It all started back in 1981. A young guy named Chris Simons and about 25 of his friends met up in Port Dover on Friday, November 13 at a local establishment. Like many groups of riders before them, they were inspired, but this time their inspiration was this: let’s get together here in town whenever a Friday and the 13th of the month coincide. So they did.
Increasingly larger collections of riders converged on the town every year thereafter; sometimes this gathering would happen three times in a given year, sometimes just once. Sometimes, in blinding snowstorms, there would be small groups of diehard riders. Sometimes, on beautiful sunny summer days, there would be larger groups.
It was still possible, as recently as the late nineties, to get a car or bus into town on these days. Busloads of tourists would slowly drive through town ogling the big bad bikers. And it was all very good for business. Which brings up the important point that consistently throughout the years the feedback from these legions of visitors was unanimous: Port Dover knows how to show folks a great time.
Recent Friday the 13th events have been off the map in terms of turnout. Tens of thousands of people crush into town; tens of thousands of motorcycles line the streets. Untold numbers of fish and chips are consumed; vendors of everything conceivably of interest to motorcycle riders (which doesn’t narrow it down at all) set up to sell their wares. It’s a party that is incredibly huge, incredibly fun, and incredibly without incident of a negative kind. It’s hard to think of a gathering of this size of any group that could be having this much fun and still maintain the high level of order and peace as this gathering of motorcyclists, but you can (and must) see it sometime.
So why not this year? Remember to turn away from the TV cameras roaming the town that day, because your boss might just have a sneaking suspicion that you weren’t really all that sick…
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