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Wednesday, 25 June 2014 06:00

The Ride for Dad - Calgary 2014

Ron Parkinson, David Pocock, Gary Janz, Steve AdairFirst off, I’d like to congratulate the Ride for Dad folk, for a well run event.  I know that Steve Adair and Ron Parkinson, the co-chairs for the event, and Gary Janz the Ride for Dad, National President, will pass along to all the volunteers the thanks from all of us who partook in this event.

 

I met with the folk I’d be riding with, at the Tim Horton’s on McKnight Blvd and 12th Street and low and behold, there were scores of other riders.  Riders from 3rd CAV, Rock Riders, Red Knights, CAFV, CVFR, and other individuals all gathering, looking at the leaden sky, with not just a little well founded apprehension, whilst drinking coffee and munching on doughnuts and such.  Conversations overheard were on all topics from World Cup Soccer to who went where on the last week-ends riding and of course, the weather.

Ride for Dad Calgary

On arrival at Deerfoot Mall, the start point for the Parade and poker run, riders were met by volunteers directing them to parking for registration.  On leaving registration another set of volunteers were on hand to get the riders to the marshalling area, where folk were directed to appropriate parking for the sub group they might be in, all with minimum of fuss and bother. 

Once we were parked, it was time to go draw your first card for the poker run and then, mingle and greet folk many of us had not seen since, well, the last event we’d been at, be it the Bike show in January or some other ride.  Van Houtte had free coffee and there were scones from Cobb Bread, both of which went very well with the still, at this point, decidedly damp weather.  The Ride for Dad merchandise trailer was doing a fairly steady business and CJAY 92 radio, had their booth there handing out little packages of jerky, while the sound system was broadcasting the feed from the station.  All the while, more riders arrived, adding their voices to the general hustle and bustle.  Announcements were being made to keep the flow of information and updating the weather and route.  As the time came closer to “Stands Up” the atmosphere was getting decidedly more energised and, oh yeah, the sun made an appearance or two and the temperature started to get more into the mid teens instead of the high single digits of earlier in the morning, prompting hurried changes and shedding of layers for comfort.

The pre-ride briefing and assorted announcements were made with clear direction and the appropriate notes to be observant and ride with care, more on this later.  And then what we’d all been waiting for, “Riders go to your bikes, when the siren starts is the time to start your engines,” followed by the flurry of folk getting themselves and their bikes ready to go.  The siren sounds.  The sound of 553 motorcycles starting engines almost simultaneously is not so much heard, as felt, in the core of your body and for riders the core of the soul. 

The parade is started, lead by the escort detail of the Calgary City Police and a few from the Sheriffs department followed by the co-chairs and the National President.  Row by row of riders are directed out of the lot and onto the route by the army of volunteers keeping the flow organized and orderly, handlebar to handlebar in pairs.  The route led us out to Deerfoot Trail, then to Stoney Trail around to the North of the airport, and then South to 16th Avenue West bound to Deerfoot Trail again and North back to Deerfoot Mall.  It was an awesome sight to look down a stretch of road and see nothing but motorcycles in front and behind.   Again, hats off to the CCPS for keeping the traffic flowing and blocking the intersections for us to pass.  It took approximately 10 minutes for the entire group of bikes to pass any given point. 

Ride for Dad Calgary

On arrival, the army of volunteers were on hand to guide riders into rows such that, after the mornings coffee and other necessities, not the least of which was the second card for the poker run, had been “dealt with”, riders could depart in their groups, for the poker run part of the ride with safety for all.

The poker run part of the ride was well marked out by the Ride for Dad crews and the stops well organised and comfortable.  The stop in Turner Valley at Motorrad had the added attraction of the taco trailer, which was doing very brisk business.  I tip my hat to the ladies running the Taco stand for keeping the orders straight and for getting them out to the riders in a steady flow... not only that but the food was delicious. (I can personally vouch for the Dirty Sanchez Burrito, 5 out of 5 “yum’s”).  The directions broke down a little from here to the next stop at Bragg Creek and so, of the many ways to get there from Turner Valley, there were at least that many groups travelling, not at all a bad thing, given the number of riders.  Parking was a little scarce at Bragg Creek and departure was further complicated by there being a Bicycle ride going on, along with the usual glut of week-end cage traffic.  Arrival at the end point was, unfortunately a bit of a let down.  As our group was arriving we noted a lot of folk leaving . . . hmmm!  There were some burgers available but they needed reheating, liquids were available but.

Unfortunately the timing for the rest of the draws and such was not very clearly laid out and many folk missed out on them.  The wrap-up time was announced far and wide as 1700 (5:00 PM) we rolled in at 1615 (4:15 PM) to a virtually closed out event.

Timing might have been better communicated, not only in the announcements at the beginning of the ride, but also at the various stops, and maybe even on the route map. 

All in all, the ride and organization were good and the volunteers helpful and cheerful even at the end dealing with the folk who were later than the supposed end time, and there were many arriving later than our group. 

This ride rated 4 out of 5 “Headlights” total for me.                 

The final numbers: 553 motorcycles, $109,000.00 raised in pledges, as of the end of the day on ride day.  A short note here, if you still wish to donate to this event you may do so, contact your local Ride for Dad, representatives.

Ron Parkinson, David Pocock, Gary Janz, Steve AdairRon Parkinson, David Pocock, Gary Janz, Steve Adai

PHOTOS CREDIT: Edmond Koelle

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