News

About 3,500 attend motorcycle rally in Port Dover

Jacob Robinson

By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer

John Bonselaar of Waterford takes photos of a motorcycle that caught his eye during the traditional Friday the 13th gathering  in Port Dover. Cool temperatures made for a lower turn-out of motorcyclists and enthusiasts, but the next event in July is expected to attract more than 100,000 people to the Lake Erie town for the day. Brian Thompson/Postmedia news

John Bonselaar of Waterford takes photos of a motorcycle that caught his eye during the traditional Friday the 13th gathering in Port Dover. Cool temperatures made for a lower turn-out of motorcyclists and enthusiasts, but the next event in July is expected to attract more than 100,000 people to the Lake Erie town for the day. Brian Thompson/Postmedia news

PORT DOVER  - 

Friday's motorcycle rally in Port Dover was a last minute decision for some enthusiasts.

“We made the call this morning whether we were coming or not,” said Cathie Sanford of Aurora. “My husband (Kevin) was checking the weather all week just to see. This morning it was 5:15 a.m., he was up and said 'we're good'.”

The Sanfords weren't the only ones that hit the road.

An estimated 3,500 people braved single-digit temperatures to take part in the event that features motorcycles of all shapes, styles, and colours. While black leather is the overwhelming clothing of choice for most, you'll find a few folks that break from the norm, like Jack and Debbie Matheson.

The husband and wife duo from London have made Friday the 13th a priority for two decades.

They wear the blue and yellow of the Christian Motorcyclists Association. The pair not only mix and mingle with their fellow riders but also hand out Bibles and treat bags for children.

“I just absolutely love it,” said Debbie, who puts together the treat bags. “I say that I do the packages but I give God the glory of everything and ... if I can hand that package to somebody and see them smiling from ear to ear it makes the world of difference.”

Friday's rally came at the perfect time for members of the Norfolk Association for Community Living (NACL). The organization will host its annual Can You Dig It? gameshow fundraiser May 5. A few NACL members were selling event T-shirts and merchandise on behalf of the Port Dover Kinsmen Club. For each volunteer NACL provides, the Kinsmen make a donation back to the organization.

“So many of the service clubs and associations in the area, we really rely on each other to work together and this just gives us another chance to build yet another connection with another service club,” Maeghan Lampman, senior administrative assistant with NACL, said while working a booth just in front of Powell Park. “Plus we get to be down in the action and that's always nice too.”

Whether the riders are enjoying their first time or 20th, most tend to leave town with the same feeling.

“It was a very positive atmosphere,” Sanford said of her first Port Dover rally that came back in October. “And there was some really interesting things to see and check out.”

There was a large police presence in the town but Norfolk Const. Ed Sanchuk said the rally was “uneventful” from a police perspective.

“People behaved themselves,” Sanchuk added. “I know a lot of people said they were looking forward to July so we're anticipating July to be the biggest Friday the 13th we've seen in a long time.”

A collision between a vehicle and motorcycle was reported on Highway 3 and Turkey Point Road in the late afternoon. Two people were transported to hospital with minor injuries. Charges are pending.

jrobinson@postmedia.com