Minnesota's motorcycle season will shift into high gear Saturday with as many as 30,000 bikers expected to be rolling along the Mississippi River.
Twice a year southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin are flooded with riders in the Flood Run, which is marking its 50th anniversary Saturday.
As the Rochester Post Bulletin reports, the ride commemorates the historic flood of 1965. Motorcyclists from the Twin Cities rode down to Winona to help stack sandbags that year.
This year they're riding for fun – and to raise money for Gillette Children's Hospital in St. Paul.
Red Wing, Wabasha, and Lake City, are among the Minnesota cities riders will pass through on their 90-mile trip to Winona. But many will also travel on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi. (Click map at right to enlarge)
Flood Run organizers picked Sam "205" Tilly to emcee one of the events at this year's ride. They say he earned his nickname by getting a speeding ticket for going 205 mph at a previous Flood Run.
That probably makes Minnesota's Department of Public Safety shake its collective head.
The department used the occasion of the Flood Run to issue a seasonal safety reminder to motorcyclists and other motorists.
It won't be all that unusual to see large groups of bikers on Minnesota roads over the next several months, particularly on weekends.
The Let's-Ride website has a list of Minnesota motorcycle events ranging from the Winona Purple Heart Monument Ride in early May to July's Fight Like a Girl Motorcycle Ride for Ovarian Cancer Research in Bock.