Thanks to Dave I rode my Harley this year in the Westcoast Motorcycle Ride to Live, the great fund raising event for Prostate Cancer Research. Postrate cancer is the equivalent of Breast Cancer but obviously Hollywood doesn’t take an interest in prostates so men die annually from a preventable disease. I’ve ridden in 8 of these classic motorcycle events. Laura and Gilbert have come along. I think Emory and Gilbert, the biker dogs, played together first when Dave and I met up at one of the stops a few years back. Then it was called the Ride for Dad.
I’ve enjoyed the beautiful women that attend this event too. It’s really about men and men’s health so it shows when there’s a lot of drop dead gorgeous biker girls riding along for the fund raising. Each year more women are riding their own Harley’s and Yamaha Star’s. Most are still riding behind the men taking pictures and doing their nails. I never know what Laura does back there now that she’s no longer riding her own motorcycle.
“Are you still riding on Sunday, “ I asked Dave. He was playing crib in the back yard with Rick.
“Wouldn’t miss it,” he answered hardly looking up from his cards.
“I’m not taking Gilbert,” I said.
“Too hot for Emory,”
The dogs at that moment were checking each others prostates doing sniffing circles on the lawn.
“I guess I’ll go. Mind if I tag along? "
“I’m leaving at 7:30 am,”
“See ya then."
New thing I know Dave’s rumbling Harley pipes came by my place at 7.30. I was dressed in chaps and leathers ready to go. There was Dave, shorts and Harley vest. Typical.
“They say dress for the slide, not for the ride, but it’s just too hot.” he said.
Loved getting to Trev Deeley early. We lined up near the front of the line with more and more bikes arriving by the minute. Every type. A whole lot of Harley’s but also a group of big Victory. BMW’s, Big Hondas and some Yamaha. A lot of Trumphs. Mostly cruisers and baggers for the old guys but a lot of the young guys were on the crotch rockets, Ducatti’s, Suzuki’s. Quite a few Harley trikes and Can Am Spiders this year too. Mostly Harley gear but some Joe Rocket. Again the young guys were in the more modern sporting wear with the girls wearing the increasing fashion chic biker boots. Every helmut known to man and all colours beyond basic black.
I love that the Vancouver Police are there with their bikes. The Military were there too. Lots of Cav riders. The guys in cammo had that big awesome Howitzer they bring each year to start the race.
“I want one of those Howitzer’s, “ I told Dave.
I envisioned pulling it behind the bike next trip to Sturges. Out on the street the Vancouver fire department had their ladders crossed with Canadian flags flying from the tops.
I loved the opening ceremonies, singing O Canada with all it’s politically incorrect words. The bag pipes were great too. Greetings from a famous sports racer. The blessing from Terry with the words, (paraphrased) ‘man is not for pleasure alone but for joy and I hope you live to know the difference.'
I loved being here. Murray caught up with us about that time. I love seeing Murray. He’s been coming out to this event for years too. He’s recovered from crashing his last bite. This year he had a new ‘bagger’. “I got a road glide,” he shared.
Then the big bang of the Howitzer sent us all off to the motorcycles.
After that it was just a long hot ride through some of the most beautiful biking routes in the lower mainland. For the first part the Vancouver Police escorted us down the freeway. 2 great lines strung out from Downtown to Burnaby. There were so many bikers. We lost the escort at the first poker run stop at Princess Auto. Next we headed on to Garibaldi Secondary school. Obviously us older guys needed to use the washroom. There we all were walking between the row on row of high school lockers having flash backs.
“I was expelled from high school.” one guy shared.
“I punched out a teacher."
“I said ‘fuck’."
“i got caught with a cheerleader.” Lots of laughter.
It was a true sit com moment. We were all in our 50’s and 60’s, greying hair, all riding with $10’s of thousands of dollars of machine and gear. Some were grandparents. I’d taught at the university. Another guy was a millionaire businessmen. Here we were back in high school, where we all were voted most likely to die young, now respectable old guys, fund raising for prostate cancer research, waiting to relieve ourselves.
We drove on to Mission Speedway where more bad boys were gathered. Volunteers in red shirts punched our poker cards at each stop.
Stave Lake is really pretty. The whole ride in the country was incredible. Cows and sheep in rolling green pastures. Cool evergreen lined long winding roads. Most of us were now spread out over the lower mainland making our way from destination to destination, little groups of bikers and solo riders That Dewdney Trunk sure is a lovely ride.
At Abbotsford we ended up in the University of Frazer Valley. I only had three nine’s on the poker while other guys were getting Royal Flushes. I’m more of a chess player.
Dave hadn’t done any better.
“I was picking birthday numbers for luck.” he said.
We had burgers under the tents. Sweet Max, a real band, was playing, real music, 60’s, 70’s rock. I don’t think they knew a Justin Bieber song or Beyonce. No one was asking either. I bought t shirts for Laura and myself. I like to support these functions. It was a great sunny day. Hot. I’d stripped off the chaps and was down to jeans and armoured shell. Dave in shorts and harley vest was really cool. Anyone in leathers was sweating up a storm. The sun and wind had reddened all our faces. In the background beyond the music there was a continuous sound of bikes coming in.
Thanks to Dave, this was the first year I didn’t arrive as a late day straggler. We didn’t get lost. Dave actually used the map and followed the signs. Amazing.
All around the lot there were more tables selling leather, helmets, jewelry, accessories, clothes. We wandered about checking things out. Talked a bit with some other guys.
Then Dave said, “I’ve got to get home to my boy. Don’t want Emory to get too hot inside."
We geared up again and rode on out of the university. I cranked up the Steppenwolf album I had playing on my Electroglide’s Stereo
“Born to be Wild.” just blared out! Fitting departure song.
Back in Burnaby Dave and I went our separate ways. High fives before we headed opposite directions..
“Good ride,” he said.
“It sure was."
Gilbert, my biker dog ran barking in circles when I came up on the bike. I expect Biker dog Emory was doing the same.
At the same time as our ride started from Vancouver's Trev Deely another had begun from Chilliwack’s MountainView Harley. A whole lot of bikers and bikes participated to make this another great fund raising year for Prostate Cancer Research.
The Westcoast Motorcycle Ride to Live, 2017 sure was a great event and ride! Thanks to all the organizers and volunteers and riders!