The Wisconsin Moto Guzzi Riders have been a force for fans of Italian motorcycles since the group’s formation in 1982. Though the focus is on Moto Guzzi, Ducati is also a favored brand and on the occasion of the club’s annual Rally and Ride, any brand is welcome.
For that matter, you can be a member of the group no matter what brand(s) of bike you ride as an enthusiast, but you just don’t have voting privileges.
The 2021 event ran from July 30 to August 1 with the Rally base at Alana Springs Campground just west of Richland Center, Wis.
Something in the neighborhood of 200 riders may show up for the annual rally, so as motorcycle rallies go compared to Sturgis, Laughlin, or Daytona, it is small—but that’s just fine. The pace is relaxed, the setting pastoral, the people fun and affable, the noise level—well, there really isn’t one.
The thrum of Italian-engineered V-twins mixes with conversation and laughter, and the weather was perfect. Moderate humidity and sun through some haze caused in part by smoke from western wildfires made for perfect riding on lightly-traveled, well-paved township, county, and state roads.
About 20 of the attendees gathered for a group ride 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 place on a beautifully refurbished old dairy farm near Yuba.
Block has accumulated a mix of vintage American and European bikes over the years and they make for interesting viewing and he has a wealth of knowledge about each machine.
From there, Block took the lead on the road further north to the tiny spot on the map known as Melvina, Wis., situated on the shoulder of STH 27 east of La Crosse. The FootJoy Farm and Brewing restaurant is located there, featuring microbrew beer, bread, pasta, and pizza crusts all made with their own home-grown grains. They aren’t your run-of-the-mill grains, either. Forsberg is pioneering the use of heirloom and historical grain varieties.
The place is about as out-of-the-way as one can get and has an atmosphere set apart by background music spun off vinyl LPs on a turntable instead of pre-mixed digital devices. As we chowed down on burgers and pizza and got some background on the place from owner Chad Forsberg, ZZ Top played in the background in tribute to the band’s late bassist Dusty Hill.
From Melvina, the riders looped back south toward Richland Center, some exploring different routes to find their way back to Alana Springs Campground.
For more information, visit Wisconsin Moto Guzzi Riders.
For more on Footjoy Farm and Brew, in Melvina, WI, check them out on Facebook.
For more on 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.