A cross-Canada relay is set to rev into action at the end of July, as Canadian Military Police travel coast to coast by motorcycle.
Now in its 11th year, the Military Police National Motorcycle Relay is the world’s longest annual motorcycle relay and has raised approximately $600,000 for the Military Police Fund for Blind Children and other charities. Last year was their most successful ride, raising $100,000.
The relay begins July 27 in Victoria, travels up to Sidney and then enjoys 22 stops until they dip their wheels in the frigid waters off St. John’s on the east coast. The Victoria to Sidney leg is due to include Town Crier Kenny Podmore in a mix of regalia and safety equipment, on the back of a bike.
“It takes a lot of preparation, our BC rep Kyle [Steel] has done a great job, and it takes a lot of work to do [the relay challenge],” says Maj. Dale Troia, the new chair who has been part of the organization for five years.
No longer limited to military cops, other riders are welcome to join the group, and can ride their hogs for a day, a province or the whole trip. So far one rider has committed to riding the whole 18-day one-way national route. The epic journey is made possible by a crew of volunteers spread across Canada, such as Tony Brooks and Lamont French.
— Nick Murray (@nickmurraymedia) July 5, 2019
At the end of last year’s ride the group’s teddybear mascot was retired and a new cuddly friend has been inducted into the group, although the riders are still seeking help to name it. In future, they’re thinking of bringing a support cane to use as a symbolic baton to honour their chosen charity and then keep it safe in their Military Academy in Borden during the off-season. And it’s not all riding down freeways, smaller roads and fun activities are on offer. This year, they are planning to do a Poker Run, with a twist. Poker Runs are when bikers travel through several checkpoints drawing a playing card from each one. Whoever has the best poker hand at the end wins the challenge. The twist is they’ll use braille cards, to further raise awareness for their charity.
But what’s the deal with military police utilizing the motorcycle; the ultimate symbol of the outlaw?
“There is that historical view,” concedes Troia. “However in the last five or 10 years, especially among Baby Boomers, it has proven to be an outlet and source of entertainment. The majority of people on these rides are average 50 and above, they find the experience unique, and it’s great.”
Troia adds that the older demographic have been among the most enthusiastic and generous patrons of the relay and welcomes anyone with a legal bike to join their cross-country asphalt blast.
Follow the Military Police National Motorcycle Relay on their Facebook page as they post daily updates, facebook.com/groups/MPNMRR.
The Military Police Fund for Blind Children was started in 1957 by Colonel James Stone. For more information visit canadahelps.org.
Interested bikers are encouraged to email ahead first, although this is not strictly necessary. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.