Vintage motorbike collectors converge on Ponoka

Motorbike lovers were able to treat their sights to a feast on some rare vintage bikes during the Ponoka Vintage Motorbike Rally.

Larry Tibits of Calgary takes a closer look at a 1938 Triumph Saturday

Larry Tibits of Calgary takes a closer look at a 1938 Triumph Saturday

Motorbike lovers were able to treat their sights to a feast on some rare vintage bikes during the 18th annual Ponoka Vintage Motorbike Rally last weekend.

The event ran at the Ponoka Stampede grounds from Friday, July 24 to Sunday, July 26 and was hosted by the central Alberta section of the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group, explained co-organizer Skinny Lavine.

This year’s theme was first bikes, scooters and sidecars, he said and collectors did not disappoint. From motorcycles built at the turn of the 20th century to small, kid-sized motorbikes vintage bike lovers turned their eyes every which way to get a glimpse of what was being shown off.

“It just gets bigger and bigger every year,” said Lavine.

When he first joined the motorcycle group there were fewer than 20 members and now he says there are closer to 75 members who show off motorcycles that have somehow managed to be saved over the years. During the First and Second World Wars, metal was in high demand and many motorbikes were recycled to make use of their metal.

“How did these bikes survive getting crushed in the war effort and still make it here?” asked Lavine.

He suggests part of the joy is in the experience of finding an old motorbike, restoring it and then taking it on the road.

Bikers from as far as Oregon and Ontario as well as Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba attended the rally not only to tell stories of how they found their motorbikes, but also to enjoy a chili cook off, a show and shine and fun rides.

Biker Joel Brush drove from the City of Oregon, Ore. in his three-wheel 2000 Ural Deco Classic, a remake of an older Russian motorbike built in the 1940s. Brush’s motorbike was complete with a sidecar and he said this was his first trip to Ponoka.

“I thought it would just be a great ride through the mountains and the prairies,” said Brush.

He is a member of the Bigfoot Sidecar Club in British Columbia, which is how he heard about the Ponoka rally. Being able to look at some older motorbikes from the 1930s and 1940s in Ponoka was something he enjoyed.

“When you go back into the history and see all this stuff that’s come before you . . . they’re classic and a lot of them are just very unique,” said Brush.

Another benefit of the rallies for Brush is he gets to meet knowledgeable collectors and enthusiasts and bikers can discuss ways to fix their motorcycles, some of which are over 50 years old.