Blind Lizard, Ought-Seven, Part One

Weather: 93°F (34°C) and humid, under partly-cloudy skies.
Road Conditions: Crowded with classic, eclectic, and exotic motorbikes.

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Andy Goldfine of Aerostich meets Blind Lizard Man, aka Tom the Tailor.

Father’s Day… For most people, those words conjure images of family gatherings, usually a picnic or barbeque, centered around paying homage to the paternal figures in our lives. But for some of us, Father’s Day is also Blind Lizard Day.

Here, we honor our local motorbike paternity; those two-wheeled hippies of the sixties and seventies, who blazed a trail both exotic and obscure. The two gentlemen at the top of the page exemplify this spirit.

At Blind Lizard, we celebrate the cool and the quirky, both fast and slow. Everything from antique bicycles to a modern diesel/hydraulic hybrid motorbike were in attendance at this year’s event.

Since a quick Google search reveals the location, I guess there is no point in keeping it a secret any longer. But if you decide to go to Nicollet Island for this event, please keep in mind that it is a residential area with no parking lots, and loud pipes are definitely not welcome here.

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I suspect this Mod Mo-sheen belongs to the ubiquitous Kent Aldrich.

I have been seeing this mint-green Stella all over town lately. It’s owner, one Kent Aldrich, is promoting his “Rattle My Bones” scooter rally. He seems to ride all over town distributing tags which can be tied to a handlebar or wedged under a seat strap, on any scooter he finds parked.

He’s not shy about getting your attention, either. One day, as I was riding down Robert Street, I saw him coming up behind in my rearview mirror, of which Rose only has two. Imagine the sight of that chrome porcupine chasing you down on a crowded avenue… He drew abreast and shouted “Pull over! I want to invite you to a rally!”

I did so, and said, “Thanks, Kent, but you’ve already invited me!”

We had met while I was still riding Scarlet O’Baron. So, can you guess what I found when I returned to Rose after taking that photo? Tag number two, invitation number three. I guess I’m going to a rally…

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Speaking of ubiquitous: Honda 750 SOHC pressed into chopper service.

This bike caught my eye because of the Felix-the-Cat logo on the fuel tank, and the bulletproof Honda powerplant. Also because it looks like the kind of thing that most of us could knock together in our garage, should we be so inclined. The Blind Lizard crowd appreciates something like this, and is much more impressed by it, than any fat-tired, over-chromed, fifty-grand chopper.

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My research indicates this is a McKenzie “Popular”, circa 1921.

Here’s a prime example of the old and obscure. When I was standing there looking at it, I thought it had been built around the turn of the century. As it turns out, it was built in 1921, with well-established technology, as a sort of everyman’s motorbike.

The McKenzie was manufactured by the Hobart Cycle Company, Ltd., of Coventry, England. If you click on the link in the caption above, you can find out a lot more. This old moped was not on static display. I saw it’s owner riding the McKenzie down the street about a half-hour after I snapped that photo. “Pukka-pukka-pukka…” – it sounded like nothing else on modern roads.

The fact that he has left the patina intact while tending to the functional parts makes it even more amazing. If there was an award to be given out for the bike which best conveys the spirit of Blind Lizard, I would vote for this venerable old classic.

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Lovely Lissa rides a mean motor-cooler!

Lissa is President and Queen of Marty Mataya’s household, or so he tells me. On Blind Lizard Day, she was riding around on this electric motor-cooler, handing out flyer’s for their new Baron dealership in Osseo, Minnesota. I will be visiting them in the near future, to see how things are going.

There were so many cool bikes at Blind Lizard this year that, for the first time since I’ve been blogging, I completely filled the memory stick on my digital camera! That’s why this entry is Part One. This weekend I will post Part Two, which will be mostly photos.

2 Responses to “Blind Lizard, Ought-Seven, Part One”

  1. Bill Sommers Says:

    Boy, I wish we had the moto-culture that you folks have back there. Although Amerivespa is coming up, it isn’t the same type of get-together that Blind Lizard sounds like. We still get the odd GoldWing gatherings, or the “biker” events, but nothing that brings a real broad mix of interesting bikes.

    I know, “Wish in one hand”…

    Have fun,
    Bill

  2. Harvey Binder Says:

    Ya gots ta call me when shtuff like that is going on in your neck of the woods. Now that I have a reasonable back way to get there, there are times when I might even be able to make it haha.

    Harv