Curiosity was done a little while ago, but here in the Midwest winter is clinging to us like that girl from High School who just won’t go away. So I kept waiting to get the bike back, knowing that once it was back I would have a very hard time not starting to ride everywhere again.
A bit more than a week ago something inside me snapped, and the long slumbering year round rider woke up and wondered why we were spending all this time in the heated luxury of a car. I took my touring bike (named Suffering, which I had ridden to Canada late last year after Curiosity had a gasket failure) out of storage and started riding around. Then on Friday the 15th of March I picked Curiosity up from The Shop.
The 16th was Milwaukee’s Frozen Snot Ride. I had said I wasn’t going to ride in the winter, and even as I was leaving The Shop told them (they organize the ride) I wouldn’t be there if there was snow on the ground (we were supposed to get 2 inches that night).
So, of course, I was outside in the morning warming Curiosity up to go and ride in the snow (it was still snowing) on the FSR. While I’d thought there were be perhaps 6 or 7 other bikes, there were close to 30 at any one stop, with riders joining and breaking off as the ride progressed.
And these aren’t your full-dress expensive fancy-pants bikes. The VinMoto clubs ride small, naked machines with no windshields and snowmobile suits. 6 volt systems that can’t run a headlight, let along heated gear. Brr.
I was in heated gear, and I’m not ashamed of it.
We met at the Fuel Cafe, with the plan to leave at 9am. Of course, it was a little later than that, but not much. From there the group went to the Nomad World Pub, which is a traditional stop and always glad to see us, but parking is always an issue and the place in tiny inside.
After Nomad we headed on the longest part of the ride, through the heart of downtown Milwaukee to Bar Lulu (Attached to Cafe Lulu) in Bay View. Parking was less of an issue here.
And there was a lot of room inside. I had a hot drink at the bar (non-alcoholic, though where were beers and such being drunk. I just don’t like to mix) and warmed up some before we headed to the next stop, Frank’s Power Plant (only a couple minutes down the road, it would be a nice walk if the temps were 50 degrees warmer).
Parking in snow banks was started by the red KLR a couple years ago, and had become a regular thing, when there are snow banks. While I had hoped for entertaining video of the KTMs trying to get off the snow bank, their riders just pulled them off. Totally cheating.
Oddly enough – that far KTM was in the first ever video I posted to YouTube, though I didn’t do a good job of keep track where it went. I stumble across it from time to time. It was in the snow then too.
Franks is right across the street from my favorite pizza place, Classic Slice, so I went there for lunch instead of another small bar. When I got back Curiosity had a small crowd and we chatted for a while, mostly about small bikes and some about the fuel cell I had on the back (just trying it out, you know). So we missed the group moving to the Palomino, the last stop.
The Palomino was supposed to have on some race, but it wasn’t being broadcast until the next day so instead they had vintage motocross on. I think that was actually better.
The party at the Palomino was probably going to run until St Patrick’s day, but I only stayed until around 230. The ride home was much shorter, and it wasn’t snowing anymore, which I thought was good.
I made a video about my day, and hope to be adding more videos in the future, as I get better at it. No breath holding, okay? And while the FSR was short (only 20 miles for me on the day) I managed 130 on Sunday, when the temps were also under 30, but at least the sun was out. That story will have to wait.