Scooter enthusiasts visit Winters for a group ride

Cushman scooter enthusiasts motor down Main Street and onto Railroad Avenue. Photo by Kyla Sutro

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Winters Cushman scooter enthusiasts Jim Hayer, Dwayne and Pam Balugh invited members of the California Cushman Motor Scooter Club to Winters for a couple of weekday rides last week. Dwayne and Pam Balugh of Russell Street hosted over 25 members of the vintage scooter club on their property, offering far flung Cushman riders (one coming from as far away as Utah) some local hospitality for their fresh morning starts and a soft place for the gang to land upon returning.

On Wednesday, April 17 at 10 a.m., Hayer led the Cushman parade with a Chase Car following to make sure none got left behind and that all were connected via helmet comms. The group scooted off down Main Street, turned downtown at Railroad Avenue and rode along road 89 and onto Highway 16 to Capay Valley. They stopped $1 Wednesday burgers at Road Trip Bar and Grill, then headed back home to Winters. It was roughly a four hour ride and, at 35 mph, safe, sane and serene.

That Thursday the team left again for a 70 mile scoot around Wooden Valley, stopping along the way to admire the Monticello Dam and its Morning Glory shaped spillway.

Cushman motor scooters were made in Lincoln, Nebraska from 1936 and discontinued in 1965, making each bike, or “three-wheeler” trike, at least 54 years old.

Jim Hyer of Boyce Road owns several, saying of his collection, “You only go around [life] once.”

As scooter parts are not hard to procure and fixing them up has become second nature to some, many enthusiasts end up owning several bikes.

California Cushman Motor Scooter Club members are retired grade school teachers, a CHP patrol man, airplane pilots, doctors and farmers, and all between 60 and 84 years old. One participant said riding and working on the bikes brings back memories from when we were young.

Cushmans were very popular back in the 50’s and were widely used to transport paperboys and high school kids.

“They cost $350 – $425 at the time, and now are anywhere from $5k-7 thousand,” said Club President Russ Kiler. He added, “You can build a bike for $6k and sell it for $5k, it’s a helluva deal!”

Kiler, like many members, has been restoring and riding Cushman scooters for over 25 years. The California Cushman club is at exactly 200 members and he says, “They are spread from one end of the state to the other.” Clubs are in 40 states nationally and boast over a thousand members.

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