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Ride On

03/19/2013 02:53PM ● Published by Anonymous

story: Jon Lewis photo: DevenCarter.com

BIG BIKE WEEKEND ROLLS INTO THE REDDING CONVENTION CENTER

Kool April Nites has staked out its spring territory, but when the leaves start to turn brown, it’s time for the two-wheeled vehicles to roll into town.

And rumble into town they will when Big Bike Weekend, celebrating its 10th year, sets up shop Oct. 9-11 at the Redding Convention Center.

While the weekend is intended as a celebration of all things big and two-wheeled, people who are more comfortable with four wheels, or even their own two feet, should feel right at home. Kids in particular will find plenty to do, according to Connie Grinols, chair of the non-profit Big Bike Weekend board of directors.

Children, who are admitted free if 12 or younger, can enter a bicycle decorating contest, play in a jump house or go on a scavenger hunt. There’s also plenty of family-friendly entertainment, including live music by local bands, and derring-do demonstrations by the aerial artists known as HiRiSeFMX and some nifty precision riding by the Seattle Cossacks on their vintage ‘30s Harley-Davidsons.

Rest assured, though: the weekend is about bikes, and not just the big ones. “We have included more activities to embrace all riders, whether they’re on a 50-cc scooter or a big V-twin and everything in between,” says Grinols.

To prove her point, Scooterville, a Redding-based group of scooter enthusiasts, will be back for the third year in a row. “We go down and share pictures of our club outings and host a regular scooter ride, and a few of the motorcycle folks go on it too. It’s kind of a strange mix, like two worlds colliding,” says Stacy DeMar, the Scooterville president. “We like to mingle around and try and educate them with what we’re about with the scooter scene and they’ve been great.”

Also on the lineup for the weekend are Segway demonstration rides, Cadillac CTS test drives, police motor unit competition, poker runs, guided dual-sport rides to show off popular North State sights and a Friday night police-escorted Remembrance Ride to honor public safety personnel who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.

Inside the Convention Center will be motorcycle classroom instruction, vendor displays, a Pro Builder Challenge and a workshop on how to customize riding apparel by adding some bling.

“We’re committed to making this a fun, affordable event for riders and non-riders,” says Grinols, noting that registration and gate fees have not been increased. Registration is $35 and general admission to the event is $5 for Friday or Saturday, or $8 for both days. Admission is free on Sunday, with events scheduled from 9 am to 2 pm. Proceeds from Big Bike Weekend benefit North State charities.

Daniel Grayson, a retired physician who moved to Redding five years ago, says he enjoys Big Bike Weekend for the exhibits, group rides and demonstrations by police motor officers. “Those are the kinds of things I go for, and just the camaraderie of being around others with similar interests,” says Grayson, who has been riding motorcycles for the past 30 years. He particularly enjoys the North State’s riding opportunities.

“There are a lot of wonderful roads for motorcycles that you won’t find elsewhere. Highway 36 to the coast is an example. You don’t have to put up with much traffic, so consequently it’s much safer.”

Gary Otremba, another motorcycle enthusiast and one of Big Bike Weekend’s newest board members, also likes the esprit de corps evident at the event. “It’s a common bond, like everything else. A bunch of bikers get together and hang out for awhile and trade war stories. It doesn’t matter what you ride, just as long as you’re out there doing it.”

This year, Big Bike Weekend is directing some of the two-wheeled excitement toward downtown Redding, starting with a Show & Shine from 11 am to 2 pm Oct. 3 in the Market Street Promenade, sponsored by Need 2 Speed. Viva Downtown Redding follows up with a Big Bike Kickoff mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 pm Oct. 8.

In addition to food samples and no-host wine and beer, the mixer will feature a painted helmet and tank competition with the entries displayed inside the Shasta College Health Science and University Center rotunda. Organized by Hawkman Studios, the competition offers cash prize for the best tank, best helmet and best of show.

“Some of them are pretty crazy,” says Kellie Jokela, the assistant to the dean of the college’s Economic and Workforce Development Department, who is helping with the contest. Tickets to the mixer are $7 in advance and $10 at the door. •

On the web: www.bigbikeweekend.com More info: (530) 245-7185

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