Atlanticade takes over Summerside
Last weekend, more than 10,000 motorcyclists from seven provinces and seven states descended on Summerside, P.E.I. to celebrate motorcycle culture and Canada Day at Atlanticade. This motorcycle rally, one of largest in the region, is a five-day festival that started in Moncton six years ago, and has grown beyond all expectations.
The weekend’s events included several signature events.
“Every rally has its show and shine, stunt shows, parades and biker games, but we did a salute to the military, so we had the Red Friday rally inside the arena, and we had a run that went out to the former CFB base in Summerside to the heritage site,” Dale Hicks of Moncton, founder and chairman of Atlanticade told me.
They also had a spectacular bike parade across the Confederation Bridge on Saturday night, gathering 700 motorcycles to thunder across to New Brunswick and back again. The bridge was closed for an hour to accommodate this amazing event, which was followed by a beautiful fireworks display.
Throughout the weekend, there was also a steady stream of activities, including a Burnout Extravaganza, show and shines and several stunt shows featuring Hub City Stunters, a stunt crew from featuring riders from New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Nova Scotia. Trevor Wheatley and Matthew Morrone of Halifax showed their skills on both two wheels and four.
There were also plenty of opportunities to see the island, with regular guided tours to different areas of the island.
The weekend was rounded out by two more parades, a “barn bash”, lots of food, music, and awards.
Atlanticade has a very bright future, and Prince Edward Island is excited to have them back again. “They understand it’s a tourism event,” Dale explained. “We have that in place for the next three years, so I can work on the event, rather than chasing funding.”
Summerside has the perfect combination of infrastructure and affordable accommodations to sustain the event, so it sounds like it will continue to be a destination for bikers from all around the region on the Canada day weekend.
Jeff Martin of Greenwood headed to Summerside on his prized 1989 Kawasaki ZX10 Ninja. Jeff’s been riding for 34 years on dirt, roads and at Atlantic Motorsport Park, and he travelled 26 hours to Quebec to buy his bike three years ago.
“This was my first Atlanticade, and it won’t be my last,” Jeff told me. “Having so many like-minded people in one place was awesome.” He really enjoyed the group riding through the communities all around the island.
Atlanticade is a truly inclusive event – with bikes of all types parked together and their riders celebrating motorcycle culture – since the first year.
“It’s not about what you ride, it’s about the fact that you do ride, and I think that’s been a huge success in attracting people,” Dale observes.
“When a Harley guy waves at a sportbike guy like me, you know you’re in the right place,” Jeff echoes. “Bikers are bikers, it doesn’t matter what they ride.”
Atlanticade is part of the “big three” motorcycle rallies in the region, with the next one being Cape Breton Bike Fest Thunder in the Highlands – scheduled for August 3 – 6 in Sydney and throughout Cape Breton. After that, Wharf Rat Rally is scheduled for August 29 – September 2 in Digby.