Friday the 13th

For the superstitious, Friday the 13th is probably not a day one wants to ride their motorcycle, or do anything for that matter because omg so unlucky! For the motorcyclist however, this is the day you ride to Port Dover Ontario.

Why Port Dover? Good question. I’ve heard that it was a bar owner who said he’d give a free beer to any rider who came by on Friday the 13th, I’ve heard that a local bike shop owner started it, and I’ve also heard that a local rider and some of his friends started it, who knows… All I know is that the town has a population of 6,500 every other day of the year, Friday the 13th this year however the population rose to 100,000-150,000 depending on whose estimates you wish to believe, with over 50,000 motorcycles throughout town. The Toronto Star claims that it’s the biggest one-day motorcycle rally in the world. It was certainly very busy.

Nearly every street you walked down had bikes lining the edges, the more interesting bikes however tended to be along main street. Most of the interesting bikes weren’t my style and I wouldn’t want them, but I could appreciate aspects of them. I think by the end of the day I was almost maybe interested in some Harleys, but I think that’s only because you tend to base your judgment on what surrounds you, and Harleys were the predominant bike there. In fact, some bitch on a Harley parked right next to my bike, so close in fact, I couldn’t even tilt mine up to get it off the kick stand without bumping into hers. The polite Canadian in me forced me to expend far more effort than should have been necessary to avoid so much as touching her motorcycle with my mirror or something.

Other bikes however… While I can appreciate the effort that might have gone into them, I didn’t ever consider riding them. Pretty much any of the bikes (trikes) with 3 wheels I wasn’t interested in, and some of the erm accessories the owner added made the bikes look gaudy as hell. Others were just amusing.

There was one bike that had me really interested though. It wasn’t the type of bike or style, it was just that it was blacked out entirely. Which of course reminded me of of the band Disaster Area from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. The band has a space ship that’s entirely black, everything including the lights were black. They of course crash it into a near by star as the finale for their stage act.

With such a gathering it’s expected that there’ll be law enforcement around, and sure enough there was plenty. An interesting thing however, on the way down my friend and myself were stopped by a police check point. They wanted to just ‘check over’ our bikes to make sure all the safety equipment was working, such as signals and the horn etc… What they were really looking for were illegal modifications such as baffles removed from exhausts or expired tags, looking for some extra income  via tickets. As usual, law enforcement can be a bag of dicks, but neither of our bikes were illegal in anyway so it was mostly a waste of everyone’s time. In Port Dover, it seemed the police came from as far away as Thunder Bay Ontario, presumably they were the officers who road motorcycles up that way.

It was a crazy hot day (for Canada) and even though we were next to Lake Erie and there was a strong breeze off it, you only were able to feel it when you were right next to it. The crowds of people and hills around Port Dover provided far too good a cover for the wind. I wish I could have spent longer there taking photos but I couldn’t afford to keep buying drinks, and a storm looked to be approaching, and I work shift, so I’m on nights this week and really needed to sleep. All in all an enjoyable day. I’ll leave you with this boring video of my friend and I leaving Port Dover and passing by a small chunk of the motorcycles that showed up.



  1. Chag says:

    Wow, that is a very large number people in a very small space. I’m getting hot just looking at it, and I don’t mean the good kind of hot either. But it does look like a very cool spectacle, and it sounds like you had a good time. Also, is that your friend riding in front of you in the video? HE’S NOT WEARING THE RIGHT GEAR =O

    I wonder how the residents feel about the invasion of noisy machines…

    • Aka says:

      I’m amazed how many people fit in the little town. The main strip was packed as the pictures show, very hard to walk around. The rest of the town was very busy as well, but you could at least drive through as we did. Yeah, that’s my friend in front of me, he does have chest and back armour on, but yeah definitely not ATGATT. He’s actually the guy who got me into riding and recommended me the bike I bought.

      As for the town, they’re all a part of it, they lined the streets themselves on lawn chairs enjoying the invasion as you call it. It’s a huge boom for the town, they probably make a killing on that day. They’ve got beer tents setup, lots of places to buy drinks, the stores were packed full, line ups just to get in. It might annoy some of them, but for the single 24 hour period it takes up, I expect they’re all quite ok with it.

  2. Reminds me of Shanghai during the World Expo, man was the street crowded, especially after the sun went down. So many people, I felt like an ant in a colony bumping around. LOL looks like fun though, and a nice ride down to Port Dover. Did you go down as part of a group or just with your friend?

    • Aka says:

      I just went with a friend, I don’t know too many people with motorcycles, and I don’t participate in any group events. Instead, I’m working on converting a bunch of friends and acquaintances into riders. A hard task I have to admit, trying to convince people to not only take up a dangerous hobby, but spend thousands of dollars isn’t the easiest of tasks. Lots of people say they’re interested, but aren’t actually willing to drop the coin.

      I think next year I’m going to ride down to Sturgis, South Dakota. They have an even bigger event that lasts an entire week. Long ride though.