A Beach Biker's Paradise
The 2017 Wasaga Beach Motorcycle Rally will be held July 14 to 16. Enjoy!
How do you do summertime? Some of us spend every minute possible at the cottage. Others stay closer to home taking it easy and BBQing with family and friends. Then there’s that select group that I like to classify as the “beach biker.” Unlike the typical beach bum, the beach biker is able to maintain a fine balance between riding, relaxing and cooling off at some of Ontario’s most beautiful sandy locations. While the beach bum is found usually toes in the water, bum in the sand for the entire day, the beach biker is a bit antsier. They usually stay for a maximum of two hours, just long enough to get their beach fix before getting back on the road and off to the next destination.
The beach biker doesn’t bring tents, chairs, coolers or a grill. They bring themselves, their bathing suit and maybe a towel and sunscreen if they plan ahead. I, of course, am one of these beach bikers, and after touring around to some fun beaches in Southern Ontario last season, I decided to head north to check out an event that combined so many of my favourite things. The 2nd Annual Wasaga Beach Rally, held on June 15-17, was everything I could hope for: bikes, beach, BBQ, bands, and just an all-around awesome time!
As the world’s longest fresh water beach, Wasaga Beach, located about 2 hours north-west of Toronto, was the perfect location for a motorcycle beach rally. Situated on the main strip of road adjacent to the beach, the event offered bikers a beautiful view of the white sandy beach and crystal blue water of Georgian Bay. Over the weekend, thousands of bikers (somehow there was still plenty of space to park your motorcycle for free!) took in a nice variety of bands, show and shine, poker run, vendor area, food, the beach life and several organized rides:
The Mayor’s Ride – Riders joined Wasaga Beach Mayor, Brian Smith, for a tour around the Blue Mountains and Grey/Bruce areas. Proceeds from this ride supported the Wounded Warriors, registrants received lunch and souvenirs as well.
The Twisty’s Ride – Riders were able to join Canadian Superbike Racer, Kris Garvie, on a windy two-hour route through Creemore and Terranova. Registration included a donation to charity, VIP reception, meal, and souvenirs.
The Heels on Wheels Ride – Ladies only were able to join Joanne Blohm-Smith, First Lady of Wasaga on a beautiful two-hour ride through Simcoe County with a stop in Creemore. This no-charge event was a great opportunity for women riders to connect, ride, and share their experiences.
This year, I cruised to the Wasaga Beach Rally from the Niagara Region, with a small group of sport bike riders. The route we took was about three hours, so we left early morning to be sure we would get there in time to soak up some sun and enjoy the event before heading back home. Our route from Niagara took us initially on the QEW, 403 East, 401 East and 427 North, where we then branched off to highway 50 and rode through the quaint town of Tottenham on highway 10. For a Sunday, the roads weren’t overly busy, and the weather was perfect for our ride that day.
Travelling on a Yamaha FJR1300, I was comfortable for most of the ride. The inline-four, liquid cooled engine with six-speed transmission was quick and allowed me to keep up with my sportbike rider friends. While the bike did not handle as well in corners, it made up for this with many features such as sport and touring modes, cruise control, electronic adjustable windscreen, large side cases, and heated handgrips for cooler temperatures.
When we stopped for gas, my group all looked at each other nodding in agreement that we couldn’t think of a better place to be that day. Sure, there was yard work to be done, and preparations to make for the upcoming workweek, but that day we were free of our obligations. We simply wanted to enjoy the ride, the destination, and the comradery that came along with it. So we made our way to Wasaga, parked right on Beach Drive which was blocked off just for bikers, and enjoyed our time walking the strip, chilling on the beach, and enjoying the sounds, smells, and sights that beach life has to offer.
What I found most interesting was the mix of beach bums and beach bikers that day. Sharing the beach and the strip, we were certainly an odd mix of bikers and non-bikers, all coexisting because of our love for the beach life. While my group didn’t have a chance to stay for the nightlife or experience the organized rides, our first time at the Wasaga Beach Rally was a good one. Sitting down at one of the beach restaurants, we immediately started planning for next year’s event. We all agreed that an overnight stay would be needed to give ourselves a break from the long ride and so we could spend some more time at the event.
If you’re looking for something different to do next year, give the Wasaga Beach Rally a try! It’s relaxed, fun and has a lot to offer for everyone. Let’s not forget that summer is still here, so to those fellow beach bikers, enjoy the ride, savour the destination, and put on your sunscreen!