Winter has finally arrived and, if you’re from around these parts, you know what that means: flip-flops and iced tea one day, wool sweaters and hot chocolate the next. But that’s just one of the things that makes Texas so special—and provides us with decent riding weather even when the rest of the country is knee deep in snow and ice. So let’s ride… After attending my first-ever Biketoberfest in October, I also had a chance for a short visit to the American International Motorcycle Expo in Orlando. While I was there I had the pleasure of meeting Reg Kittrelle, founder of THUNDER PRESS. He was working the LS2 Helmets booth and serves as their media liaison. I’ll give you a call, Reg, once I finish looking over that LS2 catalog one more time… On November 2, the 2nd annual Conrad’s Ride was held on Galveston Island during the Lone Star Rally. Conrad is the son of Jeff and Cindy Nicklus (Desperado Motorcycles) and the ride is held in his memory. Working through the rally promoters, Nicklus was able to secure 2014 Indian Motorcycle demo models for everyone wanting to participate in the ride. My editor, Robert Filla, represented THUNDER PRESS and shared the road that morning with Jeff, Rick and Lena Fairless (Strokers Dallas), Jerry Bragg (owner of the Republic of Texas Biker Rally in Austin), the crazy crew of Southern Metal Choppers along with others. Although it was a solemn event, the Desperado gas-powered margarita machine was fired up later that afternoon and a round of drinks was served in memory of Conrad. It was decided that all future Conrad Rides will be held each fall during the Lone Star Rally… While we were at the Indian demo tent, we bumped into an old friend, Jeff Jordan, GM at Team Mancuso PowerSports located on the Gulf Freeway. Seems that with everything else the shop carries, they have also recently become an Indian dealer and wanted to invite everyone to stop by and take a look at their 2014 model lineup. Jeff was instrumental in supplying the Indian Motorcycles for Conrad’s Ride and promised to treat you just as nice… We also received word that during the Lone Star Rally, Juan Gandera Jr. with Lubbock Custom Motorcycles scored a first place win at the Ride-In Bike Show. We heard it was in the Domestic Class, but never found out if it was for Stock Custom (seriously doubt that), Radical or Bobber (either of those are more likely). But whatever the style, congratulations go out to this excellent builder and good friend of the magazine… The following weekend, on November 9, the Lake Loons held their annual Toy Run at Big Daddy’s by the Lake in Somerville. A crazy bunch of riders, this year the Loons included a live auction, a band and a chili lunch along with a Fun Run. All proceeds and toys benefit families in Washington and Burleson counties. The Lake Loons also host the annual Run for Wheels in May at Lake Somerville… And somehow I missed the 2nd annual MC Creations Swap Meet held at their business location on Highway 249 in northwest Houston the following day. With the reputation that owner Big Greg Hale and the shop carries (one of the best sources for vintage parts in all of Texas), I can only imagine what showed up on the vendor tables. Well, there’s always next year… The Saturday before Thanksgiving, November 23, the Marine Corps Reserve held their DFW Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run. This 44-mile ride kicked off at Freedom PowerSports in McKinney and ended with the Marines collecting toys at VFW Post 2150—The Lone Star Post. Afterwards, riders were invited to stick around for a grilled lunch provided by the Post… And then, just to exercise your taste buds, on Wednesday November 27, the day before Thanksgiving, Mancuso Harley-Davidson Central and their sister store Mancuso H-D Crossroads held their Steak Night, again at Tobin’s Bar on FM 529 in west Houston. The evening included music, drink specials and prizes… In closing, Biker Rallies of Texas wanted to remind everyone that’s it’s not too early to begin preparing for the 2014 riding season. Pretty sure they’re talking about their upcoming Thunder in the Hill Country being held in Bandera on March 27-30. The event includes a ride through the scenic Twisted Sisters, a poker run, a bike show and plenty of contests, food and beverages. Go to www.bikeralliesoftexasd.com for all the details… Until next time, ride safe, ride warm.