by Bruce Mike

It’s hard to believe it was just two weeks ago, as of this writing, that I was out enjoying a beautiful Sunday ride. Me, my wife and a couple of friends took part in the Swan Ride, an annual motorcycle ride to see Arctic Tundra Swans in Alma, Wisconsin. We were invited by Bill Bassett, from Motoprimo, who has been organizing this event for seventeen years.

This year’s ride was on November 7th and began at Fury Motorcycle in South St. Paul. Registration was at 8:00 am with departure scheduled for 9:00 am. The folks at Fury were kind enough to feed us a free breakfast of pancakes and sausage. There was no registration fee or request for donations at this event. Bill does it simply for the joy of a late season ride.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather. It started out a little cool but nothing like it could have been for early November. By the end of the day the temperature had climbed into the low to mid sixties with clear skies and bright sunshine.

As I’ve stated before I’m not a big fan of large, organized rides. This one turned out to be completely different than what I expected. There were 265 motorcycles with 300 riders. We left Fury in the middle of a big group. I anxiously awaited the “large group riding chaos” to begin. It never did. I don’t know if it was because the majority of these folks were experienced riders or the motorcycle gods were smiling on us, but it was a great ride. There was no jockeying for position, inconsistent speeds, or any of the usual crap that ruins a big group ride.

The route that was put together was fantastic. I’ve ridden a lot of the “alphabet roads” in Wisconsin but Bill snuck in a couple I didn’t remember ever riding, and they were great. Roller-coaster hills and lots of twisties. I saved the route sheet for one of those days in the future when nobody can decide where we should go. The ride ends at Slippery’s in Wabasha. We skipped the stop due to time restraints. We did stop at Rieck’s LakePark and we like to think we may have seen some Swans on the other side of the lake.

When I pulled my bike in the garage at the end of the 230 mile day, I had no idea my regular riding season was nearing it’s end. Two weeks later, I experienced one of the coldest Thanksgivings I can remember, and my neighborhood is filled with Christmas lights. Thanks to all those involved for that last big ride, it was a great one.

With the sudden onset of winter it’s time for me to get a couple of bikes put together so they can be on the road next spring. One of them being a ’71 Ironhead Chopper that’s been in pieces for ten years. It’s time for it to be back on the road. Maybe by mentioning it here, I’ll get it done. I also want to thank all of you for your support in my rookie year. Putting this together every month has been a lot of fun and I look forward to a great 2011.


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