The Riders Mag review

Ride the United Way 2nd Annual Poker Run

This was another event that Jr had asked me to cover for him that took me beyond my usual borders.

I had no worries of pissing off other writers for encroaching on their turf, with the possible exception of Jonathan who didn't worry me much because he was all battered up from not being able to handle that big Decker.

So it was that Petoonia and I cruised on down the road with threats of heavy rains and thunderstorms aplenty from every radio station on the dial so I switched to the tape deck and we found ourselves safe, sound and still dry at the Stony Creek Dairy where The United Way volunteers were set up for the 2nd Annual Ride The United Way Poker Run.

I introduced myself to the organizers and registered for the ride.

There was coffee and other treats available at this and every stop along the way. I drew the 1st of many of the most dismal cards imaginable.

With the threat of really nasty weather a real strong possibility the organizers had taken the precaution or rather made contingency plans with an alternate route that could be done in cars etc. for the less stalwart.

It was set up so that participants could ride in whatever sized group suited them be it individually or as part of a pack.

Being not terribly familiar with the area (beyond main roads) and not really interested in reading and following directions no matter how concise they were written on the paper provided, I went in search of someone who knew where we were going or at least had an idea or would take the lead and get us through the run without incident or more importantly could take the blame if shit went wrong.

I looked up a lo and behold. Two such individuals were right next to me in the person's of Dave and Mark.

We instantly bonded into a formidable team for whom this poker run would present absolutely no problem.

Mark was appointed leader. He asked that in his role of leader if there were any hand gestures he should be using on the ride to make it better and safer for us subordinates. It's funny how some leaders let power go so quickly to their heads.

I explained that the only hand gestures would be provided by David and I if he fucked up and we demonstrated the signal for him so as there would be no doubt as to whether he had fucked up or not.

We got under way and it was soon clear that this was going to be a great ride.

It was well marked and laid out but it also led us through some of the most spectacular scenery you could want.

We covered some of those roads that I spoke of earlier that I'd always wanted to check out to see what they held and where they led.

The ride up Hamilton Mountain from Stony Creek alone was worth the trip and I was really happy that we were just a small pack and we were all content to take our time and soak as much in as we could.

We were lead through some pretty damn nice scenery to our first stop Frankie's where we partook of refreshments and I had a chance to get and know my new companions a little better and get some pictures of some of the other riders as well.

Our cards were drawn.

Then it was back on the road with Mark doing an admirable job as leader.

We rode some pretty amazing roads and saw some incredible scenery as we worked our way across to the other side of Hamilton Mountain mostly through some amazing back-roads that wound around and twisted back and made for and interesting ride.

We now found ourselves at our second stop. The beautiful Flamborough Downs Racetrack where we were treated to more refreshment, which included a barbecue right down, by the track as well as entertainment by an excellent AC/DC tribute band.

I ran into my friend Manon there and we ha a lot of talk about. We generally run into each other several time during the riding season but this year our paths just didn't seem to cross until now. She is such an avid rider and just a great person to talk to and she's not hard to look at either. She was with another group and headed out ahead of us.

We drew our cards and were also on our way.

The skies were threatening but the rain still held off.

Back on the road the route once again, proved to be no challenge for our fearless leader Mark who did an amazing job and took his responsibilities seriously.

With one possible exception, at one point we encountered a radar trap as we swept through this one blind turn. As it turned out we got through without problems but I pointed out to Mark for future reference that as leader he must immediately after spotting such a trap accelerate rapidly towards the trap then come to a screeching, sliding stop in front of said speed-trap while cursing a blue streak in the general direction of the cops enabling the rest of us to go by unnoticed.

We would then wait down the road a ways for a specific period of time and cheer wildly when you appeared and buy you the beverage of your choice at the next stop.

If you did not appear within the allotted time we would carry on without you and call your wife later and inform her that you might be later than expected and that she might want to check with the local police station.

We arrived none the worse for wear at the Mohawk Raceway where more refreshments were provided and we drew more cards, none of which helped my hand at all.

It was now starting to sprinkle as we left for the final leg of the poker run. We did our best to ignore it and refused stop to put our rain gear on when other groups stopped to do so. Stubbornly insisting that it would stop or we would ride out of it.

It soon became apparent that the rain was here to stay and was indeed getting worse so we pulled into a sheltered area and donned our wet weather stuff, which would remain our garb of choice and necessity for the remainder of the day.

Mark shepherded us on into the Downtown section of Burlington, where many blocks of Main Streets had been blocked off for this event.

The OPP Golden Helmets show had just started.

I had thought that with the heavy rain the show might have been cancelled but there they were doing precision drills in the pouring rain and it didn't seem to faze them one bit.

One thing is certain they can sure handle a motorcycle and they put on one hell of a show.

I drew my final card, which proved to be as good as the rest in my hand.

This is a good event and very worthwhile to the Community as so much good is gone from the money it brings in.

They have now done two of these runs and have been plagued with bad weather both times yet they are not discouraged because even with the poor weather they still managed to get huge support and raise large amounts of money for The United Way, if they continue to run the event the support will continue and continue to grow from the biker community in good weather or in bad.

This is just another example of the Motorcycling Community stepping up to support yet another charity.

They do it willingly and with style, rain or shine. Thanks to all of the sponsors and all who participated and all of the volunteers and the organizers, whose hard work and dedication makes it all happen.