A leaden sky was spitting snow and the thermometer read 20 degrees when I mounted my Soviet Steed Saturday morning and headed for Cole Farms restaurant in Gray. I took the turnpike for expediency and the wind found every crack in my cold weather armor at 55mph. I was grateful for my heated gloves and jacket liner.
I met with a group of fellow Russian motorcycle lovers for breakfast. Then we headed to the parking lot to load up. We were the mules. That is, with our sidecars, we were going to deliver a load of “Coats for Kids” to Portland for the BMW Riders of Southern Maine. They’d been collecting winter coats to donate to WCSH and WLBZ2’s annual charity campaign.
After we let our bikes warm up and I tightened a few spokes that keep coming loose on my back rim, I led the way. Nearly ten bikes were behind me — mostly Russian sidecar rigs, but a couple of brave BMW two-wheelers, a Chinese rig, and BMW/Ural mongrel and one modern BMW sidecar outfit, too.
It was a short ride back to Portland on Route 100. But it was fun. Our bikes were bedecked with a bit of tinsel and bows and we gots lots of honks and thumbs up from folks we passed. The snow made everything seem a bit more festive and Christmasy.
The TV and Salvation Army folks were happy to see us with the goods. We got interviewed on the air and celebrated with southern fried food at Po’ Boy and Pickles on Forest Avenue. Then we shook hands and separated. One guy was going to buy a Christmas tree on the way home. I had to meet up with a reporter for an assignment.