Motorcycle fans gather by Hermann

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt

Hermann Heights Park was packed with motorcycle enthusiasts Sunday.

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Hermann Heights Park was packed with motorcycle enthusiasts Sunday.

NEW ULM — Hermann Heights Park was packed with motorcycle enthusiasts Sunday. Members of the local chapter of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) met at the park for their annual fundraising event.

Two rows of Gold Wing bikes flanked the sides of Monument Drive. Most of the riders were locals, but other chapters from as far away as Duluth came to show their support. Globally the GWRRA has 60,000 members. There are nine chapters in Minnesota. This year between 50 and 80 people attended the get-together.

Club member Rick Eckstein said the organization promotes rider safety and driver awareness. Many motorcycle accidents occur when a motorist fails to see a motorcycle rider. The fundraiser allows funding classes and seminars on safety.

This year the number of motorcycle-related accidents is down compared to last year, but Eckstein said even a single motorcycle fatality in Minnesota is too many.

The safety aspect of GWRRA is a necessary part of motorcycle riding, but the fund is finding time to ride.

Eckstein said the chapter takes park in many river rides along the Minnesota and Mississippi. Its a great way to explore the state and see new places, including New Ulm.

Brian Marshall is a GWRRA member from the Duluth chapter. The fundraiser was his first chance to visit New Ulm. Marshall said he was lured to New Ulm with the promise of sauerkraut and brats. He and his wife often prefer to ride the scenic routes. On their trip down they rode around Lake Mille Lacs.

“It’s my wife’s favorite place to ride,” he said.

As the summer progresses, drivers are more likely to see GWRRA members and other motorcyclists on road tours. Drivers are advised to give riders the same amount of room as they would a regular vehicle.

The local GWRRA chapter includes members in New Ulm, St. Peter, St. James, Fairmont and Mankato.

A GWRRA rally is scheduled in Owatonna next month. The event is expected to bring 100 to 150 riders.

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