What an amazing day! The weather was just about perfect, although it did get a tad too warm mid-afternoon.
BAD Ride 13 had in attendance about 1300 riders and huge praises need to go out to the organizers and all the volunteers for managing that many bikes and riders in one day at two main venues as well as corralling us at the lunch stop.
My day started off pretty early at 7am as I headed off to my bosses place. My truck wasn’t up to the task of driving around all day so we made arrangements to borrow a truck from Kahuna Powersports to tow our trailer, which allowed me to handle two bikes should the need arise. This truck was a monster and although I felt a bit dwarfed standing beside it, driving it with the trailer was easy. Luckily I had a lot of experience from when I used to tow race cars, so by comparison this was a cinch.
We arrived at the AMC theatre in Woodbridge with hundreds of bike already present, although hundreds more would steadily trickle in. I was pretty thankful for the free coffee and breakfast available to everyone and there were several vendors there selling various ‘BAD Ride’ clothing with 100% of the proceeds going to the Distress Centres.
Bikes were everywhere crammed into every nook and cranny of the complex. Although mostly cruisers and touring bikes, there were also many custom bikes and some rather eclectic ones…not to mention some very eclectic riders too and their choice in clothing left me scratching my head. Then again, I still scratch my head when I see riders wearing virtually nothing at all, especially the young lady passengers who wear shorts, a tank top and high-heel shoes. Ya…that’s practical.
After several announcements by the organizers and local radio personalities (including a last minute route change), the riders started departing around 10am. The temperature was starting to climb so riders were eager to get on the road and get some wind blowing against them. It was quite an amazing site watching all the bikes ripping out of the parking lot as they took to the well laid out route. Taking up the rear of the pack rode several volunteer paramedics and a couple organizer trucks and finally us with our MotoLimo.com trucks ready to pick up whatever riders that needed assistance.
I had programmed the route into my GPS but it turns out that I really didn’t need too. The route was very well marked with large signs at all the turning points (including the last minute changes due to a road closure).
As for the route itself, it was well thought out and kept us away from major roads so that we would neither affect traffic much or be effected by it. There were only a couple of intersections that caused us problems. There were also a couple of sections that were nice and twisty but some spots left me surprised that nobody had crashed with the loose gravel (even in some tight corners).
Arriving in Pefferlaw for lunch was a sight to behold. Once again all the riders had been well corralled by the organizers leaving the streets and sidewalks lined with bikes stretching the entire length of the small town. We also filled every available parking lot. Locals of the town stood slack-jawed staring at all the bikes rolling around their streets. I’m sure thoughts of an invasion crossed their minds. Not one person seemed upset (they were pre-warned that we were coming) and once they realized that it was a charity ride, they smiled and told us to enjoy our day (although I did see a few ladies clutching their purses rather tightly). Bikers are a very misunderstood breed and can sometimes look a little scary covered in leather and tattoos but not a single rider needed to be feared. Motorcyclists are the salt of the earth and will give a stranger the shirt (or leather vest) off their back if needed. It’s a shame that we are so misunderstood but perhaps that’s a topic for another post.
Most riders just stopped to cool down and rehydrate before continuing along the route but others hung around for lunch. We took the time to grab a quick bite so that we could allow the riders to all get back on the road ahead of us. I had already stopped several times to check on riders that had pulled off the road to make sure they were ok. Most just needed a break to rest their sore bums or grab a drink but as the day wore on, I expected that I would find more and I did. Although not one rider actually needed assistance to make it to the final end point at Markham Fairgrounds. No rider wants to get picked up from the side of the road but especially on a ride like this.
Arriving at the fairgrounds, we once again saw over a thousand motorcycles all shoe-horned side by side as the riders started lining up for lunch and refreshments. Water was being handed out to those waiting in a rather long line to get their meals. Once again…hats off to the volunteers!
We set up our main truck in a nice visible spot with the sun gleaming off it (and beating down on us) and talked to riders who passed by about our services. By late afternoon, I was pretty tired and despite all the water I was drinking, I was still feeling dehydrated.
But alas, my day wasn’t over. I had to go pick up two bikes and finally get the truck and trailer back to my bosses place. It was a long day but a very enjoyable one.