TOLEDO — When Clara Boldt presses the starter button on her 2006 Honda Gold Wing trike, she’s used to heading out of town on an adventure with her husband, Fred. But, not Sept. 28 and 29, when she plays host to the annual state convention of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association in the Toledo/Tama area.
“This is the smallest city we’ve ever had it in,” says Clara, 64, of Toledo, assistant director of the Iowa District of the Gold Wing Riders Association.
Clara helped plan events for the two-day meet with Diane Borseth, 51, of Iowa City, the district director along with her husband, Lonnie. More than 200 members will bring their Gold Wings to Tama County for four road rallies, including one Sept. 28 to the Carnforth Inn out in the country west of Victor where all 120 seats have been reserved.
“We’re really looking forward to our rally this year,” Clara says. “Diane and I have had so much fun talking to the people in town.”
“They are so friendly,” Diane says, “just like Iowa is supposed to be.”
While this is the official gathering for the state’s nine chapters, Gold Wing riders are expected from several Midwest states and even the state of Washington, where Clara and Fred have attended state meets.
The Gold Wing Road Riders Association was founded three years after Honda unveiled its largest motorcycle, the Gold Wing, in 1974. Seven people met in Arizona over coffee and began what has become an 80,000-member worldwide organization. Diane joined the Davenport chapter 21 years ago; Clara the Waterloo chapter a year later.
The meet will be centered around the Reinig/Toledo Civic Center and include visits to a pair of care centers — Carrington Place in Toledo and Sunny Hill in Tama — where seniors will view and judge the motorcycles. Gold Wing association members range from teenagers to 97 year olds, Clara says.
That motorcycles attract such a wide audience is evidence of just how far they’ve come in nearly 40 years.
When introduced, the Gold Wing had the appearance of a standard touring motorcycle. But, in no time, aftermarket manufacturers produced fairings (combination windshield and wind deflector) to improve open road comfort and saddlebags to carry road trip necessities. As the engine has increased from the 1,000-cc four-cylinder to today’s 1,8000-cc six-cylinder, so have luxury appointments. Leather saddlebags became hard fiberglass ones joined by trunks. You can get Gold Wings with everything from comfortable custom seats and cruise control to air bags and three wheels.
Clara, who stands 5-foot tall, has always opted for a tricycle because her feet don’t easily reach the ground.“I don’t have a desire to drive like Diane,” Clara says. “They take trips all over and she drives all the time. I love the parades. I don’t have any problem sitting behind Fred,” she adds with a laugh, “and telling him where to go.”