In the picturesque town of Roma in Queensland, Australia, a love story intertwines with a passion for motorcycles and a heartfelt commitment to bringing joy to children during the holiday season. Meet John Finnigan, a man whose lifelong love affair with motorcycles has not only defined his journey but also brought him and his wife, Ronda, closer than ever before.
For John Finnigan, motorcycles have been more than just a mode of transportation; they’ve been an enduring passion since his youth. Growing up in Roma as an electrical apprentice, he found motorcycles to be not only practical but also an affordable means of getting around. With his beloved Ronda by his side, they embarked on countless adventures on two wheels, weaving their love story into the very fabric of their lives.
“We couldn’t afford cars, so we went everywhere on bikes when we were younger,” reminisced Mr. Finnigan, reflecting on the early days of their journey together.
It was during this time that Mr. Finnigan acquired his first motorcycle, a rugged 1944 Indian Scout, originally built for the army. Despite its rough ride, it became a cherished part of their lives. The couple’s enduring bond with the Indian Scout was tested during a daring 1,000-kilometer round trip to the Sunshine Coast in 1955. The journey included navigating treacherous dirt roads, with one particularly challenging 100-mile section etching vivid memories into their minds.
Their mothers may have been worried, but the adventurous couple’s determination and love saw them through unscathed. Sixty years on, they fondly recall this daring escapade that solidified their love.
In the years that followed, Mr. Finnigan sold the Indian Scout to explore other motorcycles. However, fate had other plans. Two decades later, he was struck by what he calls “old bike fever.” He embarked on a mission to track down their beloved Indian Scout, which had changed hands several times. Eventually, he succeeded in reuniting with their cherished motorcycle, a nostalgic triumph that still warms his heart.
Throughout the years, Mr. Finnigan’s passion for motorcycles has led him to acquire a collection of six bikes. Yet, it is the Indian Scout that holds a special place in his heart—a symbol of enduring love, shared adventures, and unforgettable memories.
The Finnigans’ love story is not just about riding into the sunset together; it’s a testament to the resilience of love, even when navigating the bumps and turns of life. Mrs. Finnigan humorously likens marriage to riding a bike, where one must simply hold on. Her husband, on the other hand, jokingly recalls using the brakes to ensure she held on tightly.
But it’s not just about their love story. Mr. Finnigan’s passion extends to the community, as he channels his love for motorcycles into a heartwarming cause—the annual Roma Toy Run. In this beloved tradition, motorbike riders come together a month before Christmas, their engines humming in unison as they deliver toys to Anglicare, a charitable organization.
The event, a mere three to four kilometers around town, is a joyful procession that brings smiles to the faces of children in need. Despite facing a dip in participation following the introduction of strict anti-bikie laws, Mr. Finnigan and his fellow riders remain committed to their cause. The Roma police, understanding the event’s charitable nature, provide valuable support, ensuring the smooth flow of the Toy Run.
For John Finnigan, the annual Toy Run is not just about motorcycles; it’s about spreading joy to the next generation. Riders gather at Bassett Park every year, bringing unwrapped toys suitable for children up to the age of 17.
As Mr. Finnigan revs up his Indian Scout and prepares for yet another Toy Run, he embodies the spirit of community, love, and generosity. In Roma, the roar of motorcycle engines is not just a sound; it’s a testament to the enduring bond between a couple, a love for the open road, and the joy of giving back to the community.