WINCHESTER — The inaugural Winchester Bike Night series has proven a thunderous hit by drawing hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts on two evenings this summer, with one more for the road scheduled this Thursday, Sept. 12, in the Eastern Ontario dairy capital.
Unlike previous editions of Winchester Bike Night, this week’s coming event also features a rain date — Sept. 19 — should the changing season douse the area on the 12th. But key organizer Vince Zandbelt remains optimistic rain will stay away, with no repeat of the precipitation that kiboshed one planned gathering of bikes earlier in the series.
Zandbelt is also upbeat about a new attraction debuting this Thursday — a portable dynamometer that will be available to test the horsepower of the visiting iron steeds congregating in the streets of Winchester that evening. The specially equipped trailer from ‘Rolling Road’ of Cornwall will be set up east of the main corner, according to the local businessman. Inside the unit, for a fee, motorcycle owners can have their bikes strapped in place and throttled up for a test of their thumping engines.
Hands down, Kim Eveleigh of Cornwall straddled the biggest engine among the 500 or so machines that turned out at the last Winchester Bike Night Aug. 15 in the village. His American-made Boss Hoss motorcycle (in the clip below) sports a 350-cubic-inch (5,700 cc) Chevy engine.
Belying Winchester’s old-time reputation as a “dry” town, the upcoming Bike Night will again see the temporarily closed streets of the downtown core (but open to motorcycles) licensed for alcohol consumption with local craft beer on tap. The liquid refreshment this time is supplied by two participating breweries — Windmill of Prescott and Tuque de Broue of Embrun — to ensure no risk of running dry. Zandbelt notes that the single brewer on scene at the last Bike Night, Aug. 15, had to crack open its final keg, such was the demand for suds on an evening that attracted a record 500-plus motorcycles.
A number of local food vendors will again offer hearty fare; Cup of Jo’s, Mr. Mozzerella, Milano’s, Country Kitchen, Iron Forge, Simply Baked, Mary’s Restaurant Joel and Stephanie Fawcett’s ‘Alice May’s lemonade stand’ are all expected to have an outdoor presence as will ice cream purveyor Scoop of Jo’s. And Winchester Foodland will dispense complimentary water.
This week’s admission-free event also features the live music of Bordertowne Boys at the Sweet Corner Park pavilion.
In the clip below, Bordertowne Boys kick on the afterburners and serve up ‘southern fried rock’ at McCloskey’s during a 2017 show.
“The general public is invited to view the bikes,” he emphasizes, “as well as enjoy music, food/drink, a chance to win a 50/50 while supporting a local charity and as well helping local businesses.”
A charitable 50/50 draw has been feature of each Winchester Bike Night, with Nor-Dun Seniors’ Support Centre the chosen entity on this occasion. The winner’s name won’t be pulled until Sept. 19 in this case, however, allowing sales to continue for a full week afterward, according to Zandbelt.
“I’m very impressed how it’s been so well supported,” he says of the Bike Night concept, noting it has attracted motorcyclists from as far east as Valleyfield, Que., to Brockville in the west, along with enthusiasts from north of the municipal border, in Ottawa.
Also check out the Bike Night tee and golf shirts produced by Samantha’s Emporium, with a portion of those proceeds returned to the Winchester Downtown Revitalization Committee (WDRC). The shop has also produced a free safety sticker for the occasion.
For next year, Zandbelt says he’s looking to expand the number of individuals and groups to assist with directing the motorbikes to their parking spots. “We’ve got to add to our personnel and volunteers.”
Indicate your interest in the official WDRC Facebook event by clicking the post below, then hitting the applicable button.