One of my favorite events of the year! Sure, its cold, but there is something very special about seeing bearded burly motorcyclists with stuffed animals and wrapped presents attached to their respective motorcycles. The event brings out anywhere from 10,00-40,000 riders each year depending on the weather.
This Sunday, December 7th Toys For Tots 37th Annual Motorcycle Parade hits Western Ave. This parade is a charitable ride that serves as a toy drive to benefit families during the holiday season. The parade starts at 9am leaving from the Dan Ryan Woods at 87th and Western Ave. You can learn more about the parade here: http://www.
If you have looked at the forecast, you will see its going to be pretty cold. Luckily our friends at Motoworks are going to provide some warmth along the way. Be sure to stop by their warming party for some good vibes and sustenance. 1901 S. Western.
Its a long ride, and 30 degrees is no joke. Hypothermia can set in quickly.
Here are some tips for the ride:
-Prep your motorcycle the day before so you are not rushing or stressed in the morning.
-Have a good meal and get a good nights rest. Obviously, avoid drinking the night before if you can.
-Eat a good hearty warm breakfast. Oatmeal is a great choice for warmth and complex carbohydrates to help fuel your body and brain.
-Layer! You can always peel them off later if you need to. Have at least one windproof layer (a rain suit will do if you have nothing else).
-Be mindful of cold tires and black ice.
-Go easy on the controls (brakes and throttle) as your muscles (and tires) may not work as well as they normally do. Try to anticipate the flow of traffic so you can have smooth transitions between slowing and going.
-Stop often. Because the police do such a good job of stopping traffic at intersections, riders do not have to sop very much. This can be dangerous, as you may not realize how cold you are. Wiggle toes and fingers often, and pull over at one of the many hospitality spots along the way. There is no rush to get to the end point.
-Have fun and make memories. My favorite TFT’s memory is from a few years back, when my mom (just recently trained and licensed) rode along side my brother and I. She was so proud, we all were, it was a great day.
We’ll be opening up the shop from 8am – Noon to serve as a warm up spot and to cheer the parade riders on as they roll by. We’d love some company, please join us for Coffee, hot chocolate, and pastries. Come down and enjoy the parade as it rolls by, or join in the action and honk and wave as you roll by. We’re a toy donation location as well. Please bring an unwrapped toy if you’re feeling generous. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. -Johnny