Some opportunities present themselves once. The tradition of Canada’s largest single day rally of Motorcycles in quiet little Port Dover, Ontario is one such opportunity—for 2014 at least. If you missed the June event you will have to wait until February 2015 before the doomy date rolls around again.
The motorcycle descent on Dover is a tradition that was born on November 13, 1981 when Chris Simons and a couple dozen friends gathered at a local watering hole, had a great time and agreed to make it a ‘thing’ to do whenever a Friday the 13th rolled around. Fast-forward thirty-three years and Chris and his gathering of buddies has spilled over the confines of the Commercial Hotel into the streets, the parks, the pier and beyond, including a makeshift tent city that springs up in a Kinsmen sports park. Estimates are that more than 100,000 soul moving machines of steel and chrome come together to carry on the tradition of Destination 13. Mike was among them arriving on his classic, a Honda CB750.
I arrived in my own vehicle and like thousands of other four-wheeled party crashers was stopped pleasantly at the edge of town by Provincial Police, redirected to a cornfield and bussed-in to join the event. The irony of all those black and white rebel leather clad biker movies was not lost on me in this moment.
And just to clear up the fuzzy detail of why I was not on the bike with Mike—two very important factors: First, my ‘Motorcycle’ and my ‘Momma’ are not quite in sync yet. We’re not entirely finished raising the last of our children into adulthood and I’m just starting to nurture some long supressed reckless abandon back to life. A sustainable future of traversing the continent on two wheels with my husband depends on a good introduction of short successful rides; this was not the day for my ride. The second reason I drove myself is the very cognisant understanding that riding for Mike is therapy, meditation and how he gets his brain back; I have a theory that any trouble he has with me is not going to be escaped with my arms wrapped around his waist at 100km/hr. That’s a little like trying to run away from your own stink. Twenty-two years of marriage has taught me that a little space is some of the best affection I have to shower.
I could feel the benefits of his solo ride along the winding roads to Dover when we met up in front of the Main street post office. I couldn’t help but acknowledge that the ‘something in the air’ that is Port Dover on Friday the 13th was also in my husband. A relaxed, no worry, no judgement demeanour that saunters down the middle of the road admiring the view and the sunlight glinting off candy apple paint and shined up chrome.
There is something I discovered to appreciate wholly about an event that draws a crowd as ‘walk-of-life-diverse’ as a biker’s rally, and places you so completely in the company of good people who are good with life.
This struck me right away and has remained; the amazing commonality in a crowd thousands. Beyond the obvious affection for riding was a distinct absence of striving, a peaceful ‘be here now’–ness which I’ve simply never encountered anywhere else in my everyday living outside of my own personal stillness practice. It was interesting that though Mike and I travel very different routes to inner peace, here in this place the two came together in a single subtly of mind.
We lunched on the lawn of a beautiful Port Dover home with soft grass and stately trees. It was an ideal side-street retreat from the sun and the denser crowds. Gathered there with others resting we admired a steady stream of riders leaving and arriving to and from destinations unknown.
I closed my eyes for a moment and absorbed as much with my other senses as I could, the sounds, the smells, the rumble of the motors and the songs of the birds. I memorized the feel of the warm sun breeze on my skin and Mike’s hand upon my back. This is what the world needs I thought, this right here and I wanted to take it with me, every ounce and nuance of it—back with me from these rally streets to everyday life. When they talk about how to change the world, I am convinced the answer can be found in the collective peace of 100,000 souls gathered together for no reason other than to be there.
Some opportunities present themselves only once—like life. I’m very glad I didn’t let this one slip on by.
...to seizing opportunities!