Being a journalist, you know no two days are the same. Or three for that matter. Whether it be in the field or behind a desk, you always get to experience something different. On Friday, April 13th, 2018, I was sent into the field to cover what turned out to be an amazingly interesting event. In Port Dover, every Friday the 13th riders from across the country and even outside of the country, come together, to ride their motorcycles and take part in a huge celebration of food, Motorcycles, partying and a whole lot of fun.
The tradition of Port Dover started in 1981. Chris Simons and about 25 of his friends got together at a local hotel and rode off into the night. That day was Friday, November the 13th. And from that day on, they would do do this every Friday the 13th, creating the ongoing tradition I had the pleasure of attending.
Although it was cloudy, and there was still a cold breeze, the atmosphere of the event was warm and welcoming. I spoke to many residents and visitors who say the reason as to why they come back year after year is because they feel as if it’s a family event, a reunion of sort. I was surprised to see the numerous smiles greeting everybody from people passing by and such kind spirits from those who I interacted with. This was the first motorcycle event I’d ever attended so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Heck, I know nothing about motorcycles, so what would I even speak to people about?
Hearing the riders stories about how they got into riding and what it is they love so much about it was intriguing. The age some of these people started and the amount of years they’d been riding made me wonder if there’s something more to riding than just riding on a motorcycle. And I believe now, there is. Though I’ve never had any interest myself in riding a motorcycle or even being on one, after my experience at dover that maybe it’s something that should I try. Maybe it’s the adrenaline or just the feeling of freedom, maybe it’s the feeling of peace that sweeps riders when they ride alone or the feeling of unity when they ride with others. I understand, it really is a lifestyle.
There were tents and booths, the streets there were filled with all types of people; the young, the old, riders, spectators, people of different races, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs. Tons of things to see, buy, participate in; to eat! Though the teenagers were mostly there for the food (I don’t blame them) they too had an interest in motorcycles. I spoke with a few young girls who had come from out of town, not too far but about twenty minutes away. They said they came every year and that mostly everyone in their family had or did ride, and that although now they’re only allowed on the back of their aunt’s bike, they hope to one day ride themselves.
I’d watched the show Sons of Anarchy so I’d thought ‘okay, I get the whole family aspect,’ but this was something different. I guess seeing it in person makes it easier to understand. A couple told me a story about how they met at this event, then sometime after got engaged at the beach – in the winter I might add – at this exact same event sometime later. That was quite possibly the sweetest thing I’d ever heard. There were a few groups I got to speak with as well who were there to promote or inform people of their “ride for a cause” so to speak. Some were riding for cancer, some for children’s programs, but regardless of the cause they were putting something they love to good use and helping others.
Upon reflecting on my time in Port Dover I realize this event means so many different things to different people. Riding means so many different things to different people. I can only imagine what the events are like in good weather, and I hope to soon find out.