Social Riding; Klondike Style

Motorcycle riders are often solitary sorts. We like the time we spend with ourselves on the road.

It is a sort of meditation: no radio, no chit-chat with a passenger, no getting bored like you do driving a car.

That doesn’t mean we are all anti-social, obvious from the small gatherings of motorcycles you see at coffee shops and packs roaring past on the highway.

It can be a little too solitary if you don’t have friends with bikes. There are opportunities for remedy.

Around Whitehorse, the Gold Wing Riders meet every Sunday morning at 10 o’clock for breakfast at the Casa Loma and then follow that with an afternoon ride.

Other riders have taken to dropping by the local Harley-Davidson dealership around midday most Saturdays. A group ride is usually the result.

With both of these, you don’t have to own a Harley or a Honda Gold Wing to join in, these groups of riders are very welcoming.

Short day trips are OK, but the real fun is a big group on a long ride.

My first such ride was the Klondike Motorcycle Run. Riders from across the North converge on Dawson City for a great weekend.

There were about 30 bikes that set off from Whitehorse Friday afternoon for the ride down to Dawson City. I had one friend to teach me some of the unwritten rules of group riding and another to ride and bunk with when I got to Dawson.

Don’t be afraid to ask an experienced rider questions when you are new to riding. It will be appreciated.

There were so many great moments that weekend.

I loved riding with the large group and the late-night bonfire after we closed down all the bars and the gambling hall on Friday night that showcased the colourful cast of bike-riding characters.

The ride out to Bonanza Creek and then up to the Midnight Dome landed us some great photographs of 40+ bikes all lined up with backdrops of Dredge #4 and the view of Klondike and Yukon River valleys.

Dawson firefighters delivered a great steak dinner and the locals made everyone feel good by providing appropriate oohs and aahhs at the Sunday morning show and shine.

What really sticks in my mind, however, were the biker games, of which I entered three different events.

For the Weenie Bite (you gotta be there) and the Egg Race, I rode on the back of Dwayne’s bike while he negotiated the course … and we did pretty well.

The best event I entered on my own was called a Plank Ride. The deal is that you start at one end of a series of 1″ x 4″ planks and you ride along the planks until one of your wheels falls off and touches the ground. Not as easy as it sounds, but …

… I won.

Me, a girl, second-year rider, on a 750 Honda, beat all those big guys on their fancy bikes. I still have the gold nugget prize and the grin that accompanied it.

This year, the run is scheduled for June 27 to 30. Started by a local rider, the event is now organized by the Klondike Visitors Association.

It’s a great chance for Yukon riders to get together and exercise our social sides and give us something to grin about when the helmets are on for our solitary meditations.

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