On any given day you never know what you’ll see on Lake Sinissippi. Maybe you’ll see cars racing around an oval near Lake Sinissippi Pub, or perhaps BMW’s or Audi’s just off Nieder Park. But on Sunday, February 19, if you were fortunate enough, you saw Harley Davidson motorcycles on the lake. Let me clarify, not just Harley’s but approx. 30 pre 1945 Harleys. A nationwide group known as, “The Race of Gentleman”, theraceofgentlemen.com were in Milwaukee for a motorcycle event over the weekend and had planned on racing their motorcycles near Milwaukee. The warm weather forced them to scout out a lake west of Milwaukee suitable for racing bikes and by 11:00am they found themselves at Nieder Park. From Flatheads to Panheads and some Knuckleheads. All equipped with studded tires kicking up the ice for professional magazine photographers. I talked to quite a few members, all in pre-1945 clothing and helmets. Members are from all over the country, and they race in the dunes of California to the shore of New Jersey. I even met an individual that came from Japan. He not only races but produces all the clothing for the members and tries to be as authentic as possible to the era. He was quick to tell me that none of the clothing is available in stores. In conversation they asked me how deep the water was, well I said, if you fall in, just stand up. Well, as you can imagine by 3:00 the ice seemed to get a little unstable and just then one of their own just standing and observing broke thru the ice. He was initially shocked and then realized he was standing. Two other members rescued him and that became the signal that their day was done on Lake Sinissippi. As I watched them all get off the ice, the last motorcycle’s rear tire broke through the ice near shore and he just accelerated and the studded tires pulled him out. Shookup and wet, he said, I think were done. That’s what happens on any given day on Lake Sinissippi.
The Race of Gentlemen have been invited to exhibit their bikes at the HD museum this summer.
Thank you Dave Jones for the Harley article and pictures.