The Wisconsin Moto Guzzi Riders have been a force for Italian motorcycle fans since the group’s formation in 1982. While the focus is on Moto Guzzi, Ducati is also a preferred brand and on the occasion of the annual Rally and Ride of the club, any brand is welcome.
Besides, you can be a member of the group, whatever brand of bike you ride as an enthusiast, but you just don’t have the right to vote.
The 2021 event ran from July 30 to August 1 with the rally base at Alana Springs Campground just west of Richland Center, Wisconsin.
Something around 200 riders can show up for the annual rally, so if motorcycle rallies are compared to Sturgis, Laughlin or Daytona, it’s small, but it’s fine. The pace is relaxed, the setting bucolic, the people fun and affable, the noise level, well, there isn’t really any.
The roar of Italian engineered V-twins mingled with the conversation and laughter and the weather was perfect. Moderate humidity and sunshine through some haze caused in part by smoke from wildfires in the west, ideal for perfect driving on uncrowded, well-paved township, county and state roads.
About 20 of the participants gathered for a group tour on Saturday morning. Wisconsin Moto Guzzi Riders President Tom Kelly led the group north through rolling countryside to the first stop at Joe Block’s at a beautifully renovated former dairy farm near Yuba.
Block has accumulated a mix of vintage American and European bikes over the years and they are interesting to watch and he has a wealth of knowledge about each machine.
From there, Block took the road further north to the small point on the map known as Melvina, Wisconsin, located on the shoulder of STH 27 east of La Crosse. The FootJoy Farm and Brewing restaurant is located here, offering microbrewed beer, bread, pasta and pizza crusts, all made with their own grains grown on site. It’s not your regular cereal, either. Forsberg is a pioneer in the use of heirloom and historic grain varieties.
The place is about as far away as it gets and has an atmosphere of its own with background music created from vinyl records on a turntable instead of pre-mixed digital devices. As we enjoyed burgers and pizza and got information on the whereabouts of owner Chad Forsberg, ZZ Top performed in the background as a tribute to the band’s late bassist Dusty Hill.
From Melvina, the runners looped south to Richland Center, some exploring different routes to find their way back to the Alana Springs Campground.
For more information, visit Wisconsin Moto Guzzi Riders.
To learn more about Footjoy Farm and Brew, in Melvina, WI, check them out on Facebook.
To learn more about Alana Springs Campground, visit their website.
For our review of the definitive history of Moto Guzzi motorcycles, see: Rider’s Library — The Complete Book of Moto Guzzi-100th Anniversary Edition.