AUGUSTA — If the bikers who gathered Sunday at the Augusta Civic Center for Sunday’s 31st annual United Bikers of Maine Toy Run needed more than the crisp fall air and collection toys to get in the Christmas spirit, then all they had to do was visit Richard White.

White, of Pittston, dressed up for the ride in full Santa Claus garb, replete with a real, snowy beard. There, attached to White’s Harley-Davidson motorcycle, was a miniature sleigh, replicating the one used by jolly St. Nick himself.

Even his last name — White, that is — was enough to call Bing Crosby’s holiday classic to mind.

“I used to ride it right up to Christmas Eve,” said White, speaking of the Harley, rather than the sleigh.

White’s red Santa suit contrasted sharply with the black leather and blue jeans preferred by most of the riders, but such superficialities hardly outweighed the kinship the riders shared through their love of open road and desire to brighten the lives of children, come Christmas morning.

“It’s a great time to see old friends you don’t see all the time and meet lots of new people,” said John Hodgdon, of Madison. “There are a lot of great people who ride bikes.”

Thousands of bikers from across the state descended on the Augusta Civic Center for the scheduled noon departure to the Windsor Fairgrounds. The bikers brought with them toys, many of which could be found strapped to handlebars or seat backrests, to give to children of impoverished families come Christmas.

There was no official tally for the number of bikers who showed up — the United Bikers of Maine typically claims a crowd of around 17,000 — but there were noticeably fewer bikes this year. Augusta Police Lt. Christopher Massey, offering his best guess, thought a few thousand bikers turned out.

“We cleared the parking lot within 15 minutes,” he said. “It’s one of the quickest I’ve seen in years.”

Fewer bikes meant less disruption to traffic on Civic Center Drive. Massey said the ride caused no real traffic problems and there were no accidents or incidents connected to the ride. Rescue did respond when a motorcycle hit a vehicle at Weeks Mills and Ward roads, but the crash appeared to be unconnected to the toy run, Massey said. He did not know if there were injuries associated with the crash but the motorcycle rider reportedly was up, walking around and complaining of hip and back pain. According to a police log, he was taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta.

Massey said toy run organizers to whom he spoke suggested rain that continued to pelt northern and eastern sections of the state Sunday morning kept numbers down. Peter Robichaud, of Corinna, who has taken part in the ride since the 1990s, agreed the rain took a toll.

“We know of three or four different people who didn’t come because of the rain,” he said. “There are a lot of fair-weather riders. The only time I don’t come is if it’s raining when I get up.”

Skies were mostly sunny, but temperatures still hovered in the mid-60s, which riders agreed can feel chilly when barreling down the road.

“This is one of the coolest days for a toy run in a long time,” Massey said. “There were lots of people with gloves.”

Robichaud, riding a 2011 Harley-Davidson trike, said he recalls runs that were so hot, it was uncomfortable waiting in the civic center parking lot, waiting to head to Windsor.

“I’d rather see it like this than hot,” he said. “As long as it doesn’t rain.”

The cause was enough to make many bikers brave inclement weather. Robichaud’s bike was packed with toys for both a boy and a girl.

“It’s a good cause,” he said. “And it’s a good way to look at bikes.”

One of the most fetching motorcycles was Hodgdon’s 1999 Kawasaki Drifter, which he had overhauled to look like an Indian Scout from the 1940s.

“It’s had about $5,000 of custom work to make it look like it does,” he said.

But not everyone was riding a classic motorcycle. Francis Duguay, of Greene, arrived aboard his Aprilia Scarabeo, a 200-cc scooter imported from Italy. Duguay averages more than 2,000 miles a year on the scooter. This year’s excursions included treks to Rangeley, Vermont and even Laconia, N.H.’s motorcycle week.

“I’ve had it up to 85 miles per hour,” he answered sheepishly, when asked how fast his bike will go. “I came 65 up the interstate on the way here.”

Duguay attended his first toy run last year, at his friend’s suggestion.

“He couldn’t make it this year, so I came by myself,” Duguay said. “You meet a lot of nice people here.”