Although COVID-19 has trimmed down their nation-spanning route, it has given B.C. riders in the National Military Police Motorcycle Rally a chance to see more of the province from the seat of a bike.
The group of more than 20 riders stopped at the Salmon Arm Legion on Wednesday, Aug. 5.
The rally is an annual charity event benefiting the Military Police Fund for Blind Children. It was founded in 2009 by members of the Canadian Forces Military Police who wanted to raise awareness and support for visually impaired children in Canada. Since its inception, the ride has raised more than $700,000.
Ginger Gustafson, one of the riders, said although the participants from B.C. had to adjust their route to stay within the province’s borders instead of striking out across the country, plenty of generosity has been shown by people along the way. She said pledges collected along the path of the ride, which began on July 25 on the steps of the legislature in Victoria, have already totalled more than $20,000.
Following all provincial guidelines surrounding COVID-19 as they go, the riders have stopped off at legion halls and motorcycle dealerships and also met up with recipients of aid provided by the fund for blind children. Most recently, the riders stayed overnight in Sicamous on a pair of Twin Anchors Houseboats provided to them.
Gustafson said the B.C. riders have enjoyed seeing more of the province in the absence of a national rally. What would normally be a 16- or 17-day ride across Canada is instead a 14-day circle tour around B.C. for the local contingent. Gustafson said the B.C. riders are working hard on fundraising in hopes of making up for some regions of Canada unable to organize a ride due to their COVID-19 situation. She said more than $300 was raised from people walking up and asking what they were doing at their stop in Sicamous alone.
The riders will be heading south through Armstrong and on to the Okanagan before the end of the rally.
Further information on how to donate to the Military Police Fund for Blind Children is available at www.nationalmotorcyclerelay.ca