Ride North Moto raises money via ice road

Photo: Andy Dawson/Are You Social

Are mid-summer charity rides boring to you, but you want to raise money for a good cause? Maybe you should head out to Alberta, and hook up with Ride North Moto.

According to the group’s website, Ride North Moto is made up of riders who “hope to promote healthy living and to raise awareness for First Responders by connecting with each other.” Their activity of choice is winter motorcycling, and last weekend, they went on a journey up the Fort Chipewyan Winter Road, from Fort McMurray to Fort Smith, on bikes. Their intention was to raise money for two worthy causes.

Group member Mike Haberoth says nine riders made the trip this year, which took them three days and covered about 800 kilometres of varied road conditions. The trip started by trailering the bikes out of Fort McMurray for a few kilometres, to avoid the dangers of local traffic and also give the studded winter tires a break. After that, though, the fun started. In total, Haberoth figures the round trip included about 400 km of frozen ice road, 200 km of loose snow-packed road, 170 km of gravel and about 40 km of pavement around Fort Smith.

That’s a wide range of road conditions, and this year, there was a wide range of bikes on the trip, including some big-bore adventure bikes (KTM 1190, BMW R1200 GS), a pair of Harley-Davidsons, and some smaller enduro-style dual sports.

This wasn’t the first time for Ride North Moto to do this trip, as some members pulled it off last March, and some of the lessons learned then came in useful this time around. Certainly, riding gear and bike setup was important (some of the machines were equipped with tire studs that came loose, while others used a different brand and didn’t have that problem). But just as important, Haberoth says, was having a good support team, that kept the riders safe.

This year, the team had four support vehicles ride with them, providing a safety net in case of breakdowns, but also helping avoid danger from other motorists.

All in all, the trip took Thursday-Saturday, with some riders having an easier time of it than others. On a cruiser in the snow, Haberoth says “You kinda just have to stick your feet out and hope for the best,” and the riders on the smaller enduros didn’t have the benefit of all the windblast-breaking bodywork and extra electrical capacity of the larger adventure bikes. But, everyone made it through the trip, and they got started on their goal of raising $5,000 for the local crisis centre and for Sheepdog Lodge in Canmore, a facility that helps first responders with rehabilitation.

That’s obviously a good thing, but Haberoth also sees another benefit of finishing the group’s mad mid-winter ride this early. Last year, they did the ride in March, and this year, they’re already done by January. So, as he puts it: “We still have two and a half months if we want to do this again.” And hey, they still have to raise the rest of their $5,000 goal. Anyone want to ride out to Alberta and join them?


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