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Sunday, September 8, 2019

Get your motor runnin'; Head out on the highway; Lookin' for adventure on Friday the 13th down Port Dover way

   One-Tank Trip for Sept. 7/19

   () By Jim Fox

   Motorcyclists are revving up the engines of their “bad motor scooters” and getting ready to head off into the sunset for Port Dover.
   Anticipation is building for another record-breaking year for this month’s Friday the 13th frolics by celebrating cycle fans in the Lake Erie town.
   It’s been quite a while coming as the last Friday the 13th was in July of last year but another one will roll around for the more hardy cyclists in December and then next March.
   The event in the picturesque beach town is known as “the biggest single-day motorcycle event in the world.”
The bike invasion of Port Dover is on.
    Preparations are well under way as organizers are “expecting a very large turnout as fall is a favourite time of the year for motorcycle travel,” said Ted Willey of Norfolk Tourism and Economic Development.
   The festivities have grown significantly over the years since they began in 1981.
   The last one was the largest so far, with estimates of more than 200,000 visitors to Port Dover that has only 6,100 year-round residents.
   “There won’t be another summer/fall event until 2021, so we expect huge crowds, especially if the weather cooperates,” Willey added.

   Beach town lure
Bikes and the beach lure visitors to Port Dover. (Jim Fox photo)
    The town, with its beach, pier and historic lighthouse, has been attracting tourists since the mid-1800s and you’ll see bikes cruising the streets all throughout the warm-weather months.

   But what put Dover on the map has been these motorcycle rallies that started with a couple of buddies gathering 38 years ago.
   The story goes that the event originated when Chris Simons and about 25 friends got together at the Commercial Hotel, now Angelos of Dover.
   It was in November on the infamous date and they had such a good time they decided to get together every Friday the 13th, with more and more “friends” joining the party.
The lull before the motorcycle invasion shown outside the Erie Beach Hotel. (Jim Fox photo)
    These days, there’s lot to see and do with vendors throughout the town and live entertainment at the outdoor beer gardens.
   Camping will be available and organized by the Port Dover Lions and Kinsmen clubs.
   “Those coming to visit by car will be directed to several parking areas located just outside town and will be able to enjoy the festivities by taking shuttles into the heart of the action,” Willey said.
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   Required dining includes a fish feast at the Erie Beach Hotel that put the town on the culinary map since 1946 with its perch and pickerel dinners, celery bread, a salad cart brought to the diners’ table and pies.

   Zoom, zoom
   There’s a lot to see and do biking to and from Dover with the drive along the coast from Port Dover past Port Rowan and Long Point being very scenic for cyclists and day-trippers.
   Available is a “Cruise the Coast” map showing rider-approved routes and biker-friendly stops along the lake. cruisethecoast.ca
   These link places such as Port Maitland, Port Dover, Long Point, Port Stanley, Wheatley, Woodstock, Point Pelee and Point Edward.
Motorcycles of all makes and models are attracted to Port Dover on Friday the 13th. (Barbara Fox photo)
    It includes Haldimand, Norfolk, Elgin and Chatham-Kent, Windsor-Essex and Oxford County along with Middlesex and Sarnia-Lambton.
   Motorcyclists will find all routes well-travelled every Friday the 13th including southwest from Hamilton where there’s Caledonia, Hagersville and Jarvis along with Highway 24 south from Brantford.
   As all roads lead to Port Dover that day, sideroads provide a pace that’s “much slower, so enjoy a relaxed drive and take in the sights.”
   For more details: pd13.com; norfolktourism.ca


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca 

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