Archive for the ‘Rally’ Category

White Sands New Mexico

Five years ago, I didn’t own, ride, or predict seeing my future self on a motorcycle.  Not that I didn’t like motorcycles, they were just not on my life’s blipping radar.  I was a cruise agent with six grandkids, a brick-and-mortar home and, well, I did have a nice little convertible.  Transport yourself to the future ‘now’ and you see me riding 5-6 hours a day, many days in a row…and on a sidecar no less.  I rode it on the Tail of the Dragon, Twisted Sisters, Talimena Scenic Drive and so many other ‘famous’ road.  I’m full timing it in an RV working and riding.  Icing on the cake – I’m making a living at it.  How the heck did I get here!

  • Step one:  Your spouse suggests you guys buy a bike and take motorcycle lessons.
  • Step two:  Two-upping isn’t enough, you get your own ride.
  • Step three:  Life sneaks up and kicks your ass – you decide how to respond.

I didn’t take naturally to riding a motorcycle.  I failed my first class.  I went out and bought a bike anyway and practiced in a parking lot for months before I could get up the nerve to take the class again.  I passed with a perfect score.  About a year into riding, I was in a motorcycle accident (mechanical failure), the bike totaled.  Broke my kneecap and nose and was in physical therapy for 9 months.  What did I do while I was laid up?  I bought a new bike and helmet. 

On a cross-country road trip, I dropped my bike at a corner with my weak knee.  It took me an hour to feel like I could get back on the bike, but I found I had messed up the gear shifts.  My spouse and I two-upped it the rest of the trip.  On this trip I decided two things – riding a motorcycle wasn’t for me, not riding wasn’t an option either.

Mounting up for another day of riding!

Idea!  How about a sidecar.  A new journey of resistance, not on my part but for every inch I tried to step forward, something or someone was shoving me a foot back.  The first sidecar builder I found botched the job – the wheel fell off at 60mph going down the interstate.  The wheel well kept it from flying off and I was able to pull over.  At least 10 other things went wrong in this journey until I found the sidecar builder who helped me change my life (to him I will forever be in debt). Thanks Texas Sidecar Company!

I have put over 20,000 miles on my sidecar in less than two years.  And like this whole path, I continued to forge forward following my new passion.  My spouse and I started RVing so we could ride new places.  I had written a couple of articles for Ride Texas Magazine.  The editor found out and mentioned it might make a good story.  Like everything else, I took it to the next level.  I now write a series called Direction Wide Open on our RVing and motorcycling experiences for Ride Texas Magazine which will culminate in the first ever RV-Motorcycle Rally in the U.S end of September 2022 – hosted by ‘Me’.

I looked for new ways to share my excitement about riding and RVing and found several more magazines who would have me.  I submitted a short motorcycle story to Continue the Ride which is a series of rider stories that showcase the diversity and shared passions in motorcycling.  My story was in the first round picked up and the only one with the unique combination of RVing and motorcycling full-time around the United States.  A few months later Progressive reached out to me to present my experiences at the national Progressive IMS Motorcycle Shows across the U.S.  As an introvert, I now find myself center stage at six major cities presenting on RVing and motorcycling five times per weekend.

RV’ing at Iron Mountain

How did I get here?  Well, I don’t think I was planning on a shift from being a work from home cruise agent grandma to a RVing, sidecar toting, riding, grandma writer and speaker.  But here I am.  This has been the best ride ever!

The July Bikes & Breakfast, for Poolesville, MD gathering occurred over the weekend. The 1st Sunday morning of each month motorcyclist collect in a Poolesville parking lot for a meet and greet.

Click for the website

This month my grandsons are in town, so I took the older one with me to the event.  Taking the blue Harley Davidson, we rode the motorcycle the long route to Poolesville, on a beautiful bright day but very humid morning.  We arrived about mid-morning and there were not a lot of bikes in the parking lot.  At first, I thought maybe it was Covid-cancelled but we hung around to see what would happen.

By about 10AM the parking lot was getting full, I would guess there was at least 70 motorcycle on display.  Besides the ubiquitous Harley Davidsons, there were the standard Triumphs, Hondas, etc. There were a bunch of custom bikes from café racers to bobbers.

The one motorcycle that stood out for me was a 1967 Moto Guzzi.  A two-owner bike that is in remarkable shape for a very well ridden bike.  Of course, it helps if the owner runs a vintage European Motorcycle garage.

When we left, we took the White’s Ferry across the Potomac river and head for the house.  My grandson said he had a good time, but 14 year-olds…does one really know?

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Overcast, light rain and thunderstorms, that was day one of the HOG Curves to Cores motorcycle rally. There were no guided rides and with those weather conditions I decided not to do any of the self-guided rides. Instead I did the poker run and apple hunt. I still had a lot of fun!

Day Two of the rally was sunny but not hot, perfect motorcycle ride weather! I had signed up for the “Acting Like a Good Ole Boy” guided ride.

z16This was a 127-mile, well crafted, ride across the Blue Ridge Mountains and down the Shenandoah Valley. Some SPECTATUCLAR scenic views and some cool riding. I was unable to get pictures from the motorcycle as my co-pilot and backseat photographer had to work

The mid-point of the motorcycle ride was a stop at “Cooter’s Garage and Dukes of Hazard Museum”. Those of us of a certain age will remember the Dukes fondly as it was a lot of fun to watch. Today it is “politically incorrect” but then it was fun.z17

When we pulled into Cooter’s Garage, we were only folks there but, before we left there was at least one other group of about 10 motorcycles and then the Can-Am Spyder section of the Women’s Mid-Atlantic Riding Tour pulled in the parking lot.

The last time I saw that many Spyders in one spot, my wife sent me to the store for a can of bug spray! (now that is comedy)

From Cooter’s Garage we rode to lunch and then back to home base in Winchester. The return trip was just as scenic.

Day Three was supposed to be a ride to Summit Point Raceway to ride our big Harley Davidsons on the track. I did not make this ride as I had an offer to test ride the new Zero electric motorcycle. Stand by for a post on that event.z13

Day Four of the rally and the weather, once again, was perfect for riding motorcycles. This day my wife was able to attend and we had chosen the “For Whom the Road Tolls” guided ride.

At 80 miles this ride followed the first toll road in what would become the United States, Snickersville Turnpike. This was another well run ride. I want to praise our road captian Peter for an outstanding job on a ride with lots of intersections and stop signs!z6

This ride was through some of the most rural parts of northern Virginia. Beautiful farms and landscapes abound though out the ride. We passed though multiple small towns founded in the mid-1700s, a lot of pre-United States and Civil War history was ridden through this day.

Day four was also the closing of the rally. Held at Groves Harley Davidson of Winchester they had several event prizes to give away, of course I did not win anything! Bummer.

All in all this was a great event, setup and executed very well. We are going to another HOG rally later this year, it will be hard pressed to outperform the Curves to Cores rally.

Ride On, Ride Safe

ijustwant2ride

I recently attended the Harley Owners Group (HOG) regional motorcycle rally. This year it was held in Winchester, VA.  Winchester is only an hour from my driveway there was no way I could miss this event.

The “Curves to Core” motorcycle rally organizers which put the event together really did a nice job. Why “Curves to Cores”?  I think the curves is self-explanatory, and the “Cores” is about a defining industry in the area.  This part of the Shenandoah Valley is a big apple growing area, providing a large part of the apples used in products across the North IMG_20190620_062955720America.

The organizers put a lot of work into making this event a success.  40+ motorcycle rides documented turn by turn AND with a memory stick full of GPS directions.  About half of this rides had an option for a guided tour version.  There were also scavenger hunts, poker runs and off bike events open to all attendees.

I chose 3 guided rides to participate in:

“Acting Like a Good Ole Boy”- A 130-mile ride crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains twice with a visit to “Cooter’s Garage and Duke’s of Hazzard Museum”.  If you are of a certain age you will remember the TV show following the daily troubles of Bo and Luke Duke.

“10 Turns of a Big Ole Yeee Haww” – A 90-mile loop ride with a stop at Summit Point Raceway. The highlight of this ride would be getting your Harley Davidson on the race track and letting it loose, so long as you did not run out of talent or floorboards (I have rubbed some of mine off and I had not been on a track).

“For Whom the Road Tolls” – A 80-mile ride on Snickersville Turnpike, the first toll road in America. Luckily it is no longer a toll road but it is a very, very quiet and scenic motorcycle ride though back country Virginia.

Unfortunately I was not able to do the track day ride.  I got an offer to test ride the Zero electric motorcycles.  Watch for a post about the Zeros in a future post.    IMG_20190619_102816460_HDR

I really enjoyed the other two rides and I will write about the rides in another post.

One of the day one activities was a scavenger hunt for large apples.  I called it apple picking.

We are currently scheduled to attend a second regional HOG rally in September, the “Hills and Hollows” rally in Johnstown City, TN.

Ride On, Ride Safe

 

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For those of you in the Washington DC metro  area the Timonium Motorcycle Show is an annual mid-winter event.  With most motorcycle manufactures represented and lots of motorcycle vendors and travel crews Timonium has been one of my favorites.

However there has been some rumbling about the 2019 show when the long time organizer for the event dropped out. But, fear not the event is still on as Jam On Productions jumped in to setup and run the show.  From all appearances the 2019 show will occur and look a lot like the previous years events.

So if you were concerned (or even knew about) the show for 2019 now you know.  I will be there walking around with the wife.  Just hope that it is above freezing while we are in line to get in LOL.

 

custom dynamics

Recently Debbie and I took a 570+ mile round trip to visit the headquarters of motorcycle aftermarket lighting manufacture Custom Dynamics.  If you are a regular to this blog you know that, after buying and installing several of their products, I am a fan of what they produce.

Every now and again I check the Custom Dynamics website to see what new products they are offering.  This time I discovered they have new light for the Harley Davidson Rushmore motorcycles, one that fits into the fairing air vent.  The LED Light Kit for HD Bat Wing Fairing is both a bright running light and turn indicator.

ijustwant2ride

Debbie talking with Karen

I was just getting to the point of hitting enter on the order button when the “light bulb” (bad pun #1) came on over my head.  I was hoping that I could get a couple blog posts while shining a light (pun #2) on Custom Dynamics.

I contacted Custom Dynamics via their twitter account (Erin) and asked if I could ride down to check out the facility, products and talk to them about the companies’ history and where they are going. After a bit of back and forth we received an invitation to visit.

Arriving at a non-descript building with no signage we were not sure we were in the ijustwant2rideright place at first.  We meet with our point of contact, Karen, who had us ride into warehouse so the technicians could start the work.

While they were working I had an enlightening (pun #3) conversation with both Karen and the techs.  Turns out they have expanded the warehouse, doubling its size, and were now filling the new space. I am not surprised, like I said earlier they make a good product.

Ijustwant2rideTalking with the techs I asked how many installs they do at the different rallies and events that they attend.  This year they have estimate that they have installed over 3000 items and the season is not over yet.

While they were installing the new vent lights they decided to toss in new turn signal lights.  Now I was very pleased with the “Ringz” light I installed a few years ago, but WOW the new “ProBeam” turn signal insert lights seem to be a magnitude brighter. It was at that point Dave, the owner of Custom Dynamics, stopped in.

Talking with Dave I got the impression that he would be a guy I would like to hang out with or have as a neighbor.  We had a good conversation and a good interview about where the company came from, and where it is going…. But you will have to check in for part 2 for the rest of the story.

Click to enlarge but even with that you cannot understand how bright they are!!

Check my post on the Custom Dynamics Tour Pack Flasher kit!

 

This year Debbie and I chose not to ride into the city to partake of the Rolling Thunder main event.  We had went for several years so there was no great interest in doing it again this year.  BUT I did attend a pre-Roling Thunder event and assisted our local HOG (Harley Owners Group) chapter with the marshalling of motorcycles for the police escorted ride from Frederick to the Pentagon. 

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Saturday was the pre-Rolling Thunder event at Washington Harley Davidson.  Not only is it a collection of vendors of all types (t-shirts, food, parts and accessories) it is the site of the official Harley Davidson Owners Group Pin Stop.  Harley Davidson Pin Stops are a half dozen or so events in which Harley Davidson gives out commemorative pins to the HOG members.  Each one is different for each event.  If you follow my FaceBook page each week I post one or two dealer or other pins and several of the pin stop pins are pictured.   

While this is only a SWAG I think there were more motorcycles at this year’s v. last year’s pin stop. The parking lots were mostly full when I arrived and, unlike last year, still full when I left.  The ride to the event was a Frederick Harley Davidson HOG club ride. 

STORM CHASER POWERS ACTIVATE!  About 15 bikes left that morning from

IJUSTWANT2RIDE.COM

STORM CHASER!

the dealership under misty, overcast conditions, within 15 minutes the mist turned to full rain and stayed on us for more than half of the ride.  Guess what!  On the ride back we left a partial cloudy site and again got wet, although for a much shorter frame. Some days, when I ride my motorcycle, I just seem to attract bad weather.  

Sunday morning I rolled out of my warm bed, shared by my wife, our dog and myself, and was out the door before 5:30AM.  The HOG chapter was assisting the Frederick Harley Davidson dealership with the staging and marshaling of motorcycle going to Rolling Thunder. 

ijustwant2ride.comThere are two groups of motorcycle riders who participate in Rolling Thunder.  Those that go to the Pentagon (the starting point for the parade) and those that do not go to the Pentagon.  That second group seems to always be nearly identical in size to those that go to the Pentagon.  This group typically rides into the city and then parks along the parade route to watch the motorcycle pass by. 

By ten minutes after 8:00AM all the bikes were out and on their way to the either the Pentagon or somewhere else.  There were just at 300 bikes assembled at the dealership.  Nearly every bike brand was represented, I saw Triumph, BMW, Indian, Victory, Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki, there may have been others but those are the ones I recall. 

It took just a bit over 5 minutes to get all those bikes on the road (see video below).  A short while later we have all the signs, coffee, doughnuts and other stuff gathered and put away.  The parking lot looked like nothing had ever happened.  365 days until the next Rolling Thunder.

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Debbie and I attended the 2017 British & European Classic Motorcycle Day held in Clarksburg, Md.  While this event has occurred for many years it was the first one we have could make. 

We did not make it to the motorcycle affair until mid-afternoon, shortly before the awards were presented.  I was very pleasantly surprised at the number of Harley Davidson in the parking lo many more then I would expected for a European bike show.  But, this is one of those events that if you love motorcycles you should make time to attend. 

I must say from the start that I have never seen so many vintage European motorcycles in one place!  There were bikes of all types on display.  From concours level restorations to choppers made from BSA or Triumph engines and frames.  There were even a few Frankenstein motorcycles like…a Ducati engine in BSA frame with a Honda CB front end.  

ijustwant2rideThere was a couple motorcycle there that I had not seen or heard of before as well. A 1937 single cylinder AJS and an old Douglass (don’t recall the year).  Both are vintage British bikes that I need to learn a little more about. 

We had a good time walking around the event, which was also a swap meet.  It was fun looking at the old motorcycles, pieces and parts.  People were traveling from as far as New York, Ohio and North Carolina to attend, at least by the licenses plates of the bikes in the parking lot and those in the show.  If you are every near this event, you should make the time to check it out.

ijustwant2ride.com

As like the previous years, Debbie and I attended the Timonium Motorcycle Show.  As always it was held at the Maryland State Fair grounds.  

We enjoyed walking around the facilities looking at the 2017 motorcycles from all

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Yes, that is a TV, why? Why not?

the big makers.  There was one in particular missing though and that was Victory.  With the news that Polaris was pulling the plug, now 17 months away, guess there is no real reason to be at the motorcycle show. 

But all the other usual suspects were on site.  Harley Davidson of Baltimore had the largest display of all the manufacturers, in terms of footprint it was not even close.  If I had to guess I would think that the Honda display would have been next largest in terms of bikes.  Pete’s Cycles had, what looked like, at least one of every Honda made.   

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Lois Pryce discussing her recent trip to Iran

One of the busiest sections was the motorcycle travel/adventure area of the show.  Lisa and Simone Thomas (2 Ride the World) and Lois Pryce were just a couple of the folks on hand to discuss their global adventures.  Other speakers were on had discussed travel techniques and opportunities guided and otherwise.  

Several regional motorcycle rallies (Ocean City Bike Week, Mountain Fest, and Thunder in the Valley for example) were on site to remind riders that there were many places to ride to that did not require anything more than a long weekend.  

And of course all the custom and vintage motorcycles your heart could desire.  Debbie and I really enjoyed looking at all the great bikes, from stock/restored bikes from the bygone years to mild customs to full blown, over the top motorcycles!   

As for the crowds, my guess is that in the nearly 5 hours we spent at the event the crowd was at least even with 2016.

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As I cruise around on my bike to events and cruise around the inter-webs on my keyboard I come across interesting motorcycle themed posters/prints.  Here are the nine 2016 winners from the 32 motorcycle posters that I “collected”.  Hope you like them as much as I did.

If you see some cool motorcycle posters while you are cruising about, send me a link and they might make next years list!  Not that the winners get any thing other then a mention here but HEY, that is only a little better then nothing.

BTW here is a link to the 2015 winners.