Unique Winchester Bike Night fundraiser rolling forward to benefit Ride for Dad’s prostate cancer initiative

Take part in Zandbelt clan’s video project

WINCHESTER — COVID-19 stalled what would have been the second annual series of motorcycle enthusiast gatherings in Winchester this summer.

But Winchester Bike Night organizer Vince Zandbelt is keeping the name of the event alive by participating in a fun, virtual fundraiser benefiting prostate cancer care and research through Ride for Dad. It was Ride for Dad’s grand finale event at the Winchester Arena in recent years that inspired Zandbelt to expand on the rumbling atmosphere by hosting a number of weekend Bike Nights downtown in the North Dundas village. Hundreds of machines lined the streets on each occasion.

Thanks to the pandemic, Ride for Dad this year has rolled out a “ride alone together” version of its fundraiser, in which participants send in selfies of themselves and their bikes at the locations of their sponsoring supporters. And Zandbelt is putting his own spin on the initiative — with a tie-in to Winchester Bike Nights and a certain now-famous vintage motorcycle owned by his father.

“This year, Winchester Bike Nights is entering a team in the Ride for Dad program,” he explains in a recent promotional video shot by his nephew, Reid Zandbelt, who has previously amassed millions of social media views with his coverage of their family’s touching reunification of a vintage German motorcycle and its original owner, 90-year-old patriarch Bill Zandbelt.

Naturally, the latest effort involves the production of another video. Local companies can have Vince Zandbelt show up with the retro bike for a photo shoot at their premises, in return for their contribution to the cause (at a number of set levels). The final images will make it into a planned music video to be assembled by the younger Zandbelt for distribution on social media. Similarly, individuals offering support can get their photo taken with the machine at Sweet Corner Park — location of what would have been the centre of activity for Winchester Bike Nights in 2020 if not for the pandemic.

“When you enter into the video, we’ll also supply you with a COVID mask … with the Winchester Bike Night logo imprinted on it,” says the organizer, who thanks Samantha’s Emporium — next door to the downtown Park — for creating them at no charge to the effort.

“So whether your out riding with friends, or you’re like me, riding with my dad, let’s help fundraise with Ride for Dad and help stamp out prostate cancer.”

Zandbelt tells NVN he’s already visited a number of Ride for Dad corporate sponsors in the Ottawa area with the beautifully restored DKW motorcycle — a 175 cc two-stroke model his father originally bought in the Netherlands nearly 65 years ago. Locally, he’s lined up about 35 sponsors to support the Winchester Bike Night team. “I’ll probably just ride Dad’s old bike to those locations,” he explains.

He points out that money raised helps to support prostate cancer research through local institutions like Winchester District Memorial Hospital, adding that every donation over $20 also garners a charitable receipt.

See the official Winchester Bike Night/Ride for Dad team link. To become a sponsor and take part in the video project, email Zandbelt.

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