Birds of a feather love to flock together, as do “Ryders of Spyders.” So, when Kregg Williams, owner of California Speed-Sports in Livermore, California, invited me to join with other Spyder riders in decorating our mounts for the annual Livermore Christmas Parade, how could I refuse? Joining what Williams expected to be as many as 30 other Can-Am three-wheelers would, after all, show yet another aspect of the Spyder social world.
My wife and I decided we’d follow through on the “snowmobile for the street” label that has been rather snobbishly hung on the Spyder and deck its fenders with reindeer—Dasher on the left and Dancer on the right. A visit to a local arts-and-crafts store yielded papier-mâché reindeer suitable for affixing temporarily to the press trike’s fenders, with (what else?) duct tape liberally applied. (There’s a reason they used to call it “300-mph tape.”) My wife artfully connected the reindeer with the Spyder’s handlebar using a couple of appropriately colored ribbons, then added a wreath on the decklid of the Spyder’s cavernous front cargo compartment—again attached using duct tape, which would doubtless outrage Martha Stewart but had the attraction of a) working well and b) being ready to hand in my shop.
After I put my years of hard training (ahem) as an illustrator to work by drawing eyes, noses, mouths and filling in the ears of the paper reindeer, voila! We had Santa’s snowmobile-for-the-road ready to roll. The ride to Cal Speed-Sports disclosed that the 300-mph tape needed some help, so with the assistance of Williams and his lead tech, Mike Renouf, in the event pre-grid, the reindeer were strapped down firmly with (naturally) yet more duct tape. Suitably restrained, we flew in formation to downtown Livermore in the chill of the early evening. Once the floats ahead of us (Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop and the Livermore Wine Country Blog) set off, so did we.
Riding in pairs down Livermore’s main drag, we were astonished at the number of people who had braved the cold and cheered themselves hoarse as we and the other floats and vehicles rumbled past. The commentators kept remarking on the Can-Ams, and it was a hoot to watch the little kids standing only a few feet away recognize Santa’s reindeer—their eyes would widen and they’d point and shriek to their parents, “Look! There’s DANCER!”
It was all over too soon, but we repaired as a group to Mountain Mike’s Pizza, where Kregg had ordered endless pizza on the house for the Ryders. And Ryders there were, aplenty. At our table sat two lady Ryders: Dora and Lauren. Dora Maramag won the best-decorated Spyder award with her GS, lit up by about a zillion flashing Christmas lights and sporting a little well-lit Christmas tree on the rear rack. Nancy Holland, Speed-Sports’ office manager, also helped organize the Spyder decorating and parade.
Williams tallied the number of Spyders that rode in the parade at 27, counting ours. The spectators were lined four deep along the route, so there had to be thousands who got an eyeful of Christmas-themed Can-Ams. To judge from their reactions, as well as the enthusiasm of the Ryders themselves, despite the increasing familiarity of the three-wheelers, they still have the capacity to evoke smiles and waves from kids of all ages—say, from four to 84. It all made Dasher and Dancer and the guy holding their reins very happy to have been in the parade, even though we didn’t win.
But, of course, as we used to say at Daytona, there’s always next year.