the kind of hype this 16-inch teddy bear has already created, it does help forward the causes that the bikers are supporting. And to be honest, it is the passion and commitment of the biker brotherhood that created this image of Charlie. For instance, biker Twinkle Kapdi rode from Ahmedabad to Jaipur and back covering over 1,500 kilometers with Charlie. All this and all the money that goes in, is just for a teddy! That is the kind of commitment we have towards the larger symbolism of Charlie.”

Of course, “some people are skeptical”, but then there are small experiences that make all the difference. “When the Hyderabad bikers were driving to Gooty and back, we saw a lot of people who connected with us ’cause of teddy. There were a lot of them who turned around and waved back,” shares Jack.

But the bikers do not take any credit, for Charlie’s “magnetic personality” which does most of the job. “Charlie has a way with women. Homo sapiens or otherwise,” laughs Jack. Recently “married” to a Gujarati teddy named Julie Bear, Charlie Bear now continues on to Mongolia to win more hearts.

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