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OTTUMWA — A wet week and a questionable forecast had organizers of this year’s Spring Fling motorcycle ride crossing their fingers Friday night. Saturday was humid, but the rain that plagued much of the previous week was gone.

“I woke up and it wasn’t thunderstorming, so I was pretty happy,” said Carrie Stroud.

Stroud was one of the first to begin setting up Saturday morning, preparing for the riders to arrive. This year’s route ran bout 130 miles, a good distance for motorcycle enthusiasts stymied by a long winter and wet spring.

Alan Bunkin was ready.

“This is the first time I’ve had my motorcycle out of the garage this year,” he said.

The Spring Fling started several years ago, back when Nsane Motors was over on Church Street. It moved this year to North Madison Avenue. The shop is a bit bigger and close to several other businesses that help drivers stay on the road.

The ride was a benefit for the National Kidney Foundation. After riders came off the road they gathered for a bike show. The concert organizers planned fell through, but spirits Saturday afternoon were high.

For Bunkin, this year’s fling had a very personal cause. His niece, Jamie, is on her third kidney transplant. She’s doing well, but the family saw a chance to show support for others in the same situation.

About 30 bikes come out each year, though some have passengers and others don’t show up until the show after the ride. Riders started returning at about 4 p.m. Clouds were gathering, but there were still no storms to speak of.

And, when you’re talking about motorcycles, that’s important.

“It all depends on the weather,” Bunkin said.

This year, it couldn’t have been much better.

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Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.