Monday, March 29, 2010

Tumbler Wisconsin Sport Bike Ride

I was lucky enough to spend the entire afternoon riding my SV650 Sunday. The ride started out a tad brisk at 40F with a strong wind, but eventually it got up to 52F. My Gerbing coat and heated grips kept me comfortable the entire day.

Late on Saturday night, I saw a last minute ride posting on the MSTA forum from a guy named Tumbler. It looked like fun, so I decided to go.

sv650 at point duglas park near prescott

I arrived at Point Douglas Park just outside of Prescott and waited for the rest of the group. The St. Croix River has been very high and flooding the surrounding area. When I arrived, Washington County had just finished piling sandbags around this park building.

Point Douglas Park near Prescott

Finally, some of the group had arrived


The ride started just outside of Prescott, Wisconsin and wound its way North through Hudson up to Taylors Falls. From there, we road South on Hwy 95 to Stillwater where most of the group stopped for dinner. Here’s the route sheet we mostly followed. The ride totaled 110 miles and took almost four hours with breaks.


At the first break, I noticed this sign. I like it.


The group at Taylors Falls


We parked the bikes at the gas station and walked down to Interstate State Park aka Potholes Park to look around. Glacial flood waters carved the St. Croix valley and the potholes in the basalt resulting in a very scenic area.

IMG_0282 IMG_0284 IMG_0286 IMG_0287 IMG_0296 IMG_0297 IMG_0298

After our walk in the park, we decided to take Hwy 95 to Stillwater rather than follow the rest of the route sheet. Many of the side roads were covered in sand. People were also starting to get hungry and wanted to take the most direct route to food.


We couldn’t park in the normal parking lots because it was under water.


You can’t even see the fence next to the gazebo because it is under water.


This bridge was just recently opened after being closed due to the flooding of the St. Croix River.


It was a good spring ride with about 15 bikes. I had a good time on the ride and chatting with some of the other riders. I’m looking forward to future rides when the temperature is warmer and the rains have washed more of the sand away.

The full flickr photo set is here.

I captured almost three hours of video. I put the short clip on both Vimeo and Youtube.

Vimeo Video:

Youtube Video:


  1. Dear Chris:

    Great pictures taken on a piercingly clear day. I found the video interesting as it has been forever since I rode a bike without a windscreen. I was watching the wind ripple your tank bag and thought, that's why he's wearing his electric gear. Was there a lot of sand on the road? No amount of rain appears to deal with it here, but some of the municipalities have already begun to sweep it up.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  2. Jack: Thanks. It really was a beautiful day. I'm still working on my photography skills, but the new camera does seem to help. I have a long ways to go to catch up to Chuck/Bob/Irondad.

    Yes, 55MPH with no windscreen and 40F gets kinda chilly. I have two windscreens for the SV, but I don't like using either of them because of the thunderous buffeting noise they make in my helmet.

    You can see some of the sand at 0:28 in the video; it is all sand from there until about 0:33. Then it just moves to the center and the outside. About half the roads had sand outside of the wheel tracks. Our local cities are also sweeping up the sand, but the fun country roads will require rain.

  3. Hey, Chris--nice tour through my old stomping grounds. Have they put in the new bridge across the St. Croix yet?

  4. Rogers: Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Which new bridge? There are lift bridges in both Prescott and Stillwater, but neither of them look new.

  5. I enjoyed reading this post and watching the very clear video. It certainly looked a beautiful day for a ride, even if a little chilly. The river level did look very high and I can understand the need for the flood protection measures.

    The video is good and I seeing the other bikes in shot reminded me of something I had noticed when I did the same sort of filming – with the GoPro camera having such a wide lens, one of the consequences is that when you are following behind another bike at a normal reasonable distance, the lens and subsequent video makes it look a very long way ahead. I suspect Chris that you were actually following quite closely, but the bikes in front sometimes look so far ahead, that it makes it look like you are leaving a huge gap, when in reality you are not.

  6. Gary: Thanks. It was a fun day. Yes, with 720p the GoPro makes things look further away then they actually are. It is sort of resolved with 960p or 1080p, but I have found that 1080p has a slight jello effect.

    I was actually keeping my distance most of the ride following at least two seconds from the rider to my right or left and at least four to the rider directly in front of me. The two riders behind me were also spread out. The distance let me focus more on the ride, conditions, and scenery than on the activities of the bike in front of me.