Suzanne Jolly doesn’t have any tattoos. She is well educated. She works at UBC in a nice office. Jolly’s slender, with neatly kept blond hair and has a friendly smile.
“People are surprised when they learn I’m running the motorcycle festival,” she says. “There is a negative stigma with bikes.”
Jolly grew up wanting to ride motorcycles, but with protective parents, that wasn’t going to happen as a teenager. Two years ago, the then-31-year-old took a motorcycle safety course. Today her passion has taken her around the world, on riding trips to Bella Coola and adventures in Nicaragua.
“You get to experience the world in a way that no one else does,” Jolly said of motorcycle riding.
Jolly can smell the forest, feel the cold air from the creeks and rivers that the road travels across and see the birds and eagles soaring overhead. You become a part of the environment you’re travelling through, with one’s senses continuously picking up information, she said.
“It is something that I never realized until I started riding,” Jolly said.
On July 12 and 13, dirt and street motorcyclists from across the Lower Mainland will be sharing their sport with the community in the inaugural Squamish Motorcycle Festival. Squamish has long been a stop for riders enjoying the views of the Sea to Sky Corridor. But often they don’t make it into the heart of Squamish, Jolly said.
“There are so many riders that visit our town, but don’t know anything about this town,” she said.
The festival aims to changes that. The free event is planned in downtown on Saturday (July 11), complete with a motorcycle stunt show performed by Van City Stunters at 3 p.m. The festival also includes a Show and Shine, with the public voting on their favourite bikes, and a slew of speakers will be on hand to share stories of worldwide expeditions.
A wheelie machine will also be available to riders, Jolly said. The device allows participants with a valid motorcycle licence and a helmet to learn how to pop a wheelie.
Saturday evening, the adults will head to a gathering at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park. The night will include three main speakers and food and dancing, with tunes being spun by a DJ. Tickets cost $20. Throughout the event organizers are expecting donations to help cover insurance costs.
On Sunday (July 12) morning, adults will be invited to watch a free screening of the Moto GP from Germany. The film will play at the Match Eatery and Public House at Chances Casino at 10 a.m.
For more information on the event visit www.squamishmotorcyclefest.com.
“Basically it is a celebration of riding,” Jolly said.