Gophers and Cheese is a motorcycle blog focused on Minnesota and Wisconsin near the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul. Since 2010, Gophers and Cheese has featured original photos and write-ups of motorcycles, great places to ride, and local events in the area.
I wasn't sure if I was going to attend the 2019 Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Minneapolis this year so I didn't apply for a press pass. It had nothing to do with the show (I've attended every year since 2007) and more about this winter bumming me out. The best thing about this particular show is it's timing - right in the middle of winter, when you can't ride (unless you have studded tires). At least you can walk around, look at bikes, and sit on bikes. It gets you looking forward to Spring. I made the last-minute decision to go and took my son.
This year was a bit different than past years. I always enjoyed the stunt show but they didn't have one. Instead they had more interactive activities including riding electric bikes (both Zero Motorcycles for adults and Stability Cycles STACYC for kids) and a wheelie training machine. My son tried out the Stability Cycle and had fun.
I tried out the wheelie machine because... why not. You start on the bike on the right and it just lifts up and down on its own like a carnival ride while a guy explains what you should be doing. Then you switch to the bike on the left where you actually have control. It was weird. I'm a little embarrassed to say I've never wheelied a full size motorcycle before (it's definitely on my to-do list). Even with mini bikes, I've popped the wheel up lots of times but not really sustained a wheelie for any significant distance. On the trainer, once I got the wheel up, it was oddly boring. The setup was very safe so there was no danger and, while the rear wheel was spinning fast, I wasn't moving so it didn't feel like I was riding. It seemed like a good way to practice the basic mechanics without any real world dangers but it didn't feel real to me. I'm glad I tried it though.
As usual, there were a lot of custom bikes but, disappointingly, there weren't any choppers. There are so many great local choppers but no one apparently entered them in the show.
Yes, Rick Fairless' chopper was there, but it was there last year too and it was technically part of an insurance display, not the custom builder competition.
The custom I really liked was this 1946 Indian Chief named "Stella's Mettle".
The main draw of the show is seeing brand new bikes from all the major manufacturers. My favorite was the brand new 125cc Honda Monkey. I love my 1976 Z50 "Evil Monkey" and I need to finish my 1977 Z50 chopper and restore the 1978 Z50 that I bought for my kids to ride. The 2019 is really cool though. Anyone want to buy me one?
The strangest new bike/trike I saw was the Yamaha Niken. Don't get me wrong, I'd test ride anything, and this bike might be awesome, but it just looks really, really odd. Look up photos and videos online. It's unlike any other trike.
A very different type of 3-wheeler was this Vanderhall. It looks way more retro than a Polaris Slingshot.
After watching Flat Out Friday live streaming last night, I think I was inspired to get outside and ride. I carved a track in the backyard with my snowthrower, put my studded tire on the Evil Monkey, and had a blast. My daughter took the riding photos.
The Mama Tried Motorcycle Show isn't just a bike show, it's a full weekend experience. When you consider the show itself, Flat Out Friday, a visit to the Harley-Davidson Museum, multiple concerts, and ice riding on Slippery Sunday (weather permitting... and it did not cooperate last year), you really can't ask for more. I'm bummed I'm missing it this year but I hope everyone that attends has a blast. The last few years will be hard to beat, but the show seems to get better every year. Have fun everyone! I'll leave you with some photos of One (Metallica tribute) and Weedeater at last year's show.
These guys were so good.
Pushin' and shovin' in the pit (Rave security was not amused):
Weedeater was fun to photograph. The facial expressions are fantastic.
Here's a bunch of photos from the Mama Tried Motorcycle Show in 2018. Remember that this year's show is THIS WEEKEND! I was lucky enough to have early access so you'll see a lot of photos during setup and without the crowd. Once the door opened, it got packed. The Rave Eagles Club was an outstanding venue and I think it made for some great photos but I'll let you be the judge. I took way too many photos to try to organize them by bike. They're pretty much in the order I took them, revisiting some bikes over and over and over again.
This bike was incredible. A lot of people didn't think it worked but it's ELECTRIC. Let that sink in.
The room was filled with incredible motorcycles but this shovel was one of my favorites and looks a lot more like a rider than a show bike: