Twenty-five years after their last rally in Yarmouth, members of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association were back in southwestern Nova Scotia for the association’s Canadian Atlantic District Rally, which drew participants from across Canada and a good number from the United States.
About 230 people registered for the event, which opened Thursday and included various activities, including tours, a banquet, dances, barbecues and a motorcycle parade.
For rally organizers Noel and Beverly Facey of Sandy Cove, Digby County, having the rally in Yarmouth was kind of special, given that Noel organized the rally in 1994 – the last time Yarmouth had hosted it – and that his wife, Beverly, is from Yarmouth.
“I took my (motorcycle) course, actually, here in Yarmouth 25 years ago,” Beverly recalled. “I was still living here then.”
In an interview Saturday morning at the Rodd Grand Hotel, the centre of rally activity, the Faceys talked a bit about their involvement in motorcycling and about the weekend’s rally.
When asked what he likes about hitting the road, Noel didn’t hesitate at all.
“Freedom and stress relief,” he said.
“And for me,” Beverly said, “it’s a chance for the two of us to get away together and there’s nothing else going on. It’s just the two of us.”
Noel has been riding for 43 years and taught motorcycle training for 30 years.
The Faceys, who pastor the Little River Baptist Church on Digby Neck, said they were pleased with the way the rally was going.
“Amazing,” Beverly said. “The Town of Yarmouth and YASTA (Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Tourism Association) both gave us grants to help us really ramp this up and make it a good time for the people who were coming in from away.”
Rally participants came from across the country and from the U.S.
As for the average age, Noel figured it was in the 55-to-60 range, with at least one participant (from Ontario) in his mid-80s or so.
The Gold Wing Road Riders Association was founded in 1977 and has members in over 50 countries, with its head office in Phoenix, Arizona. There are four chapters in Nova Scotia, the closest to here being in Kentville. It’s a family-oriented group whose activities tend to involve food.
“Someone recently said that we are a food group with a motorcycle addiction,” Beverly laughed.
The association normally moves its Canadian Atlantic District Rally from year to year, but the plan is to have the event in Yarmouth again in 2020.
“About a year ago, we decided that we would do a contract with the Grand for 2020, just in case, and I think people are really happy to come back here,” Beverly said.
Of course, there’s a huge biker event coming up soon in southwestern Nova Scotia – the Wharf Rat Rally in Digby – and the Faceys will be among the thousands gathering in Digby on the Labour Day weekend.
“We have volunteered with the Wharf Rat Rally since 2010,” Beverly said. “Noel was co-chair for two years with Guy LeBlanc.”
The Faceys aren’t involved in the Digby event like they used to be, but they still help out.
“We will be there,” Beverly said.