Monday, January 3, 2011

63rd Annual I-Cycle Derby

Photo by Gigi Nielsen

On January 1st, 2011, hordes of people and hundreds of motorcycles descended upon Chief’s Towing in Bloomington, MN for the 63rd Annual I-Cycle Derby. Chief’s graciously hosted the event in their heated garage.

IMG_8274 IMG_8349

Ok, a slight exaggeration – there were 13 motorcycles and three dozen spectators and volunteers.


There were even three Urals including mine!


It was a cold day with temps ranging from 4-10F. There was also a strong wind. The night before we had freezing rain and then a dusting of snow. It made for interesting conditions.

IMG_8326 IMG_8324

The I-Cycle Derby is run by Traveler’s Motorcycle Club as it has been since 1986. The club very generously provided all of the volunteers and lunch to the event!

IMG_8300 IMG_8336

The derby is run as a motorcycle road rally or time speed distance (TSD) rally. The object of the event is to maintain precise average speeds and to arrive at the checkpoints at a precise time determined by your start position. The lowest points wins.


Points are given to a rider if they do not arrive at the checkpoint at their predicted time. Two points for each minute early and one point for each minute late. This discourages speeding. Most of the route had an average speed of 30MPH with actual speed limits ranging from 30-55MPH. Stop signs, stop lights, and trains made things more interesting.


The event was run in two stages. One in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Each stage was 25 miles long and took us through the twisty roads in the south metro including some in Minneapolis and St. Paul. We plan on riding the route again in the spring. It was nice!

Each rider was given a route card at the start and then followed that to the first checkpoint.


At the checkpoint their arrival time was recorded and they were given the next route card to the next checkpoint. Three checkpoints for each stage.


For the morning, we were doing pretty well for our first time. We were in 5th place with 11 points. In the afternoon, things got a bit harder. We got lost twice and quickly racked up the points. We finished in 7th place (out of 13) with 56 points. The winner had 7 points and was on a Ural! The other Ural finished in 4th place with 20 points. 5th place had 46 points.


The top five finishers received trophies. The rest of us were happy just to have completed the event!


I was glad my wife rode with me. She sat in the sidecar and read the route cards to me. She was a good navigator and companion. It was nice having someone else around when lost. We both had a lot of fun and are looking forward to the 2012 event.

One of the spectators made this great short video. According to our friends, the clip from 0:05 to 0:07 was featured on the CBS 10pm news that night. It was my wife and me on the Ural. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see it on TV.  

My full flickr album here with a couple pictures generously provided by Gigi Nielsen. There are a lot more bike shots in the full album.

My YouTube Video of the event (720p):


  1. The video was so fun! Great riding along...LEEEAAANNNNNNNNN!!!

  2. Sounds like a fun event! Really great showing by the Urals! Those two-wheeled riders were impressive in such conditions. It takes icy conditions for Urals to be able to catch and pass other motorcycles!

    Your "monkey" was doing good leanings....didn't see much in the way of hanging out by the rider though! ;p

    Good stuff Chris!


    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

    Redleg's Rides

  3. Eve: Thanks! It was a fun day.

    Dom: It was a good event. I think on par with your elephant ride. You're right, Urals really shine in crappy traction situations otherwise they get based by even the goat of a bike, the KLR.

    She was doing such a good job leaning, I didn't need to move as much :D hehehe

    PS: you might like my PBC #19 video on youtube. I found some russian pastries ;)

  4. Dear Chris:

    Happy New Year To You... Once again, I look forward to another year of hair-raising motorcycle adventure, either from you on your Ural, or from you on a two-wheeled trek scoring thousands of miles in a matter of hours.

    Your most recent blog adventure just reeks of thrills and excitement.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  5. Dear Jack: Thanks! Happy new year to you too! I am also looking forward to your moto adventures and escapades in 2011. Thousands of miles in a matter of hours?! You know I don't own a K75 right?? :)

    It was a fun day. When is the next Riepe adventure going to be posted?