The word Mad can be defined as two things: Pissed-Off Ragey-Angry or Batsh**t Crazy.
So what does it take to be a Real Mad Bastard?
Attitude. With an explosion of the latter definition. Add a zany costume, and an even nuttier bike and it doesn’t get as real as this.
As a veteran of The Mad Bastard Scooter Rally, I’ve ridden the go-round four times and it’s always different type of fun. Different roads, different bikes, different costumes, the one constant being a huge dose of Capital B Bonkers.
Gonzo. Toys in the attic. Bats in the belfry. A few sandwiches short of a full picnic.
It’s what it takes to ride little two-wheeled machines 600+ kilometres within 24 hours, stopping for mad clues in an insane loop that traverses all kinds of roads.
Scooters of all shapes and sizes are welcome, as well as mopeds and small shifty motorcycles under 110cc. The bikes are divvied up according to displacement and are given a time allotment in which to finish:
- Straitjacket Class (24 hours) – All scooters and mopeds up to 50cc in capacity
- Heavily Medicated (20 hours) – All scooters greater than 50cc but no greater than 110cc
- Therapy Required (18 hours) – Scooters greater than 110cc but no greater than 200cc
- Day Release (16 hours) – Scooters greater than 200cc
It’s a rally that definitely favours the hardiest of the Iron Butts – riders in the 50cc class, with Mad Points awarded for just showing up. This year, I was there just to take pictures, which was good, since the cards were definitely stacked against my 500cc Yamaha Tmax, no matter how fast it went.
Hosted by KYMCO Canada, the rally raised over $10,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters London, through the fundraising efforts of the riders. Sponsors Yamaha Canada, Studio Cycle Group and Ontario Tourism were also in on the fun, with Sparkplug Coffee and Railway City Brewery keeping riders liquified during and after the rally.
A stormy Friday morning gave way to overcast skies and I arrived at Mad Bastard HQ – The Four Points in London, Ontario – to a tailgate party that gave ample time for participants to check out the competition’s bikes, decorate their own, and test-ride a few of this year’s Yamaha scoots. Like clockwork, characters started crawling out of the woodwork in full regalia. Truly-out-of-the-ordinary, these weren’t just your run-of the mill riders.
Me and my fellow crazies were then fed, and the route revealed in the mandatory rider’s meeting. One last gas-up and it was time for bed.
Daybreak came too soon on Saturday morning as the Bastards set out from London to start their loop. Though the previous day was stormy and grey, the morning skies were a perfect hue of blue, making for a more comfortable ride.
I rode the first half of the rally with fellow media rider Dan Lim, a hardcore Harley Man. It was his first time on a scooter, but after the initial disorientation of having a rear brake where the clutch lever should be, he sported a big grin all of the way!
North to the shores of Lake Huron at Ipperwash, we caught up with The Codfathers at the beach, releasing Nemo back into the wild.
Then it was west, skirting Sarnia, to the St. Clair River, then a leisurely ride with Jessie and his co-pilot Misha the Mini Schnauzer, following the twists of the old Tecumseh Trail to Tilbury, the halfway-point.
Lunch there proved to be memorable, as Brokentooth had taken to the seas and arrived in style, his Kymco strapped onto a pontoon raft, powered by an outboard motor. Who was I to refuse a ride down the Thames when he offered?
South towards Lake Erie, the wind had picked up to the point that I was leaning the bike just to go straight. The Martian team was so far ahead that they managed to catch the ferry to Pelee Island, the southernmost part of Canada, This move scored them huge points, though it put them three-plus hours behind. Would the big gamble work???
The rest of us settled on picking up a park pass at Point Pelee National Park (they’re free this year as a happy 150th birthday, Canada!). I decided to hang out on the beach with three hungover Vicars on two-stroke scoots. Riding with them for a bit, I was astounded that people kept mistaking them for the real thing!
Northeast through tobacco country had a change in the weather with our stalwart bastards fighting more gusty headwinds, with some dodging hailstones as big as dice. Once back at hail-ravaged HQ, some of the more masochistic bastards decided that the loop wasn’t enough and undertook another 150km of bonus loop for more points, which involved drawing sides of barns in the dark. By 2AM, the last rider had checked in, with the organizers soldiering on to tally up all the teams’ total points.
The next morning had me rolling out of bed for brekkie, where all the bastards were collected, looking as haggard as expected, but still in great spirits. Turns out that The Martians’ rolled the dice perfectly, with Head Alien Lee Martin winning the title of Maddest Bastard Of Them All, taking home a new Kymco Sento 110 scooter.
So what does it take to be a Real Mad Bastard?
All of the above. Plus the bonus of spending a long day on the road with the most fun and quirky individuals you’ll ever meet. This is why I keep coming back.
And why I’m looking forward to the next one in 2019.