As the fall colors hit their peak in southeastern Wisconsin and beyond this month, it’s easily the best time of year for motorcycle riding.
Sure, the fall colors are always enjoyable in a car, or a "cage" as the bikers call them. Riding a motorcycle has often been described by as nature magnified by none other than Harley-Davidson legend and styling guru Willie G. Davidson. As you might expect, that can be either by really good or really bad, depending on what kind of nature you are riding through.
Once out on the road, riders have as many choices of routes and destinations as there are colors on the trees. It’s almost like that Wisconsin Tourism television ad with the actors from the old "Airplane" movie, but on a bike instead of in a plane.
But seriously folks, the Travel Wisconsin website actually has an excellent web page devoted to tracking the state’s fall colors, sorry "foliage." Riders might want to check it out before putting their kick-stands up.
Some of those prime fall riding choices recommended by the staff at Wisconsin Harley-Davidson include Holy Hill, Kettle Moraine State Forest, Lake Geneva, Door County and any of the 13 marked Rustic Roads in the four counties around Milwaukee. Not to mention the beautiful Lake Country in Waukesha County.
There isn’t an officially designated Rustic Road in Milwaukee County, but I can think of a few choice locations for beautiful urban rides such as anywhere along the lakefront, especially the short and twisty "Snake Hill" or East Ravine Road if you need to Google it.
Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to ride most of these routes and then some. While we locals get to enjoy these roads and their colors every fall, they are also choice riding for out-of-town visitors throughout the year.
The Holy Hill area is considered the gold standard for motorcycle riding any time. However, newer riders might need to take it nice and easy on some of the tighter turns, especially with leaves on the road in the fall. This is a good reminder of other safe riding considerations like keeping your eyes on the road instead of the scenery, losing sunlight earlier every day, and watching for the cars that are equally distracted by the colors, their mobile devices or whatever.
Besides the beauty of the fall colors, it’s also the landmarks, destinations and various establishments that can make these riders memorable and good background for the social media pictures. From Bradford Beach, the Harley Museum or the Iron Horse on the east heading south, west or north, there is plenty of great riding around here this fall.
Oktoberfest for Bikers: Riders can enjoy one of the last weekend rides of 2014 as Wisconsin Harley-Davidson in Oconomowoc is hosts an Oktoberfest Open House on Saturday, Oct. 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., including free brats, cold beverages, door prizes and live music by the Tom Brusky Band, as well as the first annual wiener dog derby.
Mike Morgan rides retro, whether on his 1976 Harley Aermacchi 250 or Heritage Softail. Mike has been a motorcyclist since 2001 having ridden in Sturgis, Daytona Beach, the California coast, New England and everywhere in between, including in the last three Milwaukee Harley Anniversary parades.
Mike worked in communications and marketing at Harley-Davidson for more than 12 years, writing and editing all kinds of content, including award-winning media kids in 2009 and 2012. He had ridden the Harley several times before Brewer games at Miller Park, and ran in one of the last sausage races at the old County Stadium when he was Communications Manager for the Stadium District Board.