Connecting a community of riders in Nova Scotia
It’s the summer of 1974. Picture a group of kids hanging out with family and friends at the cottage. Then the rev of a Honda Z50 engine caught an 11-year-old’s attention. All the kids gathered around, looking forward to their turn on Kenny’s brand-new off-road motorcycle. Then it was Grant’s turn to take it for a spin. He made his escape into the great outdoors and got his first real taste of freedom. He was hooked.
Today, that boy is now 56. Grant Lingley is President of the Nova Scotia Off-Road Riders Association (NSORRA). Grant’s love of riding began at a young age and has remained with him ever since. There have been some years in between with no riding, but he found his way back to the sport around seven years ago.
Growing up in the city, he looked forward to spending time at his family’s cottage in the summer. A self-proclaimed outdoorsman, Grant enjoys the solitude found in nature. “Every ride feels like an adventure,” remarks Grant. “Off-road riding really is an opportunity to go out and explore.”
He often rides with younger riders around the five dedicated off-road parks in Nova Scotia. He admits they challenge him. “You can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment when you clear a big hill. Then you turn the bike off at the top and look around. It’s just so peaceful.” With a true appreciation for the great outdoors, Grant recognizes not many have had the pleasure of seeing the world from this particular vantage point.
After that first ride on the Z50, Grant was determined to save up enough money to buy his own motorcycle. His dad made a deal with him – if Grant was able to save half the money, then his father would kick in the rest. Challenge accepted. Grant delivered papers all winter long, earning $10 a week delivering 5,000 papers, and saved all the money he could. By the time spring came around, he didn’t have half of the money. He had saved ALL the money he needed – all $619 to purchase a shiny new 1978 Honda XL75! His dad bought him a helmet.
Grant is a true advocate for the sport of off-road riding. He has held many roles on the NSORRA board, including Director, Vice President, and President. It is truly a passion project for him. He volunteers 20 to 30 hours each week, doing behind-the-scenes work and making sure everything is ready for NSORRA events so kids and families can enjoy a fun and safe experience.
NSORRA has been the home of off-road riding in Nova Scotia for the past 10 years, and the board is like a big family to Grant. “Our organization really encourages safe riding, good trail etiquette, and the management and maintenance of trails throughout the province.”
Grant manages and organizes events, including their popular race scrambles. He’s a project manager at IWK Health Centre and has experience in medical dispatch communications and emergency preparedness. He is also an active member of the Canadian Ski Patrol. It’s no surprise that Grant has created and implemented a fully integrated medical program to support rides and events. The safety of riders and competitors ranks as a top priority. They don’t just talk about safety – they ensure people know how to be safe when riding, and they incorporate safety into all their events.
From coordinating events and rides to helping design safe courses, to clearing trails so they are race ready, to implementing a full medical safety program and providing rapid response via an off-road motorcycle at races, Grant is dedicated to the sport, his organization, and each of the members he encounters.
One of his fond experiences includes being out in the rain for hours at a time, preparing the trails for upcoming rides. Grant recalls driving over four hours to a remote area. A small handful of volunteers completed the work of 20 to 30 people over a nine-hour stretch to get the park ready. They ensured every step of the way was marked, flagged and safe, for the 100+ riders and their families who would be using the trails for an upcoming ride. “We made something happen with limited resources and we pulled it off,” said Grant. He appreciates those evenings spent with friends, talking all night long, and being proud of the work they accomplished.
Initiatives that build community.
Under Grant’s leadership, NSORRA values the importance of getting young people involved in the sport. They attend outreach events to attract new riders and families and look for opportunities to expose kids to off-road motorcycling. Their goal is to make the sport inviting and accessible to all. They hope to reach a wide audience and give underrepresented groups an opportunity to ride. It’s all about growing the sport he loves.
“When you see a kid learning to ride, and they get it, they are so excited. Then the parents are so proud of what their kids are able to accomplish,” explains Grant. “Watching the excitement in the kid’s faces brings out the kid in all of us. The sheer joy of the experience is infectious. You can see their enthusiasm, and can’t help but want more of that.”
The biggest reward Grant gets back from his many hours of service and volunteer work is the amazing people he meets. “Dedicated and passionate” only begins to describe Grant’s commitment and love of off-road riding. For him, off-road motorcycling is a sport that has the best of both worlds – freedom and independence experienced by escaping into the great outdoors, combined with camaraderie over sharing a common interest with an amazing group of people.
Grant looks forward to heading out on the trails with friends. He admits he is still hooked on riding – every time he goes out for a ride. Grant Lingley is truly a champion of off-road riding in Canada.
President at Nova Scotia Off Road Riders Association (NSORRA)
Off Road Council Co-Chair & Secretary at Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada (MCC)
Project Coordinator – Information Technology at IWK Health Centre
Assistant Patrol Leader, Canadian Ski Patrol
Off-Road Stories is a series by the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada’s Off-Road Council to tell the real stories of off-road motorcyclists across Canada. It shares interesting stories of remarkable everyday off-road riders and showcases the valuable work they are doing in our communities and the positive impact of their efforts.