“Divorce is an ugly word, but sometimes a relationship has such irreconcilable differences that here’s no other choice but separation.” I was explaining why Atlanticade had moved from Moncton, New Brunswick to a small resort town on the Maine border (Atlanticade: The rally that never sleeps –finding friendliness in festival’s 4th year ThunderPress, Sept. 2010). When I learned that this rally was moving to Summerside, Prince Edward Island in 2012 I picked up the phone and called its organizer, Dale Hicks, to get the story.
Dale told me that his decision to move was based on three factors. The first being that the municipal government of the town of St-Andrews asked, then demanded, that the event be moved from Canada Day weekend (like the 4th of July in the United States, but three days earlier) to the following weekend for 2011. This didn’t work out for a number of logical reasons. The second was that the primary headquarters for the event, the Algonquin Hotel, was being put up for sale in 2012. The hotel had been managed by the biker-friendly Fairmont chain, although owned by the Province of New Brunswick. Being pushed from a three-day weekend with extra attractions like a parade and fireworks to a shorter weekend where all activities became the burden of the promoter became simply a case of municipal greed like the fable of the motorcyclist that laid golden eggs. Having rally headquarters put up for sale while the biker-friendly management left for greener pastures was simply the straw that broke the motorcycle frame. The third factor was the decisive one: PEI wanted the rally and guaranteed support on the municipal, provincial, and federal levels.
Atlanticade 2012 is being hosted in the city of Summerside (www.atlanticade.ca) on Prince Edward Island, the second-largest city in Canada’s smallest province. With a population of only 15,000 residents it’s large enough to provide services like restaurants, lodging, and venue space, but small enough that the rally doesn’t get “lost.” There are a number of events planned, including music by Bad Habits, the George St. Blues Project, and a major entertainer on Saturday night. Canadian Motorcycle Cruisers will be offering three guided tours: Points East, North Cape, and Sand & Shores. A special event is also being planned to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Confederation Bridge, an 8-mile elevated concrete ribbon across the Northumberland Strait. There are other opportunities here as well. The Cavendish Beach Music Festival (www.cavendishbeachmusicfestival.com) runs from July 6 to 8 and this year’s headliners include Rascal Flats and Alabama. In between, riders can catch the ferry at Souris to enjoy one of my favorite places: the Madeleine Islands (Touring the “Maggies: A Summer Odssey,” TP August 2011).
This island province offers laid-back touring and its people are the friendliest that I’ve encountered in my travels (“Motorcycle Journeys Through Atlantic Canada,” www.whitehorsepress.com). I’m not the only one who knows this: I suggest you pre-register early and book your lodging within the next few weeks.
–Ken “Kenzo” Aiken (www.touringroads.wordpress.com)