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tor cy cle u To rM ag azi ne

Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure Volume 22 No. 12



W H A T ’ S

I N S I D E 24


Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure

FREE WHEELIN’ ..................................................3 WHATCHATHINKIN’ ...........................................5 POSTCARDS FROM THE HEDGE.......................6 ON THE MARK ....................................................7


Brian Rathjen • Shira Kamil


Jonathon Beck, Mark Byers, Bill Heald, Tony Lisanti, Kevin Wing, Dr. Seymour O’Life

BACKLASH..........................................................8 INDUSTRY INFOBITES .....................................11 BIG CITY GETAWAY .........................................14 GREAT ALL AMERICAN DINER RUN ..............16


Editorial Office BACKROADS, POB 317 Branchville NJ 07826

MYSTERIOUS AMERICA..................................18 WE’RE OUTTA HERE ........................................20 INSIDE SCOOP .................................................22 WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE ............................44 UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR ...................48

FE AT U RE S HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS ......................................27 TOURATECH RALLY EAST ..............................39 FDNY DREAM BIKE - PART ONE ....................43

MOTO R C YCL E R E V I E WS 2017 BMW R NINE T SCRAMBLER .................24 BMW R 1200 RT ...............................................41

PR O DU C T R E V IE W S VNM COMPRESSION LAYERS ........................34 SIDI TOUR GORE-TEX BOOTS ........................36 SARGENT SADDLE - TRIUMPH TIGER 800 ....37

39 We were asked many times where the November cover was shot - it is Letchworth State Park in Castile, NY. This month’s cover, courtesy of Jonathon Beck, is the Hawk’s Nest on Route 97 on the Delaware River in NY.









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BACKROADS (ISSN 1087-2088) is published monthly by BACKROADS™, Inc. 2016. All rights reserved. BACKROADS™ may not be reproduced in any manner without specific written consent from the publisher. BACKROADS™ welcomes and encourages submissions (text and photos) and suggestions. Include phone number with submissions. BACKROADS™ will only return material with enclosed sufficient postage. The written articles and opinions printed in BACKROADS™ are not necessarily those of the publisher and should not be considered an endorsement. The Rip & Rides® published are ridden on the sole responsibilty of the rider. BACKROADS™ is not responsible for the conditions of the public roadways traversed. Please respect the environment, read your owner’s manual and wear proper protective gear and helmet. Ride within your limits, not over them.



Backyard Project Back in the day, in what now seems the distant past, motorcycle manufacturers were fairly flush with cash from solid sales and a growing economy. In the good old days there were many media launches, press rides and various events designed to give the moto-media a chance to ride new bike offerings and hopefully be inspired to write nice things about these machines. Good time, kids, good times. As the song went…. “Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end.” But then the crash happened. Not that any bikes were directly involved with this, but they, with the rest of the economy, took the fall as well. Invites to far away and exotic destinations to ride new machines - like the southwest deserts, Europe, Hawaii and the like - quickly dried up and became rarer and less frequent. With fading budgets we became a happy afterthought as far as the manufacturers were concerned. We got it. We’re a humble regional and we ain’t Cycle World. Yup, yup, yup…lean times my friends. Yup…just sitting here…. Don’t worry about me. I would spend down time waiting by the computer, listening to Jack Johnson albums and sitting, waiting, wishing for that email to come saying they remembered us, and one of us would be whisked away to Italy, South Africa or Scotland.

Page 3 Days turned to months. Months to years. Years to – well not that long yet. And then, the Backroads Press Intro Bat Alarm went off as the message came in from BMW. A Media Launch! Happy day, oh happy day. Shira opened the email and I waited, breathlessly anticipating where I might be going - Greece, Spain, somewhere out west. Then she said it…. New Jersey. “Saywhatchamajustsay?” “New Jersey.” “New Zealand !!?,” I replied, my voice getting slightly higher. “New Jersey,” Shira repeated. “New Mexico!?,” saying a bit less emphatically. “New Jersey,” was the reply getting just a bit fed up. “New Hampshire…sniff?”, I asked with a defeatist’s tone. “Nope, New Jersey, the Garden State, Sussex County to be exact.” I gazed at her with glassy and unseeing eyes - the look works for me. “But…,” she added. Oh, there was a but, I optimistically thought. “They asked if you could help them with the routes.” Ahh, a ray of light in this dark, dark night. Routing? Indeed! Routing is my middle name! Well, it is actually Christopher, but today it was Routing. Why would I be so happy about this? Easy, I constantly hear from friends and acquaintances bad mouthing and putting down our region – many from the California-based moto-press who never get to ride in this part of the US and take us for granted. To them New Jersey was all about landing for a connecting flight at Newark, with its fire belching refineries it is a very Thunderdome sort of thing. Even I admit. (Continued on Page 4)

Page 4 This would be a great opportunity to show them just what the tri-state region has to offer us riders. It instantly became a matter of pride and we jumped at the opportunity. Over the next few weeks some emails were sent and ideas bandied about and we met one night for dinner with our friends from BMW and Premier Event, a company that helps create some of the best press experiences, up at Crystal Springs Resort in Vernon, New Jersey. Although BMW, whose headquarters are in Woodcliff Lake, had a good idea of where they wanted to ride, they wanted Backroads to help connect the dots in a fun and creative way. It would be both easy for us and our pleasure. We sketched out a basic ride with Garmin BaseCamp, a route that we ourselves might do if we were looking for a couple of days riding in our area, and sent over the GPX file. Premiere’s Jim Faria rode it over the next few days and added his own flair and direction to it (reversing it), enhancing it with a superb lunch stop in place up near Port Jervis that was not known to me. When tasked with this small project our thoughts were first and foremost to offer the motorcycle press a golden opportunity to experience what we riders in this region already know – there are parts of the tri-state region that are phenomenally fun to ride! Jim mentioned during a riders’ meeting that day that I had helped with the routing so, if it sucked, I figured I would get the blame. The ride came up from Vernon, New Jersey along Beaver Run Road, along Route 15 then around CR 521 and up into the Walpack Valley and Buttermilk Falls where the Scrambler, with their Karoo tires, got a good amount of clay and gravel to scoot around on. Over Dingmans Bridge, in Pennsylvania, and back across the Delaware and back down along the Hawks Nest. By lunch there were smiles all around.

DECEMBER 2016 • BACKROADS By day’s end I think most of the press were very surprised, and happily so, by a region they had no idea was there. The next morning, for day two, our basic route down through Harriman State Park was followed as well. If the first day impressed, the second day’s view from Perkins Drive brought it home. There is a reason artists flocked here in the 1800s. The high cliffs over the Hudson and the view of Gotham 40 miles to the south made for a very impressive vista. We even had some visitors to the United States from China, who were very excited about the machines they rarely see in their homeland, ask to take photos with us. Being ambassadors for both riding and the US we happily obliged. One journalist had spotted a Backroads sticker on one of the signs that was covered with a dozen others. Did I know that? Huh, do tell – it is our region. Our part of the job was now done and I would be dishonest not to say I was just a bit proud and happy to bring these most excellent guys and gals, many of whom you read in the glossy newsstand mags all the time, on a two-day ride in our backyard. From Bear Mountain BMW brought us south to lunch on the river in Dobbs Ferry (thank you Tony) and then around the lower part of Manhattan, and over the Brooklyn Bridge to a swanky hotel in Williamsburg. That evening Shira, who met us in Brooklyn and was my ride home, heard from a number of the journalists on how much fun and how much of a pleasure the roads were. But, we knew that and couldn’t be more pleased that now they do too. Backyard project completed. We’d like to thank Roy Oliemuller from BMW and Jim Faria for a wonderful opportunity.



treat, trick and the octoBer SurPriSe I know this is the December issue, but I’m penning it just before the kids are getting ready to head out for their buckets full of candy and the boatload of super-scary clowns begin terrorizing the neighborhoods. We’re a week away from electing a new president, setting the clocks back an hour, seeing if the Cubbies can come back and win in Cleveland and, on November 14, there will be a supermoon – the biggest, closest and brightest of the year. But yesterday was brilliant. Sunday, Oct. 30 dawned sunny and warm, for this time of year. Considering we had been having freezing nights and 40s during the day, waking up to 55 degrees and seeing the sun shining through the bedroom window was exhilarating. While we had a tentative place to be later that evening, we knew that if we didn’t get on the bikes early, we’d get started doing some other things that would take us away from this day’s ride. Breakfast was a good place to start. Taking the longer way to one of our go-to places, we met up with David to begin the day with a filling meal (Brian’s three HUGE pigs in a blanket could have fed us all). Having no real plan, we meandered here and there, north-south-east-west, just enjoying many of the roads that make up our beautiful area of New Jersey. At one stop, I mentioned to Brian about a place, not too far from where we were, that the good Dr. O’Life had wanted to visit. Having an idea of where we needed to go, we found some really great twisty, hilly roads along the way – Janes Chapel and Brass Castle Roads just to name two. Had we been on these before? I’m pretty sure we had. But riding them when you just decide to make a right here, a left there, seems to make them so much better. Playing around and loosely following the Zumo, we found what we were looking for – the memorial for those lost in the worst train wreck of Warren County NJ in 1925. I’m sure Seymour will be filling you in on the details soon enough.

Walking up to the memorial, I saw movement – lots of movement – behind it. Sitting on 492 acres of the 1,274-acre Rockport Wildlife Management Area is the Rockport Pheasant Farm. The first release of Rockport pheasants was made in 1923, with all pheasants produced for the sporting public, going to 23 Wildlife Management areas throughout New Jersey, as well as the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational area. Each year, 190 male pheasants are placed in breeder yards with 2700 female hens (holy crap, those are some lucky guys), which produce 160,000-170,000 eggs, which will fill a 35-acre range of adolescent pheasants. Come the beginning of November, the pheasants are brought to the aforementioned Wildlife Management areas to roam free. Since we were there on October 30, these guys and gals were getting pretty close to their release date – thousands of beautiful pheasants running around, plotting their escape and soaking up the warming sun. Once Brian convinced me we should keep on moving and to stop bothering the birds (I wasn’t trespassing, just

Page 5 taking a good look), we began to head, sort of, back in the general direction of Backroads Central. The temperature had gotten to almost 80 degrees, the day feeling more like the middle of summer than the day before Halloween. We saw tons of riders out enjoying this gift of a day, a true treat for All Hallow’s Eve. More than a few were sporting their summer riding gear – shortsleeved shirts, jeans, sneakers; I even saw one or two riding in shorts. It truly amazes me to see what little these riders think of their epidermis to be tooling around exposed as they are. No matter how many times we print the words ATGATT, some riders will never get it. We were expecting a call from our son, who was in from California, for a dinner date and, at the point where we would have begun heading west a bit and finding some ice cream before turning our wheels towards the garage, the call came in and we vectored directly towards home instead. As we got closer, I noticed the dark clouds closing in over the house. I knew the weather had been forecast for showers later in the day, but these clouds looked pretty nasty. We got the bikes into the garage, and about 20 minutes later the skies opened up. Swapping two-wheels for four, we began the drive to Bergen County in some of the worst rain we’d seen in a very long time. Yes, we did need the rain but not two month’s worth in an hour. Carefully making our way, we passed a number of riders who, like us, just an hour ago were baking in the warm late-autumnal sun and were now puddle-jumping in temperatures that had dropped almost 20 degrees. Remember those folks I mentioned with (Continued on Page 8)

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you’re Such a tool My old man is a television repairman; he’s got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it. Jeff Spicoli - Fast Times at Ridgemont High Wow, that was some election, eh? Who knew the write-in candidacy of Lucy Lawless would be so successful? I mean, I did put in a lot of hours, but still. Anyway, this month I must wade into the subject of the best friends our hands ever had: tools. This all started a week or two ago when a pair of needle nose pliers I have owned for years broke under light use. This was not a situation when a spring popped loose or a handle slipped or something likewise trivial, oh no. This was a catastrophic event where one of the needle nose jaws broke in half. Can you imagine? I literally froze at my workbench and stared in disbelief. How did this happen? Who did I have to blame for this betrayal? I carefully examined the remains of my pliers and realized that I could be to blame, for a few years back I had purchased what turned out to be a complete piece of crap. I happen to be a person who lives for quality. I strive to always bite the bullet, pay the price, and get things that not only work well but last. This goes for everything from motorcycles to cameras, from riding gear to cookware. How could I let a critical thing like me trusty needlenosers get passed over in my quest to seek quality in all possessions? First, you will take comfort in knowing that I have now replaced the former pliers with not one but three pair of high-quality units, each with its own turf to manage. I’ll tell you what they are in a moment as I know you’re insanely curious. But the point here is if you haven’t done so it’s really worth the investment to get a stellar set of hand tools to maintain your rides, and shoot, you can even use them on other objects should the need arise. And why can’t you get by

just fine with a toolbox full of junkish crud from the local yard sale? You can, but that way lies madness. Good tools are not only durable and comfortable to use, most importantly they’re precise whether it’s a socket, spanner or screwdriver. The modern motorcycle has more electronics than ever, and much of what had some kind of mechanical anatomy in the past is often replaced by the plug-n-play black boxes of today. But critical components still require conventional tools, especially things like brakes, suspension parts, drive train parts, etc. Here in the Northeast conditions are such that over the years rust can freeze parts that haven’t been disassembled for a while and they can be tough to remove, and use of a substandard wrench on a bolt and may have a stripped mess on your hands. A tool that fits properly lets you put the torque where it belongs and can keep a simple task simple, instead of one that ruins your day. The more you work on your motorcycle the better you learn its maintenance requirements and quirks, and things that just might work their way loose on a long trip can be apparent to you if you’re on the ball. Therefore, you should pack the critical tools for certain tasks (like chain adjustment, if so equipped) and it’s here again you want to hit the road with the good stuff. Now, if you feel uncomfortable bringing along that solid gold #2 Phillips head screwdriver you purchased at Graceland (that fits your battery terminal screws perfectly), get a road substitute of (almost) equal quality. I’m not talking about hauling a plumber’s truck worth of heavy metal with you on the road, by the way. I’m betting that in your experience with your ride you know what you should really bring and what you can leave behind. But like I said, get the good stuff that really fits the thing it’s supposed to deal with. It’s all another part of successful trip planning, and the piece of mind it brings is worth a lot. Things can and will still happen that you can’t foresee, but at least you know you made a good faith effort to be prepared and you didn’t tow along some craptastic toolage that will break on the side of the road, in the dark, in the rain when you have a connector come loose on your headlight and you need to take the housing apart to get to it. (Continued on Page 8)



one Fall day I couldn’t sleep. It may have been the bed, but more likely, it was anticipation. I made reservations months ago, relishing the opportunity to ride a beautiful track on a newer, quicker bike. Whatever the case, sleep came sparingly and fitfully. I awoke before the alarm – before dawn – and stuck my head out the door to groundhog-sample the air. A faint, pre-light pink tinged the treetops and October’s chilly claws were still sheathed, promising a day without fleece under my leathers. In the darkness, while my roommate still slept, I put on my leathers and boots and zipped the jacket to the pants with the care an astronaut might use dressing for space: a ritual donning of gear is a calming influence on my tumbling psyche. Maybe knights found similar comfort. Downstairs, I raised the door and soon, fluorescent lights cast their greenish pall over six very different machines, waiting silently in the pen. Outside, the sky lightened and the people stirred. In the stark, silent solitude of the garage, I set the tire pressures on my bike and my friend’s, preparing for inspection. As the hour for tech approached, I heard bikes coming alive in the paddock, like hounds eager to be unleashed on their sinuous, bituminous prey. My friends joined me and off we went, to queue up so men could take the measure of our machines to judge them safe. A sight we were, three-score adults in protective clothing ranging from worn and subdued to sublimely bright and all between. Leather creaked and boots squeaked. A little man with a cherub’s face circulated among us, witnessing our signatures on pages of legalese - our tickets to ride. He was the reason we were there. His love, seated at the table, exchanged the signed legalese for little sticky

Page 7 tags with our names on them, as if we were school kids – and we were. His minions moved quickly among our machines, affixing sticky tags of their own to them to signify their readiness for the track. If only it were that easy to assess the safety of humans! We sat in a classroom, swilling drinks and eating bananas while a myriad of things were discussed, including the brightly-colored flags that would semaphore us messages. Our honored professor spoke of concentration, but I’ll wager every mind, in some way, was already in motion – already in flight around that asphalt aerodrome. When the long-anticipated hour arrived, I rose and completed my ritual, adding earplugs and helmet and finally, gloves to my ensemble. The helmet enveloped me in comforting odors of sweat and plastic. I was invincible. Astride the bike, I thumbed the proper button and the beast beneath me began to speak the magical language of a triple through an Arrow megaphone. I took my place in line behind members of the tribe I’d chosen for the day, knowing the guy ahead of me was running race gas from the smell of his exhaust. I cocked my head to the side to avoid the full impact of the carbon monoxide perfume. I’m not a blipper, but I had to move the throttle a few times to hear that triple bark. And then, it was time. Like ducks behind a mother, my flock ventured onto the sacred surface to follow an instructor on some sighting laps. The sun was just on our shoulders as we sauntered down the main straight and into turn one, mindful only of the chilliness of our tires, as the October air was mercifully warm. Another stint in the classroom and then, at my approach, the man with the headset pointed to me and motioned to the sacred surface with a gesture that made it clear – it was mine for the taking. Down pit lane I went, the triple baying, chasing a phantom prey, as the shift lights flashed. Turn one beckoned. And so began a day of ballet, full of pirouettes around a tight turn four, and long, sweeping arcs through uphill esses, dive-bombing double-apex downhills and finally, letting the hound run wild under unfettered throttle down the long straight, getting pushed wide by the power through the class(Continued on Page 8)

Page 8 PoStcardS FroM the hedge

DECEMBER 2016 • BACKROADS (Continued from Page 6)

There’s an additional benefit to high quality tools of course. They can be a genuine pleasure to use, making such things like an oil change faster, easier and you’ll know everything is buttoned down properly. So, I know you’re dying to know: what pliers did I secure for my needs of the day and well into the future? I got two Snap-Ons and one Facom unit, all needle nose but very different and useful in very different situations. True, I had to mortgage my lawn tractor to finance these precious items, but I feel quite confident in saying they are the last pliers I will ever purchase. They are all wonderfully satisfying to hold and use, and I’ve been amazed at all the things I’ve discovered that need attention that only a pair of needle nose pliers can get to. I feel like a surgeon using these things, or at least a very clumsy watchmaker. Which reminds me, my torque wrench is a bit of a bastard and may be planning some outrage. . . on the Mark

(Continued from Page 7)

room kink, only to turn the speed to heat under hard braking for turn one. Wash, rinse, repeat, ad infinitum. All too soon, the man at turn seven waved the flag, ending the day as the fall sun went gold over the lodge. The hounds were placed in their concrete kennel. Dinner with great friends, old and new, followed. Then, exhausted from dancing with my mechanical partner, I sank into the same bed. And without hesitation or interruption, I slept. Whatchathinkin’

(Continued from Page 5)

short-sleeves and jeans? Here was their October surprise with a mighty big trick to replace the weather treat. I hope they all made it to their garages with just a sopping wet t-shirt. This, my dear readers, is the prime example of why you should ALWAYS wear proper riding gear. Storms that appear, whether forecast or not, can absolutely ruin your day. If you happen to be somewhere with no shelter, riding gear can, at least, keep you somewhat dry and warm while finding a safe place to sit out the storm. Don’t let the treat of an unusually beautiful offseason day turn into your October surprise – be prepared and enjoy the weather, it’s the only one we’ve got.


Letters to the Editor

Brian & Shira, I enjoyed reading about the romp through New England over the covered bridges. My brother lives about ¾ mile west of the Housatonic on #128 in West Cornwall, which is only accessible via the covered bridge. I have ridden across it many times via motorcycle or car. Actually, I have enjoyed going under it on numerous occasions by canoe of family outings over the years as well. Burt richmond

We Are the World… Hi BrianFinally had a chance to sit and start reading the Backroads October issue and think you hit on something in your Free Wheelin column. I felt compelled to respond. Whether or not you believe in climate change, global warming or whatever label you want to give it, this much I know- something is happening to our weather patterns. Is it cyclical? Man made? I have no idea and won’t waste what few brain cells I have left trying to figure it out. Regardless of what anyone believes, I think we can all find common ground that it’s much better to treat Mother Earth with respect than not. I know a little something about energy and how its used. My latest foray (for the the last decade or so) is consulting with builders and developers to help them achieve improved efficiency in the the homes and buildings they construct. Do not confuse “efficiency” with “sacrifice”. the buildings and homes we certify outperform conventional construction in terms of comfort, indoor air quality and cost to operate. Less fuel to heat & cool means less pollution. Except you would not know unless we told you. The secret is “under the hood” so to speak. So what does this have to do with motorcycles? Well plenty. Stemming the tide of our insatiable thirst for hydrocarbons has a dramatic effect on markets. Recent improvements in building energy efficiency and transport ion fuel economy coupled with, yes, I’m going to say it, domestic oil production has caused the international oil markets to collapse to a degree. The decrease in

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BACKLASH demand has provided surpluses. Unless production is curtailed, this imbalance will be around at least for the short term. Another contributing factor is the use of renewables. Solar and wind, once you pay for the installation provides us with a free source of power with no emmisions. You can’t tell if your TV is powered by renewables or the dirty grid stuff. This is not a partisan or liberal vs conservative approach. It’s good smart engineering and a good bit of ingenuity. Tread lightly on Mother Earth. It’s the only habital planet we have. tony lisanti, C.E.M.; CPHC Energy Consultant & HERs Rater

Some Other Ink Congratulations on having your magazine featured on the front page of the Township Journal. Kudos to both of you and the rest of your staff for doing

Letters to the Editor such a great job with a magazine and growing it to the status that it has become. I always enjoy reading the different articles you put in each month. thank you again for all you do. Michael

Cathartic Reading Brian, Just finished the Time Rider article (Oct. 16). Funny how it’s all relative and since I’ve been on the injured list you’ve been my meditative riding guide through your magical words in the magazine. I’ve always enjoyed the way you put pen to paper but since my injury it’s been an invaluable healing tool. Thank you and miss you and Shira lots... Your wolf brother Billy aka Vaz :)

Fall Fiesta Regards Brian & Shira: Good Times + Good Weather + Good Accommodations + Good Friends = GREAT TIMES. Thanks for a wonderful Fall Fiesta! tom & kathy Brian & Shira, Alma & I thank you both for your great planning of the Fall Fiesta this year, taking us to Saratoga Springs, Jackson NH and our favorite places in West Dover, Vermont. The roads were beautiful, the hotels were just fine, and the dinner at the Eagle Mountain Hotel was really good. But it’s the guests at the party that make it. From the first time we tagged along back in 2011 we were welcomed by a truly friendly bunch of fellow riders, and this above all makes our trips with Backroads truly special. I want to thank the whole bunch of Backroads riders who rallied round when we discovered a dead battery on Friday morning as we tried to leave

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The Downtowner Motel in Saratoga Springs. Can’t remember all the names, there were so many. They volunteered a spare battery, pushed the Ducati all around the parking lot, tried jump starting bike to bike and when all failed, drove Alma to the local NAPA. Miraculously they had a battery that I persuaded to fit! When all was well, they headed off. But two great guys, Glenn Baldwin And John Petrocelli, did even more. They gave up the scheduled route to wait for me to put it together so they could shepherd us on the way to Jackson. I think this was a wonderful gesture, as they wanted to ensure the new battery was the real fix, and that we wouldn’t find out the hard way that there was a charging problem. So it turned out to be a great weekend for us. Thanks to you, Brian & Shira, and all our fellow Backroads riders. david & alma Wilson David & Alma, Don’t we know we have the most excellent group of riders and friends at the Backroads rallies! But thanks for reminding us. Backroads Folks, Dick and I had a blast on your Fall Backroads Rally - everything was great from your hotel selection to daily routes and a great bunch of riders - to make for a fun filled getaway. It was great staying smack in the middle of Saratoga Springs where we could explore the city without getting back on the bikes at night. Then staying at the grand old Eagle Mountain Resort was a real treat

tucked away on a tiny mountainroad. Finishing up at the Gray Ghost Inn was perfect. As an aside, we stopped in N. Conway. The Humane Society was having a dog festival so we entered Tinkerbelle in the contest for the best coat. Tink is 13 years old, never been to a groomer and had been on the road for 4 days. Guess who won 1st prize. Everywhere we went on the trip, everyone wants to hug & kiss the little Princess. I told Cathie that when Tinkerbelle goes, we will just be regular people. We expanded the good time by going up to Magog, Canada and eating our way around the surrounding towns enjoying wonderful French cuisine. Weather was great for riding the entire week. On the way back, we stopped for a luncheon for the Americade volunteers at Lake George. After the food in Canada it was a bit of a let down. Again, I want to thank you and Shira for a great weekend and we will see you in the Spring. Sorry we took so long to go on one of your weekends. Thanks again dick, cathie &, of course, tinkerbelle

AMA Update Thank you for publishing my article under the Thoughts From The Road section. Unfortunately, my application was rejected due to my not having a college degree. While I may not agree with their decision, the AMA is still the best advocate for the motorcycling community. Moving forward, I will continue to work with the AMA to advance the advocacy of motorcycling. The best approach for all AMA members and me is to continue supporting our cause by following the news of all motorcycling issues and making your feelings known to your government representatives and the AMAs legislative staff. Byrd

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News from the Inside

REG PRIDMORE AND CLASS RECEIVE BACKROADS LAME AWARD Backroads Publishers Shira Kamil and Brian Rathjen, along with monthly columnist Mark Byers were happy to present Reg and Gigi Pridmore the Backroads Lifetime Achievement in Motorcycling Excellence Award at this year’s CLASS school held at Virginia International Raceway in October. The ‘LAME’ Award is given out annually to the person, persons, clubs, groups and organizations that have brought forward the sport of motorcycling in the most positive and bright manner. Reg, Gigi and the CLASS instructors have certainly done this as they, over the decades, have helped thousands of riders to become more proficient, adept and smooth with their skills – especially when it comes to real life day to day riding. In a late development Bob Dylan traded his Nobel Prize for one too, as he though it was worth more on Craig’s List.

FUTURE OF MOTORCYCLES? BMW claims that motorcycles in the future will be so smart, it could eliminate the need for protective gear. To mark its 100th birthday, BMW recently unveiled a Motorrad Vision Next 100 concept motorcycle so advanced that the German auto and cycle-maker says riders won’t require a helmet because its self-balancing system keeps the bike upright both in motion and even at a standstill.

BMW touted the motorbike’s futuristic features, saying it would allow for riders of all skill levels to “enjoy the sensation of absolute freedom.” Since the Vision Next 100 will liberate riders from the need to wear a helmet and protective clothing, BMW says the rider can be in touch with his/her surroundings, which will mean ‘perfect synthesis between human and machine’. Another traditional feature is also missing: a control panel. Instead, helmetless riders will wear a visor that acts as a smart display, although such information would not be needed all the time because the vehicle is equipped with self-driving technology and can sense the road ahead and react so that it theoretically can’t get into accidents. The futuristic motorcycle is also “zero emissions,” because BMW said it believes the future of transportation is electric.

ROAD TO ZERO MOTORCYCLES For decades, motorcycle rights advocates have warned the riding community that advances in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and the advent of autonomous (self-driving) vehicles could signal the end of motorcycles on public roadways. Indeed, “Vision Zero” has been under development primarily in Europe to remove human interaction from the operation of ve-

hicles in public transit, therefore eliminating human error that results in traffic accidents…and since motorcycles require human operation they do not fit into the Vision Zero scenario. Now, the U.S. Department of Transportation has unveiled plans for a new

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initiative called “Road to Zero” in concert with other federal agencies and the National Safety Council with the lofty goal of eliminating all traffic-related fatalities by the year 2030, and although bicyclists and pedestrians are taken into account, their plan makes no specific mention of motorcycles. Citing increases in traffic deaths nationwide, accounting for more than 35,000 lives lost mostly due to human error and behaviors such as distracted and drowsy driving and driving under the influence, Road to Zero will focus on proactive vehicle safety, advances in automotive technology and cultivating human behavior. But the new federal safety initiative, announced October 5, 2016 completely ignores a significant portion of America’s road users, as Road to Zero apparently makes no accommodation for millions of motorcyclists vying to survive in an increasingly automated traffic mix.

SMART HELMET TO THE RESCUE? It has been previously reported that BMW is planning to introduce an automatic system to call emergency services installed on some of its motorcycles next year (an “SOS” button), but now a Thai innovation is looking to achieve similar results from a newly-designed helmet. While still under development, the HELPMET concept is to automatically call medics only if it’s subjected to impacts hard enough to result in unconsciousness. It incorporates the basics of a smartphone, including a SIM card, GPS, and a connection to the phone network, as well as impact sensors and a rechargeable battery. The system is only set off after impacts of 95g or higher, so accidental knocks or even a light crash shouldn’t have ambulances appearing, but they will come looking if you’re lying unconscious in a ditch and they’ll have the precise coordinates to find you. Another element is that users of the system will be registered to a website where they can input various personal details, so not only will the HELPMET

call emergency services, it will also be able to provide information about the rider’s name and address. It can also warn of allergies or pre-existing medical issues, the sort of information that could be the difference between life and death for an unconscious rider.

IN FRANCE THEY WEAR GLOVES ON MAIN STREET French law now requires that motorcycle riders wear gloves, and according to the website, “Riders caught without hand protection will face a fine of $76 and have a point added to their license.” France already requires motorcyclists to carry a hi-viz reflective jacket or vest in case of a roadside emergency, and wear a helmet that displays “at least 18 square cm of reflective material,” a violation that carries a $152 fine. According to the report, France also requires riders to carry spare bulbs and an alcohol breath-testing kit, a rule widely ignored since a violation carries no fine. Of course some riders have taken offense at the perceived violation of their civil liberties, and the FFMC, “Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (“French Federation of Angry Bikers”) has released this statement: “It’s not that we are against the gloves, the problem is that we’re forced to wear them under the threat of fines and losing points. There’s no lives at stake here, and if we don’t wear gloves then we aren’t threatening other people’s integrity.”

MOTORCYCLES IN THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS Historically significant motorcycles could soon be documented and have their details preserved for posterity in the Library of Congress. The National Historic Vehicle Register Act was introduced on September 22, 2016 by longtime motorcyclist U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), and is intended to help preserve the legacy of American cars and motorcycles and the vital role they play in American culture and history. If passed, the Act would authorize the U.S. Department of Interior to establish a federal register of historic vehicles to document and preserve records of American automotive and motorcycle history. There are standards and qualifiers for a motorcycle to be registered. Vehicles must be connected to a significant person or event in American history, or have a unique design or rarity, to be eligible for the register.


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UPCOMING SHOW AND RALLY NEWS tiMoniuM Motorcycle ShoW The ‘Travel, Touring & Adventure Feature Area’ was another big hit last year and the expanded version will again feature a premiere group of world famous adventure riders and touring experts. Presentations will be geared to cover regional and international tours for both amateur and expert travelers! Touring bikes, clothing, equipment and gear round out the Feature Area. The Motorcycle Aftermarket ‘New Product Technical Presentation & Demo Workshop Area’ will be expanded this year…two-wheel enthusiasts will be introduced to the latest products available for all makes of motorcycles by experts from some of the industries’ top brands. NEW this year …The Powersports Expo…targeting young adventure and extreme sports riders…will be held in the neighboring 35,000 sq.ft. Exhibition Hall. Products featured will be the latest models of ATVs, Jetskis, Small Watercraft and extreme powersports vehicles, plus aftermarket products and associated gear and clothing. Bike fans can also check out all the newest 2017 models from the world’s top motorcycle manufacturers, plus the huge custom and antique bike competition show and hundreds of exhibits covering everything the motorcycling industry has to offer. Attendees can also enjoy Biker Fashion Shows, Tattoo Contest and the Bikini Model Search Finals. The show will be held indoors at the Maryland State Fairgrounds – Timonium, Maryland – Friday and Saturday, February 10th and 11th 10am – 9pm and Sunday, February 12th 10am – 6pm. U.S. Military and First Responders Only $5.00 Admission on Friday! For more information, go to or call 410-561-7323.

FroM the aMericade FolkS Quebec, Canada: Rolling Thru America is Americade’s hugely popular high-end September-only tour company, and for 2017 its destination is the beautiful and little known Montebello region of Quebec. Montebello is a quaint village sitting amidst lush natural landscape at the foothills of Canada’s Laurentian Mountains. The group will stay at a stunning hotel, and will enjoy several days of guided riding to amazing lunch destinations along perfect motorcycling roads. “We’re very excited about going to Montebello,” says Christian Dutcher, Rolling Thru America’s Director. “We would only cross the border for something really special, and Montebello region is worth it. And, the exchange rate allows us to provide an affordable experience that might normally be beyond people’s budget.” The Rolling Thru Tours are limited to 100 riders only, visiting beautiful regions in the northeast along carefully chosen routes, and exploring memorable destinations. Many Rolling Thru America tours sell out within days of becoming available. Rolling Thru Quebec goes on sale in December 2016. Add Rolling Thru Quebec to your calendar: September 18-21, 2017. Details are available at and 518-798-7888 Americade’s 35 anniversary takes place June 5-10, 2017, and many special events are being planned. Every year, it’s rally unlike others with hundreds of events taking place all week for tourers, sport-tourers, cruisers and adventure bikes, however for this anniversary year more surprises are in store for attendees. Americade is a week long festival of motorcycling, hosting factory demos and displays from nearly all the major motorcycle manufacturers, offering guided and unguided tours through the beautiful Adirondack Park and Green Mountains of Vermont, erecting Americade’s Expo with nearly 200 industry vendors, and offering more motorcycle events than virtually any other event

in the U.S. Americade happens in Lake George NY, June 5-10, 2017 and registration begins February 2017. Details are available at and 518-798-7888. There are some volunteer positions available and prospective volunteers are encouraged to contact DirtDAZE Adventure Bike Rally will return to Lake Luzerne, NY June 510, 2017. The event is a fun, adventurous, and educational multi-day festival for dual-sport and adventure motorcycles in northeastern NY. Held on a private, 53 acre adventure bike oasis, it offers great adventure bike rides roads through the mountains of the Adirondacks and Vermont, factory demo rides from KTM and others, 3 obstacle courses, onsite camping and world class rider training. As an additional perk, all registered DirtDAZE attendees can access the nearby Americade Expo (a 300,000 sq ft motorcycle expo) and Americade Demos (the most factory demos in one area in the U.S.). Add DirtDaze to your calendar: June 5-10, 2017! Details are available at and 518-798-7888. There are some volunteer positions available and prospective volunteers are encouraged to contact

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Hanover Powersports Presents


daytrip ideas to get out of the daily grind

Mount indePendence VerMont’S lake chaMPlain Stand Riding off the short ferry crossing from Ticonderoga to the Vermont side of Lake Champlain you will spy small historic signs for a piece of American revolutionary history that will sometime fall by the wayside. It was once called Rattle Snake Hill. But circumstances and love of a new nation changed it forever to Mount Independence. The year was 1776 and the Continental Army had suffered a crushing defeat north in Canada. Fearing that the British would invade south, the Americans decided to put a choke hold on Lake Champlain – to stop any incursion coming from the north and, eventually, down the Hudson River. They had recently taken Ticonderoga and Rattle Snake Hill was a great natural defensive position. Unlike Fort Ticonderoga, which dominated the portage from Lake George to Lake Champlain but was open to attack from the north, Rattle Snake Hill presented a formidable obstacle to an invader from Canada. Just days after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the document was read aloud to the cheering troops on Rattle Snake Hill. That day the high land, some 200 feet above Lake Champlain, became known as Mount Independence.

At the height of the American fortification of Mount Independence, in the late fall of 1776, the site was occupied by three brigades of New England troops or more than six thousand men, which were reinforced by temporary militia from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire Grants (the territory that was to become Vermont). Numerous huts and barracks housed these troops.

An extensive breastwork with a battery of 28 cannons was built at the northern point of the peninsula. Above that position was the Citadel or Horseshoe battery. A star-shaped picket fort was later constructed on the height of land. During the summer and fall of 1776, troops on Mount Independence labored to prepare for a British invasion from Canada. At the same time, on the west side of Lake Champlain, fortifications were built to the north of old Fort Ticonderoga. In Skenesborough, now Whitehall, New York, a fleet of gunboats and row galleys was constructed to defend the lake. Masts were lowered into place at Mount Independence where a rocky outcrop-

BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2016 ping drops sharply to the water. Vessels were also rigged and armed with cannon at the Mount. In the late spring of 1777, batteries designed by Polish military engineer Thaddeus Kosciuszko were constructed on the southeast side of Mount Independence. Other names involved in Mount Independence read like a “who’s who” of the American Revolution - Schuyler, Gates, Arnold, St. Clair and one of our favorites – Mad Anthony Wayne – a true bad ass mofo! A quarter-mile floating bridge of logs covered with planks connected Mount Independence and Ticonderoga.

Page 15 A wider and more permanent bridge, referred to as the Great Bridge, had been designed by Jeduthan Baldwin and was nearing completion at the time the American army abandoned the post in July 1777. Soon the largest outpost in the Continental Army’s history would be gone – burned by the British. Today you will find an excellent museum in the shape of a bateau, the ships used on the lake in those days. Video stories will be told by both American and British soldiers using digitally projected images that we found almost a bit creepy. The wooden caissons that built the bridge have been recovered from Lake Champlain. Pieces of the bridge sit in the museum. A 250-foot long by 25-foot wide two-story hospital was under construction in the southwest. There were storehouses, workshops, and a gunpowder laboratory, and a powder magazine. The foundations are all there to be discovered today. A rifle found at the bottom of the lake is on display along with the picture of the diver recovering it. The short film is well worth watching and, like so much of our history, is waiting to be rediscovered and learned by today’s generation. Next Americade, or when in the region, it is well worth riding to and delving onto the trifecta of revolutionary history – Fort Ticonderoga, Mount Independence and Mount Defiance – which is another part of this great story and deserves a month to itself. Ride on patriots! ~ Brian Rathjen

Mount indePendence hiStoric Site 497 MOUNT INDEPENDENCE RD, ORWELL, VT 802-759-2412 OR 802-948-2000 • WWW.HISTORICSITES.VERMONT.GOV OPEN MAY 28-OCTOBER 9:30AM-5PM • $5 ADMISSION

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Hannum’s Harley-Davidson Presents

G REAT A LL AMERICA N DINE R RUN MaSon’S Market Place 550 ROUTE 50, NEW HAMPTON, NY 10958 845-374-2590 • MASONSMARKETPLACE.COM Just west of the Hudson Valley, north of the famed Black Dirt region and heading, more or less, toward the ancient Catskills from New York City you will find the small hamlet of New Hampton - part of the town of Wawayanda. Love that name. Although part of the region can get congested with the confluence of Route 17, US 6 and I-84 all charging through what was once a beautiful part of New York, Route 50 still has a charm from years gone by. Along this old road you will come across a place that embodied that old time charm and flair – Mason’s Market Place. The building itself seems to have been rescued from years of neglect and the finished structure is a great mix of old charm and modern hipness. In fact, the history of this building is remarkable in itself, as it was built by Nathaniel Tallmadge, a famous name from the Revolutionary War indeed. Tallmadge was a New York State Senator and then Governor of the Wisconsin Territories. The building became the Wawayanda Hotel, a stagecoach stop and, at one time, the Post Office. Recently it stood vacant until a couple years back when it went under a stunning renovation and became Mason’s. We love to see history come alive. Still Mason’s does seem to have a number of personalities. The market features local tastes and talents and a good amount of tasty treats. Their Beer Cave offers a wide selection of brews and ales and in the evening the taproom invites folks in for a tasting of local suds. We came for lunch, so with this article we’ll stick with Mason’s restaurant and the excellent faire that they can offer the discerning rider.

tasty places to take your bike

Mason’s does have some specialty sandwiches, and we’ll get to them in a second, but we did like the “Build Your Own Lunch” concept. With a wide array of choices you can have it your way, combining and adding any number of meats or cheeses. Ham, capicola, salamis, chicken and turkey. Even the love it or leave it liverwurst can be found on the menu. Chicken, tuna and egg salads are offered. Ten different cheeses including goat, can be found and added to your creation, not to mention all the veggies that one can pile on too. All of the Specialty Sandwiches are classics as well with offerings like The Tannor – ham, cheddar, onions, roasted red peppers, lettuce and 1,000 island dressing in a wheat wrap. The Spicy was looking good, with grilled chipotle chicken, muenster, bacon, grilled onions, sweet peppers and chipotle mayo on on a roll. You will also find The American, the Italian, the Philly, The Mozzie, the Crispy Fish AND Chicken. Did you know that the word “the” is the most frequently used word in the English language? Well, it is but here at Mason’s it has been used in “the” best way! They can create salads to your wishes, with romaine or spinach as the base and all sorts of proteins to be added. When we stopped by for lunch we tried their chili and found it to be tasty and with just the right amount of spice and heat. All the drinks were served in Mason jars (as you might think). While we were there another couple on a motorcycle pulled up – as Mason’s has begun to gather a great reputation with riders. If you get to Mason’s later in the day they serve a delectable dinner as well. Nothing fancy but a good selection of sliders – mush-


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Rip & Ride • Mason’s Market Place 550 Route 50, New Hampton, Ny 10958 • 845-374-2590 • one-way route approx. 40 miles • GPS:

Bear Mountain Bridge Traffic Circle Rte. 9W North Right at Rte. 218 Storm King Right at Wood Ave. Left at Shore Road Cross Rte. 9W to Forge Hill Road Left at Rte. 94 Left at Jackson Ave. Right at Otterkill Rd. Left at Clove Rd. Right at Rte. 208 Left at Round Hill Rd. Left at Rte. 94 room & Swiss, bacon & gorgonzola and a cheddar with a spicy aioli. Some happy salads are to be found as well as the Mason’s fish tacos and Mom’s meatloaf.

On Sundays from 10am to 2pm they also do a brunch with some great additions to the already brilliant menu – and the place makes an excellent end spot for an early Sunday morning ride in this part of New York State. Here’s a Rip & Ride that is easily ridden to for the start for riders from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, starting at the traffic circle at the western side of the Bear Mountain Bridge. Enjoy!

Right at Farmingdale Rd. Right at Hulsetown Rd Quick left at Goshen Rd. Right at Purgatory Rd. Left at Sarah Wells Trail Right at Kipp Rd.( Bear right at T) Straight at Everett Rd. Left at Hill Rd. Left at Boyd Rd. Straight at Smith Rd. Right at Phillipsburg / Owens Rd. Right at Cheechunk / Echo Lake Rd. Left at CR 50 to Mason’s

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Morton’s BMW Motorcycles Presents Dr. Seymour O’Life’s MY STERIO U S A MER IC A the ShaWnee-MiniSink archaeological Site A LOOK BACK 13,000 + YEARS If you were asked where you might find one of the most ancient archaeological site in North America you might say somewhere out west – perhaps in the Badlands, maybe the southern desert, or up in plains of Canada. What if we were to tell you it lies far closer than that. In fact, it is right in Backroads backyard. How about right off Interstate 80 where it crosses the Delaware River? That might be hard to swallow, but we are here to tell you that is the truth. Found at River’s Edge Park, right on River Road, just north of the interstate you will find an Historical Marker explaining this region’s deep and significant scientific and historical past. Originally uncovered by Don Kline, an avocational archaeologist, in 1972, full-scale excavations at this site began in the mid 1970s and were directed by Charles W. McNett, Jr., from the American University. During that period, over 3900 square feet was excavated to a depth averaging eight feet, producing over 55,000 artifacts. That’s a lot of artifacts! This archaeological site has yielded one of the earliest carbon 14 dates for human occupation in Pennsylvania, and some of the earliest in North America. The site is stratified and encapsulates nearly 13,000 years of Pennsylvania prehistory. Only Meadowcroft Rockshelter, located in southwestern Pennsylvania, is considered even older

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– by another 6,000 years. Consider this… both these sites are a minimum of 13,000 to 19,000 years old! On a conservative-side that is 10,000 years older than the Great Pyramids of Egypt and older than Göbekli Tepe in Turkey; and that site predates Stonehenge by 6,000 years! Here, my friends, we are talking very, very old. I recently visited the site with my associate, Professor Valentino Von Old Dig, well known in some circles as a preeminent digger and a bad ass with a shovel and brush. I first worked with the good professor at Pumu Punku in South America and have occasionally respected his opinions. He too agreed this was someplace special. The site is also significant because it was one of the first Paleoindian sites in the East to yield features. The charred remains from these features produced a wealth of information and clues on the Paleoindian diet and the post-ice age environment. Paleoindians have frequently been portrayed as “big game hunters”, killing mammoths, mastodons and extinct forms of bison. However, the charred hawthorn seeds, hickory nuts and fish bones found in the Shawnee Minisink hearths support the argument that these ancient humans of the East were generalized foragers as well as hunters and fishers along what would become the Delaware River. Still, hunting was the norm and, even back then, technology moves on and around 13,100 years ago, a new and distinctive spear point style was invented in North America. It is called a fluted point because of


the flute or channel down the length of both sides of the spear point. The groove likely facilitated the hafting of the spear point to the spear shaft. It is one of the most difficult spear points to make, and fluting is not found anywhere else in the world. Thousands were found here. Compared to later groups, these ancient people seemed to have preferred the highest quality stone to make their tools. Although they also used lesser quality material, Clovis spear points, knives, and scrapers were usually made from the best stone in the region such as cherts and jaspers. By tracing the sources of this stone, archaeologists are able to map the general movements of Paleoindian peoples, and they frequently range over 200 miles per year. We are used to the way our North America is today – but we sometimes need to realize mankind has been here for thousands of year. Maybe even more than we first thought. Unfortunately the actual digs are kept a secret to discourage the curious and stupid. That’s okay – the park is well worth the trip and if you go hiking you just might stumble upon some very old history indeed. ~ O’Life Out!

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Bergen County Harley-Davidson Presents


a weekend destination keeping you on the backroads

Melody Manor reSort 4610 LAKESHORE DRIVE/RTE. 9N, BOLTON LANDING, NY 518-644-9750 • WWW.MELODYMANOR.COM Typically for the 4th of July I like to get away even for a short overnight trip. All the better if the weather cooperates and two wheeled travel is involved. The past few years Gena and I have been making a return trip to Lake George either on the 4th or shortly after. Most riders are accustomed to Lake George during Americade week. That certainly gives the village some charm, so to speak but I truly am attracted to the greater Lake George region. It has to be one of the prettiest places to visit. As mentioned, the crystal clear skies and dry weather made for even more enticing reason to go. Most often we stay in the Village proper and even without reservations we have had success finding a hotel or motel in town and on the weekend of the 4th. Like I always say- what could possibly go wrong? The trusty Street Glide was shining nicely so why not ride up in style? With the tour pack packed, I rolled the shiny beast out of the garage and thumbed the starter to begin our journey. Except, Mr. Street Glide had other plans in the form of a dead battery. Okay, that could go wrong. Fortunately we now have a spanking new dealer, Hudson Valley Harley Davidson, right in our own town. Bill, the service manager, was kind enough to load test my battery as soon as the shop opened and verified that I was the proud owner of a liquid-filled paperweight. In short order I installed the new battery and off we went. Gena and I were looking forward to sitting and relaxing poolside for the afternoon so we decided to take 87 to Lake George and take a full day to ride home the next day. In a short 3 hours we pulled in to Lake George under blue skies with a few high clouds. The Village was in full swing for the holiday weekend with boats & para-sailing on the Lake. The Village had a good crowd and even better traffic. As we rolled through town however, we were lamenting the fact that every motel and resort was filled.

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Undeterred we headed north to Diamond Point only to see sign after sign with “no vacancy”. Onward we rode to Bolton Landing. As we rode north via Route 9, I remembered a place that Michael and Lisa Hoffmann had told us about but we never had the opportunity to stay there. In a few short miles we rolled up to Melody Manor and with as much optimism as we could muster we pulled down the long driveway to the office. We were greeted by Rose, the owner, and we inquired about a room for the night. Typically during the summer season, most resorts require a 2-3 night minimum. Rose graciously accommodated our request and soon we were stowing our gear in the room. With provisions, we strolled down the stairs to the lake front and were

Page 21 greeted with a most spectacular view of the lake and mountains beyond. With over 250’ of lake front and paddle boats available, there is plenty to keep you occupied. The grounds are well kept and a short walk up the original stone steps to the “great lawn” behind the newer part of the resort, where the view is even more spectacular. One can sit for hours enjoying the lake, and the heated pool is available to cool off. Dining accommodations are located in the village of Bolton Landing which is a short five minute ride north of the resort. They have a bar that stays open so one does not need to leave the property to enjoy a libation. Breakfast is available at the Villa Napoli Restaurant located adjacent to the office. Unfortunately Villa Napoli is no longer serving dinner, but it is available for catered events for one hundred or so people. Hmm – sounds like a Backroads kind of place! Rose was very accommodating to us and she mentioned that she hosts a few riding groups throughout the season so it is motorcycle friendly. The rooms are large and clean and many have a direct view of the lake. Those that don’t have a view from the porch outside the door. Melody Manor is a perfect place to end the day’s journey, kick back and relax in the quiet splendor that is Lake George. ~ Tony Lisanti Editors note: after Tony told us of the Melody Manor, we dropped in to check it out as well. With 35 rooms to offer, we decided it would make a great stop for one night of our Fall Fiesta Rally 2017. You can get all the details for booking this marvelous long weekend on page 46.

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the Woo hoo 211 S. BAY AVE, BEACH HAVEN, NJ 08008 • 609-492-5433 • WWW.THEWOOHOO.COM SEASONAL HOURS: EARLY MAY THROUGH SEPTEMBER • CALL FOR HOURS Long Beach Island, the Jersey shore, in the middle of the summer. Not someplace you’d think of as a prime riding destination. Especially during the hottest damn week of August, with temperatures hovering just below 100 degrees. But that’s where I was headed, to spend a few days with family during the annual Beach Vaca. While the family ate and swam the week away on the north end of the island, Brian and I would spend a couple of nights on the south end – mile marker 0 to be specific. Of course we’d trek to ‘their end’ but from what we read, the south end was the quiet end. Just what we like. Just a few steps from our digs was the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, 400-acre home to barrier beaches, dunes and tidal salt marsh. It’s one of New Jersey’s last remaining undeveloped barrier islands and in important beachnesting spot for the passing birds, including the Piping Plovers. We were looking forward to a meander along the sands to see what we could see but due to said nesting (I’m pretty sure it was because of all the HUGE machinery rebuilding the dunes) the area was closed. What’s a girl to do?

Why, eat ice cream, of course. A little search popped up an abundance of ice cream options but one stood out far above the rest – The Woo Hoo. First off, how could you not want to go to a place with that name? It screams excitement, adventure and excellence. It was on our side of the island and it’s the only homemade ice cream on Long Beach Island. Done deal, we were there. After dinner with family, we made our way back, watching the clock as it was getting near to closing time


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BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2016 at The Woo Hoo. We pulled up in the nick of time and perused the colorful and creative menu. Before I get to the reason I was here, let me tell you about The Woo Hoo’s real food menu, and when I say real food, I mean real, homemade, unprocessed good food. Megan and Shaun, owners and visionaries of The Woo Hoo, which opened July 2015, say that it’s all about fresh, great food. They make everything in house; their turkey burgers are from house-roasted turkey, all their fries are hand cut and they

Page 23 make their own hot dogs – who makes their own hot dogs anymore? Here’s a sample (you can see the full menu on their website): WooHoo Fries – pork roll, chives, jalapenos and American cheese sauce; Breakfast Burger: double beef patty, bacon, pork roll, over easy egg and American cheese; Crab Cake sandwich with tartar and lemon and the WooHoo Summer Salad: local baby greens, pear, golden raisins, toasted walnut, gorgonzola and lemon honey dressing. They have daily specials depending on what was caught that day and who thought of something creative to cook up. Since we were already on to dessert, we stuck with the ice cream board which listed these flavors, all small batch and churned fresh daily: Vanilla is for Lovers, Chocolate, Minty Chocolate Chip, Cookies n’ Cream, Javin’ Me Nuts, Brown Butter Pecan, Ice Cream 4 Breakfast, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Mango. Always one to go for the unusual, I opted for a scoop of Ice Cream 4 Breakfast (vanilla based with cinnamon toast crunch cereal) and Peanut Butter. Brian went with Javin’ Me Nuts and Cookies n’ Cream (his litmus flavor). They were all incredibly creamy with flavors that were prominent without being overwhelming or too sweet. In order to perfect their ice cream technique, the Penn State Ice Cream Short Course was taken and it certainly shows. Their flavors change daily, with their ‘base 7’ remaining every day. Since everything is made fresh daily, when they’re out, they’re out – the chocolate was gone when we got there – but they strive to restock as soon as they can. While they do have seasonal hours, Megan and Shaun do some local festivals after their regular season. You can check on their website and Facebook page for any upcoming appearances and scoopings. When you head to the real Jersey shore, make sure to plan a stop at the Woo Hoo – you will jump for joy that you did. Grab a cone or sundae, take a short stroll to the beach and enjoy.



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BMW celebrated its 90th year back in 2013 with the launch of the R nineT – a naked roadster, aimed squarely at the younger, hip and affluent rider. Now for 2017 the German company has released a Scrambler version of this machine following styling and visual clues found in motorcycles of the past. Light, voguish, swept up exhaust – looking like a custom project right off the showroom floor. From the beginning the R nineT was made to lure new and conquest riders (other brand owners) into the BMW fold.

The Scrambler seeks to build on that allure. Sticking with a rough and tumble feel for the bike, the Scrambler comes with a 19 inch front wheel and a 17 inch rear, a single gauge speedo, round classic look headlight and conventional forks with gaiters. The Scrambler has a stylish looking tan saddle and the “must have” raised rear exhaust built for BMW by Akrapovic. The machine will come with street-based tires but there will be more off-road aimed rubber available as a no-charge option from the factory. We got to ride the Scrambler back in October and all of the machines on this launch had Metzler Karoo 3 tires – with their blocky look and feel that needed to be gotten used to. Although based on the original R nineT, the Scramblers sit a bit higher (32.3” vs 30.9”) and have higher and more upright handle bars and a slightly longer wheelbase. This machine

words: Brian Rathjen • images: Jonathon Beck and Kevin Wing

2017 BMW R nineT Scrambler


Whether riding across town or crossing a continent, rider comfort and convenience are important. Super Ténéré delivers, with cruise control, an adjustable seat height and windshield, tuneable front and rear suspension, low-maintenance shaft drive, centerstand and more.

444 State Route 23, Pompton Plains, NJ



comes with a steel tank, compared to the original aluminum, and will be listed for $13,000 compared to the R nineT’s $15095 price tag. From the beginning the Scrambler was aimed to appeal to younger riders and those looking for a base platform to customize. The frame has a three-piece section and the rear seat frame can be removed if one is looking for a simple solo ride. The Scrambler is powered by the air/oil-cooled six-speed 1170cc Boxer engine that was found on all the R machines before BMW went with the new water-cooled engines. With 110 horses on tap it offers plenty of grunt and a great pulling power. As with all Boxer machines the Scrambler is shaft driven and this machine will come with mags, but cross-spoke wheels are available and look far neater, in our opinion. The bike is available in Monolith Metallic Matte only.

On the road…

As I mentioned in my Free Wheelin’ we had the opportunity to help with the routing for the North American Media Intro of the 2017 BMW R nineT Scrambler, so we got to ride the svelte machine over familiar territory and knew we’d have the chance to ride a mix of pavement, clay and gravel over the next couple of days. Rolling out of the parking lot I, like many of the other riders, was taken

Page 25 back by the obvious off-road feel of the Metzler Karoo 3 rubber (120/70-19, 170/60-17). But, like any tires as these, give it an hour and you won’t notice it as much. This choice became more righteously apparent when we did 20 miles of rain-soaked clay and gravel in and around the Walpack Valley region of New Jersey. The upright seating position was much to my liking and I instantly felt at home on the Scrambler. The wide bars and GSstyle foot pegs were both familiar and comfortable to me. The Scrambler has no real wind protection to speak of and that allowed for a harsh wind-blast at higher speeds, but like the Karoo tires, I soon got used to this as well. The high set exhaust had a marvelous sound. Not annoyingly loud, but not quiet either. It’s all about tone, which on the R nineT Scrambler was most excellent. The hip tan saddle had mixed reviews for comfort from the

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moto-press, but it never bothered me for the few hundred miles I was on it. In fact I never really thought about it at all – which is a compliment. Power-wise the Scrambler was exactly like my GS (same engine); it pulls well, can cruise for days at 80 miles per hour, and offers snappy response and decent acceleration. Its 4.5-gallon fuel tank offers decent enough range as well.

Long Island


On the mean streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the Scrambler proved itself to be a superb ride, easily navigating to tight streets and traffic. In truth I have not had so much fun riding around New York City since I was in my early 20s. This is a great city bike. With its light weight (485lbs) and good amount of horsepower you will want a serious amount of braking power and BMW provided this with the R nineT Scrambler’s brake system which comes with ABS as standard – and is fitted with 4-piston calipers, steel-wrapped brake lines and 320-millimeter brake discs at the front. At the rear it carries a single-disc brake with a diameter of 265 millimeters and a 2-piston floating caliper. The brakes were solid and sure and offered great feedback. What did not offer equally great feedback was the conventional suspension on the Scrambler. The Scrambler, which does not share the same suspension as the original R nineT, suffers from a bit of under damping and, although it feels great on smooth pavement; sharp bumps, potholes and ruts upset the machine and can be a bit jarring to the rider – especially off-pavement. We know this was part of keeping the price in a more reasonable realm for first time buyers but, if this were to be a day-to-day ride for us, we would be on the phone to EPM Performance and be investing on a suspension upgrade fairly quickly.

67 North Broadway • Route 107 • Hicksville, NY • 516-935-6969

This was my only fault with the Scrambler. That being said – we see where BMW is coming from with this bike. What goes around - comes around, and the market is there for smaller, naked, yet cool motorcycles that harken back to an earlier era in motorcycling. The 2017 BMW R nineT Scrambler is just that. It is a very cool, trendy and hip millennial-aimed machine that, if I owned one, would have me growing a beard, buying more flannel and maybe even trying to squeeze into a pair of skinny jeans. Okay, maybe not the image you wanted in your mind – my bad. In the press material that came with the bike it stated: “BMW Motorrad continues to distance itself from “the bike that my father rides.” Motorrad might want this to be true but I wouldn’t discount the thought that dad might like the Scrambler too; and it would look just fine in the garage next to his GS, his Dodge Durango or his Audi A4. Wait…are we talking mid-life crisis here? Maybe. The 2017 BMW R nineT Scrambler is at BMW dealers now., starting at $13,000.


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Holiday Gift Ideas from Simple to Stupendous UNDER $50 (grab bag, office Santa, last minute)

THROTTLE ROCKER Even we here at Backroads follow Marshall Tucker’s lead and “Take the Highway” every now and again. When we know we will be on the big roads for any real length of time we pop on a Throttle Rocker to make the ride that much more bearable and to give our throttle hands so much needed relief. Twisty and tight road riding allows the hand and wrist to constantly change grip and twist-wise. On the long straight roads, not so much. The Throttle Rocker is the easiest and cheapest way to help alleviate wrist and hand fatigue and we have carried them for years. The Throttle Rocker wraps snugly around the throttle grip of your motorcycle. The downward pressure from the heel of your hand on the comfortable, contoured portion of the Throttle Rocker causes the throttle grip to rotate, so you don’t have to squeeze the grip to operate the throttle. Best of all it costs just $9.95 and makes a perfect stocking stuffer for yourself or a motorcyclist you care about. Available at most shops or log onto for more information.



Statistically speaking deer kill more people in North America than any other animal – around 200 human deaths every year. And how do they do this? With their killer antlers and powerful kicking hooves? No, they are just really bad at crossing roads. So bad that in 2015 it is estimated that around 100,000+ were hit by motor vehicles in the US alone and the primary culprits are white tailed deer as they appear particularly stupid. We cannot prove that anything can deter deer from running out in front of your motorcycle, but for under $10 and with its tiny size, the Deer Screamer is an easy piece to add to your arsenal

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DECEMBER 2016 • BACKROADS against these dangerous encounters. The maker claims that the Deer Screamer is a wind activated (minimum 40 mph) “Audible” deer whistle that emits a sound that can definitely be heard by wildlife. It gets louder with higher speeds, and is projected almost 200 yards in front and to the sides of the traveling vehicle. Only one unit is needed per vehicle. It cannot be heard inside a car, even with windows open and barely be heard when riding a quiet motorcycle.” Numerous attempts have been made to question our local deer population to see if the Screamers work and if the deer find them terrifying, annoying or irksome in anyway but they have refused all our requests for interviews. Regardless of not being able to prove their efficiency in any scientific way it bears notice that Deer Screamer is being used by the NJ State Police, Colorado State Patrol and Iowa State Patrol to help lower their vehicle-deer collision rate. So, our thought is that for the price and the size it can’t hurt – so go for it. It just might be the one unquantifiable thing that saves your life. The Deer Screamer can be had for just $9 from

AEROSTICH LP (LIGHTWEIGHT PORTABLE) BAG This lightweight, ultra-compact water-resistant/repellent sil-nylon reusable bag packs anywhere and doubles as a functional backpack. Jam one behind the headlight or a side panel and it will stay there until needed. Or toss inside another pack or Messenger Bag. They are built to last. All seams are reinforced with binding for durability and strength. The handle loops are tacked and bound, then reinforced again – so they won’t pull off. Two draw cord closure straps of flat webbing secure a quick cinch closure. Bottom corners are reinforced with Cordura pack cloth. The draw cords lock to desired length so they can function as backpack-style shoulder straps. A small stuff-pocket is located high on the interior to double as easy-access storage for keys or a phone. Carries fine across shorter surface street distances by threading one’s left forearm through the handles so the bag hangs just in front of the left knee, too. Inspired by Mark Lindemann, motorcycle industry veteran and author of ‘The Total Motorcycling Manual.’ $25.00 from in assorted colors. 4.5”×3.75”×2” (compressed), 19”×20”×18” (expanded).

STOP N GO POCKET TIRE PLUGGER • DON’T GET STUCK THIS HOLIDAY Ideally all tubeless tires should be repaired from the inside/out. The new Stop N Go Pocket Tire Plugger allows you to make an on the spot/on the wheel repair. The unique mushroom shape of these rubber plugs seal off the puncture on the inner wall while the stem expands under pressure to completely fill the hole. A simple turn of the Allen Wrench inserted in the Plugger pushes the plug thru the Nozzle and into the tire. Fifteen Plugs are supplied along with a Probe Tool, Rasp, Retractable Blade, and laminated Instructions. The vinyl zippered pouch measures only 7.5” x 3” x 1” which makes it extremely portable. For several years now touring riders have known the value of carrying the standard model Tire Plugger. Now all riders of both motorcycles and ATVs can easily find the space needed to carry this revolutionary tool. It will prevent being stranded and minimize downtime in most situations involving a punctured tire. The brand new Pocket Tire Plugger retails


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at $34.95 each. A second version of this kit is available with a CO2 System included for re-inflation of motorcycle and ATV tires. This kit retails for $49.95, which includes (4) 16-gram canisters and a valve adapter. The entire line of Stop & Go products can be viewed at or call 1 800 747-0238.

UNDER $100 (someone you know and like, better stocking stuffer)

TPX BLUETOOTH TRANSMITTER Get your alerts with Bluetooth! The TPX Bluetooth Transmitter wirelessly syncs with a Bluetooth system. It is compatible with Cardo Scala Rider, Chatterbox, Interphone, J&M, Schuberth, Sena, and most other Bluetooth systems. The transmitter comes with a USB charger or you can power the transmitter directly from your bike and pair it with the TPX 12V Bluetooth Power Supply. This transmitter can also be used to wirelessly transmit music and sound from MP3 players, cell phones, and other audio devices to your Bluetooth system. We were impressed with how small it is – just the size of a book of matches - and we were quickly able to pair our non-Bluetooth Valentine One Radar detector with our Sena communication system in minutes with the TPX Bluetooth Transmitter. In the sometimes difficult world of Bluetooth Communication the TPX Bluetooth Transmitter can make things a bit easier. $55 from

BULL RACK • A PLACE FOR YOUR BAGS TO HANG OUT The great thing with a number of sport-touring machines and ADV rides is that you can take the luggage off them when you don’t need them. The bikes look svelte, and you’re not lugging around the bags for no reason. But, I know when we remove our panniers, the bags eventually pile up in a corner. Unless I put them on 2 X 4s, they just end up getting scraped around on the cement floor. Never good for an investment that most likely set you back a few thousand dollars. There is a creative, and almost artsy, solution to the “bags on the floor” problem. BULLRACK, a company based in the mountains of northern Georgia, created a way to protect motorcycle panniers and top cases from damage when they are off of the bike. Made in America using heavy-duty steel and finished off with a powder-coated flat black finish, BULLRACK Wall Mounts lock your bags into place on the wall in your garage or trailer, just as it locks onto your bike, therefore keeping it off the floor and safe from inevitable damage. Installation of a BULLRACK kit is a breeze and requires just a few tools. BULLRACK currently produces mount kits for most BMW luggage as well as Yamaha and Givi luggage, with Ducati coming soon. It is the only product of its kind, and will save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars by protecting your panniers and your investment. Not only that…. the bags look great up on the wall! Consider it off-bike moto art! Racks start at $79.00 •

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OVER $100 (for someone special, that you really care for, like yourself)

NEMO 2 CHAIN OILER • CHAIN MAINTENANCE MADE EASY We recently came across a very neat solution to a previously messy issue Chain Maintenance. The Nemo 2 Chain Oiler is an on-board, on-demand chain oiling system that’ll keep your chain lubed for maximum life. Lube your chain only when it’s needed; you control the process. You can mount the Nemo anywhere on the bike, but we mounted it low on the engine so we could reach down and give the chain a quick lube after we rode thru a creek crossing or mud puddle. A flexible tube runs from the Nemo reservoir to the swing arm, then down to an arm that puts the lube exactly where it’s needed on the rollers, then it self-distributes onto the side plates and sprocket teeth. Nemo works with a simple twist of the upper reservoir - a 1/4 turn delivers a measured amount of lube to the chain for the next 3 minutes. Nemo holds about 30cc chain lube - which is enough for a few weeks on the road. When the reservoir is empty unscrew the cap, fill it up, and you’re ready to roll (and lube). You can use 75W80 gear lube, ATF, motor oil, or a commercial liquid chain lube. Small in size : 2.1” wide x 2.1” high and weighing just 5.1 ounces it lists for just $120 from BestRest Products and they can be reached at 425673-1023 or on-line at

BODZ CHILL GUARD WINTER WEIGHT BASE LAYERS When old man winter comes we used to have to scramble into the closets for the long johns or ride around so bulked up we felt more like Bibendum – the Michelin man – than a sleeker Marc Marquez. Okay, maybe we’re never really Marquez. Thankfully those hulking riding days are gone forever. During the warmer months we find ourselves wearing a variety of different layers beneath our gear and have found BODz lighter summer base layers to be very comfortable and acceptable enough to wear around the general public when off the bikes. With winter coming we can happily recommend their Chill Guard BODz. These garments are made from the heaviest weight “Skinlife” material, making them some of the warmest base layers around. Skinlife maintains the body at a constant temperature. The thinner base layers helped us run cooler in the summer and the heavier Chill Guard gear keeps us at a steady warmth when the mercury drops. (To you younger people, there was a time you could use mercury to tell the temperature and you could actually hold it in your hand and it was very cool stuff - too bad you missed it, really) These BODz Chill Guard are anti-fungal and anti-bacterial which keeps them smelling halfway decent even after repeated days on the road. They also wick away moisture, keeping your skin dry as well. The top came with a ¼ zip mock turtle-neck style and we think the contrasting black and orange striped look very Tron-like. The Bodz Chill Guard are available in Unisex Small/Med, Large & X-large and sell for $109.95 for the top and $69.95 for the Chill Guard johns. Log onto for more information or to order yours.

Long Island


67 North Broadway • Route 107 Hicksville, NY • (516) 935-6969


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ESS MULTI EMERGENCY STOP SIGNAL • BRIGHTER BRAKING CONSPICUITY Get yourself noticed with the NEW ESS Multi Emergency Stop Signal from Nolan helmets. The ESS Multi is an exclusive presence and braking signaling indicator with a LED light that can be installed on the back of any helmet. The ESS offers you an exclusive emergency braking signaling system through intermittent LED lights. It works with a triaxial accelerometer built into the system, that uses an exclusive algorithm and, once a specific acceleration level is exceeded, the LED lights signal potentially dangerous situations to those travelling behind you. The ESS system is unrelated to the braking system of the bike, as it analyses the acceleration sustained by the helmet independently. With its rear positioning, minimum aerodynamic impact, improved balance and optimized volume distribution, the ESS will look like it could have come with your helmet. Its superbright LED Indicators offer three different functions- emergency stop signal - stable light - and intermittent light for riding in poor visibility. The ESS easily attaches to the back with a mounting bracket that snaps in place, but is removable and can be used on other helmets as well. It is light, weighing less than two ounces and its lithium battery charges quickly and will last all day. The ESS Multi Emergency Stop Signal sells for $124.95 and is available now from

SPOT GEN3 GPS TRACKER • SPOTlighted by Brian Rathjen If your motorcycle riding takes you a bit further from home than the local Starbucks or diner and you have family or friends that love that you ride, but worry about you just the same, then you might consider a bit of electronic peace of mind for them and yourself. We have been using a SPOT Gen3 GPS Tracker for a while now and the latest generation is improved in many small ways. The latest Gen3 has new upgraded tracking options, Unlimited and Extreme Tracking, allowing you to choose the rate at which your tracking messages are sent – every 2 ½ , 5, 10, 30 or 60 minutes. I have ours set for one hour and at the end of the day, if I want, I can log onto my SPOT page and see exactly where I have been. It’s nice and very neat when we are riding in a region we don’t normally explore. What I particularly like is the Check In button. A push on this button and an email message is sent to a small list of family and friends that like to keep half an idea on where we are. This is really excellent when on extended tours and especially when out of the country. They can open the email (or not), click on the link and see exactly where we are. If we disappear off the grid, don’t show up at a hotel, or simply vanish then they at least have an idea from where to start looking for us.

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The Help/Spot Assist button is if there is a non-life-threatening situation so you can alert your personal contacts that you need help and where you need it. You can even send a custom message to your friends (maybe rubbing their noses that they are not riding with you?) using this feature as a secondary OK message or transfer your personal help alert to this message function if you are using a SPOT assist service on your Help/Spot Assist button. If something really bad happens there is a special S.O.S. button which notifies the emergency response center of your GPS location. DO NOT USE THIS UNLESS NEEDED, as you can be charged for First Responders, the US Marines or the Avengers coming to your rescue, which ain’t cheap! Over the years SPOT has saved thousand of lives with this feature. The SPOT Gen3 has nearly twice the battery life of the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger and there are more options for powering your SPOT. In addition to using the included 4 AAA Energizer Ultimate Lithium 8x batteries, you can use NiMH rechargeable batteries or line power your SPOT Gen3 with a 5v USB connection. We know from experience the batteries last for months. For hikers and others, the SPOT Gen3 has a carabiner hook & loop strap, but for our needs we wanted something more secure so we purchased a RAM bracket designed specifically for the SPOT Gen3 from Whitehorse Gear in New Hampshire ( and mounted it to a secure and open to the sky position on the bike, as the SPOT needs a clear view of the sky to obtain a GPS signal and provide the most accurate location information. After thousands of miles in various places around the planet our Spot has worked flawlessly and allowed family and friends a little bit more peace of mind and the fun of seeing where we have been and where we are. The SPOT Gen3 sells for $149 plus annual service - which is another $149 – but, if you travel many miles it is well worth it, especially to the people that love you. Log onto for more information and to see where you can purchase yours.

GARMIN ZUMO 595LM GPS This is probably not a stocking stuffer and more like a serious gift…probably to yourself! Technology and devices just get smarter and more precise and that’s very apparent in the world of GPSs. With the introduction of the newest zumo 595LM GPS, Garmin has raised the bar once again. A motorcycle specific unit, the zumo 595LM GPS comes preloaded with maps of North America (USA, Canada & Mexico) and a large, sunlight readable 5” touchscreen that is a breeze to use even with riding gloves on. The screen is really great, as is the 3D terrain image that is bold and colorful and simply adds to your ride. Built tough and water-resistant, and with a battery that will last 4 or more hours when the power is off, the new zumo 595LM offers everything you have come to expect from a top of the line Garmin device and a bit more. Some features needed, some had us questioning the effort. First off know we look at GPSs a little different that some other riders. Using Garmin’s BaseCamp Routing Program we do our very best to be in charge of where we will be riding and very rarely let the zumo take the lead. That being said the new Garmin’s Adventurous Routing, found on the zumo 595 LM, does an excellent job ferreting out the better and more interesting backroads and you can adjust it, with easy to control sliders, to help generate the custom routing with more or less hills and turns. We let the zumo 595 do its thing in some different locations and really could not complain with the routing. In fact, along one ride not far from Backroads Central, it brought us through a few roads that we weren’t even aware of, but are now. Score one for the 595. Nearby points of interest, and where to find necessities such as ATMs and gas stations are all clearly marked on the map during navigation mode. Then there are some of the questionable bits of technology that Garmin has included such as the automobile-inspired alerts on the zumo 595LM, one being “Rider Alerts” which would keep the rider aware of approaching sharp curves ahead, speed changes, railroad, school zones and more. Although we really appreciate being aware of school zones, railroad crossings and local speed limits, we do not need to be told that there are curves ahead – it can be annoying, unneeded and distracting. We want a GPS, not a mommy. We turned the curve alert off after about 5 miles, never to be allowed again. Another feature we thought wasted memory, at least for most of the readers of this magazine, was the Helmet Law Alerts letting you know if you needed to wear a helmet or not in the state into which you were crossing. We think that an application that just lets you know when you are about to cross from one state to another would be far more useful. We do appreciate the hands free calling which allows the rider to sync his or her smartphone with a compatible helmet or headphone to send and receive messages without removing your gloves or helmet. When the smartphone rings the caller’s number, or name from your contact list, pops up on the screen and you can choose to answer or not answer the call.


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The 595 can also keep an eye on your tire pressure with the optional Garmin TPMS. Simply replace your valve caps with these, pair them onto the zumo 595LM and you can press the app to keep your tires inflated to the proper amount of air. If a tire drops air for whatever reason you get an alert. This works very well indeed, and we have checked with other gauges and found it to be almost spot on with other calibrated pressure gauges we have. If you are into video you can link and operate the Garmin’s VIRD camera with the zumo 595LM as well. As part of the Smartphone connection the zumo 595LM can connect you to live weather radar and traffic information via the wireless Smartphone Link app as well and we found this to be a great application. This app also enables LiveTrack, a feature that can, when enabled, let friends track your whereabouts in real time. Great if you are on a long trip and have a family that worries a bit when you are gone. With the zumo 595LM music and your Bluetooth MP3 player or Smartphone you can control and play your music and even stream music from compatible services like Pandora and Spotify. We installed an 8-gig micro SD card and had a few thousand songs loaded that were easily controlled by a sidebar on the screen. There are some other features that are really up to you to use or not. Maintenance Records can be kept on the zumo 595LM and a Trip Computer and digital fuel gauge is available to estimate how many miles you can ride before needing gas. There are even Dynamic Fuel Stop alerts that actually prompt you when it’s time to refuel and even provide gas station location options in the zumo 595LM. Again you can use or not use these features. The LM in zumo 595LM means lifetime updates are included. On the road the zumo 595LM worked much like our older 590, which is almost identical as far as looks go. Installation was easy enough and working with Garmin’s BaseCamp and Garmin Express (to check for current updates) could not be easier - plug & play. If you are looking for the newest and most up-to-date GPS for a motorcycle the zumo 595LM is at the cutting edge. Yes, we know it is not all that different from the previous 590 (a $100 difference), but if you are going to make the investment of serious cash for this technology it is always a safer bet to go for the latest version. After months of on the road testing, even with the overkill with some of the features, we found the zumo 595LM to be brilliant, intuitive and the best motorcycle GPS available. The Garmin zumo 595LM retails for $899 from various sources.

TOURATECH’S ZUMO 590 AND 595LM LOCKING HANDLEBAR MOUNT • PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT Okay, so you just dumped half a mortgage payment down on a Global Positioning System for your motorcycle. A serious investment, right? Don’t be fooloish and stick with the brackets that come with your zumo. We have seen GPS units go bouncing down the road and suddenly be missing after lunch. Bad things happen and for a bit more of an investment you can keep your big one. The Touratech locking mount for the Garmin zumo 590LM and 595LM GPS navigators provides the ultimate in locking and vibration resistant protection for your GPS while on any kind of motorcycle adventure. Because of the locking mechanism, you will no longer have to worry about your expensive GPS while running in to pay for gas, or grabbing a bite to eat. The zumo 590 & 595LM GPS mount also incorporates anti-vibration dampers to cut down on harsh vibrations to your GPS from your motorcycle’s engine or the road conditions. This mount is perfect for both street touring on a large sport touring bike, or hard off road riding on a single cylinder enduro. We have these brackets on both our bikes for use with our GPS units and never worry that they will go missing or eject off the bike like a bad guy in James Bond’s Aston Martin. $184.90 from

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It’s been a great summer for riding. Here on the east coast we’ve had a wide variety of temperatures, with August bringing in some of the hottest in recent memory. I can tell you that there is almost nothing worse than heading into D.C. at rush hour in the middle of the week on a motorcycle. The only thing that might have made it a bit better would be wearing VnM base layer, and here’s why. Denis Cote, one of our readers from Canada, told me about VnM and said he had been wearing it with great success this riding season. I got in touch with Aliki Karayan, founder of VnM Sportgear (rider owned and racer developed) to figure out my sizing and get a set of my own. Not too long after that, they popped up in the mailbox and I was good to go in the rest of the heat of the remaining summer. Aliki came up with the idea for VnM compression base layers, took an entrepreneur course, did some in-depth testing with professional riders and racers and, when satisfied she had exactly what she wanted, launched the line in 2012. Learning from past experience with the military, motorcycle instructing and time on the track, she wanted to reduce the fatigue brought on by long hot rides, both to the mind and the muscle. The compression component is there to speed up muscle recovery by reducing lactic acid build up and oxygenating the muscles. She found a highly technical fabric in Italy, originally designed for Olympic level triathletes, which was altered to focus on compressing the muscles that are primarily used when riding. In addition, this material and the finished garments are meant to last, expertly crafted in Canada and offering the highest level of cooling and quick drying available on the market.

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From Aliki Karayan: “More and more riders are realizing the importance that performance fabric have on their ability to stay comfortable, ride longer, stay focused, and perform at their peak. And, although baselayers are mainly sought after for performance reasons, more importantly, riders should take into affect its benefits from a safety standpoint. 97% of energy loss is through thermoregulation (your body trying to keep you warm or cool) and we lose concentration and focus once we become fatigued. Throughout my career as a motorcycle safety instructor, trackrider, and racer, I have seen many incidences, and most of the causes included an element of fatigue.” This advanced fabric reduces excess energy expenditure and dehydration with its very unique construction. It is woven into little honeycombs that help increase cooling by opening up as you move. The fabric is almost like a second skin that rapidly evaporates water – okay sweat – creating an intense cooling sensation, al-

BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2016 most like air conditioning. In addition, it offers SPF 50+ sun protection and will last over 4X longer, with no shrinking or stretching, than other base layers. Donning my gear, I immediately felt like a super hero. The compression fit is definitely not overwhelming; let’s just say that it keeps everything where it needs to be. The material is soft to the touch, with specialized silicone gripper waistband on the top to keep gear in place. Stepping into my Aerostich Roadcrafter was a breeze, as the material has an almost slippery feel. With all vents open, I immediately felt the breeze passing through my suit. As the day started off in the mid 60s, it was almost too chilly. With the increase in temperature, the warm sun and some miles under my tires, I absolutely felt the exhilarating effect of this riding gear. It really was amazing to have an outside temperature in the 80s yet feel cool inside my full protective riding gear. I could just imagine the effect if I were wearing my vented gear. For multiple days of riding, should you feel the need to refresh the VnM gear, simply wash in cold water in sink or tub, wring out in a towel and you’re good to go – it comes out practically dry and can be worn immediately. For uber hot disgusting days of riding, you can soak it down before riding to increase its cooling effect. It can be worn on cold days as a base layer; not for insulation but, with a fleece layer, it will reduce overheating. VnM Sportgear Cooling Compression Base Layers are currently available in men’s and ladies long sleeve tops and unisex full-length pants. Speaking as a woman with hips, the top and bottom fit very well and, as promised, stay put with no bunching, chaffing or irritation while riding. Both top and bottom, men’s or women’s, are priced at $97.99 US each. For the expert quality of construction, amazing cooling and super fit, VnM is certainly worth the outlay and will most likely keep you a cool rider for a long time. With the holiday season fast approaching, I know I’d be a happy camper if I found this under the tree or beside the menorah.

Aliki has expanded her line to include cold weather gear, helmet liners ($34.99) and casual ‘trackside’ apparel, all available on her website. Should you be a racer, belong to a club or just want some cool, individual stuff, VnM can customize your gear – all the same excellent qualities with a super specialized look. There are no minimums for custom gear. For more info on this, contact You can get your VnM Sportgear through their website: Should you have any questions, you can email or visit them on Facebook @ ~ Shira Kamil

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SIDI TOUR GORE-TEX BOOTS Brian Rathjen We have all heard that nothing lasts forever. But, when it comes to boots and gloves, the two things that get the most abuse while we ride, I am always happy when and if I can get a few good seasons out of them. Recently my trusty pair of Sidi Boots developed a split along a seam, with the durable stitching slowly giving way. Normally this would be a problem that would cause some kvetching on my part, but considering I have used and abused these boots for almost a decade I feel that these boots have done their set upon task well and need to be applauded as they go to their retirement in the hallowed “Bin of Fame” (that gets picked up every Tuesday morning here at BRC). These boots had long been my local “go for a ride” boots and I needed to replace them, but after looking around at what was offered I kept coming back to Sidi and the same boots. Why mess with success, right? Well, Sidi Boots have made some evolutionary changes (all for the better) and the Sidi Tour GoreTex Boots still offered all day comfort in a waterproof and breathable boot. Stick with a winner I say! I ordered a new pair and a week later Lee the UPS man was rolling up the drive. Comparing the old to the new the updates were apparent but the look was both familiar and stylish and they still had a very short break-in time (just a few rides) before they felt as comfortable as the old boots. I hate to struggle with boots and, like the previous version, the Tour Gore-Tex use a combination Velcro and zipper entry & closure system allowing these boots to go on and come off in an effortless manner. The internal full-length gaiter keeps elements out, while heel, ankle and toe guards add to your riding protection. I also appreciate the soles that are a very boot-like “lug-type” pattern and work well on every type of surface I have scrambled over. As before I have found the Sidi Tour Gore-Tex Boots very comfortable both on and off the machines. We purchase riding boots to ride with, but in truth, they get put to the test off the bike as well. A pair of riding boots’ walkability is key! If a pair of boots hurt, chaff or simply don’t work for you then it doesn’t matter if they are tough, durable and waterproof. For the record the Sidi Tour Gore-Tex Boots are tough, durable and waterproof. For thousands of miles, in some very extreme conditions, these boots have done yeoman’s work. The Gore-Tex membrane breathes more than any other system and each boot has a small vent to allow air circulation; thus your feet will stay cooler in warm weather with a Gore-Tex equipped boot as well as dry in the hardest rains. The proof is that wonderful moment when, after a long day of slogging through the worst that Mother Nature can toss at you, you get to your hotel or into your tent and pull off the boots and confirm that your socks are indeed dry. That’s what we’re talking about! The Sidi Tour Gore-Tex Boots are available from Motonation or better shops and list for $325 • • 619-401-4100

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SARGENT CYCLE PRODUCTS WORLD SPORT ADVENTURE TOURING SEAT FOR TRIUMPH TIGER 800 ALL DAY COMFORT, STYLE AND QUALITY words & images: Mike Bellantone I have run through a number of machines in my long riding career, but none have fit me so well, or stayed around as long, as my Triumph Tiger 800. I am not a day-to-day rider, but still manage to get out on a consistent basis, splitting my riding from long day rides and multi-day tours – usually with Backroads. As the years have gone by the Tiger 800 has been a faithful companion, but the last trip brought up one demon that this British machine carries around with it; a less than loveable saddle. In fact I found my butt in need of some serious TLC after a few extended days in the saddle. In order to stay on such friendly terms with the Tiger on these longer excursions something had to change and I was pretty sure I knew what that was. There are many replacement saddles and fixes for stock seats out there, but over the years I have had great success with the Florida-based company Sargent and so ordered up their World Sport Adventure Touring Seat for the modern Triumph 800cc Tiger machine. The World Sport Adventure Touring is a two-piece design and according to Sargent the Tiger 800 seat utilizes the latest digital modeling, computer design (CAD) techniques, precise manufacturing processes, and superior materials. This World Sport Seat features their vacuum-formed PVC Acrylic Alloy Seat Pan and this super tough, light-

weight material provides an exceptional high-performance seat foundation. It is precision-molded and has a superior fit and came outfitted with high-quality hardware. It actually went on with no struggle and easier than the stock saddle. Sargent utilizes a Super Cell Atomic Foam suspension which is their own unique and proprietary blend that offered my tush a wonderful combination of resilience, firmness, and vibration-absorption traits making it well suited for maximum long distance comfort and it is. Since I have added the Sargent World Sport Adventure Touring Seat the only thing I have never run out of is comfort on a long day’s ride – only time. I put the seat to a test with my 12 year old “Dad, I think I’m melting” Jack Bellantone. We had a 4-hour trip up around the Pine Island region of New York and its environs on our way to Sunday dinner with my “Never happy my grandson is on a motorcycle” mother. My ass hasn’t been coddled in such supreme luxury since I drove my aforementioned mother’s ’82 Delta 88. My ample butt cheeks thank Sargent. Jack said that his seat felt “different”; coming from a kid with no butt cheeks and weighs 65lbs wet that says a lot!

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Style-wise I couldn’t be happier with this seat. Its look flows with the bike’s line, rather like some that seem to just sit upon them. This seat is stitched together with UV-stabilized, color-coordinated upholstery, and is hand-sewn specifically to maximize the qualities of the Super Cell Foam. The World Sport Adventure Touring Seat comes in a regular height and low version, and CarbonFX vinyl seating inserts with a choice of black or metallic silver welt are also available. Something else that you will find with Sargent Seats is their handy, under-the-seat storage area on the passenger’s seat, helpful to stow small object or paperwork.



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In addition, for you wintertime riders, every Sargent Seat can be had with an optional Heat Upgrade with individual electronic controllers. Don’t smile till you try it. All in all my only real problem with Sargent’s World Sport Adventure Touring Seat is that I waited so long to get one. It has transformed an already great weekend and short distance touring machine into a long mileage machine, and did so at a very reasonable cost, listing in around $550 depending on a varying amount of personalization and upholstery choices. The Sargent World Sport Adventure Touring Seat are available for a wide variety of machines and applications and is an easy choice if you are looking to turn that already fun machine into a serious backroads explorer! Log onto to see more.

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words: Eric Archambault • images: Paul Gullien In mid-August 2016 Touratech-USA hosted the second annual Touratech Rally East in Huntingdon, PA. Using the same format as the legendary (and largest adventure rally in the west) Touratech Rally West, it proved to be another amazing weekend for all who attended. Thursday afternoon is when the hundreds of attendees started to arrive, and continued to filter in until well after the sun went down. That is when a farmer’s field became the bivouac for a motorcycle rally.

Thursday evening, over snacks and beers, the festivities started. Paul Gullien (Touratech-USA’s CEO) kicked off the introductions, and reviewed some the events going on over the weekend. A rider’s meeting was held afterward, and the ride descriptions were shared. With the sun getting low, the campfire was lit and the music turned on. The excitement of being out of the city and playing with motorcycles for a weekend was evident on everyone’s faces.

As the fire burned low, most everyone called it an early night to be ready for the riding the next day would hold. The rides are always the main attraction at any Touratech rally. This year there were seven different rides covering over 625 miles. There was something for everyone, from a completely paved ride, to a 165-mile loop with many rocky sections. At least once a day, on Friday and Saturday, organized groups would head out on these rides. GPS tracks for the rides are also provided to all attendees. Some would explore these rides in their own groups, or after the rally. The Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests, only a few miles away from the rally basecamp, contained most of the rides. These state forest lands provided hundreds of miles of dirt roads, drivable trail sections, and incredible views. The local twisting, rolling country roads make even what would be expected to be boring paved transit sections a treat of their own. Back at camp there was an incredible European-style GP grass track snaking though rolling farmland. Laid out with adventure bikes in mind, even the largest BMW could throw down some dirt bike-style laps. Natural elevation changes provided the jumps, and the lack of trees allowed for riders

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to see ahead far enough to really hammer down between the turns safely. I know more than a few riders spent hours laying down lap after lap until the course was closed for the night. Both Friday and Saturday afternoons were filled with classes and clinics on all sorts of topics. There were classes on packing for trips, body positioning on the motorcycle, fishing off of a motorcycle, suspension set-up, as well as some travel tales. A few impromptu tire-changing classes popped up and drew crowds, as tires and tubes needed to be replaced over the weekend. The folks from the Backcountry Discovery Route announced the upcoming east coast BDR series. Friday evening, after the rides had all arrived back into camp, it was time for the skills course. Jimmy Lewis laid out a series of challenges that would test any rider, but were still attemptable for everyone. Lots of riders lined up to try their hand, and everyone else gathered to watch. The course started with “The Box,” where riders had to turn around in a box that didn’t provide much extra room for the maneuver. If the judges thought you were sandbagging on a “cheater bike” (such as a small dirt bike) the box might change in size or penalty points were assigned as a handicap. Next was a side hill “escargot.” For those who are not familiar, escargot is a tightening spiral ridden one direction, then at the tightest bit, turned around and ridden back out. The side hill really added an extra degree of challenge. Finally there was the logs that riders had to go over or around without putting their feet down. Much like the skills course the night before, Saturday night’s slow race was as much of a spectator event as it was a challenge for the riders. Jimmy Lewis again used the hill to make a not-so-traditional slow race course. With a few turns, and a tight spot, riders needed to use strategy as much as going slow. The crowd would cheer as the slowest rider went too slow and dabbed, or two riders would barely creep side by side at the finish line. The weather all weekend had been about perfect, until some rain Sunday morning. Even packing up in the rain didn’t seem to dampen the awesomeEXCLUSIVE MOTORCYCLE PARKING FACILITY ness of the weekend. Days filled with riding in Pennsylvania’s W e p r o v i d e a f r i e n d l y, c l e a n a n d s e c u r e forests and the camaraderie environment for the motorcycle enthusiast around the fire at night were hard to beat. I’m already looking forward to next year, for the riding, Service Area to see old friends again, and to Personal Storage make some new ones.


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I got a chance to spend a few thousand miles on the updated semiwatercooled BMW R1200RT last year in the Canadian Rockies, twoup, and came away more than a bit impressed. This past summer we took possession of the 2016 R1200RT for a long term test review, taking the machine on our loop of New York State, as well as a deeper ride down south. Plenty of publications and websites will give you all the detailed numbers and hard facts on this machine. We’d rather give you a good overview and how the R1200RT performed day in and day out on the road. Suffice to say the machine’s water-cooled 6-speed Boxer twin powerplant puts out a respectable 125 horses and all this is controlled by a superior electronic control system, with a few different power modes – rain, road and dynamic (option) as well as ESA suspension that works brilliantly depending on power mode and road conditions. The sporty temperament of the R1200RT is apparent in its full “Dynamic” mode and Hill Start Control makes stopping and starting on an uphill slope a breeze. Changing power modes would set-up suspension for a preprogramed setting. I found myself resetting the suspension to my liking. In a pesky few days of steady rain and wet conditions in the mountains, I opted for rain mode and dynamic suspension mode. This allowed for the maximum traction control and the firmest sporty suspension. The best of all worlds and the R1200RT handled brilliantly in even the tightest switchbacks and mountain sweepers - acting far sportier than you would think a touring machine should. The Brembo four piston calipers up front squeezing 320mm rotors and a two-piston Brembo in the rear did an amazing job all day and, even in very twisty and hilly conditions when they were called upon again and again. Great feedback and feel. The RT came shod with Metzler Road Tec Z8 tires that offered confidence in every situation and, it seemed, great mileage as well. Part of the electronic package with this machine is the ability to check tire pressure with a jog of the dial located on the left grip, which, like my own GS, I did every day, leading me to sorely miss the days of free air at filling stations. This dial also scrolls through a number of other bits of information such as time, temperature and audio settings. The RT came equipped with Sirius radio and MP3 player that I loaded with 2,500 songs. The one problem, and an annoying one at that, was that the MP3 player only played songs in alphabetical order. If there is a shuffle option it should be easier to find. FM radio was there too, but in truth, I played music infrequently and only got as far as songs beginning with B. The bike has a speaker system, but as I find all such intrusive systems annoying I never used them, rather having the music and any prompts from the GSP fed through my helmet-mounted Sena 20S Bluetooth unit. The RT had the optional Navigator V GPS unit, which is made by and operated like any other Garmin unit. I really like the way BMW mounted this device as well as the rest of the instrument cluster with its TFT color display – as it was all clear, concise and easy to read and utilize.

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DECEMBER 2016 • BACKROADS The R1200RT also has an electrically controlled windscreen and raising or lowering it made a major difference in airflow and this feature was used often. The RT has cruise control that works simply and like many other machines. I used this feature on a few longer interstate-style roads and found it to be a neat thing to have at times. As far as styling goes I feel BMW really hit the mark with this machine and though it looks fairly big it weighs in at a comparatively light 604 lbs. with a 31-inch seat height. The fairing and windscreen offer great weather protection and the bags hold a decent amount of gear, although the claim of a full-face helmet is slightly optimistic. The bags can and should be locked as they opened twice on us for no reason. Once in a parking lot when a passenger was getting off and once at speed, on a road along the St. Lawrence Seaway, spilling out my sneakers and jacket liner across the roadway where they were all immediately besieged by semi-trucks. The bags have an internal strap that keeps things tight and this strap luckily held onto a camera bag with a few thousand dollars in Nikon equipment from tumbling down the road as well. Always lock these cases. The saddle seemed well thought out, and, not having to think about it much added to that opinion. Nuff’ said on the seat. The bike is highly illuminated with daytime LED running lights following the cue of the BMW K-bikes. On the road during this summer the RT was spectacular, always proving itself the competent sport-touring machine. The bike offers good power and useable horsepower (nobody really needs 160 ponies), all day comfort and praiseworthy handling in just about any paved riding situation. It does not like anything dirtier than a gravel road. It’s us – we always find an unpaved road. Just like last year we really like everything about the BMW R1200RT – it is a great machine that deftly accomplishes everything BMW set out to create and is a worthy machine to wear the venerable RT badge. ~ Brian Rathjen

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The FDNY Dream Bike The Amazing and Improbable Journey of One Special Machine

Of Missing Riders…. This story really has its beginnings late in August of 2001. Firefighter Mike Wernick was approached by fellow Ladder 9 member Gerard Baptiste. Gerard had been thinking about getting a motorcycle and Mike, who had been riding bikes all his life, in addition to owning Rising Wolf Motorcycle Garage, was the goto-guy for Gerard when the young man had thoughts of buying a motorcycle for himself. There was a bike a few blocks away, a 1979 Honda CB750 LTD. Mike and Gerard walked over to check it out together. One look told Mike all he needed to know about this bike. It was a clunker, a total mess and a money-pit just waiting to happen. Mike told Gerard the bad news. Wernick told him there were plenty of other machines out there and it would be best to keep on looking. But Baptiste was drawn to the classic lines of this popular bike and a week later Gerard strolled down Great Jones Street rolling the beater Honda along with him. The machine was put into the back of the firehouse on Great Jones Street. The following week 9/11 happened. Gerard was one of the firefighters that answered that call and one of the many who did not return to the historic building on Great Jones Street that day. We all have our stories from this tragedy and the days and weeks that followed. One was told by a writer and friend Jeff Kurtzman who wrote a piece for Backroads called ‘Of Missing Riders,’ after visiting the firehouse a few weeks after 9/11 and spotting the old Honda exactly where Gerard Baptiste had rolled it those weeks before. He heard the story and wrote about it, lamenting how here was a machine without its rider. This story really begins to grow here when we received a letter from a reader named Dennis Ryan, who brought up the idea of doing something special with this decrepit little Honda languishing in the back of a Greenwich Village firehouse. We had been thinking along these lines, but it was Dennis’ letter that really got the wheels turning. We reached out to a few people we knew in the industry, as this was certainly something we could not do correctly without some help –well, lots of help. A few weeks later, what would become known as the Dream Bike was dragged out of the firehouse on Great Jones Street and hauled out to Backroads Central in northwest New Jersey by Chris Langford of Redline Towing. Chris would end up bringing this machine many places over the years and never said no to the task. Our first query went to American Honda In California and specifically to Gary Christopher, who would prove to be a tireless friend to this project. His reply was a simple, “What do you need?” The truth was a lot and our short list got longer as the project moved forward. The bike was brought to Cycle Service & Accessories, in Newton, New Jersey and Steve Lovas who, along with wife Carol Lee Spages and Steve Jerger, began the slow process of dismantling, evaluating and the laborious process of not just rebuilding this bike, but recreating it into what would become the FDNY Dream Bike. The finished paint job from Sean Jennings was truly incredible. Their work and commitment was outstanding. Other people in our industry stepped right up to the plate with tires, fairing, suspension among so much more. Every little detail was taken care of except taking any actual pictures – go figure. Months went by and slowly the Dream Bike began to really take shape. Route15 Honda took the bike to give it one last going over - working out a few details with the Honda, both big and small, that always seem to pop up on a re-creation of this type. Ray Dunn made the motorcycle actually run as good as it looked. Late one afternoon we drove down to Honda and picked up the Dream Bike. The importance and moment of actually riding this now stunning machine back to home base was not the least bit lost on me. Now finished, this would only be the start of the Dream Bike’s real journey… Next month…. The Improbable Grand Tour

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Welcome to the Jungle - The Art of Learning to Ride Skillfully A column dedicated to your riding survival

CLASS – Why We Keep Coming Back We had to think back to how many CLASS schools we have attended over the years. Just the fact that we have to ponder this question and write down the ones that we do remember let’s you know that there have been more than just a couple. We do know that the last three have been two-day CLASS events held at VIR – Virginia International Raceway, one of the most beautiful and interesting circuits in the US. For many of you the only education and tutoring you may have had motorcycle-wise might just have been on the mean streets of a closed parking lot. Great way to start, but surely just a beginning to a lifetime of riding. We have stressed taking as many schools as you can as, for the most part, they are all good and have merit.

But, as far as learning to really control your machine, to learn its limits and how to stay within them, to work on control and, most of all, smoothness we have found that Reg Pridmore’s CLASS is in one by itself. Three time AMA Superbike Champ and Hall of Famer, Reg has been mentoring riders looking to improve their skills since the 70s. Along with his wife, and real ring leader of the bunch, Gigi, they have changed thousands of riders lives. Returning to VIR this mid-October we were met with near perfect riding conditions – brisk at the 7am start and warming up as the day went by. Reg’s CLASS was a packed event and we were broken into groups A & B. The A consisting of more experienced riders and those who had taken CLASS numerous times before and the B group running at a more sedate pace. Although we have been in both A & B groups over the years we were staying in the less frenetic B group – looking to work on braking, shifting and smoothing out our transitional techniques rather than improving lap times. To paraphrase Nelson Mandela, “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front” especially when the goal is to slowly and incrementally improve your own riding. We have often said that riding motorcycles is a singular and personal sport that you still play with others. At CLASS you can do just that. After a brief lap with Reg, where he pointed out various parts of the VIR, we did a warm up lap with some of his instructors, with each rider taking a lap on the 2.25-mile north course directly behind the leader to make note of the apexes and the preferred lines. While we were doing this Reg and crew were giving 20-minute instructional session in the classroom. When we got back in it was time for our instruction and discussion and for the A group to spend the next 20-minutes out on the course. Each classroom session built on the previous one and a broad variety of topics and techniques were put forth. Throttle and brake control, body positioning and steering, correct shifting and visuals - such as where you need to be looking at various parts of the technical VIR course (hint – the further

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ahead you look the better!). In the middle of the day there was lunch and a chance to work on your braking techniques and control in pit lane. The afternoon session and the second day were much the same, but with the growing realization that each time out we were getting just that much better and that much more competent. As you did your laps CLASS instructors would be circling around the course, picking up behind riders and then signaling to follow for a few laps, before they would bring the riders in for a little bit of one-to-one mentoring. If you felt you had an issue, or just wanted to see if they saw something you could do better or work on, you could ask and they would happily oblige. Shira and I did this often over the two-days and it paid off big time. In addition, Reg was offering to take you for a lap or two on the back of his or your own bike to experience the smoothness and ease of a champion’s ride. Our friend Wayne opted in on this, jumping on the back of Reg’s BMW, and got off wide-eyed and with a newfound insight into shifting, lines and controlled riding. Given the chance, one should definitely experience this. Reg speaks again and again about riding control and the need for restraint, especially when coming up on riders that are more comfortable at a slower pace. This is not a race and slow is okay, especially when the lines, braking points and overall skill are incrementally improving.

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Remember this is about becoming better, smoother and more confident, right? That being said there will always be a little bit of competition and, just a few times, I found myself choosing to take back a position I might have lost on the straightaway. It was all good fun and never at anything like a real race pace. As Reg had said, “There are no trophies at the end of the day.” It does not matter what you ride, as our twodays at VIR saw small bikes, sport bikes, adventure machines and one fellow on a full dress


Harley riding like he was on a mission. And, I believe he was as he had a calling to get better, safer, smoother. We rode our machines to and from CLASS and you can too. The one thing they prefer is the newest tires you can bring. Fresh rubber is key on the track. If you keep your machine in road-worthy condition and have newer tires you will pass Reg’s inspection. If you do not, maybe you should not be riding this bike on the road, eh? This was a two-day CLASS event and I know from past experience that the second day is really when things kick in, when they gel, when all the information and thoughts we have been told and mentored on by Reg and his various instructors come together and riders begin to really smooth out, look forward to turns that had stymied them and come in from the track sessions with bigger and bigger grins.

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We hope that Reg, Gigi and CLASS return to VIR, as we know it is a big trek for them to bring all this east. CLASS also can be found at Streets of Willow, Sonoma Raceway (Sears Point) and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA; and at many of these tracks motorcycle rentals are available. CLASS generally runs about $675 for both days, but track locations and special events vary in price. You can log onto their website at to see what is coming up for 2017. Our bottom line is this: We all spent a lot of money to get our machines and to make them our own. But, the best gear, the best machine, the best tires, the best of everything will not make nearly the impact or difference in our riding experience than will improving and upgrading the single most important piece of equipment that we all have. Ourselves. Don’t cut yourself short on this!

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What’s Happening



25 • 2nd Annual Black Friday Ride @ Bob's BMW Motorcycles, 10720 Guilford Rd, Jessup, MD. After a great success in 2015, Bob’s will be hosting a 2nd annual Black Friday Ride! Avoid shopping pandemonium and #optoutsideon2wheels Visit for details.

Bob Hartpence Chairman • 609-894-2941 • • 908-722-0128 for schedule updates

25 • MeetUp & Ride with Bob’s Road Crew @ Bob’s BMW Motorcycles, 10720 Guilford Rd, Jessup, MD. Exciting group ride led by Bob! Details visit 26 • Cross Country Powersports Fall Open House. 10am-3pm. 911 Middlesex Ave, Metuchen, NJ • 732-635-0094 •


Oct. 30 • CAPE MAy VFW POST 386, 419 Congress St, Cape May, NJ• 609 884-7961

NOVEMBER 2016 27 • HILLBILLy HALL, 203 Hopewell-Wertsville Rd, Hopewell, NJ • 609 466-9856

DECEMBER 2016 4 • MONTGOMERyVILLE CyCLE, 2901 Bethlehem Pike, Hatfield, PA • 215 712-7433 11 • APPALACHIAN BREWING CO., 50 W 3rd Ave Collegeville, PA •484 973-6064

3 • Holiday Party for all at Morton's BMW Motorcycles, 5099A Jefferson Davis Highway, Fredericksburg, VA. Great deals, tasty treats, and hot cider await you from 9am-4pm. Everyone is welcome! More info at 540-891-9844 or

18 • THE CABIN, 984 Rt. 33, Howell, NJ 07731 • 732 462-3090 • CHRISTMAS PARTY BRING A TOY FOR THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL (do not wrap present)

9-11 • New york International Motorcycle Show, Jacob Javits Center, NyC. Fri. 2-9pm • Sat. 9am-9pm • Sun. 9am-5pm. $20 adults, under 11 free.

8 • The Tilted Kilt 4095 US Hwy 1 South, Monmouth Junction NJ • 732 783-7138

10 • Bergen Harley-Davidson Free Photos with Santa. 10am-3pm. FREE Gift wrapping for all your holiday purchases. 124 Essex St, Rochelle Park, NJ • 201-843-6930 • 11-17 • STILL TIME: Join Backroads on a week’s riding in the Mountains of Tenerife, beautiful islands of Spain, with Edelweiss Tours. 17 • 9am-4pm • Holiday Cheer Open House @ Bob's BMW Motorcycles, 10720 Guilford Rd, Jessup, MD. The annual customer appreciation day is Bob’s favorite event of the year. It’s a time to think back and smile on yet another wonderful and fun year of riding and serving customers! Visit for details. 17 • Hudson Valley Motorcycles Holiday Party - ALL WELCOME! 179 North Highland Ave/Route 9, Ossining, Ny • 914-762-2722 • • 17 • Bergen Harley-Davidson Free Photos with Santa. 10am-3pm. FREE Gift wrapping for all your holiday purchases. 124 Essex St, Rochelle Park, NJ • 201-843-6930 •

JANUARY 2017 15 • RHODES NORTH TAVERN, 40 Orange Turnpike, Sloatsburg, Ny • 845 753-6438 22 • PIC-A-LILLI INN, 866 Route 206, Shamong, NJ • 609 268-2066 29 • UPSTREAM GRILLE, 161 Rt. 181, Lake Hopatcong, NJ • 973 663-2222

FEBRUARY 2017 5 • THE FRANKLIN HOUSE TAVERN, 101 North Market St, Schaefferstown PA • 717 949-2122 12 • O’Connor’s American Grille 1383 Monmouth Rd, Easthampton,NJ • 609-261-1555 19 • THE EXCHANGE, 160 E. Main St, Rockaway, NJ • 973 627-8488 26 • HOOTERS, 25 Rte-23 South, Wayne, NJ • 973 837-1876

MARCH 2017 5 • BAHRS LANDING, 2 Bay Ave., Highlands, NJ • 732 872-1245 12 • Lighthouse Tavern 397 Route 9, Waretown, NJ • 609-693-3150


19 • LONG VALLEy PUB, 1 Fairmount Rd, Long Valley, NJ • 908 876-1122

6-8 • Washington DC International Motorcycle Show, Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Fri. 4-8pm • Sat. 10am-8pm • Sun 10am-5pm •

APRIL 2017


2 • BRIAN’S HD, 600 S. Flowers Mill Rd, Langhorne PA • 215 752-9400 PA

10-12 • Timonium Motorcycle Show, Maryland State Fairgrounds, Timonium, MD. Indoor show featuring Travel, Touring & Adventure area, New Product Technical Presentation & Demo Workshop, The Powersports Expo and so much more. For full details please visit the website: • 410-561-7323

18-21 • BACKROADS SPRING BREAK - ALMOST HEAVEN TOUR. Full details- see ad on page 46 or on Backroads website.

JUNE 2017

23 • CHEEBURGER CHEEBURGER, 336 Northampton St, Easton, PA • 610 438-1311 30 • CAPE MAy VFW POST# 386, 419 Congress St, Cape May, NJ • 609 884-7961

Follow us on Facebook for up-to-the-minute information Visit our online Calendar for more details

5-10 • DirtDaze - Lake Luzerne, Ny • 518-798-7888 • 6-10 • Americade - World’s largest touring rally - Lake George, Ny • 518-798-7888 • 10-18 • Laconia Motorcycle Week - world's oldest motorcycle rally - Laconia, NH • 603-366-2000 •

SEPTEMBER 2017 21-25 • BACKROADSFALL FIESTA - NY STATE OF MIND TOUR. Full details - see ad on page 46 or on Backroads website.




Stocking a full line of heated gear Make your riding season last all year.

9 • THE HICKORy BBQ SMOKE HOUSE, 743 Rt. 28 Kingston; Ny • 845 338-2424

MAY 5 • END OF SEASON GET-TOGETHER • The Pic-a-Lilli Inn, 866 Route 206, Shamong, NJ • 609 268-2066 @ 11:30am. Members: $6/person

MAY 2017

Sussex Hills Ltd.

26 • THE CHATTERBOX, #1 Rt. 15 South, Augusta, NJ • 973 300-2300

Specializing in Motorcycle Repair, Parts & Supplies • Cycle Tires Mounted & Balanced • Batteries & Hard Parts • Dynojet 250 Dyno available for testing

973-875-2048 Norman Gross 946 Rte. 23 South For All Your Harley-Davidson Needs Sussex NJ 07461 Since 1976 3 miles north of Sussex Borough Our Reputation Speaks for Itself


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210 Route 10 West, East Hanover, NJ • 973-428-1735

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December 2016  

Holiday Shopping Guide 2017 BMW RnineT Scrambler review Monthly Columns and more

December 2016  

Holiday Shopping Guide 2017 BMW RnineT Scrambler review Monthly Columns and more