by Karen Mead-Elford, staff writer
THE OWOSSO VINTAGE BIKE Show was held in downtown Owosso Saturday morning, Aug. 27 as part of the festival and included Harley Davidsons, Yamahas, BMWs and more.
Despite the rainy weather, people attended the event in large numbers. (Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
A vintage motorcycle festival was held in Owosso on N. Washington St. beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26 and continuing through Saturday, Aug. 27. Richtig Restorations of Owosso and Owosso Main Street presented the new event to the community. Richtig Restorations specializes in restoring BMW motorcycles, which is a company that began as an aircraft engine manufacturer prior to WWI and is also a division of the German BMW organization.
The festival started in front of Springrove Variety on N. Washington Friday evening with around 80 bikers taking advantage of an organized bike run that ended with ice cream at Prescott’s Cone Zone and a biker movie presented at the fountain park on the corner of Exchange and Ball Streets.
Registration for the Vintage Bike Show was early Saturday morning and approximately 100 bike owners signed in. The show was free to the public, and despite fairly constant rain, the crowd was large. People of all ages attended to see bikes of almost every era and style imaginable. The Downtown Owosso Farmers Market shared some of the attention Saturday, but the primary focus was on the motorcycle event and related happenings. Numerous businesses were open, as well, and many downtown merchants were busy meeting the needs of extra shoppers.
Directly in front of Springrove Variety were a number of restored BMW bikes. On the same side of Washington St. was a 1911 Thor. Although Thor motorcycles are no longer in production, and haven’t been for close to 100 years, this American manufacturer began making bikes in 1901, and also made engines for Indian bikes. Sears Roebuck even sold Thor bikes via mail-order very early on.
Not far from the Thor was a rat bike. Rat bikes are essentially motorcycles that have fallen into disrepair over time, but are kept on the road with little or no concern for appearance, by adapting parts not necessarily intended to fit the model of bike in question. The idea is to keep the bike going for as long as possible with little expense, so a great deal of ingenuity is required. The rat bike exhibited downtown on Saturday included a metal seat in its design.
Planning for a second vintage motorcycle festival for next August is underway.