As I awoke this morning greeted by a -9 degree wind-chill, I came to the stark realization that despite the cold, I was actually still alive. I was not in a cave, I actually climbed out of bed, and made myself some coffee, and was trying to figure out what I was going to do for the day. This is when it hit me, bikers do not hibernate. As much as I would like to sleep through the cold, the snow, the bone chilling winds, and all the other winter time festivities, I simply cannot do that. Colder weather certainly decreases the amount of travel on two wheels, but bikers do not simply slip off into the darkness for the entire winter.
Bikers are active right now getting their bikes ready for the next riding season. We have a few short months to tweak the motors, add some chrome, change out the handlebars, and do all sorts of customization options to our rides. Also, we are preparing for the bike show and swap meet season which is about the only means for larger groups of bikers to get together in the winter. Does not matter if it is in Mason City, Des Moines, the Quad Cities, or Cedar Rapids, bikers will gather to find the parts they need and just to enjoy the camaraderie of other like-minded, freedom-loving individuals.
Yet another example of the biker spirit not hibernating this time of year is an event coming up rather quickly. It has gone on for seventeen years so far, every year on Black Friday. Rock-A-Billy band member Pat Jones and Photographer extraordinaire Nate Ullrich decided years ago that shopping or being anywhere near a box store or mall would be an incredibly lame idea, so they went for a ride with some of the their friends. They take off from the Lyons Tap & Grill in Clinton on the day after Thanksgiving about 10:15 in the morning. They take off on a scenic river vista trip and hit some spots on each side of the river before finally settling back in Clinton to enjoy a seasonal cocktail. Now, when I said they have done this for all these years, this means it does not matter what the weather is. Sometimes in late November it is 50 degrees, and sometimes it is 15, but they ride anyway. There have been a few handfuls of brave souls to a few hundred on the route. It is a ride just for the sake of a ride. No cause, no purpose, no goal in mind, and no money to go along, just ride. If you ride and want to join along, find your way to the Lyons Tap on November 28th.