by Alain W. Bélisle
Now that’s a title worthy of an Olympic year wouldn’t
you say ? But you can probably guess that the worldwide
athletic competitions are not the real reason I chose it. In
fact this year was the first time I participated in the world
renowned motorcycle rally held in South Dakota, U.S.A.,
and I can honestly say that this event like any coin has two
completely different sides. On one hand you can experience
the human craziness of nonstop partying as well as limitless
mechanical and human eccentricities. The variety of bikers
and machines you come across equals the variety of
breathtaking scenery that this region of the American
Midwest offers – and that’s the other side of the coin.
Friday the 13th
Who hasn’t heard of the legendary “Friday the 13th”
motorcycle rally which takes place in southern Ontario ?
Port Dover is a town of 5,500 residents located about two
hours from Toronto on the shores of Lake Erie. For those
unfamiliar with this event it all started in 1981 when a guy
named Chris Simons and roughly twenty-five of his buddies
met up at the Commercial Hotel (A.K.A. The Zoo) which is
now known as Angelo’s of Dover. That “day” was a Friday
the 13th. They had such a great time together that before
they parted ways a decision was made to meet again every
Friday the 13. This is how a tradition was born.
Since that first encounter the number of bikers that joined in
on the run increased significantly and has continued to do so
for the past fifty-four Friday the 13ths. Chris has a suitcase
full of newspaper clippings and magazine articles covering
the phenomenon and he has become somewhat of a celebrity
because of this event. The people he meets on his many
travels have all heard of Friday the 13th in Port Dover.