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Cape Breton Bike Rally moves to Membertou

A Cape Breton motorcycle rally that has drawn hundreds of riding enthusiasts to downtown Sydney in recent years has a new name and a new location.

"Island Strong" organizers move out of downtown Sydney

Riders approach Cheticamp on the Cabot Trail. (Motorcycle Tour Guide Nova Scotia)

A Cape Breton motorcycle rally that has drawn hundreds of riding enthusiasts to downtown Sydney in recent years has a new name and a new location.

The Cape Breton Bike Rally next July will be centred in Membertou, a stand-alone First Nations community surrounded by Sydney neighbourhoods.

Chairman Kerry MacLellan said Membertou will be a better place to park all the motorcycles that roar into town. Membertou also provides easy highway access and has its own hotel.

MacLellan said despite the change of venue, most of the rally will remain the same. It usually includes rides around the Cabot Trail and to various other tourist spots, including a special ride through the Fortress of Louisbourg.

MacLellan said the influx of riders will be good for local business.

"Lots of times, we'll have two people on a bike," he said. "Two-up is what we call it. And that would be anywhere [from] 1,600 to 2,000 people, which would be a pretty good impact on the economy of the island."

MacLellan said the local cancer care centre will be helped, too, as the rally also serves as a fundraiser.

"We support the patient-care unit at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, which helps supply drugs to needy people who can't afford the cost of prescriptions," he said. "We support that 100 per cent."

The rally is scheduled for Jul. 29 to Aug. 1, 2016. 

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