Music Therapy Ride

Being part of a massive bike convoy, now that’s cool.

I’d promised myself that I’d take part in the Music Therapy Ride, a once a year charity motorcycle ride for the Canadian Music Therapy Trust. I guess there are a couple of questions, what’s music therapy and why do the ride.

The Canadian Music Therapy Trusts mission includes the following, maintain, and improve the mental, physical, and emotional health of Canadians and I think that captures things pretty well, improving lives through music. The wiki entry explains the details.

Why take part in the ride? Well, I love being on two-wheels and love music. What better way to combine two passions and do some good.

In past years the route has been from Vancouver to Whistler. The 2012 route changed things up as the Whistler Gran Fondo was scheduled for the same weekend, and Harrison Hot Springs would be the destination. As the start of September neared, the anticipation rose. It would be my first experience of this kind of event, and the great thing was that Lesley would be riding with me on her Vespa, ‘Audrey‘.

The ride was sold out and I had no idea what that meant until arriving at the start point, Fraser Downs Racetrack, for breakfast. Bikes of all sizes, well actually mostly cruisers, were being parked up. There must have been at least 60 plus bikes in front of me and  there was plenty of space behind for more. After breakfast the true scale of the ride became apparent. Bikes everywhere. This would be one memorable ride.

How to get so many bikes from A to B in safety? The Vancouver Police Department motorcycle drill team, that’s how. A full police escort, motorcade style ride. No stopping for lights or turns, our escort ensured all junctions were clear, what better way to ride.

We eventually found out there was some 160 bikes (including four Vespa’s, so Lesley was not lonely). It was the biggest ride to date. Being part of a massive bike convoy, now that’s cool.

The noise of so many bikes starting was truly something to behold. A lot of cruiser riders mod their rides with new tail pipes that are amazingly noisy. Riders argue that it’s a safety device as car drivers can hear you coming. Personally I’m not convinced. A great engine note has something about it, but noise for noise sake just says ‘macho’ to me.

So, on a gloriously hot September Saturday, 160 bikes hit the road. Lesley and I were around half way from the front runners and I estimated that it would take over am minute for all the bikes to pass a fixed point. Just stop to think about that.

Count to sixty and imagine pairs of motorcycles passing the entire time. Amazing.

It’s pretty much impossible to convey the high, the emotions, the ear-to-ear grin that I experienced. Even better, I could share my feelings with Lesley as we were using the Sena comms system. I think we both got more out of the ride by being able to chat about what we’d just seen/felt as we rode.

The Km and time disappeared and after a pit stop at a Fire Hall just outside Mission, it was all too soon over. Harrison Hot Springs, the end of the ride, but not the end of the event. Lunch and an auction were next on the agenda.  There were many music related items to bid on, a really moving thank you from a music therapist and a cool acoustic set from a couple of members of 54-40.

The ride raised $60,000, was so well organized and full of friendly bikers. It was a totally amazing experience and has to be on the ‘must do’ list for riders in the area. Look out for the 2013 ride, it’ll be a blast.

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