Holy crap, I am way behind! Okay just wanted to be sure you all knew – because I had lost track – that the annual Capital City Custom Cycle Show & Swap Meet is coming up THIS weekend, February 11 & 12 here in Des Moines. For years, this event was held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds – but this year, it’s being held at Seven Flags Event Center in Clive. Here’s the scoop:
Custom Cycle Show & Swap Meet
February 11, 10 am – 8 pm
February 12, Noon – 6 pm
Seven Flags Event Center
2100 NW 100th St., Clive, Iowa
This is always the turning point event for me – once the swap meet passes, it’s SPRING, baby!!
If you’re local, or even if you’re not and you’re looking for something bike-related to do in the middle of Winter, this event is it. Will be interesting to see what the new location has to offer!
Although I will not be riding on May 7 (International Female Ride Day), I certainly hope YOU get the chance to do so! Be safe and have fun on IFRD’S 10th “ride-a-versity”! As for me, I will be traveling to Orlando to visit my daughter, the beach, and the Magic Kingdom!
I don’t attend a lot of bike night events, nor a lot of farmer’s markets. But recently we discovered that Valley Junction (the old “Main Street” area of West Des Moines, now a historic district) was hosting a vintage bike night at its Farmer’s Market. This was enough of a twist on both events to get me there, and truly enjoyed it.
I’m still terrible at estimating crowd size, but I would say there were maybe 100-150 bikes parked four columns wide down a block-long stretch of 5th Street – a cool collection of vintage BSA’s, Triumphs, and other models.
There was live music up and down the street, too, and at the end of the block a terrific group called Sons of Gladys Kravitz played 60’s and 70’s tunes and got our attention. (I’ve never heard ANY band cover Ringo Starr’s “It Don’t Come Easy.” These guys did so, flawlessly, among other great classic tunes. You’ll have another chance to hear them at Indianola Bike Night on June 19.)
We also made an obligatory stop at Nan’s Nummies, where I stocked up on Jelly Bellies and chocolate-caramel pretzel sticks.
But the focus of the evening was on the Des Moines Vintage Bike Night, which is coming up again July 2, August 6 and September 3. If you’re in the area, I recommend helping this event grow!
I was going to start out this post with a big fancy proclamation about it being my ELEVENTH YEAR OF BLOGGING or perhaps UNDOUBTEDLY A YEAR OF BIG SURPRISES or just anything that would make you actually look forward to reading another year of my blathering. But I’ve learned that whenever I actually point out or try to build up these kinds of impending milestones, I completely fizzle out mid-year which inevitably leads to disappointment for you AND for me. (Every. Single. Time!)
So this year, I’m not going to do that. (You’re welcome.) I’m just going to settle my ass down and blog, okay? And who knows – maybe the few of you who are still reading after last year’s mess will start bringing your friends around again and pretty soon things’ll be back to something like normal around here.
Now I don’t know about you, or where you live, but it’s snowing like crazy today as I post this, and I am nursing what I hope to be the tail end of a nasty cold… so it seems like a perfect day to compile the annual list of Des Moines, central Iowa, and random US biker events and rallies. As always, please note that this isn’t a complete list, and some of the dates are still TBA so will be added later. But if you know of something happening in Des Moines or its metro area, the state of Iowa, or the Midwest region, please feel free to share it in the comments.
UPDATE MAY 21 – Have removed expired/past events, and added a couple more.
UPDATE APRIL 30 – Still adding a few events here and there. :)
UPDATE JANUARY 14 –
Okay I’m doing a quick update here… I posted my original (limited) event list and was immediately contacted by my pal Vernon Schwarte of Thunder Roads Magazine of Iowa, who freely shared HIS list of events submitted to the magazine so far this year.
SO – seeing that TRI’s list is much longer (a.k.a., “more comprehensive”), I’m replacing mine with this one. :) Vernon encourages you to look up and call a venue or group before you try to attend, to make sure the event is still on. (No blaming the list-maker if something isn’t right here!)
It should go without saying that I henceforth adore Vernon Schwarte and thank him sincerely for so generously allowing me to share his Thunder Roads Magazine of Iowa Upcoming Events List for 2015:
May 22-24 – Redneck Revival Conesville
May 22-24 – Midwest Legacy Run and Rally Adel
May 23 – J.J. Bonnell Memorial Ride Fort Dodge
May 23-24 – Midway Tavern Annual Fun Run, BBQ, Street Dance Soldier
Jun 6 – Carroll Cycle Center Rock N Ride Carroll
Jun 10-13 – Rally on the River Davenport
Jun 11-13 – US Route 6 Iowa River to River Cruise Council Bluffs to Davenport
Jun 13 – Remember Me Poker Run Davenport
Jun 13 – 7th Annual Bell Tower Festival Poker Run & Cycle Show Jefferson
Jun 15 – National Ride your Motorcycle to Work Day
Jun 17-20 – 21st Annual Rally on the River QC Davenport
Jun 20 – Ride for the Girls Memorial Poker Run Pacific Junction
Jun 20 – Ernie’s Harley-Davidson 40th Anniversary Party Algona
Jun 20 – Vintage Rally and Bike Show Anamosa
Jun 20 – ABATE D14 31st Baldy Memorial Ride Fremont/What Cheer
Jun 20 – ABATE D14 30th District 14 Anniversary Party What Cheer
Jun 20-21 – Outlaw Street Drags Race Series Conesville
Jun 21 – A Ride to Remember Benefitting the Alzheimer’s Association with Coach Paul Rhoads
Jun 27 – 28th Iowa Iron Butt Ride Ottumwa
Jun 27-28 – J&P Open House Anamosa
Jun 28 – Nishna Valley Wings of the G.W.T.A. Fun Run
Jul 2-4 – 31st Annual ABATE of Iowa Freedom Rally Algona
Jul 10-12 – Combat Veterans Motorcycle Assoc. 39-3 Annual Benefit Garber
Jul 11 – Goozman’s Westside Poker Run Harlan
Jul 17-18 – Southern Iowa Wounded Veterans Rally Russell
Jul 21 – Ride to Remember charity ride Ames
Jul 23-25 – Iowa State HOG Rally Des Moines
Jul 30-Aug 1 – 8th Annual Across the Border Raid Bedford
Aug 3-9 – Sturgis Rally, South Dakota
Aug 8 – AtlanticFest Ride In Bike Show Atlantic
Aug 22 – ABATE of Iowa M.A.R.S. Eldora
Aug 23 – Iowa State Fair Motorcycle Day Des Moines
Aug 29 – Mighty Mississippi HOG MDA Hope Ride Dubuque HD
Aug 29 – Spydermania II Atlantic
Sep 3-5 – Chief Blackhawk 44th Fall Davenport International Meet
Sep 4-6 – Redneck Revival Conesville
Sep 5-6 – Midway Tavern Soldier Valley Run BBQ, Street Dance Soldier
Sep 11-13 – Davis Motorcycle Rally New Hampton
Sep 12 – No Nipple Dipple Ride Buffalo
Sep 12 – Broken Spokes Ride For U of IA Children’s Hospital Davenport
Sep 19 – Sydney’s Wish Annual Charity Poker Run Des Moines
Sep 19 – Waukee Legions Riders 7th Annual Toy Run Waukee
Sep 19-20 – Outlaw Street Drags Race Series Conesville
Sep 23-26 – Bikes Blues & BBQ Fayetteville, AR
Oct 15-18 – Biketoberfest Daytona FL
Oct 17-18 – Outlaw Street Drags Race Series Conesville
And, here are some area Bike Nights I’ve compiled which are not on the above list:
Kelley Bike Night – June 4 & 18; July 2,16, & 30; Aug 13 & 27; and Sep 10 & 24 at Crossroads Tavern in Kelley IA
Indianola Bike Night – Third Friday of the month, April 17 thru September 18, Indianola IA
Winterset Bike Night – Third Saturday of the month, April 18 thru September 19, Winterset IA
DSM Vintage Bike Night – First Thursday of the month, May 7 thru September 10 in Valley Junction, West Des Moines, IA.
Knoxville Bike Night – First Friday of the Month beginning May 1 thru September 4 (to be confirmed) in Knoxville IA.
Thunder Nites in Newton – Second Friday of the month, May 8 thru September 11, Newton IA
Greencastle Tavern Bike Night – Wednesdays beginning May 20 through October 7, 6 pm – 9 pm in Mingo IA
Hartford Bike Night – August 22 in Hartford IA
Blessing of the Bikes – Date TBA at Grotto of the Redemption, West Bend IA
Avenue of the Saints Motorcycles/Classic Cars (formerly St. Charles Bike Night) – Dates TBA, St. Charles IA
And a few other tidbits still to be confirmed:
Gathering on the Grounds – Second Thursday of the month, April – July at the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines IA
Struthers Brothers Dinner Rides – Dates TBA, leaving from Struthers Brothers in Des Moines, 4:3o pm on dates shown.
Yep, I admit it – this post is a re-run! I was wanting to “round up” the upcoming Bike Blessings that I had added to my calendar post. I went looking for the photo that I had used in my original ‘Blessing’ post, and thought, you know what, screw it – the words are still good too! Here’s the original post, and a current/updated list of blessing events:
I really dig all the “bike blessing” events I’m hearing about. I’m not what you’d call a regular church-goer, but I am a Christian person and I find that riding the Iowa by-ways on two wheels is a great way to enjoy and appreciate God’s creation. (Riding in areas that look so different from Iowa, like South Dakota, is a great way to be reminded that my immediate world is very tiny and that God’s creation takes many different forms!)
Of course, one of the things I like best about bike blessing events is that they signify the beginning of the riding season. But more than that, they are an opportunity to acknowledge that there is some risk in riding, and that you have to be able to pretty much put yourself in God’s hands when you ride because you simply can’t control every risk factor. It’s humbling. Sometimes, it’s even emotional, but maybe that’s just me.
We’re headed to the first of the area bike blessings soon, so it seemed like a good time to mention a few of them that I know of. If you know of another and would like to list it here, feel free to add it in the comments.
How about you – do you enjoy blessing events? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Saturday, April 12 – 11 am at Route 65 Harley Davidson in Indianola.
Saturday, April 19 – Big Barn Harley Davidson in Des Moines, blessing at 11 a.m. with chili feed to follow.
Saturday, April 26 – 2 pm at Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa (I’ve already got a ride planned for this date, but I’m putting the Grotto Blessing on my must-do list for 2015.)
Saturday, April 26 – F&J Racing blessing, 10 am at the American Legion Post in Marshalltown, Iowa.
Sunday, May 4 – Noon at Prairie Ridge Church in Ankeny, Iowa.
Flickr photo by mobhistory.
Big Barn Harley Davidson here in Des Moines hosted its annual Zero Run today – one mile to ride for every degree of temperature. Sixteen riders took part, who are either really hardy or really idiotic, depending I suppose on your perspective… I’m going with “hardy.”
Big Barn hosts this ride every year and sometimes it’s cancelled due to road conditions. But this year main roads are decent – it’s just COLD – so off they went. We did go to the Barn today but with Kitten hiding in the garage behind the snow blower and our driveway covered in snow and ice, we simply couldn’t get there on the bikes. So we drove (yeah, I know, wusses…) but did manage to partake in and enjoy the Chili Feed and did a little browsing on the sales floor.
It was nice to do something bike-related even if it was just a little lunch and retail therapy. You can see the entire photo album over on the Big Barn Facebook Page.
Looking forward to the motorcycle swap meet in a couple weeks!
UPDATE APRIL 9 – Updated again by adding a crap-ton more events. I think this makes it my biggest calendar EVER. But, there’s likely more still missing. So, if you have an Iowa-focused motorcycle event, leave the info in the comments.
UPDATE APRIL 5 – I’ve just taken another pass through this list and updated with most of the missing dates. Again, if you know of something that should be added (either a large-scale national event or an Iowa-based event), please add it in the comments and I’ll list it in the main post. Thanks!
Happy New Year! Hope your January is off to a great start; I am still hibernating but around here we are approaching the date of the Motorcycle Swap Meet at the state fairgrounds held each year in February. I always consider that to be a bit of a milestone as we progress through Winter, so I am looking forward to it whether we attend or not.
We have had quite a deep-freeze going on around here weather-wise – something called a polar vortex – but there was one day in there where we actually had a high temperature around 45, and there were bikes out! Kitten, of course, is hunkered down behind the snow blower so there’s no leaving the driveway for me for quite awhile yet. But still – 45 felt positively balmy after the high temps just the week before which were below zero.
Anyhoo, while it’s still January I thought I would post my annual list of Des Moines, central Iowa, and random US biker events and rallies. This is by no means an exhaustive list (but it IS exhausting putting it together! LOL), and some of the dates are still TBA so will be added later. If you know of something happening in Des Moines or its metro area, the state of Iowa, or the Midwest region, please feel free to share it in the comments.
Time to THINK SPRING!!
Capital City Custom Bike Show & Swap Meet – February 8-9, Des Moines IA
Daytona Bike Week – March 7-16, Daytona Beach FL
Blessing of the Bikes – April 12 at Route 65 Harley Davidson, Indianola
Kelley Bike Night – Thursdays 6-10 pm beginning April 17 at Crossroads Tavern in Kelley, IA
Indianola Bike Night – Third Friday of the month, April 18 thru September 19, Indianola IA
Winterset Bike Night – Third Saturday of the month, beginning April 19 in Winterset, IA
Blessing of the Bikes & ABATE Dist. 4 Chili Feed – April 19, 11 am at Big Barn HD in Des Moines
Iowa Dept. of Transportation Motorcycle Safety Forum – April 25 at Hy-Vee Hall, the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines
Blessing of the Bikes – April 26 at Grotto of the Redemption, West Bend, IA
F & J Bike Blessing – April 26 at the American Legion in Marshalltown, Iowa
Gathering on the Grounds – Second Thursday of the month, April – July at the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines (to be confirmed)
Knoxville Bike Night – First Friday of the Month beginning May 2 through September
Struthers Brothers Dinner Rides – (So far) April 12, 26; May 10, 24, leaving from Struthers Brothers in Des Moines, 4:3o pm on dates shown.
Hartford Bike Night – Second Friday of the Month, dates TBA
15th Annual Motorcycle & Trike Display – April 25-27 at Southpark Mall, Spencer IA (712-262-8700)
Avenue of the Saints Motorcycles/Classic Cars (formerly St. Charles Bike Night) – May 11, June 15, July 13, and August 10, 1-4 pm, St. Charles, IA
International Female Ride Day – Saturday, May 3, worldwide!
Blessing of the Bikes – Noon on Sunday May 4, Prairie Ridge Church in Ankeny, IA
Thunder Nites in Newton – Second Friday of the month, May 9 thru September 12
Vintage TorqueFest – May 2-4 in Dubuque, Iowa
Hot Rods & Harleys Cruise Night – 2nd Thursday each month, May-September, starting May 8 at the Chrome Horse Saloon, Cedar Rapids, IA
Thunder Nites Bike Night – Second Friday each month May-September, starting May 9, on the square in Newton, IA
AMVET Riders Motorcycle Awareness Ride – May 10 at the American Legion in Marion, IA
Ride for Peanut – May 17 in Cedar Rapids, IA
“Remember When” Poker Run – May 17 in Davenport, IA
KIA Memorial Run – May 25 in Davenport, IA
National Motorcycle Museum Vintage Rally – June 7-8 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, IA
Rally on the River – June 11-14 in Davenport IA
US Route 6 Iowa River to River Cruise – June 12-14 starting in Council Bluffs and ending at Rally on the River in Davenport (link above)
Bell Tower Festival Poker Run & Bike Show – June 14 on W. State Street in Jefferson, IA
Relay for Life 3rd Annual Poker Run – June 14 starting in Cedar Rapids, IA
Ride Your Motorcycle to Work Day 2014 – June 16 EVERYWHERE!!
Awesome Biker Nights – June 19-21 in Sioux City, IA
3rd Annual Blackhawk Lake Trike-In – June 20-22 in Blackhawk Lake, IA
A Ride to Remember with Coach Rhoads – June 22 in Ames, IA
J&P Cycles Open House – June 27-29, Anamosa IA
Ride it Out for Amber- Saracoma Cancer Benefit – June 28 in Polk City, IA
ABATE Iowa State Freedom Rally – July 3-5, Algona IA
ASMI River Road Fundraiser – July 18-20 in Dubuque, IA
First Annual Ride 4 Time poker run – July 19, Baxter IA
Patriot Ride – July 19, Quasqueton, IA
Road Warrior Rally – July 26, Dubuque, IA
Across the Border Motorcycle Raid and Rally – July 31-August 2 in Bedford, IA
2nd Annual Ride to Live 4 Gibbie Poker Run – August 2 in Boone, IA
Sturgis Rally – August 4-10, Sturgis SD
AMVET Riders 2nd Annual Bug Run – August 9 in Cedar Rapids, IA
Iowa State Fair Motorcycle Day – August 17, Des Moines IA (to be confirmed)
Iowa State BTW Rally and Iowa heartland Trikers Trike-In – August 22-24 in Kellogg & Grinnell, IA
Chief Blackhawk 43rd Davenport Fall International Meet – August 28-30 in Davenport, IA
Davis Motorcycle Rally – September 5-7 in New Hamptom, IA
Sydney’s Wish 3rd Annual Benefit Poker Run – September 6, Des Moines IA
Bikes Blues & BBQ – September 24-27, Fayetteville AR
Biketoberfest – October 16-19, 2014 in Daytona Beach SD
An estimated 800,000-plus bikers converged in a loosely-organized rally in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, September 11 to mark the 12th Anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and to honor the victims and rescue heroes of that day. Here are a few photos from various sources – sorry they are not properly sourced, it’s hard to tell where some of them originated.
While some reports of this event suggested that the group was attempting to disrupt or confront a rally known as the “Million Muslim March” (later renamed the Million Americans March Against Fear), it turned out to be merely a large-scale “ride-through.” The other rally, co-sponsored by the American Muslim Political Action Committee, the DC Area 9/11 Truth Movement, and Engineers for 9/11 Truth Movement, drew about 30 participants.
This post from EatSleepRide seems to suggest that only a small fraction of the bikers actually rode through D.C. itself. I really don’t know what the real outcome was, but the staging photos are amazing!
Sydney’s Wish Poker Run
September 7, 2013
Registration 10 am at The Fraternal Order of Eagles #109
6567 Bloomfield Road, Des Moines
Cost: $15 per person
In 2011, a young student in central Iowa named Sydney Schwienebart was driving her car on a rural road near Colfax, Iowa. According to news reports, Sydney struck a guard rail going around a curve. Her car went over the rail, flipped several times, and landed upside down in a creek. She died at the scene. Sydney was a senior at Southeast Polk High School, with plans to attend college and become a history teacher.
This week in my email I received information from one of Sydney’s family members about the Second Annual Sydney’s Wish Poker Run, coming up September 7. This run will raise money for the Sing Me To Heaven Foundation, which assists grieving parents with funeral expenses after the loss of a child. Funds will also be raised for the Sydney Schwienebart Memorial Scholarship Fund at Southeast Polk High School.
The loss of a child is certainly a parent’s worst nightmare – my own daughter, now 19, is just six months older than Sydney, and her personal safety has been a constant weight on my mind since the day she was born. It seems cliche to say it, but I truly cannot imagine the pain of something horrible actually happening to her.
But Sydney’s story touches my heart for another simple reason: The road on which she died, F-48, is one of my favorites to ride in central Iowa with beautiful curves and far-reaching views. I am sad and sorry to think that this road – which for me offers nothing but beauty and the joy of a motorcycle ride – holds such grief and suffering for another family.
I had not heard of Sydney and her story until this week, but I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about her many gifts and talents, and her dreams for the future. I wish her family peace, and I encourage you to enjoy the ride on September 7!
Actor Charlie Hunnam has been forced to cancel all appearances at the Iowa Grand Motorcycle Rally on Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1, due to the shooting schedule of the TV series in which he stars, according to a news release issued May 14 by the Iowa Grand Rally.
The “Sons of Anarchy” actor will be unable to attend the two-hour public ‘meet & greet’ session on Saturday, and the three 90-minute private ‘meet & greets’ – one on Friday evening and two on Saturday afternoon – at Iowa Speedway in Newton.
Anyone who purchased a private ‘meet & greet’ session will have their full order refunded, with a period of 7 to 10 days needed for the refund to be processed, according to a news release issued by the Iowa Grand Rally. For more information on this refund, please contact the Iowa Speedway ticket office toll free 866-787-8946.
The Iowa Grand Motorcycle Rally, slated for Thursday, May 30 through Sunday, June 2, is the first major event on Iowa Speedway’s busy 2013 schedule. The Rally’s entertainment line-up will include live music acts, numerous food, beverage and merchandise vendors, bike displays, tattoos, burn-out and talent contests, motorcycle drag racing, lawnmower racing, body painting, and the ever-popular ‘Wall of Death’ motorcycle daredevil show.
Additional information about the 2nd Annual ‘Iowa Grand Motorcycle Rally’ may be accessed on the Rally’s official website, www.iowagrandrally.com, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/iowagrandmotorcyclerally. Vendors and potential advertisers may reach Iowa Grand Rally Coordinator, Sabrina White, at email@example.com for details.