DIGBY, N.S.- The Wharf Rat Rally draws thousands of people to Digby annually for a five day festival celebrating motorcycle enthusiasts. This year, the 14th annual event was no different. Motorcycles lined the streets of downtown Digby and sounds of engines reving could be heard from kilometers away.
Jennifer Bell and Kevin Wood travelled from Coldwater Ontario to take in their first Wharf Rat Rally.
The couple have never biked around the East Coast before. They were planning to come to the Maritimes in 2007 as part of their honeymoon. But, days before the wedding Bell crashed her bike and they had to cancel the trip.
“That wasn’t even the worst of it,” she says.
Then after recovering from the accident, she found out she had cancer. After 18 months of chemo she was ready to hit the road.
“It’s been a trip,” she says, “But look at us, we’re finally here.”
The couple didn’t hear about the Wharf Rat Rally until a few days before it started. They hit the road for a smaller ride through New Brunswick, but after meeting up with some fellow bikers who were on the way to the rally, they decided they’d come too.
The pair drive around with their dog Zifa, who has her own sidecar and goggles to protect her from the wind.
“I’m so glad we came because the people in Digby are probably the nicest people I’ve ever met. We’ve been in the East Coast for 7 weeks now and I wish we didn’t have to leave,” said Wood.
Jeff and Shannon Thibault found a new way to stay cool on their custom-built motorcycle.
The couple who live in Fredericton, N.B. started talking with friends over the winter about building a trike, a bike with three wheels.
The idea stuck with them and they started building, but the couple put their own twist on it.
An ice cream freezer.
“Some bikers go for a ride and get a coffee at Tim Horton’s or wherever, but we go for ice cream,” said Shannon.
They named it the ‘Cream Cycle’ but keep ice cream sandwiches stocked in the bike’s freezer.
Proceeds from the ice cream sandwiches go towards the injured biker fund.
“The best part about this is you don’t have to look cool. Once people see us coming and hear our bell, they can’t help but smile,” she says.
“It was a lot of fun putting it together but taking it out to events like this is the real fun,” added Jeff.
The couple brought nearly 2500 ice cream sandwiches to Wharf Rat Rally in Digby and throughout the weekend they nearly sold out.
“We built it in the winter, so this is the first summer we’ve got to bring it out and show it off to everyone. So now all the hard work is paying,” he said.
Maggie Couper Seguin was planning to travel to Nova Scotia with some friends on vacation, they heard about the rally and changed their final destination from Halifax to Digby.
“I honestly feel like I could live here,” she says.
Seguin is originally from Dumbarton Scotland but she’s currently living in Calgary, Alberta.
“I’m lost for words right now because Digby just fits with me. The people, the food, the atmosphere. I can’t get enough.”
Seguin’s favorite part of the festival is the atmosphere. She says she’s met hundreds of people who have all welcomed her to Nova Scotia with open arms.
“I don’t even ride a motorcycle, but I still love it here.”
Seguin now hopes to eventually move to Nova Scotia and she suspects she will be back for next year’s rally.
“This was my first rally but not my last,” she said.
Ed Guay was visiting the rally from Boston, Massachusetts.
He came to the rally last year and knew he had to come back again this year.
“I’ve been to rallies all over the states and they're not like this. This is a friendly environment and you can’t beat the location right next to the Digby waterfront,” he said.
“It’s a bit smaller than I’m used to but it’s well organized and everyone seems to be having a great time.”
Abe Morlu was born in Liberia, now living in North Carolina. He competed in the 2000 olympics and 2014 Olympics, in track and field and bobsledding.
“I’m loving it here,” he says, “There’s absolutely nothing to hate here and the air is a lot fresher.”
Morlu was at the rally as part of Christina Billing’s stunt bike show. Billing’s is one of the top female stunt riders in the world.
Morlu participated in stunt shows with Billing’s all weekend at the Digby Wharf.
“I hope we’ll be back again next year,” he said.
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