Back in 1963, Honda Motorcycles ran an advertising campaign that proclaimed, “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.” I’d like to amend that to “You meet the nicest people on a motorcycle.” Period. It doesn’t matter the make or the model, bikers are some of the nicest people I’ve run across in a long time.
I stopped out at Indian Motorcycles in St. Paul today and dropped off some copies of Ride Minnesota. Although owner Art Welch wasn’t interested stocking the book, he has graciously allowed me to snag a little counter space in his beautiful store. Can you believe it, almost every motorcycle on his show floor has been sold? There’s a lot of pent-up demand for Indians (Polaris has done a good job of marketing them). I hope the long winter and pent-up feelings extend into book sales, too.
I also stopped next door at St. Paul Harley Davidson. The folks there haven’t yet decided whether or not they’ll take the book, but John in the parts department invited me to a seminar on motorcycle touring that he’s giving in April. I’m already booked that day, but I appreciate invitation and the enthusiasm. In fact, so many people involved in motorcycling have been so helpful and encouraging.
I saw some bikers on the road today, and there were quite a number of folks buying parts and new batteries for their bikes to get ready for riding season. The temperature hovered around 45 degrees, but the weather was an ever-changing mixture of sleet, snow, sunshine. It’s the annual wresting match between spring and winter in Minnesota. Still, it won’t be long until the rumble of a well-tuned motorcycle is heard again.
I’ve been living the past for a couple of days now, re-tracing routes that Ralph and I drove last summer. I’ve written about a couple that I want to include in a new version of Ride Minnesota (don’t get excited, it’s long ways off). I’m also trying to make something out of our tour around Lake Superior. It was a completely different trip and didn’t fall into the same pattern as Ride.
While I’m studying road maps and Google satellite images and recalling what I saw, felt and experienced, I’m also trying to stake out my territory in motorcycle dealerships for the upcoming riding season. While I haven’t heard the rumble of a bike in my neighborhood yet, I have been visiting bike shops in the Twin Cities area.
The Indian dealership on I-94 in St. Paul said I could bring in a few copies of the book to sell. They don’t want to run it through their inventory, but they’ll put it out on the counter and collect the money for me. Fair enough. Fury Motorcycle in South St. Paul invited me to its open house on April 26. Justin Olmeim tells me they had 2,000 bikers at their event last spring. It’s an offer I can’t refuse! Northway Sports in East Bethel, one of my first and best supporters, has an open house the same day. Somehow, I’ll have to find a way to attend both events. King Solomon, where are you?
The generosity of the biking community in allowing me to hang out at their places of business, to carry my book and encouraging me to get out and push totally defies the tough-guy image that leather, studs and loud bikes proclaim.
The headline in yesterday’s Minneapolis Star Tribune says it all: “Indian Motorcycle shifts into overdrive as spring nears.” Polaris isn’t the only one shifting gears. As Minnesota weather continues to stay in the deep freeze, there are signs of spring in the motorcycle world.
I’m getting more and more emails for motorcycle gear. And last week, the editor Thunder Press called to ask for a high-resolution photo of the cover of Ride Minnesota. He’s publishing a review in the March issue. The tabloid reaches around 70,000 Harley Davidson owners, so I’m looking for a boost in sales.
A couple of weeks ago, Ralph and I attended the International Motorcycle Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center. While Ralph sniffed around the new motorcycles, particularly the Indians and the Victories, I handed out book marks with a photo of the book cover on it and the words, “Available from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.” I’ve seen a slight uptick in sales on Amazon since then.
It’s time for me to shift into gear, too, and start promoting spring sales of Ride Minnesota. And to start writing another book, about our Lake Superior Circle Tour.