There is some special about the Friday the 13th Port Dover rally. It's hard to put your finger on it. Whether it's the fact that the small summer tourist town with a population slightly over 6000 explodes to over 100 000 in a 24 hour period, the well maintained country roads, or the fact that its on the water away from the big cities everyone, either way Dover has an appeal as a destination for the 13th.
For us the 13th starts on the 12th. We traditionally do a midnight run to Dover Thursday night. Generally we aim to be in Dover by midnight. Leaving Toronto its a fast close formation haul down the 403 to The Hammer to pick up a portion on the convoy, then on to Dover. Once you get past Caledonia the lights of cities fade away and only the headlights penetrate the night accompanied by the screaming sounds of engines flying down the road. After a while and if the moon is bright you can see the massive windmills turning through the inky night sky, Dover is close. The bikes heading into Dover get more and more plentiful. Then this monolith of a water tower emerges from behind a set of trees and the quiet unlit back roads change into a seething metropolis. Tent cities are everywhere you look. Signs reading “WELCOME BIKERS”, “Biker camping 20 bucks”, “Hotdogs and Drinks 5 bucks” litter the lawns of friendly locals. Even at midnight there are swarms of people heading to the Main Streets beer tents or famous pulled pork vendor.
Our campsite is on the far side of town sharing a property with another club. When we pulled up a warm welcome was given. “Who do we have here?” is spoken with a flashlight in your face. “Oh its the boys!” is said by a deep voice several feet away and handshakes are given with wide smiles. This is what is so special about Dover. Its the people! The Bikers, the locals and the cagers who come to Dover to celebrate the power and majesty of the motorcycle!
Like everything in the lift you hear a lot of uneducated people who find out you're going to Dover on the 13th say things like “be careful!”, “Don't be out late or you'll get killed!”, “Watch out for *insert random club name that they happen to know* I hear they will beat the shit out of you for fun!” and so on. Do things happen at Dover? Yup! Is it the bikers? Nope! The only things I have seen are some young local kids getting to drunk and throwing some pitiful attempts of a punch at one another in their beyond drunk out of their skull state. Or (and this is a great example of excessive force) three... THREE OPP officers tackling a guy who was not in a vest or being rowdy or being even remotely loud for having an open container of alcohol on the street. I am sure if you disrespect someone something will happen but whether you're a solo rider, enthusiast or a club member everyone goes to Dover for the same reason, to have a good bloody time, not crush skulls!
It was shocking and sad news when we arrived at our site to hear from the other club that this would be the last fair weather Dover till 2018! This was a lot of the talk you heard around town. People all seemed to be taken off guard and I think because of that people really tried to make the most of it.
Here are the dates from now till 2018
February 13th 2015
March 13th 2015
November 13th 2015
May 13th 2016 (We hope this one is warm!)
January 13th 2017
October 13th 2017
April 13th 2018
July 13th 2018
Things don't get much better after that either. In fact the next June event isn't until 2025! I'm starting to
think we need to get something for the interim for when the 13th falls in those cold months.
If you've never been to Dover to experience the rally then you should circle, highlight, staple a bloody post it note to your forehead to save the date for the next good one because its unlike anything you've seen before!