Winchester Bike Nights pause for pandemic

Above, winchester Bike Night, August 15, 2019. Zandebergen photo, Nation Valley News

WINCHESTER — The COVID-19 pandemic has squeezed the brakes on the Winchester Bike Night series for 2020.

“I think as it stands now, June, July, August won’t happen … and we’ll just see if we do something in September. It might just be a wash for the whole year, too,” says event spearhead Vince Zandbelt, acknowledging a slew of public gatherings have been similarly kiboshed because of the crisis.

The series last year drew hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts and their machines to the North Dundas village, one Thursday evening per month, initially June through August. So successful was the turnout, Zandbelt added a fourth night in September for the shindig that also featured live music as well as food and licensed beverage sales around Sweet Corner Park.

He explains that, as an officially recognized “event of municipal significance,” Winchester Bike Night requires the sign-off of a number of public entities, including the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.

An enthusiast himself, Zandbelt was inspired to create Winchester Bike Night after seeing the hundreds of gleaming machines parked in Winchester for the Ottawa Motorcycle Ride for Dad grand finale meal at the Joel Steel Community Centre, over the last couple of years. But where that springtime event tends to funnel riders away from the downtown core for wrap-up ceremonies at the arena, Winchester Bike Night puts the celebrants and their machines front and centre on the village’s main drag.

Below, the Sept. 12 grand finale of Winchester Bike Night 2019.
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