Bridgewater’s annual “Frosty Nuts” motorcycle run drew more than 400 cycles on New Year’s Day

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(pics) --- The run began as an informal gathering of friends some 50 years ago, but social media has exploded its popularity.

BRIDGEWATER — The “Frosty Nuts” motorcycle run, a 20-mile ride from Bridgewater to Plympton, is an institution with a humble beginning.

A Bridgewater man, Willie Smith, started the run decades ago. The town’s 49ers Club started organizing the ride in 1988, but Smith stayed involved until his death in January 2018.

49ers Club president Kevin Burrill said Smith told him the ride started almost by accident.

One unseasonably warm January day in the 1960s, Burrill said, Smith wanted to ride his motorcycle with a group of friends. But he found that none of them kept their motorcycles registered during the winter. Smith and his friends made a pact, Burrill said, to ride the next January. Thus, the “Frosty Nuts” ride was born.

Social media has drawn more people to the annual ride, Burrill said, but fair weather also helps. Tuesday’s warm temperatures probably attracted a lot of riders, Burrill said. He counted 430 motorcycles at the start of the ride.

In 2018, just 11 people showed up for the ride, Burrill said. The wind chill was below zero for most of that day.

The ride is free, Burrill said. The 49ers Club cooks breakfast for around 120 people, and charges $5 per plate to cover the ride’s cost. But the run is not a fundraiser, and doesn’t serve any agenda, Burrill said. He said this year’s ride was in Smith’s honor.

“It’s a group of friends getting together to start the new year off right,” he said.

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