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Ride on The 1981 Sturgis


The Biker Chef roared up on this ride the other day. I did a double-take. “That’s not your Road King,” I said.

“It’s my Sturgis,” he said. “I got it up and running. Want to go for a ride?”

“Um, I don’t know.”

“Ah, come on. Give it a try. You’ll look great hanging on back there.”

The Biker Chef, caressing his 1981 Sturgis, shovel.

The Biker Chef, caressing his 1981 Sturgis, shovel.

Hang on, I did, as we roared off into the sunset. I’m used to the big Road King with the extra cushy Sundowner seat and the backrest that wraps around me, keeping me all tucked in. We didn’t go too far, just to the next small town for a burger (Buck Burgers at K.C’s on Wednesday nights in Pillager). The weather was gorgeous, the ride exciting, and the burger delicious.

Old school dash on the Sturgis.

Old school dash on the Sturgis.

The ride, pictures, and this post gave The Biker Chef a chance to educate me on the history of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle. They made the “Shovel” model engine from 1965-1984. The earlier models are referred to as “panhead” for the shape of the rocker covers on the engine, from 1948-1965. It replaced the “Knucklehead,” on models from 1936-1947. Before that was the “Flathead.” Bikers already know what I’m trying to describe. You non-bikers can google images if you need a closer look. Mr. Happy and I were just happy to finally get out for a ride after this horribly cold and LOOOOONG winter.

Mr. Happy hanging out on the 1981 Sturgis, shovel.

Mr. Happy hanging out on the 1981 Sturgis, shovel.

DSC_0111Look how cute he is on his classic motorcycle! The Chef says this is a limited edition and he was thrilled when he got his hands on one back in the mid-2000’s.

Willie G. Davidson designed this particular model while on a ride out to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in 1979. When we visited the Harley-Davidson Museum this past winter, I paused at the display and read the story of how Willie G. stopped and drew out the plans for this motorcycle on the back of a paper bag. Oh, yes, we writers/artists use anything that’s handy to get our ideas out when inspiration strikes!

Warm weather, spring, and excitement for the summer has finally arrived here in Minnesota. We’ll be riding again as much as we can. “Come along for the ride,” says Mr. Happy, “Summer is the time for adventure!”

The Biker Chef riding off on his 1981 Sturgis, shovel.

The Biker Chef riding off on his 1981 Sturgis, shovel.

Wait a minute, Chef, I think you forgot something! (Mr. Happy hangs his head and sighs.) Don’t worry, Happy, he’ll be back to take you on another ride.

  1. It’s been a long time since I took a ride on a bike. There is something comforting about having a back to the back seat. I once rode with a friend whose back seat didn’t have a back and boy was it scary!

    Happy weekend!

  2. Great pictures, Mary. Count me among the non-bikers who need to google the info and images, but your story here is super cool, not to mention the pics. You guys have fun, riding in the beautiful Minnesota weather.

  3. This is the perfect time of year to own a motorcycle. It’s almost a shame to be trapped inside a car when the weather’s so nice!

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