by Shawn Mahoney
Colorado HeinkelFest was held September 25-27 in Colorado Springs, CO.
It’s no wonder that Colorado Springs has been voted one of the best places to live in America by several magazines, with its majestic setting at the base of Pike’s Peak, almost always sunny weather, and unhurried atmosphere. It’s also the perfect place to hold a scooter rally.
I arrived from Boston on Friday. It was going to be very expensive to bring my 103 A2 on a 3500 mile round trip, so Mike McWilliams (of HeinkelTourist.com) graciously let me ride one of his 3 Heinkels (and test drive his other ones!). I was all set.
Friday started with a technical session. As the sole participant (lucky me) I spent some one-on-one time with Mike and discussed a number of Heinkel repair and maintenance items. Later that night I dined with Mike’s family and some friends. We had a great steak dinner and some excellent conversation about a variety of topics, including scooters.
The HeinkelFest started in earnest on a beautiful summer-like Saturday. For a relatively small city, Colorado Springs has one of the greatest collections of Heinkels in America. Several Heinkel friends came, along with members of the local Peak Scooter Club. We planned our day over brunch, and after eating went to Sportique Scooters. Sportique is owned by Peak Scooter club members Simon and JB Penner. They sell both modern and vintage scooters, offer restoration services, and have a knowledgeable technical staff that is happy to answer any questions. We rode to Mark Foster’s house to check out his latest Heinkel project. Mark is a Heinkel and Harley enthusiast. In addition to six Harleys he has an original condition Glacier Blue 103 A2, and his current project, a 103 A0 with a Wilmsen sidecar. It’s a unique bike and one of the only known Wilmsen sidecars to exist.
Mark’s house provided the first major photo opportunity of the trip: seven Heinkels in a row, which we think represents the largest collection of Heinkel scooters ever assembled at one time (outside of an original dealer) in the US.
After lunch Mike planned a special treat for us by arranging a personal tour of John Dunham’s vehicle collection. John has an amazing eye for special interest vehicles, and has collected over 150 mostly European cars and two wheeled vehicles in his 10,000 SF garage. Many of these are in their original state awaiting restoration, while others are roadworthy showpieces that attract attention wherever they go (like Heinkels).
We could have spent an entire day there, but we were off on a tour of Colorado Springs. Because of “The Springs” location at the base of the Rocky Mountains, it’s easy to experience a variety of terrain on a relatively short ride. We rode on broad boulevards, wide open rolling hills, and twisting mountain roads, with spectacular scenery and vistas at each turn.
We visited the famous Starr Kempf Wind Sculptures. These steel sculptures, some 50 feet tall, were designed by a local artist to kinetically respond to the slightest breeze.
After a photo opp we rode in the Rocky Mountain foothills though the Broadmoor resort area, with its spectacular views of downtown Colorado Springs. We proceeded to Garden of the Gods, an area of beautiful sandstone formations, and a favorite tourist destination. We travelled through the park on perfect Heinkel roads: low speed limits, large uninterrupted stretches of scenery, and infrequent gear changes!
For dinner we went to the Edelweiss Restaurant. Edelweiss is a Colorado Springs landmark, and the site of one of Colorado’s only Beer Gardens. It was a beautiful night and the food was delicious! The five Heinkels parked at the front door sparked a lot of conversation among the diners.
Some of the rally attendees left on Saturday, and on Sunday a smaller group took another Heinkel ride. We went past the Colorado Springs Zoo, which had spectacular views, and onto Helen Hunt Falls in North Cheyenne Cańon Park.
This portion of the ride had significant elevation climb and featured a number of mountain switchbacks. After a leisurely lunch we ended the ride in Manitou Springs. We visited the world famous Dulcimer Shop, where Peak Scooter Club member Bud Ford III gave me a personal tour of the shop.
The first Colorado HeinkelFest was a resounding success. It was great to meet so many other enthusiasts, make new friends, and get a lot of riding in. It was also satisfying to learn more about Heinkels and improvements I could make to my bike. I look forward to another gathering!