Friday the 13th - the Ultimate Biker Experience

By: Adam Singleton

If you enjoy biking and the company of bikers, then you'll be intrigued by what happens in the town of Port Dover in Ontario, Canada when the calendar conspires to produce a rare Friday the 13th. Billed as "Canada's biggest biker event" Port Dover 13 (PD 13) attracts over 100,000 bikers and enthusiasts every Friday 13th to the town on the north shore of Lake Erie. Each Friday 13th, the whole town closes down to four-wheeled vehicles, with the exception of local residents and suppliers, as Port Dover becomes a biker's heaven.

The tradition started in 1981, when Chris Simons persuaded 25 of his biker friends to ride to Port Dover in Ontario on Friday 13th November, meeting at the Commercial Hotel to celebrate the feeling of being a biker. They had such a great time that they vowed to return to Port Dover on every subsequent Friday 13th and so the PD 13 tradition was born. Some 26 years later the Commercial Hotel has changed its name to Angelos, but still serves at the HQ for the Friday 13th meeting.

At PD 13 you will find every size, shape and make of motorbike; Harleys, Hondas, Yamahas and the rest from standard road models to superb customised bikes worth tens of thousands of dollars each. You'll also find a similar diversity in the riders with all classes, creeds and both sexes well represented, as they descend on Port Dover for a pure biking fest. Many topics of conversation are covered at the event, although mostly to do with bikes, such as performance issues, the cost of tyres, escalating costs of bike insurance and the general day-to-day running costs associated with owning a bike.

The event has expanded so much now that it also includes a day of music featuring established artists. 2007, for instance, saw a performance by bikers' favourite Steppenwolf - originators of the biker anthem "Born to be Wild". Because of its size and stature, the event is now worthy of significant corporate sponsorship and, rather than resent the intrusion, many local residents find ways to cash in on the event, from renting lawn space for tents to selling ice-cold beers and customised t-shirts. The whole day attracts significant media attention in Canada and in 2007 Toronto's Q107 classic rock station broadcast live from the event, hosted by top Canadian DJ John Derringer.

Anyone can attend a PD 13 event and it costs only ?220 for a weekend bike hire which also includes bike insurance to be part of Canada's biggest bikers event. But if you are tempted to travel from the UK to see the Port Dover experience for yourself, be sure to hire your bike well in advance as they sell out fast for Friday 13th weekends.

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