In the throes of winter. On the heels of a 3-day polar vortex. In rolls The Progressive® International Motorcycle Shows® (IMS) to Minneapolis February 1-3, 2019.

Thank God.

For us Northland motorcycle enthusiasts, getting through winter is a tricky thing. We think about riding, talk about riding, look at pictures of when we were last riding. We obsess about parts, upgrades, rallies, gear, whether we should get another bike, etc. Sure, there’s a group of dedicated riders who are ripping it up on frozen lakes (we salute you), but for the greater lot of us, we get through winter by ruminating … about motorcycles.

So when IMS comes to town, we are ready. This year’s IMS provides three critical things that our industry and community needs, making it a crown jewel of motorcycling:

  • IMS brings people together. We are social animals, and we need other people to survive (and in Minnesota, in the winter, to stay sane). Seeing our friends and meeting new people in this industry is an instant and lasting gain. While the sport of riding in and of itself is incredibly rewarding, it’s the people of this industry that make it great. IMS provides a top-notch venue to connect. It’s as close to Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally™ as you can get in the Upper Midwest in February.
Chris Tice (@christice49) schools me at wheelie school.
My attempt at the wheelie.
  • IMS provides important education and learning opportunities to both motorcyclists and the non-riding community. Motorcycle safety is a huge concern, especially as distracted driving becomes more and more of a pressing issue. IMS gives voice to vendors and organizations who provide the full range of education. The more we ALL learn about riding, the safer motorcycling becomes. There were countless vendors; here’s a few examples:
    • Motorcycle Safety Center: From vehicle-driver education to motorcycle riding education, this important organization has everything anyone needs to know about riding safe.
    • Road Closed Promotions: Offering novice sport biker riders opportunity to learn track riding and racking. (I’ll be going this year!)
    • DirtBike Tech: Dirt bike school curriculum provided by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and taught by nationally certified coaches.
Motorcycle Safety Center instructors — invaluable assets to all drivers and riders on the road.
  • IMS is making new motorcyclists. The Discover the Ride program at IMS this year is a trailblazing, first-of-its-kind introduction of motorcycling to non-licensed attendees. People curious about what riding a motorcycle feels like can hop on an electric bike provided by Zero Motorcycles — a 10-year old, California manufacturer of electric motorcycles. This program, along with it’s New To 2 educational on-line video series, is providing our industry what’s needed most at this time — new riders.
Discover the Ride participants first show test balance and riding skills on a Yamaha Power-Assist Bicycle for a couple of laps. Then the really fun part — they hop on a speed-modified Zero Motorcycle (speed doesn’t exceed 9 mph), and they do multiple laps with instructors cheering them on.
Robert Pandya, creator of Discover the Ride, wanted to provide non-riders a gateway to get on two wheels. Discover the Ride provides gear, coupled with proper training in a closed, safe course.

If IMS is coming to a town near you, go. You’ll be glad you did. And you’ll see many, many others who are likewise glad they did.

xoxo, Anastasia