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Friday 13th Rally - Canadian Style


The do was Friday 13th in Port Dover, Ontario, which is Canada’s big big gathering. Obviously it happens every Friday 13th. Sometimes twice a year, as it did last year.
I went to it in April last year. April here is still snow and very cold.  I had missed Daytona due to flu, so decided to go to Port Dover just for the run, depending on the weather. Over here it’s not up to you if you go, it’s the weather that says if and when.

Thursday (12th) April, it was heavy rain in the morning, so I loaded up the bike anyway just in case.  It was also 7 degrees.  By 5 o’clock it was 5 degrees and still raining but not so heavy.  I headed out at 5 45 with the idea of riding for half an hour, and maybe turn back if it gets too bad.  Well at 30 minutes the weather had improved so I headed on, by 45 minutes into the trip it was pissing down and the wind chill was making it very very cold, but it was only 70 miles so I kept going.  To be honest it was a pretty stupid decision as the weather really deteriorated and it got colder by the minute.  Needless to say I didn’t see any other bikes on route.

I finally got into Port Dover at 9 ish, the neon clock on the bank in Main Street showed it was 2 degrees, and God knows what it was with the wind chill.  By this time my body was totally locked up, my gloves were soaked and had ice on.  I couldn’t feel my hands at all.  As I rode down main street I saw only two bikes parked up, (at the July event there were at least 10 thousand at the same time).both those bikes were parked outside Angelos pub, which is the best live venue and where the angels set up shop.  Both bikes were angel’s bikes.

I rode to the bottom of Main Street to see it there were anymore bikes, which there weren’t,  so I headed back up to Angelos.  By now the rain was pouring down I could hardly see in front on me.  As I was parking up, Wally from the angels came running out of the pub to help me park.  He said only a f-----in stupid English man would be out in this weather.  I walked into the pub, very very wet and cold, and got a standing ovation from the packed pub.  Didn’t buy a drink all night either.

I had already booked a spot on Chris Simmond’s sofa bed, Chris is the guy that started the whole Friday 13th event.  I left the bike in Main Street over night, next to the other two bikes. I knew it would be safe where it was, if you know what I mean.

Friday 13th was a beautiful day but very very cold, with the wind from the lake it was unreal in Main Street.  We did the usual walk around, bought a tee shirt etc.  Chris got up and did his usual opening ceremony for the TV company.  Its great walking around with Chris and his lady, Mary, you never have to stand in line or buy a coffee.  It always pays to know the right people I guess.  Mike and Sybil had recently bought Chris’s Chief from him, and because I hooked both parties up Chris bought me a lovely Chinese lunch.  So all in all it was a cheap day for me.

The weather forecast was for freezing rain in the afternoon.  Freezing rain is the most amazing stuff, the rain literally freezes as it hits the road or any other object come to that.  So I headed back to Stratford at 3 o’clock.  In fact the weather was great all the way back other than the cold.

Looking back at the ride down, I won’t do it again with the weather as it was.  I will definitely listen to the local guys.  They know and respect the weather, and live there lives accordingly. As a friend of mine said to me,” it’s all ok till you hit a problem or break down.  You could end up in the middle of nowhere at the side of the road and freeze to death.”  Makes you think a bit!

What’s really funny, is that almost every day whether in the states or Canada some one will say “don’t it rain every day in England?”  Trust me, give me the English climate any day.  Over here the bikes get put away at the end of October and come back out, if you’re lucky, in May some time.

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Due to the bad weather no photos were taken, these photos are from the July rally (better weather) or on the road somewhere.


Until the next one.......Eddie Baines  

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