I just returned home from a four day trip to Charlevoix Quebec and I had a blast. The Charlevoix Tourism team members showed me a fantastic time that included lots of riding, wonderful sights, hotels and FABULOUS food - I can’t wait to get my photos edited and my articles written to share with you!
Travel is a wonderful thing, it expands your mind and tantalizes your senses but it does one other thing - it gives you an appreciation for your home and your own bed!
I have a busy few days ahead of me as I get ready to leave for Toronto and the Heroes Highway Ride.
The purpose of the Heroes Highway Ride, a free event for all riders, is to show our troops, the men and women who fight for our rights and freedoms that they are loved, respected and appreciated. It is meant to honour the sacrifices that our troops and their families make.
I want to address some of the concerns that have been expressed about this year’s ride and the changes to it and how they will relate to the safety of 3-5,000 motorcycles being on the Highway of Heroes - the 401.
The route this year is from CFB Trenton to Toronto and YES, there are changes to the ride.
In the past everyone left in one solid procession, escorted by the OPP Golden Helmets withintersections blocked by the OPP for the safety of all.
This year, the same as last year, the OPP will be leading the ride, however the ride is being somewhat broken up in that there will be one large pack of 200 VIP riders, members of the military, press and others who have been invited to ride lead, that will be heading out first. There will be a short 5-10 minute break and then the rest of the riders will be sent out in groups of 25 leaving at 1 minute intervals - according to Lou, the organizer, the OPP feel this will reduce the accordion effect that can happen in large rides and the police believe that this type of staggered leaving will reduce negative public perception on large rides and reduce the potential for crashes etc.
The OPP will still be blocking intersections at both the beginning and end of the ride to ensure riders can enter and exit the highway safely with minimal interference from other motorists - as has been done in the past - the major difference this year is the staggered leave.
Please remember that this ride is taking place on the busiest highway in Canada and is entering the largest city in Canada and there are huge safety concerns for riders and motorists alike - do I like the changes?
I will reserve comment until I see them in action.
Regarding patches and the wearing of them, as in years past, all patches are welcomed by the organizers as the attitude among the organizers is that every Canadian should be allowed the right to say thank you to our troops for the job they do defending our country.
There will be a dissemination of how the HHR went off between the organizers and the OPP - what went wrong and what went right will be discussed afterwards and potential tweaks may take place for next years ride a result of what islearned. I am told that the OPP are looking at this event, the largest one day ride in Canada in support of our troops, as the proving grounds for standardizing the safety aspect of all large motorcycle events in the province of Ontario.
Some people see the changes to this year’s ride as police interference and while that may be true on some levels, the police insist that these changes are for the safety of the riders and the motoring public and nothing more - I guess we will find out on June 2nd.
Although I have talked to a member of the OPP (Constable Leon) regarding this event I also have a call into the officer in charge of this particular event to find out more about the changes and the reasoning behind their implementation and will make sure that when I have those answers that all of you are kept informed as this is going to affect every other large ride in Ontario at some point in the future.
So, in closing, for those who attended last year - you will not notice much of a change - the only aim here, is an attempt to deal with the large volumes of traffic on the Highway of Heroes (the 401) and to keep the riders of the HHR as safe as is humanly possible.
For those who are thinking of attending - it is the most emotional ride you will ever be a part of, so come on out and support it!