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Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure Volume 23 No. 3
MOUNTAINS OF TENERIFE
HAMILTON in UNADILLA ANCIENT ROADS WITH MOTOVERMONT RIDE • EAT • SLEEP • DISCOVER
W H A T ’ S
I N S I D E
MO NT HLY C O L U M NS
Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure
FREE WHEELIN’ ..................................................3 WHATCHATHINKIN’ ...........................................4
Brian Rathjen • Shira Kamil
POSTCARDS FROM THE HEDGE.......................5
Mark Byers, Susan Dragoo, Bill Heald, Tony Lisanti, Michael Delaney, Dr. Seymour O’Life
ON THE MARK ....................................................6 BACKLASH..........................................................8 INDUSTRY INFOBITES.......................................9 MYSTERIOUS AMERICA..................................12 GREAT ALL AMERICAN DINER RUN ..............14
Editorial Office BACKROADS, POB 317 Branchville NJ 07826
BIG CITY GETAWAY .........................................16 WE’RE OUTTA HERE ........................................19 SHIRA’S ICE CREAM RUN ...............................32
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE ............................46
UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR ...................48
FE AT U RE S THE MOUNTAINS OF TENERIFE.....................22 MOTOVERMONT ROAD ADVENTURE ...........40 HAMILTON IN UNADILLA ...............................43
PR O DU C T N EW S AVON STORM 3D + TREKRIDER TIRES ..........34 NELSON RIGG DRY ROLL BAGS ....................37 ZTECHNIK FAIRING WINGLET FOR GS..........37 AEROSTICH COUSIN JEREMY SUIT..............38
BACKROADS (ISSN 1087-2088) is published monthly by BACKROADS™, Inc. 2017. 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.
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
FREE WHEELIN’ BRIAN RATHJeN
Are the Kids Alright? I was waiting at a light in Port Jervis, New York when I glanced at a billboard running along US 6 in the center of the town. It was for a health insurance carrier and showed two kids skate boarding, head first with arms outstretched, as if they were flying – which it looked like they were. The tag line went “Got a daredevil? Better have a good pediatrician.” Typical advertising ploy. Bring up a fear and then tell you how to avoid that fear. In this case that your children will surely be harmed… for doing what children do. While I waited for that lengthy light to change I stared at the billboard and thought that these kids truly looked like they were having fun. It reminded me of some boys we watched in the Dominican Republic a few years back that had made their own skateboard/sled sort of contraptions and were asphalt-surfing down a church-side hill in the mountains that dominate the region. My friend Mike talked to one of the kids, borrowed his sled, and proceeded to make an excellent run down the hill. Brilliant in everyway until the spill
Page 3 at the end, which was not so graceful. Still, even the ripped jacket and bruised ego could not stop the smile on his face. This is what kids and those who think like kids do. It was almost the same smile as the sprogs on the Port Jervis billboard. I asked myself when was the last time I saw a bunch of tykes out playing along these lines in the USA? I really couldn’t remember, although I hope there are still modern day versions of the Little Rascals out there to be found. It seems to me that many parents of kids these days hardly allow for such hooliganism. God forbid little Tommy comes home with a scrape, cut or bruise. Is it society’s fault? No parent wants to appear as not doing their jobs. I blame Sesame Street. I think the kids these days need to be allowed to be dashing and gutsy and to show their moxie – which some may have in incredible quantity. Back in the day my parents had never even been in a helicopter, much less parent like one. This led me to a discussion that is becoming more and more frequent in the motorcycle industry. How do we get more young people riding motorcycles? How do we make sure the kids are all right? I look at so many young people I know these days, and by young I mean under 30, and few of them drive cars anymore, and fewer ride motorcycles. Back in my day the most important thing you could do, and a major milestone in everybody’s life, was getting a license. Not so much these days. Today kids could care less and just use their phones to call an uber car, if they head out at all. There has always been a percentage of the younger population that would tend to be a bit riskier than the others. The ones with mettle, pluck and spirit. These were always the kids who would jump first, while the others watched. Pushed themselves and, in their own pursuits, rose above the rest. There is another national TV commercial that has a kid named Gary Watson and Gary is going to set the new record for sled jumping. His brother is (Continued on Page 7)
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS
WHATCHATHINKIN’ SHIRA KAMIL
sAvoring the MoMent We are half way through the bête noire of seasons, with just six weeks left until the equinox and a mere 10 days until pitchers and catchers report. It’s Super Bowl Sunday and, as I read somewhere, the best time to head to Home Depot or Lowe’s, as you’ll have the place all to yourself. I am perfectly happy to be putting the March issue together as I gaze out the office window and see the grayness and feel the 29 degree coldness seeping into my bones. I know that when this issue is in your hands, the spring buds will be pushing at their husks and the temperatures will be more conducive to me getting on my bike for a ride. When I’m not riding I do think about it an awful lot. Not just the planning and mapping of trips to come or the enjoyment I get from being with other riders. I tend to relive various rides in my head, trying to remember the highlights and the feelings I had while experiencing the different environments and tarmacs. Being able to recall the vibrant colors of the tropical flora in Ecuador, smell the pungent coffee from the Colombian plantation or feel the elevation changes from the mountainous roads of Tenerife makes me feel as if I am back on those great journeys. The secret to being able to bring these memories up from your mind’s database is to truly embrace each and every ride you are taking. Whether it’s a daily commute (which can be grueling, I’m sure) or an epic adventure, being ‘in the now’ is a must. Of course, while riding you have to be paying attention
to where you are, what you are doing and the idiots that may surround you while you are riding, but I’m talking about really taking in the experiences that surround you. Let all your senses participate in the emotions you encounter while doing this thing that we all love. The sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses, as well as being highly emotive. I remember, as a little girl in my grandmother’s kitchen, the unbelievable smell of her baking and chicken soup. She wore a very distinctive perfume and I would love her hugs because she always smelled so fresh and clean. When she passed, my brother, sister and I went to her home, as my grandfather wanted us to have something of hers that was special to us. I chose some of her kitchen towels, which I sealed in Ziploc bags and, when I missed her or wanted to bring back a special memory, I would crack the bag open and take a good sniff and all her wonderfulness came rushing back to me. In our riding, we should take the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes and seal them in our memory Ziploc bag. In order to do this, we have to really concentrate on each and every ride - capture each turn, relish each straightaway and revel in each passing sight. Treat each ride as if it were a fine dining experience. Roll the asphalt or gravel around on your tongue as if it were the most expensive bottle of wine or finely aged bourbon you’ve ever tasted. Breathe deeply of the emerging spring greenery and blooms - yes, even the overly pungent farms that you may pass. Devour the rolling hills and babbling brooks with gusto. Being in the moment while riding is the difference between scoffing a burger at a fast food restaurant and savoring the perfectly cooked meal that sits on the white linen tablecloth in front of you. If you could reprise your favorite ride vignettes from your memory at will, those times off your motorcycle would be that much more bearable. Savoring each and every moment on your motorcycle will allow you to use your senses to have a virtual reality at your beckon call.
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POSTCARDS FROM THE HEDGE BILL HeALD
A series of UnfortUnAte events Well, do I know how to title a cheery, devilmay-care column or what? Actually, the title comes from a book, then a movie, then a series on Netflix that we are currently enjoying. I decided to use it because this bizarre series of tales (starring an insane Neil Patrick Harris and narrated by the superbly stoic Patrick Warburton) focuses on the fact that bad things tend to come in clusters, then waves, then a relentless series of catastrophic unpleasantries. These days, there is much darkness about. Wonderful individuals pass away, the country is in true political turmoil, Apple has taken the headphone jack out of mobile phones and there are so many superhero movies that they’re starting to quarrel with each other (which can be quite violent). Sadly, even the motorcycle industry is taking it on the chin. Harley-Davidson sales were down in 2016, not much but I remember when not that long ago such a prospect seemed very remote. Victory motorcycles just called it a day, and I was sad when I heard this because I’ve always enjoyed their bikes and I can clearly remember when I rode their first effort, way back in the nineties, and found it quite intriguing. It was a V92 as I recall, and more than anything else it reminded me of an old Suzuki GS1100 in that it was a heavy, bold beast of a bike that was a real blast to ride. I liked the big orange Victory a lot, and found it to be a unique new presence that announced that a new kid was on the block. There were some other notable models down the road, and when the Vision tour rig showed up about a decade ago I was really impressed by the dramatic styling and the aggressive way they launched such
Page 5 an ambitious ride headfirst into a class of bike that is notoriously hard to break into. Being the direct American competition to an icon like HarleyDavidson means they had to have some of the same attributes, while finding ways of distinguishing their machine from the pack. I think they did this quite well, and yet I’m sure there is a full volume of reasons why things didn’t work out. But no matter what the explanation(s), I feel bummed that they’re folding their tent. I feel even more sympathy for Victory riders, for the ownership experience just took a major hit in terms of the ease they can access parts and service, not to mention what such a departure can do to resale value. But at least parent company Polaris has still got their Indian brand, and will no doubt honor their obligations to fulfill Victory warranty work and parts availability or face legal consequences. This is as long as the consumer laws remain in effect, of course. You never know these days. Then, we have the halt of production of Buell motorcycles for the third time? Fourth? I’m not sure. This time the company was called Erik Buell Racing (EBR) and they are shuttering their shop doors while they “. . . Continue to review strategic alternatives with interested investors regarding production operations,” as stated in a press release. Again, even though there is a very loyal following of Buell aficionados ultimately they didn’t sell enough motorcycles to make it all work. This is another brand where I was around and “journaling” when the first Buell hit the highways, and until recently when the brand became much smaller and press bikes were rather rare I had taken most for a spin (and even toured on a couple). They used to be Harley’s sporting division, but that dissolved and they went solo, and over time they have struggled and so they are struggling still. Who knows? Maybe they’ll get a billionaire investor and be back in business again. But for now, they are on hold, to put it kindly. (Continued on Page 7)
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS
ON THE MARK MARK ByeRS
defeAt froM the JAws of victory Last month, the motorcycle world trembled. An industry newsletter blared: Polaris is no longer going to make Victory motorcycles. Well, as Gomer Pyle said, “Surrrr-prise, surrr-prise, surrr-prise.” Victory was already a boutique brand, was never going to lure the hard-core away from Milwaukee, and for sheer cachet, they were never going to be as retro as their newest brother, Indian. Yes, the death of Victory was a fratricide, with the 19-year-old slain by a three-year-old toddler in the form of resurrected Indian. This should come as NO surrr-prise, however, because Polaris clearly did a better job with the Indian brand than they did with Victory. For those interested in retro, V-twinpowered motorcycles, Indian’s styling hits it out of the park. I don’t particularly LIKE the retro-set or cruisers and even I want an Indian Scout. Victory never got it. When the “Vision” came out, I called it “The Nightmare.” It wasn’t a midlife-crisis bike, it was an identity-crisis bike, except the identity in crisis was its own. The swoopy, Buck Rodgers attempt at style was not well executed, leaving traditionalists out in the cold. It wasn’t an Indian Chief and it wasn’t the Triumph Rocket III Touring, with its touches of art deco. It was just…odd, earning comments like “interesting” and “unique” that are the equivalent of describing someone as “nice, with a good personality.” And despite attempts at quirky names, like “8-ball” and “Vegas,” Victory was never able to come up with a model that made people say “Wow.” The Indian Scout is a “WOW!” The motorcycle business is fickle and style is king. Many a good motorcycle died on the altar of public perception. But Polaris didn’t do themselves any favors by creating a competing line inside their own company. How many cruisers and baggers can a company sell? Remember when BMW had a glut of models a few years ago? The F650CS, another aesthetically-challenged machine with better alternatives in its own company’s product line? Or the icky “Chromehead” R1200CL?
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Yes, I’m showing personal prejudice, but so do all consumers and apparently not enough of them looked at Victory’s offerings and went scrambling for their checkbooks. I have to give Polaris credit for sticking with the brand for 19 years and for having at least some semblance of a dealer network. Hopefully that network will allow Polaris to transition solely to the Indian brand without a hiccup. Dealer support is a massive part of the success of a brand, as anyone outside of New York knows when trying to get a part for a modern Moto Guzzi. And hopefully, that network will be profitable. A smart marketing department will follow Harley-Davidson’s model of having a plethora of Indianbranded merchandise. I once heard someone say that Harley sells motorcycles to justify their T-shirt business, and if the number of Indian tshirts I’m seeing now is any indication, perhaps the marketing folks at Polaris/Indian have gotten that right this time. I literally know people who can clothe themselves from underwear out in Harley paraphernalia, so get busy, Polaris/Indian. An embossed leather jacket to match those saddlebags will look great down at the latte shop. I hope Polaris can make a go of the Indian marque. Regrettably, the Indian trademark has been kicked around to eight different entities since the original company went out of business, with everything from rebadged Royal Enfields to Taiwanese machines being sold under that name (with predictably bad results). One abortive attempt at resurrection landed at least one of the principles in jail for fraud and an attempt to involve the Native American community went equally awry. At least Polaris has bona fide chops as a motorcycle maker and has the corporate resources to invest in the Indian brand. I am still a little skeptical: Polaris is going to have to sell a lot of Indian motorcycles to turn the kinds of profit it makes with its snowmobiles, quads, side-by-sides, military vehicles, and to forth. Because of the styling, Indian will always be a small brand and will never take much market share from the Japanese or seriously assault the holy altar of Harley. I remember someone from Triumph saying that if they sold 1,500 or so of a model in the US, that was a win for them. If Polaris properly manages expectations and doesn’t go beyond their current number of 9 Indian models, hopefully Indian will snatch victory from the jaws of defeat instead of the other way around.
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017 free wheelin’
Page 7 (Continued from Page 3)
downloading Steve Miller’s Fly Like an Eagle for a soundtrack, while Mom is getting ready to fix her son’s soon to be dislocated shoulder. If you have not seen it Gary is successful, and most dramatic in his landing.
Both advertisement’s messages have a backhanded way of telling you if you let your kids be kids, then you better be ready for some pain. This no risk, no way parental attitude is almost cultural. No wonder kids take fewer and fewer risk these days. PostcArds froM the hedge
(Continued from Page 5)
So with all this doom, gloom and dismay (at least for the concerns concerned, as well as owners), what conclusions should we draw from these departures? As a person who used to do actual science that required drawing defensible conclusions from collected data, I have no idea. The economics of the day are very, very complex, and it seems safe to conclude that times are tough in the motorcycle realm. I know, “Duh.” But while I have a lot of opinions as to why motorcycle sales aren’t going through the roof in every segment, I want to highlight the weird, cyclical, finicky nature of consumer goods that have an enthusiast base. Motorcycles are unique in so many ways, and one of them is that (most) of the people that tend to buy new ones don’t do so lightly. It takes a genuine desire to mount up and when there are still so many bad stereotypes associated with those who ride (not to mention some very genuine hazards), people need strong motivation to take up the twowheeled life. Many feel that motorcycles are completely non-essential recreational vehicles (I’ll take issue with that at another time), and therefore when economic woes appear “luxury items” are the first to go. So while things are
Let your kids be kids and encourage it. I know for me my riding started from hundreds of miles of exploring New York City and Long Island on bicycle and one great guy giving a 12 year old kid a ride to McDonalds. So how do we make sure the kids are all right? Get them out - if needed kick them out. The outdoors was made for kids. Instead of sequestering them inside and handing them an X-Box, push them out the door with the same thing so many of us grew up hearing our parents say, “Go outside, it’s beautiful out!” Better yet, send them out with a helmet and a mini-bike! But, the single most important thing you can do as an adult rider is take a child for a ride. A safe, fun, enjoyable and memorable ride. You might change a life. There is the inner daredevil in every child, and it’s okay. That is what they make band-aids for. a bit bleak these days, especially for Victory and Buell owners, I don’t think the industry is staring into an abyss. Not at the moment, anyway. In fact, if I may quote Chance the Gardener in Being There: “There will be growth in the Spring.” True, Chance was talking about actual plants in an actual garden during the actual season and not economics, but I choose to be optimistic that things have been down before and they can certainly rebound. As for us, regardless of the state of the industry we shall ride on. And who knows? Maybe Victory and Buell will join us again down the road. I for one would love that.
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MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS
BACKLASH Happy New Year! I hope all of you there had a wonderful Christmas and the old Jolly fat man was good to you! I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for the magazine you send every month! The issue you sent on the Great Locomotive Chase brought back so many memories. I am from the Chattanooga area and went to Adairsville, GA every year to be a part of the festival. I share the mag with others and I so wanted to keep that one but it never made it back to me. You all there are so wonderful to do what you do for me, God Bless you All and Thank You!! Jimmy - A Friend & Brother Jimmy, We’ll send a replacement of that issue, absolutely no problems. Thanks so much for taking the time to write – it’s very rare that we get a hand-written letter and we have to say that your handwriting is superb. Folks, Going to take advantage of the rain washed (salt free) roads and ride the Backroads 250 today. Riding “Backroads” archived routes is like watching a classic movie. Always seem to discover new line or scene. Richard Anthony (via Facebook)
Letters to the Editor Rick – hope you were satisfied and got the whole thing in – the middle of January is tough and we give you kudos for getting out there.
Loving West Virginia Hi guys, I took the Feb issue to lunch with me today and read a bunch of the WV articles. I have to say, this is one of the best issues you’ve ever done! I really, really enjoyed what I’ve read so far, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the magazine. Well done, my friends! Thor Rogers Hey Backroads, Really well done ladies and gentlemen. I like that ‘pick a state, do some history and let it rip’ - Where to go, where to eat, great roads AND ice cream. Perfect package. Bill Kane
Hi Brian and Shira, OK ……. HOW did you do the February cover photo!!! Rich & Kathy Battle • RKA Luggage.com Hi Rich & Kathy, That is an actually shot – small road in West Virginia early morning – mist on the river and I spotted the bridge to my right. I doubled back to frame it and Shira rode over the 1269 DOLSONTOWN RD bridge (into someone’s front yard) and turned around MIDDLETOWN NY 10940 and came back. One of four or five I shot in succession and then we rode on and looked at the images that night. 845-343-2552 • WWW.CYCLEMOTIONINC.COM Knew we had a cover image right away. Cycle Motion is your provider of motorcycles, ATVs, scooters, Glad you like it…. snowmobiles, and utility vehicles by Kawasaki, Suzuki, Polaris, yamaha and Can-Am. With a large parts department, qualiﬁed service technicians and a full shop full of parts and accessories, we're here to meet all your power sport needs. For every rider - on or off road, whether they like doing it in the dirt, carving the twisties, or cruising the backroads, we have their weapon of choice.
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
IN DU STRY INFOBITES BRIAN WISMANN JOINS ZERO Zero Motorcycles, the global leader in electric motorcycle sales and technology, announced award-winning that product development veteran Brian Wismann has joined the company as the new Vice President of Product Development. He will report to Zero’s Chief Technology Officer, Abe Askenazi. Wismann’s hire boosts Zero Motorcycles unmatched global leadership in design and development, and his knowledge and expertise will complement Zero’s engineering and executive teams. He spent the last 13 years at Brammo, Inc. where he was responsible for development of the company’s electric motorcycle and racing programs. His experience in the industry aligns with Zero’s strategy to provide consumers with a full range of performance motorcycles. During his career, Wismann has designed electric motorcycles that have received praise from leading motorcycle and lifestyle enthusiast media outlets. Brian holds several patents in battery and electric motorcycle technology. In addition, he played an instrumental role in product development and program management that led to numerous racing championships and technical excellence awards. “Electric motorcycles have been my passion for over a decade and I’m happy to have the opportunity to continue the work with the world leader in electric motorcycle production. Zero’s commitment to the market, EV performance, and a talented team that is 100% committed to delivering the best product to our customer is ultimately what convinced me to join. I’m looking forward to the ride!” said Wismann about the new role.
MOTORCYCLE RACER STRUCK BY LIGHTNING DURING EVENT, FINISHES ANYWAY Motorcycle racer Ivan Jakeš isn’t faster than lighting, but he’s tough as nails. The Slovakian rider was competing in the grueling Dakar rally in Argentina when he was struck by a bolt of lightning as he sped through the Salar Centenario region; and he just kept going.
Jakeš was barely past the midway point of the 485mile-long stage when he got jolted, but managed to finish the third day of the 12-day-long endurance event in 15th place with just a pain in his arm. Upon arrival at base camp, Jakeš was checked out by medical professionals, and his team credited the insulating effect of the motorcycle’s rubber tires for limiting injuries, saying that if he’d had his feet on the ground at
News from the Inside the time of the hit it would’ve been a much different story. After taking blood tests and putting him through a period of observation, the doctors cleared him to continue on with stage four — just a short 318mile route into Bolivia that he finished in 11th place. The race winds its way through the wilds of Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia, finished in Buenos Aires. This is Jakes’ 10th try at the Dakar rally. His best result was 4th in 2013.
BET ON PIZZA AND BIKES WITH TRUMP PRESIDENCY Every U.S. presidential transition brings a change in priorities, forcing market gurus to bet on which sectors of the economy might benefit from the new administration, but with corporate analysts admittedly baffled by Donald Trump, prognosticators are doing some intellectual gymnastics. Joseph Spak, a Royal Bank of Canada analyst, thinks Donald Trump’s $1 trillion plan to rebuild American infrastructure will ultimately provide construction workers with extra cash. And what do construction workers like to spend money on? Motorcycles, of course. “If the economy is stimulated and construction jobs increase,” Spak recently predicted that Harley-Davidson Inc. “could see some better demand.” According to the Wall Street Journal, another firm advises investors that pizza-delivery companies that benefited from a high-drama campaign that
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS
kept many diners glued to their televisions might continue to profit from the drama of a Trump transition.
WITCH CONJURES BEES TO RECOVER BIKE A man in Kenya managed to recover his stolen motorbike by purportedly enlisting the help of a local witchdoctor and a swarm of bees! According to a Kenyan media source, which boasted the awesome headline ‘Witchcraft is Real,’ the unnamed resident of Mbooni was left with little recourse after a thief took his motorbike and, ostensibly, authorities were unable to help. As such, the man sought guidance from an area witchdoctor, who produced a wondrous and terrifying solution to the problem. At a local market, where the pilfered property was being kept, a swarm of bees suddenly materialized on the motorbike. Witnesses say that the suspect behind the motorbike heist fled from the unsettling scene and the swarm sat upon the vehicle until the original owner arrived to claim it. What became of the bees after that is a mystery, but we’d like to think they flew away beaming with pride over a job well done. Even O’Life cannot make stuff like this up.
WOMEN ARRESTED FOR RIDING A MOTORCYCLE? Iranian police arrested two women for riding a motorcycle in a western city, an incident that went viral when images appeared online and sparked a
social-media backlash against the country’s political and religious authorities. State news agency IRNA said the two women were detained in Dezful, whose law enforcement chief, Ali Elhami, accused them of committing an “ugly” act that breaks the “religious norms” of the conservative Islamic-led nation. IRNA quoted Elhami as saying he ordered the women’s arrest after online images of the two women riding the motorcycle and being surrounded by male onlookers at a local park prompted complaints about the women’s dress, appearance and interaction with the men. The two women will be judged for breaking “revolutionary norms and values.” Women in Iran are barred from obtaining licenses to drive motorcycles in public.
MID-ATLANTIC WOMEN’S MOTORCYCLE RALLY 25TH ANNIVERSARY The Mid-Atlantic Women’s Motorcycle Rally is proud to announce their 25th Anniversary; celebrating motorcycle riders around the world. “We are very excited to be holding our 25th rally in 2017. Since 1993, we have had over 2,000 women attend our rally and create a positive environment to encourage women to ride and share their success,” said Dawn Huber, President of . The MAWMR is an American Motorcycle Association (AMA), sanctioned event. It is a weekend of women, motorcycles, riding, education, inspiration, and fun. With a huge added bonus of fund raising to aid victims of cancer and their families. This event occurs annually in June, moving about the MidAtlantic states, being held in Front Royal, VA on June 15-17, 2017 at the
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017 Holiday Inn Blue Ridge Shadows. “This year will be our biggest rally ever,” said Dawn Huber, President, “we expect to break records in attendance and fundraising – our event this year is just jam packed with rides, workshops, speakers and most importantly, fun.” is proud to announce their 2017 featured speakers: Tamela Rich Ursula Wachowiak - and Danell Lynn. Since being founded in 1993 by Nancy Warren, the women of the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Motorcycle Rally have raised over $350,000 to support women facing the many challenges of cancer. They will continue this tradition in the fashion they know best — bringing together women and having a great time together through educational seminars, motorcycle rides, and of course a few games. Motorcycle women around the world are invited to join this rally. Detailed information, agendas, registration, and more can be accessed at www.mawmr.org/. The Rally will be held June 15-17, 2017 in Front Royal, Virginia at the Holiday Inn Blue Ridge Shadows.
SAVE THE DATES FOR 2017 TOURATECH RALLIES Summer 2017, Touratech-USA will host rally events on both coasts for the third consecutive year! The seventh annual Touratech Rally West will take place June 22 – 25 in Plain, Washington and the third annual Touratech Rally East will be held in Huntingdon, PA on August 17 - 20. In 2016, over 700 hundred riders attended the four-day Touratech Rally West, making it the largest event for adventure motorcycle enthusiasts in the USA. Last year’s East Coast offering doubled to over 200 riders and is growing fast.
The Touratech Rally is an opportunity for riders from around the USA and the world to camp out, attend workshops and presentations, improve riding skills, meet industry pros and explore fun mountain roads. There are rides for different experience levels and all street-legal motorcycles are welcome. Visit www.touratechrally.com for details and registration for the Touratech Rally. Volunteer positions are available.
BMW RETURNS TO 35TH AMERICADE BMW will be joining the massive fleet of demo bikes at Americade, June 5-10. Among the many BMW bikes offered for demo rides will be several models much of the public will see for the first time. With BMW’s presence, Americade once again will offer the most factory demos of any event in the U.S. “BMW Motorrad is excited to host demo rides on 2017 BMW motorcycles at Americade this year,” said James James Dusky, BMW Motorrad’s Events and Experiential Marketing Specialist. “We have several all-new motorcycles which attendees will not only be able to see, but also ride around the beautiful Lake George area. See them at bmwmotorcycles.com, then come to Americade and ride them!” Americade Director, Christian Dutcher, said “I’m delighted that BMW will be at Americade 35. Their models are always sought after by attendees. I’m certain their new models will be very popular, so we encourage attendees to line up early to reserve a spot.” Americade is celebrating 35th year in Lake George NY, June 5-10, 2017. Americade Week details available at www.americade.com • 518-798-7888.
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS
Morton’s BMW Motorcycles Presents Dr. Seymour O’Life’s MY STERI OUS AM ERI CA the chAzy fossil reef, isle lA Motte, verMont Riding WAY Back in History I was touring with Kamil and Rathjen a few months back along the tiny islands that can be found in the waters of Lake Champlain, bordering New York, Vermont and Canada. Now listed as a Great Lake (see Fun Fact) Champlain has much to see and offer, but this month I want to tell you about one of the things that makes this lake really great, diverse and something that you most likely would least expected to find…
The oldest fossil reef on the planet Earth! The what, Seymour? Yes, indeedy kids…. what I am talking here is monumental. Historic. Very, very important! Here on the lake’s northernmost island is a remarkable natural phenome-
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non: the Chazy Fossil Reef, that dates back some 480 million years. It is regarded as a national treasure and was awarded the designation of National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service in 2009. And, here on Isle La Motte, what is so important literally does mark the land. We strolled onto the area of the island called the Goodsell Ridge Fossil Preserve, an 85-acre preserve offering year-round free access to 480 million year old fossils from the Chazy Fossil Reef. We all were struck by the openness of the preserve. There was no one there. No one in charge, and the state of Vermont and the folks that do keep an eye on this fossil reef have the good sense to know that 99% of us have good sense too. If you visit – look, even touch, but don’t take. But, you know this already. We spent about an hour walking the trails and discovering different ancient creatures held through the ages in the rock. Many of the harder to find fossils have been marked with circles of stones placed by others that have come across them before – making it a bit easier. Even Private Vanderbilt could spot the many fossils to be found here at Goodsell Ridge. Bryozoans and spirally Gastropods can be found as well as other creatures from the far flung past. Along the paths that were well cut through the tall grass they had many signs showing scientific and historical facts about the region, creatures, man and the Earth itself. These signs mark world history with each foot - representing a million years of geological time along the 480 million year old
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017 Chazy Fossil Reef. In the past hundred years geologists have determined that much of the island bedrock, the beautiful black and grey limestone that had been quarried for many years, was actually the fossil remnants of an ancient reef. A Harvard geologist in 1924 called it “the oldest coral reef in the world”. Since that time researchers have determined that though ancient corals are found here, coral, during this period of earth’s history, was not one of the predominant constructors of the reef. But, where did all this come from? Well, it is difficult to imagine that 480 million years ago Vermont and New York States were part of a shallow tropical sea, far to the east and straddling the equator. At that time earth was a strange and bleak place. There was no life on dry land except for a few primitive plants such as mosses and algae. Almost all of life was in the oceans. Carbon dioxide levels were 14-16 times higher than today with high sea levels covering much of the continents. The continents themselves were mostly located south of the equator. Along the continental shelf of what was to become North America, strange animals with hard exoskeletons had begun to build the first great reef community in the history of life on earth.
Page 13 Over hundreds of millions of years, tectonic plate motion at a rate of less than an inch a year resulted in the movement of the landmass now called North America from the equator to its present location. Now, here in the middle of Lake Champlain, we find fossil reefs in the unlikely locations of northern Vermont and New York. The Goodsell Ridge Fossil Preserve is a fantastic place and a true fossil lover’s dream come true and most assuredly a deep piece of Mysterious America. O’Life out!
Lake Champlain Fun Fact The lake is a grand lady and large lake – but not nearly as large as any of the ﬁve Great Lakes further to the west. Champlain is puny compared to the real greats. It covers 490 square miles. The smallest Great Lake, Lake Ontario, is 7,430 square miles. Still in 1998 President Bill Clinton signed a bill making Champlain the US’ 6th Great Lake. The measure allowed Lake Champlain to be considered one of the Great Lakes for the purposes of competing for research money under the National Sea Grant Program and was slipped into a bill by Senator Patrick J. Leahy, (D) Vermont.
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS
Hannum’s Harley-Davidson Presents
G REAT A LL AMERICA N DINE R RUN
tasty places to take your bike
inn At MillrAce Pond 313 hoPe JohnsonbUrg roAd (cr 519), hoPe nJ 07884 908-459-4884 • www.innatmillracepond.com Breakfast: 8-10am Thur-Sun • Lunch: 11:30am-4pm • Dinner: 5-9pm Wed-Sun.
In western New Jersey, just off Interstate 80 where it makes a run through the foothills of the Kittatiny Mountains and the Water Gap, you will find the small hamlet of Hope. This tiny burg is one of the oldest planned communities in the United States and certainly the region, first brought together by immigrating Moravians, seeking religious freedom and a new life in these newly discovered lands across the Atlantic. The Moravians were a religious group whose formal name was the “Unitas Fratrum” or Unity of the Brethren. They were originally from Czechoslovakia and were offered refuge in the Moravian region of Germany where they got the name commonly associated with them. Many left for the new world and settled in what is now Nazareth and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania – where the Moravian College sits today. With land available east of the Delaware they tried a communal experiment
- creating a new community and calling it Hope in 1769. The name is derived from the “hope of immortality.” Great stonemasons, they created a large church and the stream running through the center of town powered a great gristmill, also created from stone. The town thrived for a number of years and then younger people left for their own lives and competition from other local mills made Hope less and less viable. After four decades the remaining Moravians sold their lands and building and moved back to Pennsylvania. These days the stately stone buildings are still in use. The Moravian Church is now a bank, many of the smaller building have become antique havens and along the stream the impressive gristmill is now home to the Inn at Millrace Pond. The Inn features 17 beautifully appointed rooms all with reasonable rates during the week and not out of sight on the weekend.
Rip & Ride® • INN AT MILLRACE POND 313 HOPE JOHNSONBURG ROAD (CR 519), HOPE NJ 07884 • 908-459-4884 • www.innatmillracepond.com GPS download: www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/mwqf3c • 100-mile one-way route
START: HUDSON RIVER TOWN OF NYACK RTE. 9W NORTH STRAIGHT AT RTE. 202 NORTH LEFT AT RTE. 210 INTO GATE HILL RD. RIGHT AT RTE. 106 KANAWAUKE RD. CROSS THROUGH HARRIMAN STATE PARK STRAIGHT AT RTE. 17A TO WARWICK LEFT AT RTE. 94 RIGHT AT CR 1A INTO CR 1
STRAIGHT AT LIBERTY CORNERS RD. RIGHT AT OIL CITY RD./ STATE LINE RD. LEFT AT RTE. 284 INTO NJ RIGHT AT RTE. 23 NORTH LEFT AT CR 650 LEFT AT CR 519 TAKE 519 ALL THE WAY TO HOPE, NJ INN ON RIGHT AS YOU HEAD INTO TOWN
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
But, we were looking for a Great All American Diner Run this month and so we took a quick spin down along the ridge to Hope and the Inn at Millrace Pond. We have always said that a good GAADR will have a nice mix of location, cuisine and great roads. With the Inn at Millrace Pond we’d like to add in ambiance – as the old mill has been transformed into one of the neatest restaurants in the northwest New Jersey. They do serve a great dinner and the upstairs dining room is quite nice, but we really prefer to take the great wooden steps down into the Fireside Tavern, where the feel is far more rustic and comfortable. Heading down you’ll pass reminders of this buildings history, as you will see the rusty skeleton of the mill’s last water wheel. An authentic brick floor, thick stone walls, hand hewn wooden beams and a massive working fireplace lend a decidedly rustic ambience. The Tavern is the repository of numerous artifacts from the old gristmill. Look for the old checkerboard on the ceiling. Back in the day the millers would play checkers to pass the time between deliveries from farmers’ wagons laden with newly harvested grain. The Inn a Millrace Pond has done a great job of preserving the mill’s past. This day we have come for a lunch in between the miles of the day. The Fireside Tavern offers a good variety of fare. It was a bit on the chilly side this afternoon so soup was on the order first with the French Onion made with sautéed red and white onions, a tasty beef au jus, toasted crostini, and a good topping a superior Swiss cheese. My partner in crime went for a more seasonal butternut squash soup, which was thick creamy and almost satisfying enough to be dessert. For those of us who love salads they have some seriously good plates here at Millrace Pond. Yes, we know we have been poking fun at the greenies for years, but we have learned to be more openminded and less all carnivorous. Caesar salad is a staple at many places but the Inn’s kale with brussels sprouts and red cabbage crumble blue cheese chunks, dried cranberries, apples with a honey maple dressing looked amazing and was ordered. You’ll also find marinated mozzarella as well as one of the salads we ordered - spinach, roasted beets, goat cheese, candied pecans with apple cider vinaigrette. I had them toss some well-grilled chicken to satisfy the hungry lion in me and I had a full meal. Others ordered a few of the wraps – California, or seared salmon and the burgers were all superb looking, well prepared, meaty and easily hitting the spot. If you are really hungering try the Inn at Millrace Pond’s Tavern steak frites or the chicken pot pie.
Wait – do they really serve a stunning lobster mac and cheese? You betcha! Try to save some room for dessert, okay? We’ll give you an easy to follow Rip & Ride, this time from Nyack (yes, T & G, this is for you) and a more involved GPS Route that you can download. Enjoy this month’s stop on the Great All American Diner Run at the Inn at Millrace Pond.
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS
Hanover Powersports Presents
B IG CITY GETAWAY
daytrip ideas to get out of the daily grind
old town, MArylAnd We love it when we stumble across something unexpected, historic, interesting and very cool. Such was the case on the next to the last day of the 2015 Fall Fiesta Rally. For this month’s Big City Getaway let us tell you of a little burg along the western hills of Maryland called Old Town. Our route had brought us up from Elkins, West Virginia towards the Old Line State of Maryland. To do so we had to cross the North Branch of the Potomac River. This is where the unexpected happened. To get into Maryland we had to traverse the river on a low water bridge. Heading down around the right hand bend to the river’s shore we spotted the bridge that looked more Patagonian than Mid-Atlantic. The old crossing seemed a bit rickety-looking, with repairs recently made to parts of its wood plank roadway. This crossing is known officially as the “Old Town Toll Bridge,” and the trestle was constructed in the late 1930s by a Maryland businessman, Melvin R. Carpenter, who worked on the West Virginia side of the river in Green Spring and got tired of his long daily commute. The bridge itself is only a few feet above the Potomac River, and it closes
from time to time when the river floods and sends water and debris over the structure. But, the best part is that it is privately owned and on the Maryland side you will find a toll booth and a toll collector – this day a congenial woman who was happy to take our 50 cents per bike and even had a cup on stick so she wouldn’t have to reach too far. I have learned that Grace Grogg has been the toll collector at this bridge for more than 40 years, tending to her task since she was in High School - a High School we will get to in a second. The bridge’s toll house is open from 6 am to 10 pm each night, but not to worry if you are late, you will not have to make the 40 mile detour around to the other side of the Potomac River, for after 10 pm the crossing is free till the next morning. We should have waited. Not surprisingly nowadays the Old Town Toll Bridge takes MasterCard, Visa and American Express.
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017 Of course it does. The bridge is not only a convenience, but a lifeline as well, as the Maryland side of the river has nearby Cumberland and local firehouses and hospitals close by. Not so on the West Virginia side where civilization is a bit further away. The things we find on the road. But, just a short minute down the road, is something that changed American history. Old Town was once called Shawanese Old Town, as it was founded on a deserted native Shawnee village that had been going back to the wild for decades before Europeans arrived. Eventually the name was shortened to Old Town. Not that this ever was a truly bustling town, but things got busier when, in 1850, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal had reached from Georgetown, Washington D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. Old Town could be found at Mile Marker 166.5. The Baltimore & Ohio Rail Road had reached this region nearly a decade earlier. With two separate means of moving commerce the area began to thrive. Heavy flooding saw the canal closed for good in 1924 and the old West Maryland Railroad closed in the mid-1970s, ending trains running directly through Old Town. Still history lives, as the C & O Canal has been reborn and refurbished here and is truly stunning. The towpath that once saw mules pulling barges along has been upgraded into a jogging and bicycle path, the town’s old lock seems to be in excellent shape and this part of the old canal is now maintained
Page 17 as the National Historic Park the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. It’s a wonderful place to park the bikes and take a stroll through the past. The famed Paw Paw Tunnel is just to the east of the town. This leaves us with the very interesting high school. If you are on the same schedule we were on when we rode through Old Town it should be lunchtime
and… what if we were to tell you we have a Great All American Diner Run where you can get a burger, religion and your car refinished? Coming into town we spied a hand written sign that said “Food & Drinks.” To our right was the Old Town High School. It was originally built in 1924, but has seen a number of expansions and improvements over the years. For 76 years the school served the region with graduating classes ranging in size from just a few students to a few dozen. In 2000 it saw its last bit of Pomp & Circumstance and the school closed its doors for good; sort of. The big building sat empty and unused for a few years and the town went to auction it. But, nobody bid on it. A year later they tried again and a local businessman offered $1. The town was required to accept that. He ended up
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS paying a few thousand more out of the goodness of his heart and the school is now home to an Auto Restoration Shop, the local Mennonite Church and the fabulous School House Kitchen. We spotted the restaurant’s sign all lit up and stating it was open, so we pulled into the circular drive of the old high school, parked the bikes and poked our heads into the large cafeteria to see what the deal was. The deal was wonderful. The ladies running the School House Kitchen could not be happier that a bunch of scruffy riders had ridden up and that more were on the way. Other riders, on the route, spotted the sign and then our machines along the school and pulled in as well. Soon we had a fairly good crowd seated at the schoolstyle round cafeteria tables enjoying an unexpected lunch. They had quite the menu written on their blackboard (of course they used a blackboard!) The special of the day – country fried steak, mashed potatoes and green beans. Club sandwiches, a few different burgers and tuna fish on Texas toast too. Where do you see that? In Old town, Maryland, that’s where. If the restaurant was cool, the prices were just odd. $4.15 for that tuna and Texas toast, $4.35 for a chicken parmesan and 3 dollars & .85 cents for the Larry Burger (mushroom, bacon and provolone) – which was excellent by the way. The cafeteria had large photographs of the graduating classes and it was fun just to see the style and looks change over the years. On the other side of the typical folding cafeteria wall a Mennonite service was in full swing, so we did our best to be unobtrusive – but, the church goers could not help but to see a dozen or so modern motorcycles cooling off in their driveway and the riders in full and colorful gear. The men nodded gentle hellos, the women ignore us completely, the teenage girls giggled at us and then talked in hushed whispers to each other, and the little ones just pointed at us the way small children do. It was phenomenal. In the back of the school a goodly number of older automobiles were in various stages of rehabilitation and state. We found later that the owner of the old school does not charge the church to hold their services and that the School House Kitchen is gathering quite the reputation as one of the more unique eateries in this part of Maryland. We are here to spread the word. You will find Old Town, Maryland just south and east of the city of Cumberland in the western part of the state. It is located just north of West Virginia (literally) and just a few south of the Pennsylvanian border as well. It is a place well worth seeking out in your travels.
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
Bergen County Harley-Davidson Presents
WE’RE OUTTA HER E the viennA historic inn 14 SOUTH STREET, SOUTHBRIDGE, MA 01550 508-764-0700 • WWW.THEVIENNA.COM • ROOMS STARTING AT $145/NIGHT Thinking of your typical small town New England burg will paint images of church steeples and a quiet easy living. In truth New England was the hub of the United States’ industrial revolution and though many of the small towns you find sprinkled through states like Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont have their share of tall church spires, they usual will be found along the rivers and with the river would have come power and thus, industry. That was true in the Bay State town of Southbridge. Southbridge is most notable for the American Optical Company that made more eyeglasses than any one else on the planet. It is also home to some beautiful churches, some interesting restaurants and along that line our stop for this month’s excursion into We’re Outta Here! – The Vienna Restaurant & Historic Inn. We were on our way to Cape Cod and looking for something, more or less, in the middle. We are always on the lookout for places that will be a bit different and more than a
a weekend destination keeping you on the backroads touch unusual – and we had a feeling we had found some place special when we heard about The Vienna Historic Inn. The original structure dates back to 1812 and over time it has developed into a more Italian revival sort of building. Located at a three-way crossroads on upper Main Street in Southbridge, the Vienna mansion now consists of a total of 26 rooms, with the National Register of Historic Places Inn portion of the home offering five 2-room suites. In these days of chain hotels and the same old, same old places it was refreshing to see that not only has a place like the Vienna Historic Inn survived, they have flourished. We think that the incredible restaurant, staff and ambiance might have something to do with this and we can attest to this fact. We arrived mid-week in September, pulling into the white gravel parking lot and immedi-
ately being taken by the old world charm of the longstanding mansion. If not for the bustle of the New England town that surrounds the place we easily could have been in Europe. Walking inside we were met by Val, who would turn out to be our go-to-guy as he was friendly and happily showed us to our abode for the night – a two room affair called the Sigmund Freud Suite. The massive bed looked far too comfortable after the long ride that day, but a nap might have to wait as Val arrived a short time later with some complimentary hors d’oeuvres – perfectly cooked scallops and homemade spaetzle - and beverages. The room was eclectically decorated with just slightly suggestive paintings, photographs and niceties. In the adjoining room a great painting of the good doctor adorned one wall, and an antique typewriter with letter, typed out in German, sat on one desk with a pair of old glasses that made it seem that
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS Freud had just left the room. The rooms all have European down comforters, incidental toiletries, hand and face soap and bottled mineral water. Once again I had that Europe feeling. If the folks at the Vienna are trying for that vibe, they have succeeded wildly. Speaking of the owners, Lisa and Jonathan Krach have been working and developing the place for years and it has long garnered accolades from travel magazines, the press and even the hard to please Yelp reviewers. After settling in and devouring the scallops that were brought up, we walked around the place, admiring how things were put together and finished in a classy, yet comfortable manner. The outdoor beer garden seemed like a good spot to pass a bit of time and then we strolled around the inn’s part of town taking in the Notre Dame church with its huge tower and grand architecture. When time for dinner rolled around we had a choice of a few different rooms to dine and opted for one we had all to ourselves. The Vienna offers traditional European fare with specialties in Austrian, German, Bavarian, Swiss, Russian, Hungarian & French meals and all dining rooms are equipped with working fireplaces for warmth and a tranquil, romantic atmosphere. The Vienna houses an extensive wine cellar featuring the wines of the world from Austria, France, Germany and South Africa to Australia. If you are a lover of wine you will fancy this place. The menu had a number of offerings including Wiener Schnitzel, braised beef tafelspitz, rabbit pappardelle and a spiced roasted pork in addition to much more and some great specials. The duck was one I signed on for immediately, with Shira going for the Jäger Schnitzel, all led off by a great Swiss potato rösti as an appetizer. We took our after meal coffee and dessert out in the beer garden that had a warm and glowing fire going, just hot enough to take the mid-September
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
2017 Ducati Multistrada 950 According to Ducati, the Multistrada 950 offers a combination of comfort, style, and superior performance, making it an approachable versatile bike with all the technology and capability for which Ducati is world-renowned. Equipped with a Testastretta 937cc engine and a 19” front wheel, the Multistrada 950 delivers a comfortable balance for long-distance on/off-road touring, excellent city riding and daily commuting thanks in part to low fuel consumption, affordable ownership costs, and an upright seating position. The L-Twin engine produces 113 horsepower and 71 lb-ft of torque and is coupled with a 6-speed transmission and standard ABS, traction control and Ducati’s four distinct riding modes. The new 950 is an extension of the present Multistrada line-up, which currently includes the Multistrada 1200 S, Multistrada 1200 Enduro, as well as the Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak. The motorcycle will increase accessibility to Ducati’s beloved Multistrada line and is available now, in participating U.S. dealerships for test rides. Pricing for the Multistrada 950 begins at $13,995 MSRP. night’s chill off our shoulders. Sleep came easily and deeply – both of us keeping our eyes shut for an hour more than normal (It’s okay, we were in no rush). Downstairs Lisa greeted us with fresh hot and very good coffee and followed that up with something light – homemade waffles with crème fraiche and strawberries! Yes, it were as good as it sounds. The Vienna Restaurant & Historic Inn has a lot going for it. In these days when different and unique seemed to be, somehow, frowned upon, the Vienna is a breath of fresh air in a very old European manner. We liked everything about it and it makes for a perfect and unusual overnight and pet-friendly destination while motoring through the state of Massachusetts.
Frontline Eurosports carries the full line of Ducati, BMW and Triumph motorcycles.
1003 Electric Rd • Salem, VA 24153 855-444-BMW6 (2692) www.frontlineeurosports.com
In the heart of some of the best roads in the U.S including the Blue Ridge Parkway. Plan your adventures with us as a pitstop.
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS
words + images
Off the coast of Africa, bound for South America, a world away from here, is a ship that sails the sea, is a man who’s just like me and I wish that I was there. Lighthouse - James Taylor
he roads can be very narrow and feature many incredibly tight, blind corners. Some are carved into the sheer rock and can induce vertigo. Oncoming vehicles, especially big ones like buses, are a hazard and can easily end your trip in a split-second. You need to be focused constantly! Welcome to motorcycle heaven!”
These were the words of the Edelweiss guidebook for our weeklong romp around Tenerife and the Canary Islands. Although the first 50 words deserved serious consideration, the last four seemed to make it all better, as it ended on a high note. Have you ever thought of piloting a motorcycle around an island off the coast of Africa? We had not, but yet - here we were. Our journey started a few days earlier, with Shira and I catching a flight to Dublin, Ireland where we met our friend Laurie Mack, and then the three of us hopping a flight to the south. The Canary Islands, though politically belonging to Spain, are every much geographically African and would be unlike any destination we had ridden before. The name Islas Canarias is derived from the Latin name Canariae Insulae, meaning “Islands of the Dogs” as packs of wild and dangerous pups were found on the island when happened upon by early European sailors. Today these islands are one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, but when you leave the crowded beaches and towns along the coast you will ride into another world with a most incredible mix of terrains and personality. We flew into Tenerife early on Saturday evening and cabbed it around coastal Autopista of this island that is dotted with smaller towns, all with a quaint Spanish feel to them. Edelweiss would be running a “Touring Center” out of the fashionable and large Barcelo Santiago Hotel, in the port town of the same name. We arrived in Santiago right after the sunset, so after checking in and freshening up we found a little seaside restaurant for a late meal before returning to the hotel. We were beat from the long trip and despite the town being in party Saturday night mode we were asleep as we hit the pillows.
Welcome to Tenerife I was up as the sun began to paint the Atlantic to the west, and sliding open the large glass-paned door to a view of the blue and white-capped waves crashing into the black volcanic rocks that so dominate the dark shoreline of Tenerife. It would be an hour or two before the sun cleared the massive Teide volcano that towers over and gave birth to this island eons ago, but already the dawn’s light was painting La Gomera, the island a few miles to the west. We were not to “officially” start this Edelweiss tour till the early afternoon, meeting with our tour guide Peter and the others on this trip, so we spent the day strolling the town’s waterfront, shops and sights be-
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
fore ending up at the hotel’s pool which offered up a grand view of the Los Gigantes cliffs (The Giants) that run north of the town. These cliffs front the seven million year old Teno Mountains and not only are visually stunning but they protect the town from the trade winds, ensuring that Los Gigantes and the west of Tenerife enjoy possibly the best climate on Tenerife with the most hours of sunshine. Our day trips would began and end in their shadow. Later that afternoon we met with the rest of our group that were a truly international affair. In addition to us there were a few other Americans, some Germans and Austrians, a couple from Finland and another from Venezuela and, of course, our guide from Edelweiss Peter Kuhn, a Romanian that was raised in Vienna. We certainly were a worldly mix. As is custom with Edelweiss there was a meeting to go over the highlights of the tour and some common sense discussion on navigation and safety while riding the three islands we would tackle on this weeklong journey – La Gomera, Grand Canarias and Tenerife itself. We took possession that night of the BMW R1200GS that Shira and I would ride. Also along for the ride were a few other BMWs, a couple of Ducatis and a new Honda Africa Twin as well. The machines seemed to be as international as we.
The Mountains of Tenerife After breakfast we suited up ready for the first leg of this tour. Being a tour center we would return, all but one night, to this same hotel. This works well as you have your room, you can unpacked and settle in a little bit, compared to rolling tours that move from town to town with each day. No luggage to deal with and no hassle. We followed our guide Peter out of town and immediately began a twisty snake-like ascent up the side of the Teide National Park, named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 2007. The road wound through rocky black boulders, sand and debris all left over from Teide’s last eruption back in 1909. This massive park is some 47,000 acres large and rules the center of Tenerife. The volcano Teide, around which the park is created, is 12,198 feet tall and is the largest peak in Spain and the highest mountain on any island in the Atlantic. On the planet only the two Hawaiian volcanoes are larger in mass. Hundreds of years ago it was believed to be the tallest mountain in the world and ancient mariners used Teide, usually snow-capped, as a landmark for sailing for centuries. As we rode higher the temperatures lowered, dropping nearly 30 degrees from the bay at Puerto Santiago to Teide volcano. The shadows on the roadway were ringed with frost that quickly disappeared at the kiss of the chilly sun at this altitude.
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS We spent a bit of time at one of the vistas and then a good hour riding up the cable car to the top of the sleeping volcano and hiking along lava-strewn trails that were more than a serious ramble, especially with a third less oxygen at that height. Back down the mountains and on the road we headed north, finding a super lunch of local Sopa deCanaris - a pleasant mix of broth, beans, potatoes and some sort of sausage and meat that we enjoyed outdoors in the warming sun. I did not ask what the meat was, but we did pass a few goats on the ride up, so that would be my guess. The topography of Tenerife is quite fickle and the early part of the morning was dominated by black volcanic terrain that looked like it had its birth in hell – which it indeed did. To the north the road wound down and into some dark clouds that began a misty rain that more annoyed than gave us trouble. A few miles of it through the pine needle forest that closed in on the road and we were in bright sunshine once again. The road was sweepy and fun and it seemed that everyone of our group were experienced riders, courteous and professional in manner. What a treat. Down by the coast we rode through a municipality called Güímar. We had run a bit late at the cable car earlier in the day, so we didn’t want to hold our group up, but I was on mission and needed to take a side trip.
We let Peter and the group know that we had a place we needed to stop, so they knew that we had not run into trouble, but had just taken off on our own for the rest of the day and doubled back into the town and to Las Pirámides de Güímar. These pyramids have a mixed history. Some say they were built for agricultural reasons in the 1800s, others say they are far, far older than that. In the 1990s Thor Heyerdahl proposed that these Canarian Pyramids showed a link between ancient Egypt and Pre-Colombian Meso-America, as all three have similar structures built and that the islands were a stopping point in sailing between the continents thousands of years back. We stopped for just the briefest of time, as we could not miss it, and the remnants were most impressive, as was the Heyerdahl Museum on the grounds. For us now the chase was on as we used our Edelweiss-provided Marco Polo Manually Acquired Positioning System (a map) and followed along the mountain roads that line the island of Tenerife.
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
La Gomera • Isle of Lushness
This is not a place for the meek or mild weekend rider. It is a serious ride and should be approached in this manner. Tight and twisty, with the occasional truck or bus appearing as if by magic in the middle of some turns. Left, right, left, right – the TF-21 was a constant dance with a demanding partner. Little did we know the tempo of this dance would get more challenging each day. We made good time around the island in a race to catch our group and to beat the sunset that was quickly approaching. We arrived back at the hotel just as they were parking their bikes in the underground garage – a successful and dynamic first day riding the mountains of Tenerife.
TOWN & COUNTRY CyCLe CeNTeR 115 Route 23N • Hamburg NJ • 973-875-2111
www.townandcountrycyclecenter.com Experience the full line of Kawasaki motorcycles, side by sides, sales and service we have to offer.
We had an early start the next day, leaving just before dawn and riding to the port city of Los Cristianos where we’d board the ferry (curiously named Fred Olsen) and make the early crossing to the island of La Gomera. As soon as we left port in Tenerife a large pod of dolphins began the show hanging back in the large commercial ferry’s wake frolicking, jumping and somersaulting through the waves. You know…. what dolphins call Tuesday. Where the previous day’s romp around Tenerife was a grand mix with a lot of volcanic tundra, La Gomera is its warmer and wetter sister. La Gomera is relatively small and more or less a large circle of volcanic rock that sits just west of Tenerife. But, where
Page 26 Tenerife has recently seen eruptions, what gave birth to La Gomera has been extinct for thousands of years. The craggy mountains here are lush with vegetation, banana trees and rain forest and the entire island is sprinkled with ravines and gorges called barrancos. We left the ferry area first, while the rest of the group waited out the disembarking traffic. Not a mile from the port and we were slowed by the traffic and the local police who signaled us to stop and then to pull over. He asked where we were from, where we were going and why. Perhaps it was the Spanish to English translation here… but he seemed to ask us if we had any alcohol on the ferry. No. But then I spotted the television camera as he held up a plastic tube and asked if I would take a breathalyzer alcohol test.
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS I am pretty sure no was not an acceptable answer in the middle of the town with cameras rolling and a few police cars with lights on. I blew a zero on the booze-o-meter and the officer and the camera people stared, waiting for the results. Right about then I began to wonder just how much alcohol toothpaste and mouthwash really contain and how the rest of my life would work out in a Spanish prison. Then there were smiles all around and the officer said to the camera “Zero….Zero Perfecto!” He then said to the camera, with his best Spanish smile,” Si bebe no conduzca.” He told me I could continue on my journey, gave me the blow tube as “un regalo” and they moved on to the next test subject. We gathered it was all part of a local “Don’t Drink & Drive” campaign and we’d probably make it into the next La Gomera Public Service announcement. Happy to help. We had gone ahead of our friends to do a little photography of them riding up the mountains, but our mission got sidetracked by the police. No worries as we still got some great images as they passed. We caught up to them at a pullout further up in the mountains with a godly view of the road winding through the valley and peaks. La Gomera was simply stunning! We followed a swift and talented pace along the roads that were, for the most part, a bit more open and quicker than Tenerife’s. Think Cherohala Skyway compared to Deals Gap. We rode down though the Barranco de Gran Rey to the sea and the tiny town of Valle Gran Rey. We took lunch at a tiny corner restaurant, across from the mighty statue of Hautacuperche, a native Guanache who led a rebellion against the Spanish in 1488. Like many places it is a story of a Princess and her lover, but this is a true tale and ended very, very badly for the local native peoples.
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BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
Hautacuperche would not let his love for the Guanache Princess Iballa go unanswered and he killed a local Spanish leader who also wanted the girl. In response the Spanish ordered that all men above the age of 15 to be killed. Women and children were also enslaved. Strange as it seems, and even with the tragic ending, Hautacuperche is celebrated as a hero, thus the giant statue of him facing towards the island and away from the sea and Spain. The story was sad to hear, but this day the fresh fish was spectacular and the playa was peaceful and is a haven for the modern-day bohemian and over-ripe hippies. I spoke to some of the locals about another local attraction that is unlike anything else. On the island of La Gomera you will find something very special, so distinct, so different that you cannot find it anywhere else on the planet. The whistle language called Silbo. Found only here, this unique form of communication has been used for thousands of years by the indigenous people and was most likely created out of necessity. La Gomera is made up of deep and cavernous volcanic ravines. Spoken and written communication might take a very long time to get from one place to another…but a whistle seems to travel for a long, long way. As La Gomera entered into modern times with communication, internet and cellphone the wonderful Silbo was in danger of being lost in time. So the local government stepped in and it is now required that all school children learn this wondrous talk so that it would not be something some of the elders once knew and eventually disappear. And we thought we were the first to Tweet? Lunch done we rode back a bit, retracing some of our earlier ride in reverse before vec-
toring off onto some small and twisty mountain passes. The views were stunning and only surpassed by the roads that were well paved and created with asphalt that uses the local volcanic stone in the mix making for superb traction. Hell on the tires, but who really cares? We’ll take traction against mileage any day. This day’s ride was spectacular, fun and a place like this could be habit forming. Perhaps we should rename the island La Go-Gomera! We rode down the massive Barranco Juan de Vera, a long and striking ravine, stopping for coffee before heading back to the ferry and a sunset sail back to Tenerife. The sun dropping down below the Atlantic’s horizon was as good as it gets and there was even a “Green Flash” – the first time I have seen one in 58 years. We rode back to Santiago in the dark - another memorable day’s ride in our books.
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MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS
Gran Canaria • All The World in One Place Up to the mountain, down to the sea First Look – Jimmy Buffet Our third island of the Canaries would be Gran Canarias, another ferry ride, but this time to the east. We started our day off by another run up to Tiede, this time from a completely different direction, but soon had snaked our way up through the pine forests and then onto the volcanic plain that runs around the mountain. We stopped for coffee at the same restaurant we had lunch a few days back, only to discover that it was really the Tenerife version of the Rock Store and had a great deal of local riders parked there as well.
tomary coffee stop was made near the town of Tejeda. We parked the bikes in the town square, in front of the castle-like Parador, and left the bikes under the watchful eye of an oddlooking Christ on a cross and an old man and his burro. The remainder of the day was much the same with a good amount of tight, forested roads that would wind down towards the sea. If we had a boat the next stop would be the Western Sahara. We arrived at a small hotel, right along a giant caldera that had exploded a few million years back. The place was built right on the edge of the cliffs and surprised me that it also had a well-groomed golf course on the
We followed Peter, with our long, but well spaced, line of a dozen machines and headed into El Parque Natural de la Corona Forestal with a heavily pine tree-lined road that traced the crest of the cliffs that ring this part of the island. By late morning we had arrived at Santa Cruz and rode aboard another Olsen ferry for the hour and a half ride across the Gran Canarias. Each island so far had been different, as we would see again on this one. Joni Mitchel has a song called Twisted – I could not get it out of my head. Gran Canarias was even more technical than the riding we had done so far on the other islands. Heading up and over Pico de las Nieves was as crafty as any mountain goat trail – for which we were sure it was at one time – and the terrain morphed with each valley and peak - it was like the entire planet was wrapped into this one island. The large gorges dominated the regions between the peaks and our cus-
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Page 29 grounds. The Caldera de Bandama is massive – some 3,000 feet long and nearly 700 feet deep. It was most impressive in the setting sun’s light. Dinner was found a short walk towards town, under the shine of an incredible full moon that lit up the bay below and, once again, we found that best meals come from small restaurants full of locals wondering who the heck we were and what were we doing in “their” place. We had a choice of whole fish, rabbit or cow. They said cow, not
beef. Since I couldn’t have duck I ordered the wabbit, which was wonderful. Our guide Peter had a bit of housekeeping to do with a couple of tire issues and a key broken in a lock. He handled it all with ease and charm, the true mettle of a great guide even when things had to be done before dawn in a steady and cold rain. With these issues needing to be handled by Peter, a few of us went on our own and followed along Edelweiss’ route (more or less) first to an interesting archeological site that would give us a long look back into the history of these islands. Along a long and steep barranco called Guayadeque, the caves, of
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which there were many, were found to have been shelter for people for hundreds of years in the past. Today the caves are limited in visitations, although you can find a couple made into lodgings, but the museum has some wonderful artifacts that were found here, along with the mummified remains of a man that was buried high along the cliff side caverns; a true and rare find and one of the most important scientifically for the Canarian people. We toured the museum and rode up along Guayadeque to the town at the end, also built around a cave system – complete with hotel and restaurant – and then doubled back, got lost, made multiple u-turns and inquiries before we turned to Plan B,
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS C & D and finally, setting our course up and over the peaks, headed back to the town of Tejede. This town sits right one the threshold of the caldera de Tejeda, from which it gets its name. Once again the volcanic past of the island shows itself, as it seems to do everywhere you go on the Canary Islands. The ride into this center part of the Gran Canarias was even more interesting than previous romps and finally getting to the town and the superbly delicious lunch of black pork knuckles was worth each mountainous, twisty and snake-like mile. The old man and the burro were still there and probably still are. Nothing like job security.
At lunch the entire group was reunited and from there we rode back to the port, boarded the ferry back to Tenerife, and then looped around the island with the sun setting to our left and blasting its light across the many barrancos that run down from the mountains and to the sea. Any one of these stunning gorges would be a major natural wonder in the USA, and you’d have to pay to enjoy it. Here in Tenerife they are just there and part of the landscape. Magnificent.
Little did we know that everything that we had ridden before would be leading up to Edelweiss’ final act! We stopped for lunch in the small town of La Orotava and walked around a bit, taking in the town square that was done up for the upcoming Christmas. There were wise men everywhere, as well as vendors and artisans depicting selling the wares of the day – the day being over 2000 years ago.
We stopped at the local church that dominated the center of town, looking very glorious and historic, and I lit a candle in hopes that it would change the world for the better. A light lunch was had at a small restaurant that could barely hold us all, but served a great meal of paella, soups and salads and had friendly staff that made up for its lack of size. On the road leading from the town we’d come across another strange site, for every five years here they remember the eruption of the volcano that destroyed most of the town of Garachico in May of 1706. The locals do this by having a huge fiesta called Fuegos del Risco y La Atalaya and at night they replicate the flowing lava by rolling tires doused with fuel and set aflame down the side of the mountains. We would see the black scars running down the hillside. What fun this must be!
The Mountains of Tenerife II We had one more day of riding with Edelweiss Bike Travel and this day would be to explore the northwest part of the island and seek out more of the culture and natural beauty that we had already found in abundance. We headed above the Los Gigantes cliffs and along the Corona Forest that lies like a necklace around the peaks. With the abundance of pine needle forests and trees, there was another tree we would search out this day. Here on Tenerife they have a tree that is called the Dragon. The name comes from the fact that their limbs grow in a twisted dragon-like manner and their sap is red, like the blood of a dragon. The huge Dragon Tree in the town center of Icod is thought to be a thousand years old. It is a cultural icon and landmark and it was very impressive. After coffee in its shadow we continued along our course, with the road becoming more and more arduous and fun as the day went on.
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BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
For our last jaunt before finishing the tour and handing the GS back to Edelweiss, Peter the Guide (we called him that so as not to confuse him with Peter of the Poconos) told us the next stretch would be like a “Go-Cart Track” while we pass up into and over the mountains that make up Los Gigantes. He said, “The roads will be very narrow and have lots of corners you will not see around and there will be a rental car or bus behind each one that will end your ride. The road is cut into the rock wall and if you look over you can get dizzy, yes? Really, really pay attention. Welcome to motorcycle heaven!” Where had I heard this before? Peter was more than right, and the road through the volcanic passes to Masca could have been right up there with Romania’s Trans Alpina as one of the most technical roads I have ever ridden. Throw into this mix the incredible views, the cliffs and barrancos, the incoming mist and rain clouds parted by bolts of bright sunlight, the occasional large and blocking tour bus and more occasional clueless tourists in a rental car and you had one hell of a final ride on our journey through the mountains of Tenerife!
Final thoughts…. Our last night on Tenerife a monster of a squall went through with spats of rain and very heavy winds. The next morning the sun and clouds ignited the most brilliant rainbow across the ocean and into the Giants and it was a dazzling end to a brilliant week of riding. The Canary Islands – Tenerife, La Gomera and Gran Canarias – were never on our bucket list of places we needed to ride while on the planet. But, now that we have, we can fervently tell you to consider adding them to your own must-ride list! Be aware that when I say this is a demanding ride that I am not exaggerating; this is not a ride to the Chatterbox or to Grandma’s house. The roads here on these islands off the coast of Africa demand attention and a bit of skill as well. It is a serious ride for serious riders. But, if this is what you seek, then have at it. You will not be disappointed. Edelweiss’ Mountains of Tenerife Tour is extraordinary and truly, truly memorable in every way. Price for this Tenerife adventure starts at $3,100, sharing a room and solo riding a BMW F700GS (perfecto machine for this) and includes dinners, breakfast and ferry transfers. Dates for 2017 are Nov. 26-Dec.2, Dec. 3-9 and Dec. 10-16. Log onto www.edelweissbike.com for more information.
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS
vAn leeUwen ice creAM 204 WYTHE AVE, BROOKLYN, NY 11249 929-337-6907 • WWW.VANLEEUWENICECREAM.COM MON-FRI: 7AM-MIDNIGHT • SAT-SUN: 9AM-MIDNIGHT In my never-ending search for the ultimate ice cream (I really don’t think there is such a thing, but it does make a good first sentence), I travel far and wide, sparing no expense to bring you, our loyal sugar junkies, the flavors of the world. This month, with no thought of safety or sanity, I find myself in the wilds of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Infiltrating the uber-hipster community, trying to blend in with the flannel-clad, skinny jean, model-like inhabitants, I make my way down the avenues full of wonderful street art, minimalist boutiques and retro-regenerated buildings. I have come here as Brian’s ride home from BMW’s R nineT Scrambler intro. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I was in Brooklyn. Relatives on my mother’s side all lived here, having grown up in the Coney Island section, and I do fondly remember the visits to Uncle Jack and Aunt Shirley’s row house. Being young and in the back seat of the car, it seemed to take hours, maybe even days, to get from the suburbs of Jersey to this far-off land of Brooklyn. Every time we would visit, I was amazed that my father would be able to pick out their house from all the rest, all looking exactly alike. Later in my life, Brian and I did a five-borough ride one sultry summer evening. We motored through Manhattan and entered into Brooklyn, parking the bike briefly to take in the Cyclone. It was quite the picture, the two of us, carrying everything that couldn’t be locked up on the bike, jammed into a car on the roller coaster. I will always remember that night with the smell of the hot summer air and boardwalk vendors. Many parts of Brooklyn have since become reborn and renewed. While Brian was busy with BMW, I was able to walk the streets along the waterfront. My first stop was at Works Engineering at 168 North 14th St. in the Greenpoint section. The folks here take loving care of vintage motorcycles, doing repairs and restorations of all makes and models. They were kind enough to let me wander around their cavernous garage/warehouse, taking in the machines in various states of being. Should you find yourself in this area or in need of some vintage work, definitely check them out. Even though it was late morning, I found myself jonesing for some ice cream. A quick search came up with one or two ‘artisanal’ joints within walking distance and, turning the corner onto Wythe, I spied a nice sandwich board sign done up in colorful chalks beckoning my entrance to Van Leeuwen’s Ice Cream Shop. Honestly, I was first drawn in by the strong smell of coffee wafting out the door. Downing a quick espresso, I perused their flavor list.
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BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
Starting their ice cream business in 2008 on the streets of NYC, the Van Leeuwen family (Ben, Pete and Laura) set out to revive the classic American ice cream truck and the art of traditional ice cream making, using ingredients perfected by nature and science. They use just a handful of fresh ingredients; fresh milk and cream, cane sugar and egg yolks for classic and house made cashew milk, organic coconut milk, extra virgin coconut oil, cane sugar, pure cocoa butter and carob bean for vegan. Their flavors range from vanilla, chocolate and strawberry to ginger, espresso, pistachio and peppermint/chip. They are what you’d expect from a Willy Wonka ice cream factory – if it were in Brooklyn. Of course, there are always ‘flavors of the day or week’ sourcing seasonal ingredients and spur-of-the-moment flavor ideas. This day’s offerings included sour cream apple cider donut classic and butternut squash brown sugar pecan cookie vegan, of which I had a scoop of each. The sour cream was terrific, with a taste more of vanilla than sour cream and wonderful cinnamon flavor with donut crunch. It was smooth and creamy, just the way ice cream should be. This was the first time I had tasted a vegan ice cream and found it to be a bit grainier than classic ice cream. The flavor, however, was out of this world. Thinking that butternut squash might be a bit too savory, it was completely tempered by the brown sugar and pecan cookie added to it. Should the end of the world come and the only ice cream to be had was vegan, I could definitely survive on it. My double scoop cost $11.50 – $5.50 classic + $6 vegan – which was pretty pricey even though the serving size was decent (hey, you’re in Williamsburg, for goodness sakes). Considering this was probably a one-time visit, I was good with it and enjoyed every single bite. Should you choose to get some ice cream and walk around this trendy neighborhood, they’ll hand you your ice cream in a compostable bagasse container made of cane sugar fiber with a spoon made from corn. Save the planet, it’s the only one we’ve got. Van Leeuwen has three shops in Brooklyn and two in Manhattan, along with their roving ice cream trucks, which you can follow on Twitter for current location. If you have a mind to mingle with the millennials and other artsy types, take a scoot to one of the Van Leeuwen shops and savor their flavors.
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS
AVON STORM 3D X-M • HIGH MILEAGE SPORT TOURING TIRES
One the least favorite things to write about, but one of the most crucial, are tires as writing technical jargon about how the science of today’s tires work and operate gets my head somewhat spinning like the dialogue in the Dr. Strange movie, but here goes… Avon’s new Storm 3D X-M tires are created with interlocking three dimensional points hidden in the sipes to improve stability and grip and limit tread flex. These 3D sipes allow the tire to warm up quickly. High performance single and multicompound super rich silica tread enhances wet grip and offer a great feedback and feel in all conditions. So, let me put the rest of the review on the Avon Storm 3D tires in laymen’s terms, okay? Avon is constantly looking to improve the tires that they offer and sell to us. We have used a number of their tires over the years – The Distanzia tires for our GSs in the past and their new Trail Rider which is an upgraded and better replacement tire for this category – a great gravel road offering that works just as well on pavement. We have also spent thousand of miles on the first Avon Storm tires so we were eager to try the new Avon Storm 3D, which promised 15 to 20% more mileage while offering superior handling in all riding conditions. We thought we’d give these tires a ‘what for’ in an unusual way and with two very different machines on a wide variety of roads and conditions. We would take them for a long backroads tour that would include nearly
300 very hard and quick miles at Virginia International Raceway and Reg Pridmore’s CLASS. Spooning a set of these tires on to Shira’s venerable Honda 919 sport bike was a given. Putting a set on my BMW R1200GS was a little different. Although it sees little more than some long gravel roads, the GS is usually shod with a more aggressive off-road sort of tire – like the new Trail Rider. Putting on a set of sporttouring rubber that was created for big horsepower machines would be a bit of uncharted territory for this bike. On the road the new Avon Storm 3D felt remarkably smooth compared to the other tires that we had just taken off the GS. The machine was very quick to turn in and once into the turn offered a very settled and planted feel. The big GS quickly got comfortable with the Storm 3D tires and the 919, after a 50 mile or so hold back on our part to break them in, felt right at home as well. Like our previous experience with Avon’s Storm tires we felt the tires offered plenty of confidence, even through the roads in and around the Blue Ridge Parkway. But how would these tires do at speed, for long hours, during CLASS? Amazingly. We rode nearly 300 miles at VIR over two-days, with 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off all day long on each day. That is a lot of extreme cold/hot/cold cycles – yet the Storm 3Ds performed brilliantly. next page
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
AVON TREKRIDER New 50/50 Adventure Sport Tire The unique TrekRider offers enthusiasts reliable performance for both off-road and street applications. The TrekRider, being a 50/50 tire (50% street 50% trail), moves from street to trail with ease, and takes on mud, loose soil, gravel and rocks with responsive handling. Enhanced cross-ply construction with blended tread compounds deliver impressive grip and handling in both dry and wet conditions. “The TrekRider has been tested alongside some of the best competitive products in the market with impressive results, logging thousands of miles of applied testing using some of the most popular motorcycles including Triumph, Yamaha and BMW,” said Ken Warner, Vice President of Marketing for Avon Tyres. “This tire has passed every test with flying colors, and we’re proud to bring it to adventure sport enthusiasts.” The TrekRider is scheduled to debut early in 2017 in six sizes – two front and four rear sizes. We’ll have a full test and ride review later on this year. For more information, visit www.AvonMoto.com.
Avon storM 3d X-M The only bobble I had was my own fault when I dragged the foot pegs through turn one. With the high ground clearance offered on the BMW GS series, dragging the peg thusly usually happens in a low-side crash. It was a feeling that at first startled me, but leaning over to the edges of the tires was something that the confidence-inspiring Avon Storm 3D tires quickly allowed me to adapt to. And, is that not what we want from a tire – confidence? It would not be a true test without a little bit of wet and it didn’t take long for us to run into some inclement weather. Here we found the Storm 3Ds to be true to their moniker. They offer fantastic grip and plenty of feedback, even in very wet and fairly awful conditions. We found them to be an excellent sport-touring tire easily eating up miles of backroads with precision and performance, an excellent tire on the 2.25-mile course at VIR, and an outstanding rain tire as well. And then there is the mileage factor. Kawasaki Concours 14 and Suzuki Hayabusa owners, two machines whose raw horsepower usually does a number on rear tires, are routinely reported getting seven thousand miles from the 3D rear tire. That is pretty damn good, especially with a tire that handles and performs as well as the 3D do. In fact Avon offers a 15,000-mile pro-rated warranty against tread ‘wear out’ if worn out prior, and a Road Hazard warranty as well. If you have a sport-touring machine and are looking for a tire that offers handling, performance, wet weather comfortability and high-mileage longevity then the Avon Storm 3D is hard to beat. It is available from Avon dealers and comes in a wide variety of sizes and applications. ~ Brian Rathjen
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BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
RIGG GEAR DRY ROLL BAGS When you are on the road for a long period of time, you may need more luggage than you normally tote. Rigg Gear has you covered with their new Dry Roll Bags. Available in both 15 and 30 liters bags you can get them in black and a very conspicuous yellow. The bags are created from waterproof and durable 15oz Tarpaulin PVC and the UV Coated outer material cleans easily and prevents slipping or marking of bodywork. Rigg Gear Dry Roll Bags seams are electronically heat welded and are 100% waterproof. These watertight roll closures come with self-fastening webbing and quick release buckles that securely mount using 4 custom aluminum G-Hooks and webbing straps to any machine. Convenient metal D-rings make them a breeze to attach to other roll bags or your present hard luggage. In a pinch they can be made into a backpack as well. The Rigg Gear Dry Roll Bags come with a lifetime warranty and make hauling your gear, safely and dryly, a snap. The bags list for $75 and $100 and can be found at Rigg Gear dealers. For more information go their website at www.nelsonrigg.com.
ZTECHNIK GS FAIRING WINGLETS
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ZTechnik GS Fairing Winglets were recently tested off-road in the Southwestern deserts and mountains and on the open highways in Colorado, Arizona and Utah. The GS Fairing Winglets extended the performance of the bike’s windshield by diverting buffeting underdrafts and turbulent air from the rider’s cockpit. The GS Fairing Winglets are fuller and higher than the small OEM Cockpit Fairing parts. In all types of riding conditions, touring and adventure riders alike will be happy to have the increased performance of ZTechnik’s GS Fairing Winglets on their motorcycle. GS Fairing Winglets mount easily to existing points on the motorcycle in less than 15 minutes. Mount screws with special offset bushings keep the plastic away from the painted bodywork of the bike. All hardware is included. GS Fairing Winglets are made from tough 4.5mm Quantum® hardcoated polycarbonate. This material is lightweight but has the durability and scratch resistance to handle the rugged off-road environment. ZTechnik’s stateof-the-art manufacturing techniques and attention to detail are evident in the smooth radius edge, precision forming and excellent fit. GS Fairing Winglets are compatible with ZTechnik VStream® Windscreens, OEM windscreens, and other windshields, as well as with ZTechnik’s Z5220 Windscreen Stabilizer Kit and ZTechnik Headlight Guards and all ZTechnik polycarbonate products are protected by a 3Year Warranty against breakage. GS Fairing Winglets; Dark Tint Polycarbonate; $164.95 at www.nationalcycle.com.
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS
Cousin Jeremy Two-Piece Suit • A Different Take on the Classic Aerostich Roadcrafter Cousin Jeremy’s two-piece suits merges the quest for fine-tuned individuality head-on with a blend of classic materials and hand-crafted modern design to create the embodiment of an authentic riders’ jacket. Perfect, whether you are a motorcyclist who values independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of indie-rock, creative art and witty banter...or are a rider looking for a handmade jacket crafted from traditional, time-tested authentic English waxed cotton fabric, in a style that has continually evolved over the last 30 years. Simultaneously edgy and effortlessly cool, while providing a superior fit, unmatched comfort and extreme performance when riding through all-weather, over any distance to every destination. Beard, earrings and tattoo accouterment are optional. Beginning with pockets, vents, armor and details from the proven design of the Roadcrafter Classic, the Cousin Jeremy Jacket is constructed from a supple and durable 10 oz. English waxed cotton fabric outer, with a second layer of waxed cotton incorporated for added abrasion protection at the elbow and shoulders. For added comfort it is fully lined with a black supernyl lining on the inside of the jacket. Removable TF3 armor is included in the shoulders and elbows, with pre-installed loop integrated into the liner for easily adding optional back armor. The durable, waterproof waxed cotton fabric is supple and wonderful for all day wear. Underarm zips, a two-way zippered back vent and adjustable dual height collar allow excellent venting for warm riding days. Zipped up with a thermal layer underneath will keep you warm and protected even in the coolest riding weather. Nine outer and one inner pocket allow ample storage for your everyday carry items, including a large cargo pocket on the left chest with an integrated supernyl stash pocket inside for quick access to cash, cards, or phone. A zippered pocket on the right forearm is great for stashing change, keys or earplugs. Attached and hidden under the logo pocket flap on the left chest pocket is a helmet holder carabiner, and the pass-thru design behind this pocket allows for convenient glove storage when gassing up or spending time off-bike. Large left and right, lower cargo pockets feature foldover flaps for secure stowage. The flaps covering the back vent area and the front logo pocket are made from the same color and weight fabric as the jacket body, but for riders wanting additional nighttime visibility, these flaps can be sewn with 3M Scotchlight® Reflective material at no additional charge on a new jacket order. Choose from base jacket and pant colors available in Black or Brown 10 oz. Waxed Cotton fabric, and select from Black or Brown 10oz. fabric added to the shoulder and elbow areas for increased abrasion protection. Sizes: Men’s 34, 36–54 short, regular or long. Women’s sizes 2-20 short, regular or long. From our experience with Aerostich garments the dropping of nearly $1,200 for a suit might seem steep, but this suit will last decades and in the long run is one of the best investments you can make. See the Cousin Jeremy Suit and order your own Riderwearhouse Catalog @ www.aerostich.com.
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
USEFUL PRODUCTS AT HOME AND ON THE ROAD HOODMAN LENS CLEANSE Doing a few weeks of heavy motorcycle traveling dragging along an assortment of cameras, lenses and a laptop there will be a bit of housekeeping to be done on a regular basis to make sure things work well and optics are as clean as possible. I have a habit of putting my lenses in dire predicaments on a regular basis and have had other photographers grimace at my lackadaisical approach. I am trying to be a better caretaker of my gear these days. One easy to use product that can be found all the time in my gear bag is a few packets of Hoodman Lens Cleanse. These towelettes are natural lens cleaning kits that make lens cleaning convenient and quick with specially formulated enzymes that actually breakdown grime to super clean photographic lenses and filters without harming delicate optical coatings. Remember the bulky, leaking, caustic chemical bottles to clean your lenses you used to carry? Toss them. Convenient wet and dry kits store in your camera bag ready to tear open as needed. Enzymes are naturally occurring substances whose sole purpose is to break down organic matter. Organic plant enzymes make up the powerful cleaning agent in Hoodman’s Lens Cleanse natural lens cleaning kits. The delicate optical coatings of your lenses and filters are never compromised because Lens Cleanse enzymes do not hurt optical coatings. Even the cleaning kit towelettes they use are special. Lens Cleanse towelettes are made up of super soft natural wood fibers that will not scratch lenses or filters. Hoodman Lens Cleanse natural lens cleaning kits are good for your lenses, filters and the environment too! 12 pack for $9.99 hoodmanusa.com or from B & H Photo.
BUCKET GRATE TRANSFORMS WASHING FOREVER Everyone has a favorite item to clean their motorcycle with, be it a wash mitt, sponge or brush. All of these tools pick up dirt and debris that eventually collect in the bottom of a wash bucket. This debris is what can end up scratching and marring an otherwise nice wash. Shurhold Industries’ new Bucket Grate sits in the bottom of a standard five-gallon pail and allows contaminates to settle, keeping the wash mixture and tools cleaner. An integrated baffle system in the Bucket Grate reduces water movement and is designed to trap dirt and debris as tools are rinsed. It also provides a highly effective way to clean brush bristles. Every detail about the Bucket Grate has been designed to provide the best wash experience. It even includes two built-in 3 oz. measuring cups for accurate proportioning of soaps and solutions. Using too much cleaning product is often the cause of residual water spots on cars, trucks and motorcycles, not to mention stripped wax. Shurhold Industries’ Bucket Grate sell for $10.98. Log onto www.shurhold.com for more information.
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS
words: Susan Dragoo
The light at the end of the tunnel beckons me, but I resist the urge to hurry. Rolling over rocks, through ruts, and across puddles on a rough dirt road, I’m standing on the foot pegs of my motorcycle and reveling in the beauty of the forest. Towering hardwoods and evergreens canopy the dark, narrow path, and large ferns create a lush green border. The road dwindles to single-track trail and I duck, still scraping my helmet and shoulders on branches. A swath of sunshine ahead signals a place to pause and regroup with my riding partners.
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“The trail to the waterfall is just ahead,” says Eric Milano, who is leading us on dual-sport motorcycles along ancient roads through some of the best scenery in the far northwest reaches of Vermont. The state has many claims to fame, but off-road adventure travel isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Perhaps it should. Vermont’s mountains and dense forests are laced with about 8,000 miles of unpaved but maintained, or “Class 3” roads and, even better, about 1,700 miles of “Class 4” roads. It’s these Class 4 byways, or “ancient roads,” that make both two-wheeled and four-wheeled off-pavement travel here so enticing. The foundation of the state’s road system was formed in early settlement days, beginning in the late 1700s. Some of these roads were used in the Revolutionary War and many still connect communities and provide access to remote areas. They are unmaintained, ranging from smooth, hard-packed dirt to slick, steep, and rocky. Off-road skills (and good judgment) are an asset. A local guide is a great help, too. Eric knows the roads, and the highlights along the way. For this three-day training tour, our base camp is Jay Peak, one of Vermont’s many ski resorts. On the average, Vermont gets more snow than any other state and Jay Peak is busy in winter. But in mid-summer, it offers quiet and welcoming accommodations, and an escape from the heat.
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
Page 41 We are a dozen men and women on a wide range of dual-sport motorcycles, from the BMW R1200 GS to the Yamaha XT250. Our first day is spent in off-road skills training under the tutelage of my husband, Bill Dragoo, with a steady rain providing some “real world” conditions. Students tackle mud and wet gravel with coaching on what Bill considers the four cornerstones of adventure riding: balance, control, judgment and attitude.
By the next day the group is ready to put the learning to good use. Hearty breakfast burritos from the Jay Country Store fortify us for the challenge of the trails and we travel southeast of Jay Peak. Soon we negotiate a tight turn over slippery rock ledges to enter the day’s first technical section. Tricky wet ruts, large smooth stones, and fallen branches require some finesse. By the time we reach our lunch stop at Parker Pie Company in West Glover, I’m ready for a breather. Hula hoops on the lawn help us “get our wiggles out” while lunch is prepared. The establishment’s famed pizza turns out to be well worth the wait. With a combination of barbeque chicken and curry powder, the Bangkok Disco specialty pizza is my favorite.
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After lunch, we travel the 1791 Hinman Settler Road to a shallow stream crossing. I bobble a bit in the rocky bottom but manage not to dump my Honda CRF250 and soon we approach a long uphill where the gravel road disappears into the unknown. Eric encourages me to go ahead of the group for photos, so I lead the way. “It’s beautiful at the top,” he says. “We’ll take a break up there.” The fresh-poured gravel, an unexpected road “improvement,” has the consistency of fist-sized M&Ms, deep and diabolical. Immediately I am back on the pegs for greater control and powering up the steep slope. As with deep sand, if I stop or lose momentum, I might drop the bike and create a mess for those behind me. It’s a long hill with a couple of turns and I keep going. And going. With a steady hand on the throttle and the bike in first gear, I sometimes feather the clutch to avoid stalling. I finally make it to the top with Bill right behind me on his GS. We wait for the others but only a few make it. As I feared, the first rider to fall has triggered a chain reaction and soon we get word that Eric is detouring the rest of the group on an easier route to a rendezvous point on the other side of the mountain. When we regroup, I decide to go back to Jay Peak with several others who are calling it a day. It’s 4:30 and I’m tired. A few of our advanced riders take a more challenging return route, but I’m fine with going back through the Vermont countryside on paved roads. As we glide along these lazy back roads I enjoy the summer’s beauty and wonder, “What must this look like in the fall?”
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS We hit the trail early on our final day, this time heading for a loop southwest of Jay Peak. It will be a short day and we make the most of the remaining few hours, starting with a covered bridge crossing. Vermont has the highest density of covered bridges in the United States, adding to the landscape’s distinct charm. Riding up a hill we pass a hand-painted sign, “Please do not shoot the small bears.” I wonder what to do with the large bears but thankfully we never see any. Finally clearing that dark, tree-canopied tunnel we come to Gibou Falls, a multi-level waterfall and secret swimming hole hidden in the Green Mountains of Montgomery County. I park along the road and walk down to the falls but some of our group ride down the steep, gnarly trail and into the stream, where clear water flows over a rocky bottom. Moss-covered boulders and a tall stand of spruce frame the falls, capturing the essence of Vermont’s beauty. It’s a perfect spot for a picnic, a swim or a nap, but, quickly, it’s time to move on. Winding, Class 3 dirt roads take us on a relaxing ride back toward Jay Peak. We make one last stop at Godfrey’s Sugar House near Montgomery Center. I taste the varieties of maple syrup made there and leave with a couple of pints of real Vermont maple syrup and a wealth of fond memories as souvenirs. Vermont’s ancient roads have delivered a remarkable riding experience and we’ve barely scratched the surface.
MotoVermont MotoVermont is a motorbike rental and tour company in Burlington, Vermont, offering both off-road and paved adventures, including multi-day, group tours through New england, Atlantic Canada and beyond. Rental bikes range from the BMWR1200GS to the Honda CRF250L. When owner eric Milano isn’t helping customers realize their motorcycle vacation fantasies, he can be found trout ﬁshing the many beautiful streams of Vermont, exploring the nation on his BMW GS or riding dirt bikes with his eight-year-old son. For more information see www.motovermont.com, write firstname.lastname@example.org or call (802) 860-MOTO (6686).
Dragoo Adventure Riding School Bill Dragoo headquarters his adventure riding school in Norman, Oklahoma and has coached around the U.S. and in South America. He specializes in teaching adventure riders the ﬁner points of managing heavy dual-sport motorcycles in bad places. Dragoo is also a moto-journalist and certiﬁed Motorcycle Safety Foundation Rider Coach. A member of Team USA in the 2010 BMW GS Trophy held in South Africa, Bill has ridden motorcycles on ﬁve continents. For more information and training schedule see billdragoo.com or call (405) 830-6630.
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
Hamilton in Unadilla words + images: Tony Lisanti
Traveling to the track is always a fun ride with many options to enjoy the rolling hills of central New York State. Taking a leisurely ride north along the Delaware River on Rt. 97 and cutting north to Roscoe is a nice way to avoid the highway. I stuck to the state routes rather than get too far off the beaten path so Route 206, 28 would lead me all the way to Cooperstown for the night. The heat and humidity of the day kicked in with temperatures over 90 degrees, so a brisk pace to keep the air moving was justification for this route.
Once checked into the Lake Front Hotel in Cooperstown, I took a short ride to the Fenimore Art Museum. The Museum is a showcase for the New York State Historical Association whose interest was preserving knowledge of the history of New York State. In 1944 the Fenimore House was donated for use as a new headquarters and museum. The home was built in the 1930s on the site of James Fenimore Cooper’s early 19th century farmhouse on the west Shore of Otsego Lake.
Page 43 When the summer calendar flips from July to August, the true dog days of summer are upon us. The beginning of August also means Lucas Oil Pro Motocross visits Central New York for the 10th round of their series. This year AMA Motocross celebrated its 50th year of the professional sport first introduced to North America by Edison Dye in 1966. A lot has changed in the sport over the past 50 years. A series that started as an annual exhibition to introduce American riders to the European sport of Motocross has seen the sport grow into a multi-million dollar business with same day network television and streaming coverage. American riders also evolved along the wa,y from also-rans to World Champions. Today, AMA Pro-Motocross is considered the premier outdoor series in the world, with all due respect to the F.I.M. Heading into the 10th round at Unadilla, Suzuki’s Ken Roczen was enjoying a substantial points lead mainly due to attrition, especially from the former champion Ryan Dungy who was sidelined with injuries. Roczen had finished no worse than second place all season trading wins with Ryan Dungey and Eli Tomac. Unadilla has also evolved over the years, from a pastoral natural terrain track, with tall grass and snow fencing, to a manicured world class racing facility. On Friday the track was looking great, the deep loamy soil was about perfect. More on that later.
Page 44 The exhibits include early works from a variety of New York artists, with many paintings depicting early farm life and commerce along the state’s waterways. Two featured exhibits peeked my interest for this visit. First was “Hamilton’s Final Act”, the second “Ansel Adams: Early Works”. With the huge popularity of “Hamilton - An American Musical” on Broadway, I thought it was timely to see what this was about. The Hamilton exhibit (running from April - December 2017) showcased the handwritten correspondences between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr leading up the infamous duel on the shores of the Hudson River in 1804. The exhibit – “Hamilton’s Final Act” includes 8 original handwritten letters between Hamilton and Burr and their respective right hand men known as “appointed seconds”. The correspondences between Hamilton and Burr were written and responded to during the month of June 1804. The text of each letter was transposed for visitors to read. You get a real sense of the gentleman’s English and language of the times and the tone between the two men. Essentially Hamilton talked “smack” about Burr in a published article of the Albany Register in April of that year. Burr wanted him to apologize and retract his public criticism. Hamilton felt it would lead to public disgrace to do that. The correspondences show an escalation and ultimately culminated in the fateful dual on July 11, 1804. The dual originally was to take place in Manhattan. Dueling was not permitted in New York, but apparently was okay in New Jersey. Weehawken would be the site of their confrontation. The rest as they say, is history. Included in the exhibit are some artifacts from the duel including a lock of Hamilton’s hair taken while on his deathbed. There is also an oil painting depicting the scene from the New Jersey side of the Hudson. Interesting stuff
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS to be sure. I’m glad to see our politicians and leaders are so much more civil and professional today. The next exhibit featured the early works of Ansel Adams. The museum had several of his original photos taken during trips to the western United States. Included are his famous “Moonrise” taken in New Mexico in 1941. Accompanying the photos are short stories from Adams himself on how he came upon the scenes and set up and photographed. Like most photographers a high degree of technical expertise was employed to capture the image, process and print the photos into what would become masterpieces. A whole lot of patience and luck to get Mother Nature to cooperate helped as well. Having my fill of culture for the afternoon, it was time to park the motorcycle for the evening as storms were starting to roll in. The hills off to the north were beginning to disappear behind the dark storm clouds. A short pit stop to Brewery Omegang for provisions was a bit of a gamble to beat the approaching storm. I always lose those bets. Once back at the motel it was time for civilian clothes and a short walk to the Baseball Hall of Fame to see Mr. Piazza. The Hall was all but empty this day and it proved to be a great time to visit. The next morning there was a bit of fog resulting from the rain and clearing skies. The heat and humidity was on the rise already at dawn. With Cooperstown in my rear view mirrors, I rode west back to Unadilla over the rolling farmlands and dipping in and out of the low lying fog in the valleys. In no time I was parked in the “motorcycles only” area right near the track entrance and the iconic Big White Barn. Entering and exiting the track and parking in the vast fields gets more organized each year. NBC Sports Network requires members of the media attend a mandatory safety meeting at 8:00 AM. Given the relatively early hour, this gave me an opportunity to see the factory race machines being prepared for the practice sessions and qualifying races. It also gave me an opportunity to hike up to
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BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
the back parking fields where we used to camp decades ago. My little visit was to pay homage to an old friend who had recently passed away. He created some memorable moments for our “crew” back in the day when we camped for the weekend at the USGP held here every July. Remember all that rain I mentioned from the night before? Turns out the manicured track took on some water and Greg Robinson had his crew hard at work before sun up dewatering and grading the track. No rest for the weary. Unadilla is regarded as a “European” style natural terrain track and in the past there was little fuss over the soil conditions. But with today’s athletes and sponsors, track conditions have to be kept in check. Their work prevented the track from turning into a complete quagmire. The early practice sessions resulted in the mechanics scrambling to reset suspensions, tire choices and add guards in preparation for some good ‘ole Unadilla Mud. They should trademark the stuff. It’s the thick glop that sticks to everything and can actually add 20 or 30 pounds or more to a bike and wreak havoc with radiators, chains, fork seals and knobby tires. Pirelli and Dunlop were on hand for full race and technical support and were showcasing the latest and greatest in tire technology. By late morning the temperature and humidity levels were already somewhere north of “furnace” and approaching “hell”. This helped to dry the track out - a little. Each practice session and subsequent heat race (no pun intended) made the track rougher and rougher. The ruts became epic in depth. That suited Rockstar Suzuki’s and reigning points champion Ken Roczen just fine. Despite the nasty early conditions, Roczen set a qualifying time 2 seconds faster than that of runner up qualifier Justin Barcia. Roczen looked unbeatable heading into the afternoon’s first moto. Roczen’s sweep of both Moto 1 and 2 in the sweltering heat with a 1-1 overall extended his points lead. With only two rounds left, he would sew up the National Title the next week in Budds Creek, Maryland.
Another year and once again it was a privilege to be able to attend this event and represent Backroads. The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series is professional racing at its very best. The Unadilla track with its rich racing history and rabid fans make this one the most exciting sporting events to attend. As a postscript to the season, Ken Roczen parted ways with Suzuki and signed with the Factory Honda race team for a reported $15 million. Much has changed in 50 years! It was then time to say farewell and start my journey back home. The temperature by late afternoon was in the high 90’s with humidity to match. I topped off all the water bottles and Camelback and doused my head and t-shirt with water and donned my riding gear. Back out on NY State Route 8 I headed south to beat the mass exodus from the track. A short hop on Route 17 to Hancock, then I followed 97 back down along the Delaware. Riding back at a brisk pace under the shade of the overhanging trees provided some relief from the heat. A few short hours later I found myself in Port Jervis, then in Pine Island and Warwick, Harriman State Park and back home. Despite the heat and humidity, I was charged up from the ride and from a day of exciting racing. Mark it on your calendars - August 2017 Round 10 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross- Unadilla • www.unadillamx.com
MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS
Welcome to the Jungle - The Art of Learning to Ride Skillfully A column dedicated to your riding survival
Precrashtination Prognostication: A statement about what is going to happen in the future. Procrastination: The avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. Precrashtination: Delaney-speak for forseeing the possibility of something sideways and bad happening and taking steps ahead of it to avoid the worst case scenario and physical outcome. I sometimes have powerful dreams. Unlike my wife who wakes up from her dreams and begins to forget them while she is telling me about them, some of my dreams stick with me for days, even months. Sometimes they are just wacky mash-ups of my daily life and the people in it. Other times they involve familiar situations with some very bad results. And, although I can usually shake them off by the first cup of coffee, sometimes they re-enter my conscious at inconvenient times. Especially when the dreams involve motorcycles, gravity and Newton’s First Law of Motion. Newton’s First Law states “An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” When this comes into play in the context of riding motorcycles it is usually not very good.
The procrastinators. If you have the knowledge and realization that something might happen and that you may be able to do something ahead of time to avoid a worstcase outcome, why would you not act upon it? If you realize that despite your best efforts shit can and will happen, then you might be experiencing signs of precrashtination: the ability to know that riding events might not always go as planned and that you should do your best to make the end game land more in your favor. If you think you may have had some bouts of precrashtination then you can do the following: 1. Make sure your gear is the best and most conspicuous your stylesense will allow. Wear a real helmet, not something that looks cool in the movies or TV. you will never see a racer wearing a 1/2 helmet. 2. Take courses like Ride Like a Pro, CLASS, Riding in the Zone, Stayin’ Safe and other high performance rider safety schools. 3. Practice those skills…over and over again. For these skills to work like cat-like reﬂexes, they need to be cat-like. Kabeesh? Don’t think you are being paranoid - a little precrashtination is a good thing. It shows that you are aware of the risks and have taken real steps to lower them significantly. You never know what the future holds. See you in your dreams. ~ Michael Delaney
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Two particular dreams really threw me and the more I worked to banish them from my thoughts, the tougher they rooted into my brain. The first dream was a short blip that had me bolt upright and breathing hard one night back in October. It might have been me riding, or maybe I was just observing – strange how our perception can be wonky in dreams – but there was a motorcycle coming quickly around a turn and then the back of a red pick-up truck, a very quick and hard impact and then … Was it me or did I dream of another’s death that night? I don’t know, but I do know the vision and feeling has not left me in months. The second dream was equally as vivid. I was with a bunch of riders in a woodsy and rocky environment. There was a road below us, and a group of riders making their way around a twisty bend. I clearly remember a stream running below us too, alongside the road. These bikes were all following far too closely, in that cruiseresque manner. One rider, in the middle, slid out and there was a quick pandemonium of noise, metal and screams as the rest piled in. It was very, very bad. Our group tried desperately to come to their aid, but our efforts were all but stymied by that slow motion dream speed - like we were riding in molasses. These dreams had me thinking a lot, and I hate to think they were anything more than just the crazy working of my Id, and not some sort of prognostication. Still that made me think of riders that keep continually talk about getting better gear or working on their skills, but something else always comes up that seems more important and they don’t.
BACKROADS • MARCH 2017
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MARCH 2017 • BACKROADS
U P C O M I N G E VE NT S CALEND AR EVERY MONTH - WEATHER PERMITTING Every Tuesday • Two Wheeled Tuesday at Spiegel Restaurant • 26 1st Avenue, NyC. An eclectic gathering of motorcycles served with multi-cuisine meals. Kick some tires, have some couscous, enjoy the crowd • www.spiegelnyc.com • 212-228-2894 Every Thursday • Bike Night at the Chatterbox Drive-In, Rtes. 15/206, Augusta, NJ. Tire kicking, good food and friends • www.chatterboxdrivein.com 2nd Friday April thru September 9th @ 6-8pm • 120 N. Queen Street, Lancaster, PA • The Lancaster County Motorcycle Dealers Association invites you to share their passion of riding and discover all that historic downtown Lancaster has to offer • More info: www.2FBN.com Every Saturday May thru October • Bergen County Harley Davidson Saddle Up Saturday. 9am for coffee and bagels. Ride departs at 10am. Return to the dealership for FRee food and music. Proper attire MUST be worn! No shorts or sneakers. BCHD, 124 essex St, Rochelle Park, NJ • 201-843-6930 • www.bergenharleydavidson.com
MARCH 2017 3 • 7-10pm • Martin Moto Modern Classics Kickstart Party. Music, performing artists, refreshments and the chance to stroll the show floor amid a party atmosphere • Boyertown, PA • Martinmoto.com 4 • 9am-5pm • Martin Moto 7th annual Modern Classics: widely acclaimed tribute to the great motorcycles of the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s. 100-bike all-brands 'by invitation only' show staged indoors in the spacious Martin Moto showroom, Boyertown, PA. For 2017, in addition to the many standard clasics in the mix, the show puts a spotlight on a group we like to call 'The Quickest and the Fastest,' a sampling of the period machines that laid claim to being the world's fastest production bike • 567 Route 100 North, Boyertown, PA • MartinMoto.com
What’s Happening 10-18 • Laconia Motorcycle Week - world's oldest motorcycle rally - Laconia, NH • 603-366-2000 • www.laconiamcweek.com 15-17 • 25th Anniversary Mid-Atlantic Women’s Motorcycle Rally, Front Royal, VA Holiday Inn Blue Ridge Shadows. Featured speakers and seminars, rides and more. For full details visit www.mawmr.org 18 • Last Ride of the New york Cruisers. Start: Mobil gas station, Hutchinson River Parkway North, White Plains, Ny • 8:30-9:30am KSU 10am. Shirt ride with lunch to follow. For more details email: KQuinn5801@gmail.com • 914-774-4468 19 • 26th International Motorcycle & Scooter RIDe TO WORK DAy • RideToWork.org 22-25 • Thunder in the Valley, Johnstown, PA • JohnstownThunder.com
JULY 2017 8-9 • Ramapo MC Club’s 41st Annual Ramapo 500. 500 miles of gorgeous scenery and backroads, free camping, onsite trailer rentals, nearby hotels, river swimming, Saturday night dinner, awards and prizes, Sunday breakfast, starter pins and finisher patches. Sign in: RMC Clubhouse/Veterans Memorial Assoc, 66 Lake Rd, Congers, Ny • 7am. Details: Fred Peck (845) 300-1247 • email@example.com • www.ramapomc.org
AUGUST 2017 14 • Street Skills LLC Cornering Confidence Track Day course @ New york Safety Track, Harpersfield, Ny • 585-802-9859 • www.streetskills.net 17-20 • 3rd Annual Touratech Rally east, Huntingdon, PA. 4-day rally with opportunity for riders from around the US and the world to camp out, attend workshops and presentations, improve riding skills meet industry pros and explore fun mountain roads. Rides for different experience levels and all street-legal motorcycles are welcome. Go to www.touratechrally.com for details and signup.
11 • Cross Country Powersports Triumph Bobber Launch. Details TBD: CrossCountryPowersports.com • 732-491-2900 • 911 Middlesex, Metuchen, NJ
25-26 • 27th Annual Toronto Motorcycle SpringShow @ International Centre. Vintage, Clubs, Rides, Rallies, New Bike Display, Used Bike Market, Fashion Show Cash Award Bike Show. Full details @ MotorcycleSpringShow.com • 905-771-0132
21-25 • BACKROADS FALL FIESTA - NY STATE OF MIND TOUR. See page 44 or full details @ backroadsusa.com/rallies.html.
24 • Cross Country Powersports BMW Season Start. Details TBD: CrossCountryPowersports.com • 732-491-2900 • 911 Middlesex, Metuchen, NJ 30-Aprl 2 • March Moto Madness Adventure Rally, Tellico Plains, TN. Join the Madness, a gathering of Adventurous riders from across the world. Sun, snow, rain, warm or cold. 3 nights camping, 3 breakfast, 2 dinners, coffee, fire pit, bike games, guided and selfguided rides. Great door prizes. $85 thru 3/16, $100 after. Get all the details and register @ MarchMotoMadness.com
OCTOBER 2017 14-19 • Backroads CLASS Rally. See page 45 for details. 15 • Ramapo MC Club Fall Foliage Tour to benefit the Valerie Fund for childhood cancer research. Guided or self-guided tour along Hudson Valley’s autumn foliage roads. Sign in: Rhodes North Tavern, 40 Orange Tpke, Sloatsburg, Ny @ 9am. Details: Kent Sullwold (845) 304-3454 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.ramapomc.org
POLAR BEAR SCHEDULE 2017
8-9 • eurobike 2017, a family-friendly event dedicated to european design and machines. Historic City Market, Raleigh, North Carolina. Local Saturday ride, gathering and bike show, with raffle prizes and bike show awards. Music, vendor booths, tech talks, and food. Proceeds beneit InterAct, a non-profit assisting families and victims of domestic violence. Full details and registration @ eurobikeraleigh.com
Bob Hartpence Chairman • 609-894-2941 • email@example.com www.PolarBearGrandTour.com • 908-722-0128 for schedule updates
23 • Motorcyclepedia Museum Spring Swap Meet & Warehouse Sale. Two locations: 250 Lake St and 21 Liberty St, Newburgh Ny. 7am start at both. Vendors Wanted. For full details and to register as vendor, please visit www.motorcyclepediamuseum.org or call 845-569-9065 ext. 501
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 26 • THe CHATTeRBOX, #1 Rt. 15 South, Augusta, NJ • 973 300-2300
27-30 • Horizons Unlimited, Appomatox VA. Adventure Travellers Rally. Full details at www.horizonsunlimited.com/virginia
MAY 2017 7 • Ramapo MC Club Spring Charity Fun Run to benefit the Helen Hayes Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation.Sign in: 9am @ Rhodes North Tavern, 40 Orange Tpke, Sloatsburg, Ny. Self-guided route along Hudson Valley’s interesting roads with stops for poker/dice/scrabble games to win prizes and support a worthy cause. Details: Richard Roberts (914) 422-1806 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.ramapomc.org 18-21 • COG Spring Fling Rally, Bennington, VT. Great riding in all directions. Group catered dinner Saturday at a local museum. event and registration details @ tinyurl.com/COGSpringFLing2017 or contact email@example.com • 914-953-4154 19-21 • Morton’s BMW Spring Fling Rally. JWeekend of great roads, good food, interesting scavenger hunt and terrific company @ Natural Bridge Hotel, Natural Bridge, VA. your rally fee includes vendors, route sheets, door prizes, scavenger hunt poker run with a prize for the winner, Friday Brats & Brew dinner, Saturday dinner & presentation and more. Complete info and registration @ www.mortonsbmw.com • 540-891-9844.
APRIL 2017 2 • BRIAN’S HD, 600 S. Flowers Mill Rd, Langhorne PA • 215 752-9400 PA 9 • THe HICKORy BBQ SMOKe HOUSe, 743 Rt. 28 Kingston; Ny • 845 338-2424 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 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
MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION Get BACKROADS delivered EVERY MONTH!
20-21 • New Sweden BMW Riders 4th Annual New Sweden 450. Start: Cycle Gear, 2070 Route 70 e, Cherry Hill, NJ • end: P.J. Whelihans, 1854 Route 70 e, Cherry Hill, NJ. 450 miles over 2 days on some of the great back roads in the Delaware Valley area. This year the route heads north into Ny. To find out more, point your browser towards www.450.nsbmwr.com
Just fill out the simple form and mail it along with payment to:
18-21 • BACKROADS SPRING BREAK - ALMOST HEAVEN TOUR. See page 44 or full details @ backroadsusa.com/rallies.html.
We accept checks via mail and credit cards on our website thru PayPal www.backroadsusa.com/subscription.html
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Backroads, PO Box 317, Branchville, NJ 07826
5-10 • DirtDaze - Lake Luzerne, Ny • 518-798-7888 • www.DirtDaze.com 6-10 • Americade - World’s largest touring rally - Lake George, Ny • 518-798-7888 • www.americade.com 9-11 • Street Skills LLC On-Road style cornering confidence courses @ Americade. Lake Luzerne, Ny • 585-802-9859 • www.streetskills.net
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