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Motorcycle Diaries: Friday the 13th Motorcycle Rally (video)

My cheeks hurt. Not because of dental surgery, but because I can't stop smiling. I just got back from the Friday the 13th motorcycle rally in Port Dover, Ontario. I can't believe I rode for years and never made it before. This time I took a day off work, grabbed my camera, and had a fabulous day! Peace overflows abundantly on days like today, when thousands of people — most of them strangers, in leather, riding motorcycles — share friendship and love.

The feeling at the rally was electric. It was a sea of kindness and love, as much as it was a sea of parked motorcycles, pedestrians, and two-weeled traffic. A band was playing, people were laughing, the joy was palpable. While my intention was uncovering more perspectives on peace, I was touched by how personal and poignant people's stories were, which are shared in their own words in the video below.


Peace is love. Peace is acceptance of self, of life, of illness, and of others. Peace is the freedom you feel on a bike.



David Rosa told me that to him, peace means acceptance - of situations, other people, and himself. It gets very personal with him - diagnosed with multiple sclerosis years ago, he's had to accept a very difficult reality, yet looking back, he wouldn't change a thing. "It's a beautiful life if you look at it beautifully," Dave shared - even if your view is from a wheelchair.


"It's a beautiful life if you look at it beautifully," says David Rosa even if your view is from a wheelchair.


Archie Snively has ridden all over Canada and the USA, and in his senior years, he's considering going cross country to California. His favourite road trip story is the time he saw two black women, their vehicle pulled over with a flat tire. When Archie, a tough-looking white biker on a Harley pulled over and helped them, they danced around him hooting and hollering, "You're going to heaven!" Colour made no difference as they shared the joy of human kindness.


Colour makes no difference when you share the joy of human kindness.


"This is love, this is peace," said Bejan, a longterm Canadian from Iran. He wonders why people in Asia and the Middle East are fighting when in Canada, "We're all here, we're having a great time, we love each other — this is peace."

People shared their challenges as well — that peace is elusive, it must be sought and nurtured, and it requires overcoming anger. Most days are not as perfect as a Friday the 13th in Port Dover — we face job stress, conflicts, and illnesses. But as Brad says, getting on your bike and riding for miles and miles seems to wash the stress away.

Peace is available to us all, but it is elusive. Whether it's long bike rides, acceptance, or love, invest in the things that build peace in your life, then pass it on  — even to strangers.


Peace overflows abundantly on days like today, when thousands of people most of them in leather and on motorcycles share friendship and love.



Motorcycle Diaries wins a Wilbur Award

I'm excited to share that I won a Wilbur Award for this story. While I've visited over twenty countries to share inspiring stories about peace, this day in Port Dover was one of my favourites of them all. I am honoured, humbled, and hopeful that this award will help me share these stories more widely. Thank you, Religion Communicators Council!


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