PROVIDENCE BAY—If you were going through the entrance at the Providence Bay Fairgrounds around lunchtime at the Bluegrass in the Country event last Saturday you no doubt saw a large group of motorcycles gathered.
“We had 36 motorcycles there from our group and approximately 65 participants,” said Brian Mackay, a member of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA). He pointed out that two Manitoulin members of the GWRRA, Rodney Nahwegahbow and Brad Mack, led the riders on two separate routes on the Island visiting various communities prior to arriving at Providence Bay, where they had lunch at the bluegrass festival. At Bluegrass, each biker made a donation to Manitoulin Special Olympics (MSO).
“The North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie chapters of our club (GWRRA) had decided a while back that they should have a ride to Manitoulin and see a little bit of the Island,” said Mr. MacKay, who is from Orleans, Ontario (just outside of Ottawa). “For some of the riders this was their first ride to Manitoulin Island,” he said, pointing out members of the GWRRA from other areas were also invited to attend.
“We stopped in Providence Bay for lunch at the bluegrass festival and each bike rider made a donation to Manitoulin Special Olympics,” said Mr. MacKay. Mr. Mackay noted the riders had met up in Espanola and then rode over to the Island.
The GWRRA was founded in 1977 and is the world’s largest social organization primarily dedicated to owners and riders of Honda Gold Wing and Valkyrie motorcycles. But membership is not limited to owners to these two types of motorcycles; members ride a wide variety of makes and models of motorcycles.
GWRRA provides safety, technical and educational services to its members worldwide. Current membership is over 60,000. The GWRRA motto is ‘Friends, Fun, Safety, Knowledge,’ said Mr. MacKay.
GWRRA is divided into 13 regions around the world, and numerous districts and local chapters.
“The group you met are from Region K-Central Canada which covers Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Nunavut,” said Mr. MacKay. “Our chapter based in Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay represented the majority of participants on the weekend ride. Other participants were from our chapters based in Mississauga, Niagara Falls, Ottawa, plus a couple from Michigan. There were also some riders from Sudbury.”
“We might make this an annual event ride to Manitoulin. The people we met were great and the Island, and the weather was beautiful,” added Mr. MacKay.