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ine gaz Ma our le T cyc tor Mo


Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure

Backroa d s Hig

h Alpine Ad ve n t ure


Volume 17 No. 11

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W H A T ’ S


MON THLY COLUMN S FREE WHEELIN’.................................................................................4

BACKROADS’ HIGH ALPS ADVENTURE ..................................23


AMA PRO MOTOCROSS - UNADILLA......................................46

POSTCARDS FROM THE HEDGE .................................................8

2011 FINGER LAKES BMW RALLY ............................................50

ON THE MARK ..................................................................................9 MYSTERIOUS AMERICA...............................................................10 GREAT ALL AMERICAN DINER RUN.........................................12

M OTORCYCL E REVIEWS APRILIA DORSODURO 1200.......................................................36

THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD....................................................14 BACKLASH .......................................................................................15 INDUSTRY INFOBITES ...................................................................17


BIG CITY GETAWAY........................................................................19

HARLEY-DAVIDSON HEATED GLOVES .....................................43

WE’RE OUTTA HERE......................................................................21

GOTCHA! ADJUSTABLE STRAPS...............................................43

UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR ..............................................39

BLAZE SPORT SADDLEBAG SYSTEM ......................................43

MOTORCYCLE MARKETPLACE ..................................................40


WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE .......................................................44

CRUZTOOLS COMBO WRENCHES ...........................................56

Brian Rathjen • Shira Kamil ~ Publishers Contributors: Jeff Bahr, Mark Byers, Bill Heald, Tony Lisanti, Frank L. Palmeri, Dr. Seymour O’Life

BACKROADS • POB 317, Branchville NJ 07826 Phone 973.948.4176 • Fax 973.948.0823 • email • web Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure

For Advertising Sales Information: 973-948-4176

BACKROADS (ISSN 1087-2088) is published monthly by BACKROADS™, Inc. 2011. 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.


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And the Survey SAyS…whAt? We get a lot of surveys and press releases here at Backroads; some good, some bad and some just plain interesting. This one in particular was done by a major motorcycle insurer. This company has taken a great interest in riders and the issues that the road hands them and we recently used one of their pieces in Backroads. This past week we received another email from them, this one was a survey on “The Best States to Ride a Motorcycle.” Well that certainly piqued up our interest. So did the results of their study. Now this study took a number of variables into consideration, mostly safety-based such as number of good riding days (based on temperature and precipitation), likelihood of getting into a motorcycle crash, percentage of smoother riding roadways, population density and average price for a gallon of regular gasoline. Some of these have never entered my mind, nor any of the riders I ride with. Most of us are concerned with riding as well as we can and keeping aware of our surroundings. “Ever vigilant” is my motto. And having a great journey – hopefully with some good food at the end of the day. But, the Insurance Company is like a mother hen – always worrying. So, in their minds for a motorcycle ride to be successful it has be perfect weather, devoid of traffic and on perfectly paved roads. Well, in some ways we’d all like that but, in my opinion they might have missed the mark when it came to the actual roads being ridden. Their #1 choice for the Best State to Ride?

Florida. Huh? Everyone knows that Deal’s Gap has 318 turns in 11 miles. I think Florida has 11 turns in 318 miles and those are exits off I-95. Okay, I will give Florida the Overseas Highway to Key West. Who wouldn’t? Other states included in the Top 10 were Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa. They did rate Georgia #2; North Georgia is a great place to ride, as is North Carolina that came in #9. New Mexico and West Virginia actually tied for #13. New Mexico is very picturesque and the mountainous regions are great – but West Virginia is great from border to border and everything in between. New York, with its Adirondacks and Catskills and Finger Lakes dropped all the way to #44, simply because New York City, hundreds of miles away, is so damn crowded. Most Manhattanites I know ride out to the countryside when going for a ride. The survey said that if we got rid of New York City, New York State would rank #6, even better than I would have thought. Maybe we should get rid of the Big Apple except for CitiField, Yankee Stadium and Rising Wolf Garage. While California would have ranked in the top 10, #6 actually, for number of good riding days, the Golden State didn’t make the top 20 due to higher accident frequency, population density, and gas prices; and low percentage of smoother riding roadways. But, in its place is Mississippi. My thought is most riders stay away from Los Angeles and head east to the Angels Crest or any number of stunning roads California has to offer. Now, I am not here trying to say this survey was wrong. It’s right – for the criteria that they used. I am sure if I fed these statistics into the Backroads Computer (which we bought from the old Batman show and re-named) with my criteria and stats it would be a different playing field entirely. But, remember what Mark Twain said about statistics: (Continued on Page 38)


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tAking the BAck SeAt driving MiSS ShirA


I’ve been fortunate enough to be riding my own bike for the past 18 years or so. Over those years, and given the specific situation, I’ve had to take the back seat for some rides. Most are just a dinner run, after a long day’s ride, when I just don’t feel like being the pilot for the evening. But there have been some tours where there was just one bike available so, given the choice of missing a spectacular journey or seeing it all from the rear, I’ll opt for the latter. Just recently, Brian and I took a hop out to California to give the new 2012 Honda Gold Wing a whirl. As this was a test of its two-up capabilities (which are certainly not in question) and comfort, I would be spending the next 10 days as a passenger. Over those 10 days, I discovered quite a few things, least of which was that the Honda Gold Wing is hand’s down THE most comfortable place to be if you have to be a passenger. After sitting for six hours in an aluminum tube, sardine can with the most God-awful seats put on this earth – yes, even worse than stock seats on motorcycles – it

was a pleasure to plop myself onto the spaciousness of the Gold Wing. Assuming the prerequisite ‘Gold Wing Flop’, I settled into the routine of mounting up and adjusting my jacket. Seems that the perfectly-fitted Olympia AST jacket assumes a different configuration when moved from the pilot’s seat to the passenger’s seat. After a few tugs and pulls here and there, I managed to not have the back protector riding up into my helmet. Unlike many Gold Wing riders I’ve seen, I will not ditch my riding gear just because I’m on a big touring rig. Shit happens no matter where or what you’re riding. The first thing I realized, which I certainly knew before but had reaffirmed, was that I could see A LOT more from the back. Not having to concentrate on the matter of keeping the motorcycle moving, I could take in the sights and smells all that much more. We left the confines that make up the Honda facility just a couple of hours after deplaning and headed directly north and east. We would spend the next 10 days exploring said northeast area of California, specifically hitting Yosemite and several other national and state parks, before vectoring to the west and down the beautiful California coastline. Once away from the congestion that makes up the freeway entanglements, I was treated to the hot, dry smells of central California. With so little rainfall, and so many brush and forest fires, the heat and almost hay-like aroma fills the nostrils. Past Bakersfield, thankfully, the land opens into lush valleys, rivers and twisties. Our first destination would be somewhere between Torrance and Quincy, home of the Beemer Bash held by the Central California BMW Riders. Hey, just because we happened to be on a Honda didn’t mean we had lost our roots. We ended up on the edge of the desert in Lone Pine, a true throwback to the old mining towns. Riding in late in the afternoon, the sight of the mighty Sierras had me mesmerized. And because I didn’t have to keep track of where we were, I could steadily gaze at these giants. (Continued on Page 18)


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whAt doeS green reAlly MeAn? Every since I first started riding motorcycles on the street back in the early eighties, I have been touting their fuel efficiency and environmentally friendly footprint (in addition to their joyful function, form, and overall life-affirming qualities). Yes, that’s right, I’ve not just been a touter, but a specialized touter of the Green-Ness of the TwoWheeled Way. So imagine my mild dismay when I saw a Consumer Reports blog post that addressed (I wouldn’t say touted, though, but they come close) a segment on the popular Discovery Channel show Mythbusters that goes after the perception of the motorcycle as a green transportation alternative to cars. No doubt you are familiar with the Mythbuster ethos, which is to examine everything from false beliefs that are accepted as common knowledge to more esoteric explorations of weird phenomena. I’m not a regular viewer of the program so it goes without saying I don’t have much of a dog in this fight as to the accuracy of what they do. That said, based on what little I have seen I believe they try to be as accurate and objective as they can muster when testing something, and I’m sure when it came to examining whether motorcycles are environmentally more friendly than automobiles they tried to be as impartial as possible. I haven’t seen the episode in question but Consumer Reports did, and as more people will likely take Consumer’s statement on this subject more seriously than a TV program designed first and foremost as entertainment, I shall report on what Consumer’s Paul Eng had to say on the broadcast’s findings. He reported the following: “The result? The 1980s motorcycle used 38 percent less gas than its period car counterpart. However, the 2000-era comparison proved a drop in the mo-• 845-888-2426

torbike’s advantage: Only 28 percent less fuel was used than its four-wheeled counterpart. More interestingly, while motorcycles also showed lower carbon dioxide emissions than cars, UCR researchers note that cars—with their engines’ emission control systems—were much cleaner. Emissions of carbon monoxide, the pollutant that causes smog, from the 2000-era motorcycle was 8,065 percent more than the car from the last decade.” Of course, a 2000-era motorcycle is not a 2011 (or 2012) machine, and emissions on newer bikes are considerably cleaner thanks to more efficient fuel injections systems and the miniaturization of catalytic smog-controlling systems. But let’s be honest: that’s just a tiny part of what is an incredibly complex story. I think they should have tested the most popular selling passenger vehicle in the past ten years (the Ford F150 pickup) against the bestselling bike, but again it’s a very complex, tough call when you try to reach a generalized conclusion for a TV episode. Eng then goes on to say: “Mythbuster co-host Adam Savage said at the conclusion of the show: “At best, it’s a wash. Motorcycles are just as bad for the environment as cars. At worst, they’re far worse.” Paul Eng isn’t necessarily saying that Consumer’s is agreeing with the Mythbuster’s conclusions, but rather just reporting what the show found in their examination of the subject. I did watch the aftershow clip on the program’s web site where they talk a bit about the methodology used in the episode, and you can see what a genuine effort they make to try to reach accurate conclusions. But as a person who reviews both cars and motorcycles, I can state that, in my experience, motorcycles in general consume less in terms of natural resources compared with their automotive counterparts in most of the traveling Americans do. On the other hand, thanks largely to more stringent regulations new cars are remarkable clean-burning machines and now this even includes diesels (which have been notoriously dirty in the past). Motorcycles by comparison have been able to get by with much looser emissions standards; primarily due to the fact that they represent such a tiny portion of the combustion pie (and the fact that weight and complexity have been an obstacle in engineering practical emissions controls). This is changing, though, as technology is making big strides in cleaning up the (Continued on Page 38)


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celluloid cycleS We want a great motorcycling movie. We NEED one. I read today that they’re remaking “Footloose.” Really Hollywood? You can’t get more original than that? Can’t we get any more additions to Mike Seate’s book “Two Wheels on Two Reels?” I’m not talking about feature-length versions of “biker” TV media: we have enough “…Anarchy” and big and little Paulies. I’m yearning for a real, inspirational drama about motorcycles and riders like “The World’s Fastest Indian.” What a great flick and cast: Sir Tony Hopkins proved he wasn’t just “Remains of the Day” stodgy or “Silence of the Lambs” scary with his portrayal of the quirky mechanical genius from New Zealand, Burt Munro. I don’t think it was a commercial success, which is a pity because it garnered some awards. I guess the American movie-going public is more used to having its cycles served with shotguns and alcohol. I blame Brando and “The Wild One.” It fostered a generation of “Bikesploitation” films and Whitehorse Press has a single DVD with a fine selection of them, like “Death Machines,” “Death Riders,” “Hellcats,” and, in a nod to the ladies, “Pink Angels.” They might be an amusing distraction on an aircraft-carrier near the end of a sixmonth cruise. The one shining light in that two-decade, two-wheeled ice age is the summer of love’s “Easy Rider.” Peter Fonda was figuratively and almost literally crucified on the ape-hanger bars of the Captain America bike. That bike was more famous at the time than Jack Nicholson, who didn’t even get top billing. A moment of silence for the late co-writer/star, Dennis

Hopper. Ironically, the bikers’ demise came from the shotgun of a guy in a truck instead of the other way ‘round. Later, we were dealt Tom Cruise racing a Tomcat down the runway at Miramar, but the bike was just costume jewelry in an airplane adulation flick. And then, we come to Governator Ahhhnold riding a cruiser down an aqueduct while firing a lever-action scattergun. As much as I liked the automatic weaponry and CGIenhanced madness of Carrie-Anne Moss riding a Ducati the wrong way up a freeway in “The Matrix Reloaded,” the Duc just had a bit part. The Minis were the star of “The Italian Job” and the BMW RTs chasing them down the subway tunnels were just window dressing. Product placement at its best. Speaking of product placement, with “Long Way ‘Round” and “Long Way Down,” Ewan and Charley brought us two wonderful documentaries co-starring BMW GS’s (I loved the scene where another moto brand turned them down and Charley ripped their posters from the walls: I hope that executive was summarily fired). I surprisingly liked those films because Ewan and Charley turned out NOT to be big-headed movie star prats, actually rode, and weren’t afraid of self-deprecating humor. I found the Pixar animation “Cars” a treat for its multi-tiered humor. Given its success and alignment with Nicky Hayden’s World Championship, I ached for a similar treatment called “Bikes” with an innocent, plucky bike-kid with a Kentucky drawl battling an Italian moto-lothario (voiced by Valentino Rossi) and an evil Spaniard-bike who, despite T-boning our hero, still loses. But that’s how we roll in America. No self-respecting soccer mom is going to take her kid to a movie that glorifies motorcycles! That attitude was probably responsible for the demise of the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle, but I digress. We got a few moto scenes with Peter O’Toole in the epic “Lawrence of (Continued on Page 38)

The all-new 2012 Gold Wing ®

Long acknowledged as the pinnacle of two-up motorcycling, the 2012 Gold Wing continues its remarkable legacy. Its travel-oriented creds include the latest generation of sophisticated electronic amenities, starting with an innovative GPS navigation system with user-friendly programmability for sharing favorite ride routes with friends and other riders, which can be accessed online via computer. The Gold Wing also now incorporates a built-in MP3/iPod® interface for a new SRS CS Auto™ technology surround-sound system for a premium listening experience. In addition to its renowned power-laden yet refined drivetrain and delightfully sporty handling, the 2012 Gold Wing also brings upgraded styling, increased luggage capacity, greater protection from wind and weather, revised suspension settings for enhanced ride compliance, and unparalleled comfort for both rider and passenger. In addition, packages for Navi, ABS and airbag do much to further the Gold Wing’s reputation as the most celebrated touring machine in motorcycle history.

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Morton’s BMW Motorcycles Presents Dr. Seymour O’Life’s M Y STER IOUS AMER ICA the world’S lArgeSt gnoMe revenge of the hAppy folk

or the

You see these little guys everywhere. From coast to coast and throughout Europe – freakin’ gnomes. But, what do we really know of the gnome? Now gnomes have been around for thousands of years, but have only become popular in literature and folklore over the last few hundred. The word comes from Renaissance Latin gnomus, which first appears in the works of 16th Century Swiss alchemist Paracelsus. Since then they have popped up in the writing of L. Frank Baum, J.K. Rowling and J. R. R. Tolkien to name just a few. They have been characterized as sometimes malevolent, sometimes peaceful. Personally, I have always believed these little bastards were up to gnome-good – so does our pal Mr. Notso Happy. In fact, few know of the untold war between the Happy Folk and the Gnomes. It started thousands of years ago and, of course, it was over a woman. One of the Chief Gnomes took a shining to one of the Happy girls and kidnapped her. The Happy folks did not take this pilfering of their women lightly and the resulting war lasted 100 years and even today Mr. Happy and his friends get a little nervous and testy around gnomes – except for the Mets gnome that live at Backroads Central – he’s okay. These days most gnomes are little guys that like to hang around lawns, trees and flower beds. Although they still cannot be trusted they are not nearly as powerful as they think they once were – much like Congressional Democrats. So it was a little surprising when we found out about the Largest Gnome in the World – just up in Kerhonkson, New York – right on Route 209 at the Kelder Farm and Notso wanted to go there in the worst way. What was this about we all wondered? This gnome has a name, it’s Chomsky. Chomsky was born in 2004 in New York City. Artists Maria Reidelbach and Ken Brown created him while they renovated a miniature golf course on Pier 25. When that course closed, Chomsky moved north to the Hudson Valley, where Reidelbach built Homegrown Mini-Golf in 2006. That year,

Chomsky received official Guinness World Record certification. Now rumor has it that there are two other larger gnomes, one in Poland and the other in Iowa State University – but, c’mon Iowa? Those people actually say Riverside, Iowa is the “future” birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk – so the people from the Hawkeye state are well known fibbers. Chomsky is the biggest – end of story. So with visions of giant gnomes plaguing Mr. Happy’s brain we took our ‘little yella fella’ up to Kerhonkson to see if we could find Chomsky and maybe make some peace between Happy and this giant. The world’s Largest Gnome is impossible to miss as you head north on Route 209. He is right on a small bluff overlooking the roadway – you can see him coming for a mile! We pulled over to the side of the road and let Hap have a look. With a little help from Shira Notso, who had been searched for weapons and explosives (we gave Happy back his C4 when we returned to Backroads Central), made his way up and after trying to kick the giant gnome in the crotch – which is hard for a puppet with no real legs – he decided to be nice and it seems now that all is forgiven – kinda, sorta… not really. But hey, no reason for you guys to get involved in this rift. Next time you are riding around the town of Kerhonkson, New York on Route 209, and you glance up and see a giant gnome glancing back at you pull into Kedlar’s Farm – maybe play a little miniature golf or take in the Kedlar’s impressive Farm Market. The Farm Market, in the summer and fall offers top quality, homegrown produce that is as fresh from the field as you can get. Asparagus, sweet corn, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and melons in the summer- pumpkins, gourds, squash, Indian corn, and corn stalks welcome the fall. Worth the stop all by itself.


Page 11 So there you have it… a history you might not need nor believe, the World’s Largest Gnome and a seriously great farm market too. It’s the little odd things that make up this Mysterious America. O’Life out!




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tasty places to take your bike

glen iriS inn letchworth StAte pArk, cAStile, ny 14427 585-493-2622 • www.gleniriSinn.coM • open good fridAy-end of oct. Few will argue that the state park called Letchworth is not one of the most stunning places in New York. But, along with the magnificent gorge, waterfalls and high trestle bridge, there is also a culinary treat awaiting you. The Glen Iris Inn. Now the Glen Iris can easily be a “We’re Outta Here”, as they have a number of rooms and cottages available (2011 rates are $100-$225+); but today we’ll stick with a bit of history and the wonderful food we found there. For this is one of the most beautiful settings we have ever featured in the Great All American Diner Run. William P. Letchworth was looking for the perfect site for a country retreat where he could entertain his family and friends. One morning in the spring of 1858 he stepped off a train as it slowly approached a bridge high above the Genesee River. Standing on the bridge, he was touched by the natural beauty of the powerful river rushing below. Gazing at the falls, he noticed that the sun shining on the spray below formed a perfect rainbow. While walking along the left bank of the river, Letchworth found a large two-story frame house located near the remains of a burned out lumber mill. Owned by Michael Smith, the house had been built by Alva Palmer in 1828. The view was spectacular, and as he gazed toward the south overlooking the falls, he knew he had found his country retreat. Letchworth acquired the house in February, 1859 and immediately began renovations. The local Indians had named the area “An-de-ka-ga-kwa”, meaning “the place where the sun lingers”, and it has been said through Indian lore that when the sun passes over the glen it pauses a moment longer there than

at any other part of the valley. Inspired by this, Letchworth chose the word “Iris”, a synonym for “rainbow”, and named his estate the Glen Iris. Years later Letchworth gave the land to the state and this marvelous park was born. These days when you visit the park you must save your appetite for the Glen Iris. We’ll stick with lunch as we were not there for breakfast or dinner – but we have no doubt that they would be just as satisfying. This day they offered a great soup for starters, the soup of the day and a delicious French onion. Mushroom caps and fried raviolis looked good as did the Danish Brie. While there Shira had a grilled chicken with portabella mushroom with a balsamic dressing – which she loved and


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I went for the turkey club that was done to perfection and absolutely delicious. They offer five different salads from salmon to spinach to chicken and mushroom. The Glen Iris offers a number of cold sandwiches and three different burgers along with a Reuben and a Monte Christo that looked wonderful as well. If you are really hungry they offer full entrees as well. Pot roast, Salmon fillet, chicken fricassee and something called Angel in Heaven - which is prosciutto ham, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, fresh spinach and green onions tossed with angel hair pasta, olive oil and a touch of garlic. If I were only a tad more hungry this day!



All this dining goodness is wrapped in a stunning building along the most magnificent scenery in New York; and they will even refund your park admission fee of $8 when you stop in for lunch. How can any of us resist? While traveling along this part of the Empire State try to make it a point of riding through Letchworth Park and soaking in this stunning piece of natural beauty and real estate. If you make plans ahead of time consider staying at the Inn – how wonderful would that be? To think somebody actually owned this piece of paradise and lived here only to give it back to the people of New York is truly magnificent. Enjoy your ride and the Glen Iris Inn.




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Jeff Bahr

there But for the grAce of god

the front door, the scene outside is horrifying. The vehicles involved have become an unrecognizable, tangled heap with people clearly trapped inside. And flames are virtually everywhere. If there are to be any survivors, action The scene was as arresting for its humanity as it was for its horror. A group will have to be taken and taken fast. of strangers, thrown together by the randomness of fate, had joined forces to Luckily, my uncle Bill is there that night. A trained EMT, he instinctively lift a burning car off of a downed motorcyclist. The risk was great. At any jumps up to help. As he runs toward the burning wreck I expect to see another moment, pooling gasoline beneath the wreck could ignite the car’s gas tank heroic man running alongside him. Uncle John has always been the tough leading to an explosion. Hazards of this sort would probably send most peoguy of our clan - a two-fisted World War II vet with bulging biceps and preple scurrying for safety, but not this group. Staving off feelings of self presersumed nerves of steel. Yet for some bizarre reason “big John” is not moving. vation, these heroes plodded on with their high-stakes effort. This poor soul In fact, his face wears an uncharacteristic ashen tone as he peers out at the wasn’t going to burn to death if they had anything to do with it. As fortune wreck from the safety of our living room window. It’s apparent that he’s had it their gamble paid off. Save for a broken leg, the eternally-grateful mofrozen with fear. Go figure. The next thing I see has stayed with me since torcyclist emerged relatively unscathed. One shudders to think what might that day. My very own mother - a petite, near-neurotic type has run outside have occurred had these good Samaritans not been there to wrest the man into the thick of it, helping my uncle to pull people from the burning wreck! from the jaws of death, or worse still, if they had simply stood by and done My amazement continues as I watch her bring the gravely injured victims nothing. More about that later. into the house. As mom busies herself tying off tourniquets in a race against Its New Year’s Eve 1964-65, I’m all of seven-years-old and dressed in my time, I view her in an entirely new light. Who knew? It would be a long and blue “feetsie” pajamas. Every aunt, uncle, cousin and family affiliate I’ve tough recovery for the three people involved, but thanks to the selfless – let’s ever known sits beside me, stuffing their faces with leftover Xmas fruit cake make that heroic- efforts of my uncle and mother, the trio would celebrate and awaiting the great ball drop (10, 9, 8…) from New York’s Allied Chemmany holidays yet to come. ical Building. But our happy group will not witness this annual rite. Shortly The lesson here is obvious. Most of us don’t know for sure how we will before midnight we hear a deafening sound - much like an explosion. Two react in an emergency situation, and chest-puffing and braggadocio before cars have collided head-on in front of our home. When my sister swings open the fact can be woefully poor indicators of a person’s real courage during that critical moment of truth. Since we are all wired differently, there’s really no shame in that. The shame comes only when we can do something to help and choose instead to do nothing. This brings us back to our original group, busy lifting that car to extract the motorcyclist. If you saw the video Agents who ride and understand you might recall a man dressed in a business suit standing amongst the rescuers. He was nearly as close to the your Motorcycle Insurance Needs MEMBER action as they were (which suggests that he wasn’t MEMBER squeamish or frozen by fear), but he did absolutely Ask about our Tour Cycle Program – the Ultimate in Coverage nothing to help the struggling group. Instead, he chatted on his cell phone; possibly giving a blow-by-blow account of the “cool” happenings to a friend not “lucky” Passenger Coverage • Accessories Coverage enough to be there witnessing the carnage for himself. Medical Payments Coverage In the end this man’s non-participation didn’t matter. The group managed to heave the great weight off the victim in time. But what if the car had kept falling back 448 Lincoln Ave • Hawthorne NJ 07506 • 973-427-2246 as the group’s strength ebbed? What if, try though they might, the group collectively couldn’t muster the strength to get the job done without one more person? Would the all-too-capable bystander feel responsible for Serving New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania • ATV • Jet Ski • Snowmobile the outcome? Would he in fact be responsible? Whenever we encounter an accident in its first chaotic stages, we should be prepared to do all that we can do. For some motorcyclists this may be calling 911 and staying back. Others, not quite as queasy or uneasy, may wish to help with traffic control. There’s nothing worse than an unnecessary domino effect of collisions after the fact. Take-charge types with nerves of steel and trained first-responders will instinctively come to the fore, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need help. Even something as simple as a reassuring voice can work wonders in staving off the onset of shock in a frightened victim. The list of helping duties is long, but you get the point. One day it could be you or I lying under that car with flames looking to swallow us. Who would you rather have tending to your needs: a concerned group of people giving it their all, or a detached observer more intent on his own kicks than helping a fellow human being? The choice is yours.

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Page 15


Letters to the Editor

Backroads Rocks My wife took the Rider’s Edge last week at Bergen County and brought me your magazine, I’ve been a subscriber of American Iron for 2 years now and what a waste of time. This is the magazine I was looking for. I am not handy and I let the pros do all the work on my bikes, so all those articles on how to do this and that were worthless for me. I want a magazine that shows me places and ideas on where to go, I just love your magazine. I just put my check in the mailbox and I can’t wait for the next issue. I live in Ramsey, NJ and I ride a lot in New York State. I ride by the Red Apple Rest every weekend pretty much! Keep up the great work! Pedro E. Da Silva Hey Brian & Shira, You are well above average when it comes to marketing and sales. I look at the advertising in the magazine and think that you are skilled enough to sell jock straps at an all-girls school. Your magazine is far superior to the Harley Davidson HOG magazine. You get it, they don’t! Tom Demming

Vermont on My Mind Hi Brian and Shira, Each September I make it a point to get away from work and head north for some quiet riding, usually in Vermont. As in years’ past I made reservations at my favorite B&B in Pittsfield, VT for a few days after Labor Day. This year on August 28 Hurricane Irene made landfall in New England and even though she was downgraded to a tropical storm as the storm pushed over western Massachusetts and into Vermont it devastated much of Vermont and caused significant damage in both parts of eastern Adirondacks in New York and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. With over 12 inches of rain falling in the Green Mountains of Vermont, however, those beautiful mountains acted like funnels and focused the surging waters into the valleys and their rivers and streams. Hundreds of roads and bridges were washed away. Towns were left as islands with no way in or out. Air drops of food and basic supplies had to be made to entire communities as they waited for access to be reconstructed to their towns. We know from news releases that this year’s Killington Classic was cancelled. Routes 4, 7, 9, 12, 30, 100, 100A — all damaged or closed. The Brandon Gap, Middlebury Gap, Lincoln Gap, and the Appalachian Gap all impassable. I did go on a get-away ride and I used this map to help me skirt the most serious damaged areas. But even outside the most seriously damaged areas there was evidence of flooded roads, fields, damaged buildings, etc. What I always noticed most on my Vermont rides are the fields of crops being tended to and the grazing livestock. This view was missing on this ride. One shopkeeper told me that the farmers were told not to allow their livestock to graze in fields that had been flooded because of the possible water contamination in that flood water. And a news report while I was in the area said that many of the crops that survived the flood waters cannot be harvested because they too were exposed to the potentially contaminated flood waters. And, as the storm passes in memory to those of us outside it’s path, we must continue to remember that our friends in Vermont and the surrounding area continue to struggle. Some of the stories I heard of do not surprise me knowing my friends in Vermont. Businesses without power emptied their freezers and coolers and gave away food to residents. Townspeople brought out their food stocks with BBQ grills and had community-

wide cookouts to make sure everyone was fed. And looking at the visitors that were stranded because of the washouts, they were taken in and taken care of until they could make their way home. If you are thinking of making a donation to the relief effort, the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition has set up a web page listing a number of different relief agencies and organizations that are taking donations to help those affected by Hurricane Irene in Vermont. As Vermont rebuilds we must keep our friends in our thoughts and prayers and let them know that we are here to lend a hand — and to let them know that we will be back! Bob Laford - Petersham, Massachusetts

Fall Fiesta 2011 Greetings Brian and Shira, We had a great time hanging with the Backroads family at the Fall Fiesta. We got up early on Sunday morn to 41 degrees and rain all the way back to New Hampshire. We always enjoy our time, rain or shine! See you soon, Mr. & Mrs Wolfgang Von Smythe Smythe

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Page 16 Hi Brian and Shira, In spite of dire weather predictions right up to my departure from home base Thursday morning, I’m glad the coin landed in favor of heading north to Gray Ghost Inn and on to Hunter to catch up with old friends and great roads. Riding 240 miles in rain and possible severe T-storms can be discouraging, even though I’ve done it before but without options. It almost seems like it was meant to be. I made some new friends, hugged old friends and was absolutely blown away by the chance meeting at the Gray Ghost Inn of a friend and acquaintance I haven’t seen in 45 years since we were teenagers in North Trenton. We even met in a gas station and talked with helmets on and no clue before arriving 30 minutes later at the Gray Ghost Inn for the walk down memory lane. Brad, one of their friends, suggested it all might not be real since we all were, in fact, at the Gray Ghost Inn. It brought a smile to all that had been listening. I enjoyed the familiar GGI, the unplanned stay at the Hunter Inn, the food, the riding and the camaraderie which I always enjoyed on 20+ prior trips beginning with your inaugural trip to Lake Seneca in 1997 or was it 1998? It kept me coming back, and as the former “Govenator” of California said, “I’ll be back”. Best regards, Chuck Potzer

Got CLASS? Hi Brian and Shira, All I can say is, thank you so much my good friends. I just read Rob Mitchell’s piece in the Sept issue - what a great accounting of our July days at VIR. We missed you both, haven’t seen you in so long. Rob did an excellent job with the article. He covered everything from the Damn River to being hot and sweaty on that hot day. I think both he and his mate Walter learned from it though, that’s what I like to hear. Nice piece in the chatroom (Free Wheelin’) about bringing out the old scratcher but I think the mingling of rockets and sleds might be too much to bear. We almost went our own route 5 or 6 years ago. I’m glad we changed our mind. Big thanks again mates, don’t forget, the door is always open to you. Give us a call sometime, we’ll chat about the real Rockers.


Cheers, Reg Pridmore Hi Shira and Brian, After reading both of your “He said-vs-She said” articles (Sept, 2011) about the Ace Cafe and “Bucket List” places, good points were made by each of you. I would like to see an Ace Café type of operation in the US, so I don’t have to fly to the UK. However, I would not want to see it imitate a Hard Rock Cafe or Planet Hollywood: bastardized and dumbed-down. Franchises are never as good as the original. The Ace Café was tried several years ago in Chicago (1997-1999). It only lasted for 1 1/2 years. Sad. The Ace Café Chicago had a loyal following of riders and a myriad of events. Financial problems drove it to shut. Now it’s a Starbucks. Motorcycle friendly bars and cafes come and go; as do Bike Nights. It would be great to have an Ace Café open up in various cities to give the “Ace experience” to those who yearn for the “Ton-Up” days of the 50’s and 60’s. Tradition takes on lots of forms and the Ace Café riding tradition is one that lots of American riders have grasped but never had an opportunity to fully participate-in on our soil. Keep in mind that the Mods-vs-Rockers Bash is in its second year here in Baltimore. Pittsburgh also has an annual Mods-vs-Rockers type of event. Other cities around the US do as well. The spirit of the Ace Café is still alive and well on this side of the pond. Anytime and anywhere motorcyclists can meet for a friendly beer and bike chat is good. Strength is in numbers. Maybe the time is right to get out those garage find Honda 550’s and dust-off the Carl Perkins and Eddie Cochran Rock-a-Billy records? Personally, I’m a “Rocker” who is all for it! Ace Café in the US? Hell yeah! Bring it on! Let’s Rock! Sheldon Braffman - Reisterstown, Maryland

Moto-Inn Program Hi Backroads, Just got done perusing your latest issue. Nice job... always new, interesting stuff to read about. I was curious about the Moto-Inn program. Some of your ads for lodging (Continued on Next Page)

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Page 17


News from the Inside At this event, the leaders were: Individuals: Bob and Suzanne Henig, $36,186 Motorcycle club/chapter: The Tribe Motorcycle Club, $20,511 Motorcycle business: Bob’s BMW, $83,137 Many thanks went to the dedicated volunteers who worked year-round on this event, including task force leaders Taryn Wilson-Wheatley, Joe Pruss and Marcy Rich. Mark your calendar now for next year’s ride on Sunday, Sept. 23.

POPULAR MOTO JOURNALIST JOINS THE TWISTED CREW Twisted Throttle is pleased to welcome renowned moto-journalist, author and track day instructor, Ken Condon, as the newest member of the Twisted crew. Ken brings over 30 years of motorcycling experience to the Twisted Throttle Marketing department as the Public Relations Manager to be our in house customer advocate. Ken is the author of the Proficient Motorcycling and Street Strategies columns for Motorcycle Consumer News, as well as Riding in the Zone-Advanced Techniques for Skillful Motorcycling. Ken is also chief instructor for Tony’s Track Days and is a certified MSF RiderCoach.


HONDA ADVENTURE BIKE? According to a report, the 700cc parallel twin with DCT found in the Honda Integra, will also appear in two other bikes displayed at EICMA in Milan this November, a naked and an adventure bike. Honda has not committed to manufacturing each of the three models it is expected to display in Milan, but only time will tell.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recently graduated its six millionth RiderCourseSM student, a milestone reached through the ongoing efforts of nearly 10,000 RiderCoaches at more than 2,000 training sites worldwide. Though it would be impossible to identify the six millionth student, the MSF determined the total number of graduates through its enrollment statistics. “We have RiderCourses across the nation and around the globe, often during weekdays, and virtually every weekend of the year,” said Robert Gladden, vice president of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. “Plus, MSF offers 23 different courses to meet the needs of any level of rider. We congratulate all our safety professionals, as well as the students. They are helping us with



The first Ride for Kids event in 1984 raised $4,000 for childhood brain tumor research. 28 years and 500 events later, motorcyclists have contributed well over $50 million toward the cause. The year’s Ellicott City, Md. Ride added another $197,015 in donations to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF). Young people like Maggie, Ruxandra, Janell, Nicholas, Paige, and Zachary are the reason we ride. As the stars of the 20th Baltimore-Washington Ride for Kids, they led a leisurely 50-mile tour past beautiful homes, farmland and woods. Back at Turf Valley Resort for the Celebration of Life program, the 450 participants heard from the brain tumor survivors, a star’s parent, and a researcher from Johns Hopkins. “Because of research funding from the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, we have developed targeted therapy which goes after only the cancer cells and does much less damage,” said Dr. Nishant Agrawal. Maryland State Senator Jim Robey presented a proclamation and a senate resolution, and Ginnie Gick offered a proclamation on behalf of Howard County. Ride for Kids supports medical research and family support programs with the help of countless fundraisers.

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BAcklASh have it and some don’t. I know I had suggested some to you for that program. Switzerland Inn for example; but they don’t include the Moto-Inn logo. My own feeling is that it is a great value to hotels to promote... especially on their own websites! You guys are like the AAA for motorcyclists. We love to stay with and recommend lodging and restaurants that are truly friendly to motorcycle riders. Some say they are and others treat you like they are. Anyway just a comment on a cool program you have. See you on the road one day soon I hope! Bill Kniegge Bill, Some ads we created, others were given to us. If there is room on somebody’s ad we’ll add the Moto-Inn Logo. Not all are members.

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Page 18 one of our main goals of developing good rider character, leading motorcyclists to make better decisions out on the road and in traffic.” A wide variety of MSF RiderCourses is made available to every state in order to provide its motorcyclists with lifelong learning opportunities. More than 23 RiderCourses plus other programs make up MSF’s comprehensive Rider Education Training System. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation promotes safety through rider training and education, operator licensing tests and public information programs. The MSF works with the federal government, state agencies, the military and others to offer training for all skill levels so riders can enjoy a lifetime of safe, responsible motorcycling. Standards established by the MSF® have been recognized worldwide since 1973. The MSF is a not-for-profit organization sponsored by BMW, BRP, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha. For safety information or to enroll in the RiderCourseSM, visit or call 800-4469227.

CYCLE WORLD MAGAZINE SOLD BY HEARST After just a few months of ownership, the giant publisher Hearst Magazines has sold off Cycle World to Bonnier Corp. Cycle World has the largest print circulation of any motorcycle magazine based in the United States (242,000 per month). Hearst had purchased a large number of magazines from Cycle World’s long-time owner Hachette Filipacchi Media in May of this year, and will be keeping magazines such as Car and Driver and Road & Track, also purchased from HF in a near $1 billion deal. We don’t know the price received from Bonnier. We understand that Bonnier is keeping Editorin-Chief Mark Hoyer on board to run the magazine.

NATION’S TOP STOLEN MOTORCYCLE MAKES A motorcycle is stolen every 9.5 minutes in America, according to a report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The most popular models targeted by thieves are Hondas, followed by Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and HarleyDavidson.The states with the most stolen motorcycles are California, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Indiana. Nevada ranks 23rd in the U.S. for motorcycle thefts.


(Continued from Page 6)

Such went the rest of the ride. Entering Yosemite we were presented, for the first of many, with the sight of the giant trees occupying this region. I honestly can say that I’ve never seen such a variety or more beautiful trees in my life. For the most part they are of the pine, or conifer, species and range in height from ‘that would make a good Christmas tree’ to ‘Oh my God, it’s touching the moon’. Throughout the ride, I was completely overcome by their beauty. I spent most of my time, while riding through these groves, with my head tilted back, soaking in the aroma to keep in my memory bank for those cold winter nights. These noble Ents have occupied these lands for hundreds of years. While riding through the thickest of forests, the moss growing on these splendid creatures reminded me of the velvety softness which covers the newly-sprouted antlers of the bucks. Others were crazily gnarled, evoking the bent, twisted forms of trolls guarding the forests. The multifariousness of the barks, the size of the cones and the unbelievable heights reached by the mighty Redwoods made me quite glad to have the advantage of more lengthy viewing. By far my most favorite sighting was, what I think is called, the Silver or Mountain Pine tree. These tall, statuesque trees have bundles of cones at their peak which, when hit by the sun, glisten like little silver bells. I saw them both in Lassen Volcanic Park and going over the pass from Happy Camp, CA into Oregon. I’m glad to have made their acquaintance. Of course, there are parts of being ridden around that truly terrify me, most of all not being in control. Brian is an excellent rider, and I have no fear that he will bring no harm to me while in his care. That said, I’ve lost count of how many times I screamed in my helmet for him to frackin’ move away from the center yellow line or to stop pushing the unfamiliar buttons of the Gold Wing while riding. The other situation I wasn’t used to was the designation of packing space. Fortunately, I have learned the ways of light packing on a motorcycle, but that doesn’t take in to account the things that I may want to acquire while on the road, like some of those giant pine cones. But, I guess, that’s what digital moments are for. All in all, it was a super trip and I wouldn’t have changed anything about it. Well, I guess I would have moved the yellow line just a foot to the left, but other than that, I’m down for Brian driving Miss Shira again – for a couple of hours, that is.

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Page 19


daytrip ideas to get out of the daily grind

the grAve of SergeAnt york • pAll MAll, tn Late last season I was touring down south, crossing through a bit of Tennesse when I spied a small historic sign along the side of the road. It marked the gravesite of Sergeant York. Many of us know of his name, but how many of us know what really happened to give the name York such notoriety? As Paul Harvey would say… ‘Here is the rest of the story..’ Alvin Cullum York was born in a two-room log cabin near Pall Mall, Tennessee, on December 13, 1887, the third of eleven children born to Mary Elizabeth Brooks and William Uriah York. When William York died in November 1911, his son Alvin helped his mother in raising his younger siblings. Alvin was the oldest sibling still residing in the county, since his two older brothers had married and relocated. By all accounts, he was a very skilled worker who was devoted to the welfare of his family. York was also a violent alcoholic prone to fighting in saloons and accumulated several arrests within the area. His mother, a member of a pacifist Protestant denomination, tried to persuade York to change his ways without success. Despite his history of drinking and fighting, York attended church regularly and often led the hymn singing. In a lecture later in life, he reported his reaction to the outbreak of World War I: “I was worried clean through. I didn’t want to go and kill. I believed in my bible.” On June 5, 1917, at the age of 29, Alvin York registered for the draft as all men between 21 and 31 years of age did on that day. When he registered for the draft, he answered the question “Do you claim exemption from draft (specify grounds)?” by writing “Yes. Don’t Want To


Fight.” When his initial claim for conscientious objector status was denied, he appealed. Still eventually York enlisted in the United States Army and served in Company G, 328th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Infantry Division at Camp Gordon, Georgia. Deeply troubled by the conflict between his pacifism and his training for war, he spoke at length with his company commanders. Citing Biblical passages about violence, they forced York to reconsider the morality of his participation in the war and granted a 10-day leave to visit home, he returned convinced that God meant for him to fight and would keep him safe, as committed to his new mission as he had been to pacifism. During an attack by his battalion to secure German positions along the Decauville rail-line north of Chatel-Chéhéry, France, on October 8, 1918, York’s actions earned him the Medal of Honor. He recalled: “The Germans got us, and they got us right smart. They just stopped us dead in our tracks. Their machine guns were up there on the heights overlooking us and well hidden, and we couldn’t tell for certain where the terrible heavy fire was coming from... And I’m telling you they were shooting straight. Our boys just went down like the long grass before the mowing machine at home. Our attack just faded out... And there we were, lying down, about halfway across [the valley] and those German machine guns and big shells getting us hard.” Under the command of Sergeant Bernard Early, four non-commissioned officers and thirteen privates, including recently promoted Cpl. York, were ordered to infiltrate behind the German lines to take out the machine guns. The group worked their way behind the Germans and overran the headquarters of a German unit, capturing a large group of German soldiers who were preparing a counter-attack against the U.S. 47 MPG Estimated*



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troops. Early’s men were contending with the prisoners when machine gun fire suddenly peppered the area, killing six Americans: and wounding three others, the fire came from German machine guns on the ridge. The loss of the nine put Corporal York in charge of the seven remaining U.S. soldiers. As his men remained under cover, and guarded the prisoners, York worked his way into position to silence the German machine guns. York recalled: “And those machine guns were spitting fire and cutting down the undergrowth all around me something awful. And the Germans were yelling orders. You never heard such a racket in all of your life. I didn’t have time to dodge behind a tree or dive into the brush... As soon as the machine guns opened fire on me, I began to exchange shots with them. There were over thirty of them in continuous action, and all I could do was touch the Germans off just as fast as I could. I was sharp shooting... All the time I kept yelling at them to come down. I didn’t want to kill any more than I had to. But it was they or I. And I was giving them the best I had.” During the assault, six German soldiers in a trench near York charged him with fixed bayonets. York had fired all the rounds in his M1917 Enfield rifle, but drew his .45 Colt automatic pistol and shot all six soldiers before they could reach him. German First Lieutenant Paul Jürgen Vollmer, commander of the First Battalion, 120th Landwehr Infantry, emptied his pistol trying to kill York while he was contending with the machine guns. Failing to injure York, and seeing his mounting losses, he offered in English to surrender the unit to York, who accepted. By the end of the engagement, York and his seven men marched 132 German prisoners back to the American lines. His actions silenced the German machine guns and were responsible for enabling the 328th Infantry to renew its attack to capture the Decauville Railroad. York was promptly promoted to sergeant and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism. A few months later, following a thorough investigation, he was awarded the Medal of Honor, presented to York by the commanding general of the American Expeditionary Force, General John J. Pershing. The French Republic awarded him the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honor. Italy awarded him its Croce di Guerra and Montenegro its War Medal. He eventually received nearly 50 decorations. Of his deeds, York said to his division commander, General George B. Duncan, in 1919: “A higher power than man power guided and watched over me and told me what to do.” These days this great man rest in a valley just outside Pall Mall Tennessee a few miles North of Jamestown in Fentress County just off Highway 127. Buried beside Sgt. York is his beloved “Miss Gracie”. It is a humbling place to visit, even for just a few minutes of respect. And, now you know the rest of Sergeant York’s story.

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Page 21

Bergen County Harley-Davidson Presents

WE’RE OUTTA HERE wAyne hotel -1827 hiStoric hotel 1202 MAin Street, honeSdAle, pennSylvAniA 18431 570-253-3290 • www.hotelwAyne.coM Rates from $84 (queen, king, two doubles) to $150 (two-bedroom suite) There are many town we have ridden through time and again, and when they are getting close to home we sometimes overlook places and things that would jump out to us if we were in some other region or state. The case this month is the Historic Wayne Hotel that you will find in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Now Honesdale is a little over an hour away from where we call home. For those of you who have ridden through there on US 6 it might have come off as a bit over developed and strip-malled out. Well, that is true. But, if you peel away at those layers of modern day society a rich and flourishing past reveals itself. And one of the best places to start finding that history is this month’s We’re Outta Here. So pack up the bikes for a little overnight ride. I wish we could take credit for bringing you this great place, but that is not nearly the truth and as we have said we have ridden through this town dozens of times and never gave this place a thought. Our bad. But, early this summer we got a call from our friends Roy and Bridget. They had a few days off and wanted to know if we’d like to do a few days of light riding and make an overnight in Pennsylvania. Always ones for hanging out with these two we were more than game. Where to? Honesdale. Honesdale? It seems Roy and Bridget, who reside in the illustrious part of New York known as Brooklyn, had been up this way last season and had stopped into the Historic Wayne Hotel for lunch and to take a break on the veranda porch out front. They liked what they saw and thought we would too. So, that being the case, they rode up to northwest New Jersey one day and from there we did our best to plot out a slightly circuitous route that would eventually lead us to the Wayne Hotel. Wanting to show off a bit of where we live Shira and I brought them south along County Road 521 and then west into the beautiful Walpack Valley. Neither Roy nor Bridget had ridden here before and they were taken back by how natural this val-

a weekend destination keeping you on the backroads ley is and were surprised they were still in New Jersey. A stop by Buttermilk Falls was in order and then we brought them over Dingmans Bridge into Pennsylvania and north towards Raymondskill Falls. Compared to Buttermilk, which are the highest in the region, Raymondskill Falls are much more powerful – a true sight that is free for the viewing. All you have to do is hike just a bit. Our planed route brought us along part of the ride we did for our Spring Break, running to and then along the Pennsylvanian side of the Delaware River, along some sweet roads indeed. A quick run down Peggy’s Runway brought us near Honesdale, but we were not done yet as we kept north and then along Calkins Road, which is a new favorite of ours and then making a circle back to downtown Honesdale.

Don’t worry kids – it’ll all be in the Rip & Ride and the GPS download. We aim to please. As we have told you Honesdale has a rich past - from the latter half of the 1700’s when settlers from Connecticut began clearing the woods to 1825 when the county seat was renamed Honesdale after Philip Hone, who at one time was the Mayor of New York City. Honesdale, via a canal built by the D & O Canal Company to the Delaware River, was the main port for delivery of Pennsylvania coal to New York City. Indeed, the first commercial steam locomotive operating in the U.S., the Stourbridge Lion, began operating from Honesdale in 1829. Wayne County continues to maintain the rich traditional values of country life to this day. The Hotel Wayne was originally constructed in 1827 and rebuilt in 1895. It has been maintained since then as an elegant, small town, country hotel and has undergone a complete renovation in early 2009. The ground floor has a large lounge and impressive entrance lobby with a classical, grand staircase. The spacious dining room has beautiful original brick walls and twelvefoot high tin ceilings... all original. On the second and third floors, the hotel has twenty individual rooms and suites, each with a private bath, cable TV, desk, and high-speed internet access. We found the rooms to be comfortable, but remember you are in an historic hotel and not the Pierre. Still, the rooms were more than reasonably priced, especially during the week, On the second floor, there is a lovely antique balcony, overlooking Main Street. When we got there we parked the bikes right out front, not all too concerned with them not being there the next morning. The Wayne has a few things working for it. The bar is superb, with dozens of micro-brews on hand and the restaurant

Page 22 is way beyond anything we had expected. Bistro 1202 was phenomenal. Our late afternoon and evening was about as good as it gets on the road. Although just a few hours from home we had that “we’re on a tour” feeling that we love so much. The next day the town itself is well worth exploring too. So, next time you and a few friends are looking for a great ride and a nice

NOVEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS place for the evening spin on up to Honesdale and enjoy the Historic Wayne Hotel. We’ll start this ride from the Chatterbox, in Augusta, New Jersey- located at Routes 15 and 206. It’s a great place for lunch and this route will get you from there to the Wayne Hotel by late afternoon.




Page 23

The Alps 2011 Backroads’ High Alpine Adventure with Edelweiss Bike Tours

words: Brian Rathjen • images: Brian Rathjen and a host of others


The Date: late August 2009 The Place: a small hotel just north of the Grossglockner Pass

e were just finishing up an entire month riding in Europe; first the Alps and then a long swing through the Balkans. The previous day we crossed our last mountain and took a room at a small hotel a few miles off the famed Grossglockner Pass.

While having a light breakfast Shira and I got to talking about how terrific the Alps were to ride on motorcycles and it would indeed be special to hold some sort of Backroads event here in Europe; a tour or rally of some sort. “It would be a bit difficult to get that done,” thought Shira. “Maybe…or not,” I replied. I added, “What if we brought somebody else into this game?” Shira looked at me. “Edelweiss has this region down pat, when we get home let’s talk to them about doing some sort of tour – just for our readers.” Thus a plan was hatched….


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Present time…. When we advertised a Backroads High Alpine Tour back in late 2009 we had hoped to maybe get a dozen readers to join us on a weeks sojourn through the Alps. We never considered we would get twice that. But in mid-July of this year old friends and new began to filter into the small town of Erding, just outside of Munich, Germany. We had flown in earlier in the week, picking up our motorcycles for the next few weeks; two BMWs, a F650GS and the new F800R. With a few days to kill we scooted through the Alps to the hills above Lake Geneva to visit long time friends Norm and Denise Smith. Many of you would remember Norm as the gent who ran the BMW demo rides at events such as Americade and such. By Friday evening we were back in Munich and most of our group was present and accounted for.

Saturday many of the riders that had arrived early took in the Munich sites including the BMW Museum (once again closed, this time due to electrical problems) and a quick stop at the local BMW dealer to browse a bit while others searched out the local Harley-Davidson shop for that rare Munich Harley-Davidson t-shirt. We took the local underground to the famed Marienplatz, with it’s striking buildings, clocks and square. Big beers, pig knuckles and the oompah band at the Brauhaus that afternoon had many of us in an Alpine mood and looking forward to getting on the road. At the same time more and more Americans and a couple from Canada had arrived in Munich. We had enticed a good number of people to ride with us in the Alps. It was more than excellent and excitement was running high. Sunday found many taking Edelweiss’ Alpen Riding School. The Alps are unlike anything some American riders had ever experienced

Top Left: Group outside BMW Welt Middle: Some have different alliances. Bottom Left: Oompah band at the Hofbrau House. Below: Ed practices his peg-scraping. Marienplatz’s legendary clock tower.

and Edelweiss’ school builds a great skill base, for riders who have never ridden in the Alps, before they head up to the challenging peaks and passes. In addition, it gives them a chance to ‘bond’ with their ride for the week, in many cases a bike that was quite unfamiliar to them. Still, there were some of us with a bit of Alpen experience; so while the day long class was going on a few took advantage of another day of sight seeing while we headed to the Therme Erding, the largest spa and water park in Europe. Fantastic place and one many of us would return to after the tour was done. That evening we had our first of many meetings with our three guides from Edelweiss - Ursula, Angela and Alan - where we were given an overview of the week’s tour and a bit on what to expect and look out for on the roads, towns and high peaks.


At long last, we’re on the road Erding, Germany to Lienz, Austria It took nearly two years to finally get this together but after breakfast and a brief riders’ meeting we split our large gathering into two separate groups and more or less decided for all of us to stick with the tour guides for this first day in the Alps.

Top Left: Lunch on the Grossglockner Top Right: The roads of the Hohe Tauern National Park Bottom: Watching the traffic pass during our picnic

Our route, which started off a bit soggy and cool, brought us south from the Munich region and through the rolling farmlands of Bavaria. The road traversed through small German towns, all with the required church and steeple. We made a short stop on the shores of Lake Chiemsee, or what the locals call the “Bavarian Sea”. Created from the last ice age it is very popular with Munich residents for boating and holidays. You will find a few islands in the lake and one houses a Benedictine nunnery, built in 782, as well as a small village. Continuing on we came around one winding road and finally, in the distance, we took our first glance at the reason we had all traveled here – the mighty European Alps. Sometime in the late morning we had crossed the border into Austria and, from here on in, the days ride got more interesting by the kilometer. By this time the sun was peaking out, with some heavy clouds floating around the bigger peaks. It was

Page 25 turning into an excellent first day on the road. One of the most famous pass roads in Europe is Austria’s Grossglockner which runs through the Hohe Tauern National Park, the largest park in the European Alps. The toll road was completed back in the 1930’s and the high alpine road has 36 bends, and an altitude ascent to 2,504 meters, or 8,225 feet. As we approached the toll road I pointed out to our friend Steve Sachar, riding behind me, the very same tiny gasthaus where we had first come up with the idea for this tour. How excellent to ride by this place again, but this time with all these friends. We had come full circle – and it was just as we had discussed two years back. Although the sky had started to clear we could see, high above, that we would be dealing with the deep clouds at times as we rode up the Grossglockner. Heading higher and higher, along tight switchback turns, we soon found ourselves riding in some deep clouds with just about zero visibility.


Page 26 For some this was a new and not a very pleasant experience. Others had dealt with this phenomenon before. It was like the Blue Ridge Parkway on a bad day, but far worse. Along with the clouds we had to deal with temperatures in the low 30’s – on wet roads – it was the perfect “Baptism of Fire” for those ones new to this part of the world. For those in our group looking to ride the Alps their first pass had it all. There was a ride option to one lookout, but with zero visibility most of us rode over the summit and through the tunnel. Most of us.

The price of the view was missing the picnic. Looking back I would have joined them. After the picnic we spun over to the Franz Josef Glacier. This monster is the longest in this part of the Alps and even in the high summer was still very impressive, dark, cold and foreboding. At this point our group was back together and we had a truly enjoyable ride down the pass on wide-open roads with just a smattering of traffic that was easily disposed of. As you might be aware of, passing cars is not only allowed in Europe, but is expected. Our type of place. Around 5’ish we pulled into the gated parking lot in the center of Lienz, in the shadow of the craggy Dolomites, and took our room, showered and went out to explore this Austrian city. There was a great square in the town center, right out our hotel’s main doors and wine, beer and the all-important “gelato” was easily found. Life was good on the road in the Alps.

Lienz, Austria to Bolzano, Italy The second day of the trip brought us deep into the infamous Italian Dolomites. We have always loved riding here and once again these special mountains, named after a French geologist de Dolom who discovered that the sedimentary rock here was far different than other stone found in the alps. This difference shows as the Dolomites almost look like J. R. R. Tolkien’s fictional Mordor as you approach them. We had split the large group into two, with the more aggressive riders following Alan and the folks more interested in sight seeing and stopping for pictures riding along with Ursula. Today was Angela’s job to bring the picnic together.

Top: High above the clouds of the Grossglockner Middle: The ever-present Franz Josef Glacier Left: The beautiful square of Lienz after sunset

Some, for some odd reason, decided that heading even higher into the clouds was an excellent idea. A hardy bunch they were and undaunted they carried onward. Meanwhile while the rest of us enjoy a superb picnic, which Edelweiss provided, on the sunny other side of the mountain, watching bikes and sports cars sling by, these others rode slowly around in the clouds until they actually got above them and enjoyed the stupendous view.

Along the way from Lienz we passed Lake Misurna, a lovely lake with spectacular views and a few creation legends as well. We stopped here for the ‘digital moment’ and then moved on. It was time to head into the heart of the Dolomites, along valleys rich with conifers that quickly gave way to the stark stony reality of these mountains. Here the roads followed tight switchbacks as we gained altitude. If there is a riding heaven it just might be here. Top: Beautiful Lake Misurna Right: Angela’s feast atop Paso Di Falzarego in the Dolomites Opposite page: Residents of the passes including the Jaufen Pass


Page 27 Typical signs you’ll see while riding in the Alps: Watch your speed and the critters.

Atop Paso Di Falzarego we spied Angela and the Edelweiss van in a large field with the Dolomites stretched for what seemed forever around it. At this point our groups were getting comfortable with the different riding styles and with the need to get more photography Shira and I opted to split from the group, hoping my quickly put together GPS route wouldn’t bring us to Slovenia. Along for the ride came Stephen from Vermont.

This was the first time Stephen had ridden with us and by the end of the day he was a Backroads veteran as, in typical fashion, we put him through dead ends, uturns, and heading in the wrong direction for miles. At one T intersection I, once again, chose the wrong way and some many kilometers later we rode along Passo di Gardena. It was a great mistake. On our way back down we got stuck behind a large tour bus – the mortal nemesis of riders in these mountains – and after a few tight turns I was able to pass and later on Shira, but Stephen was hopelessly stuck behind; along with at least 30 cars and trucks. At the bottom of the pas I waited off to the side when

I spied the bicyclist rocketing down the hill. These bicyclists ride down these passes at absurd speeds and I tried my best to get out of his way, not really knowing where I should put myself and the bike. Evidentially I did well as he told me by hand signals that I was #1 in his book and wished me well in a loud, if screaming Italian voice. I did the same to him. Shira came by minutes later and I signaled to her, not that she was #1 although she is in my books, but to wait in town. Five minutes passed before the tour bus, with Stephen behind, came by. I had to wait for the thirty cars and trucks to pass before I could continue into the small town below. I rode up the wrong street and had to backtrack to where Shira was waiting. This took some time and by then Stephen had ridden back up the mountain to recover what Shira was convinced was my mangled body. This only meant that I had to follow up behind Stephen. It was a classic FUBAR. Still, all this added up to a great day as we saw plenty of the Dolomites for

Page 28 sure. Edelweiss had the two groups getting in at different times. Group B would head straight into Bolzano, where as the Group A headed around the city and looped through the Penser Joch. About an hour behind this group Shira, Stephen and I came storming through; better late than never. What incredible scenery. The mountain peaks, the deep valleys, the clouds that seem to dance through and about the ridges; and all this linked by a beautiful ribbon of roadway that only can be best seen by motorcycle. This certainly is why we came here. Heading back towards Bolzano, the Jaufenpass was completely different as it ran itself through a deep Italian forest with tall hemlock trees snuggling close to the edge of the road. We could see how legends of the supernatural would come from this region especially after the sun is down. All along this region you will see signs in both Italian and German; that is because this part of the Southern Alps was handed to the Italians after World War I and the city of Bolzano, or Bozen depending on who claims the region, has a distinct Austrian/Italian feel to it. Bolzano was a typical European city with a warren of streets and alleyways. Finding the hotel was a chore at the very least. But, eventually we all got there. Semper Fi Stephen!

NOVEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS wine for that afternoon. And later, when the groups of riders returned from their short ride enjoying all the wonderful roads this part of northern Italy has to offer, we got together for a little afternoon soiree’. Many said that this day’s ride was the best of the entire tour. Being a free night many got together with friends and found some nearby Bolzano restaurants for a real Italian meal this evening and most, not all, made it an early night as tomorrow we would continue on to Pontresina, Switzerland. So far all the roads Edelweiss had brought us on were magnificent; but for some the next day would be very special indeed; as they would be tackling ‘The Mother Road’ – Paso del Stelvio.

Bolzano, Italy to Pontresina, Switzerland After a brief riders meeting this day, where the need to stay to the right and away from the dreaded “Touro Bus” was heavily stressed we followed the guides out of the labyrinth called Bolzano and moved westward through the southern Tyrol.

Free Day in Bolzano We had a free day this Wednesday and the group enjoyed it in many different ways. A number of our Backroads regulars took off round 9am for a short ride up into the mountains while others took off to simply explore Bolzano. Shira and I, under orders from Dr. Seymour O’Life, headed to the museum to view the Ice Man. Discovered in 1991 by a German couple hiking in the high mountains Otzi, as he is called, is a 5,300 year old man that had been preserved in the ice for all those thousands of years. It was an incredible historical and scientific find and we could not pass up the opportunity to see him in person. After a short visit to the museum, which was more than fascinating, we strolled around the center of town with its cobblestone streets and allies. Near the center we ran into two of our group, Graham and Gail, and we all sat down for a glass of prosecco in a quaint little outdoor bar that emphasized it was “stress free.” The owner, Cobo, is an artist and a character himself and gave the girls copies of his books, loving the fact we were from New York, New Jersey, the US or whatever. His happiness was infectious. Walking further through the outdoor markets we bought some Speck, which is a distinctively juniper-flavored ham, cheese and some bottles of

This is a road we couldn’t forget. A few years back we came from the opposite direction, when heading towards Slovenia, and we marveled at how many apple orchards there were then and we did the same this day. Our group was going to split up again this day as many wanted to tackle Paso Del Stelvio, with its 48 switchbacks on the northside alone, the pass is the highest paved road in the eastern Alps. From lush fields and forests below it quickly rises into rocky tundra on hairpins that are packed close together. It is not for the inexperienced rider or those afraid of heights.

Left: Street scenes from Bolzano’s market, the character that is Cobo and exploring northern Italy’s villages. Top: Ursula briefs the group, Ed takes in Glurns and riding into the walled city.

The payment for mastering the Stelvio this day was a superb view, a great lunch, and some time wandering around the shops and cafés on top. Then the group had the fun and exciting chore of riding back down the southern side. Shira and I had ridden Stelvio a few times before, as well as the Gavia Pass back when it was still dirt, so we decided to run another route and enjoy the Ofenpass; one we had heard of but had never ridden.


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But, first we all rode together to the medieval town of Glurns. This place was sacked in 1499 and when rebuilt they made it a walled city. Today just 800 people call Glurns home, but it is a home that is as charming as can be. We all stopped for coffee and then our groups split up, with most heading to Stelvio and Shira and myself joining with our Canadian friends Bruce and Gail Brown to explore the Ofenpass. I had not gotten a chance to ride the Ofen, but was very pleased with the manner that this sweet piece of asphalt rode up and over the pass.

Top: Mike oversees the Mother Road - Paso Del Stelvio, Gail overlooks the crowds atop Stelvio and Gail and Bruce wait for lunch atop the Ofen.

Long and open curves that laced along a deep forest; which finally gave way to a more barren feel that is so common in this region. With Stelvio so close by it reminded me of the difference between the Tail of the Dragon and the Cherohala Skyway down south; one tough and technical the other just a pleasant and sweepy ride with a view. On this route we quickly crossed into Switzerland. At the summit we stopped for a big lunch, enjoying the vista and watching the dozens of motorcycles ride by. Right about then things started to get a bit wet; but such is the Alps. We were headed towards the town called Livigno and, along the way, crossed back into Italy and then rode through the tightest tunnel I have ever encountered. Running just one-way; the far end of the tunnel opened up to a huge dam with a tunneled roadway that sped alongside its deep green lake bordered by incredibly high, steep and barren cliffs.

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Page 30 Soon we picked up the sign for Pontresina and in no time we had found fuel for the bikes and the hotel. As usual, Edelweiss had gotten there before us and, even though we had gotten in a bit earlier than everyone else, our bags were waiting for us in the room. Not a half hour later one half of the rest of our group rode in, the others still out on a longer route. It seems everyone did well with the Stelvio Pass and they all now have the “Mother Road” under their belts. We had been to this little Swiss town many years back and it has some unique, if over-priced shops, so with everything taken care of Shira and I went out to reacquaint ourselves with the town. That evening during dinner, the Edelweiss team brought out special tee shirts to commemorate the trip. Done in typical Edelweiss fashion it had the route on the front but a huge Backroads logo emblazoned on the back. We knew shirts would be coming but really liked how they turned out. Thank you Edelweiss, they will be worn proudly.

Pontresina, Switzerland to Warth, Austria

NOVEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS Not much further on the entire group stopped for coffee and a most delicious apple strudel in a vanilla sauce. After that I was ready for a nap. Along our way we rode through a deep valley with large trees hugging the road and making almost a tunnel effect; this led us to one tiny roadway that went up and over a large hill that rode through a Swiss military installation and then down a long and twisty road and into Lichtenstein. Here Mike Mosca, who rode with us in Africa two years back, got a little side tracked and rode up to a soldier to ask directions only to see an automatic weapon being slung around as the soldier attempted to answer. Mike, Mike, Mike…. Lichtenstein is a place we have been before and we need not go back again. Crowded, full of shops, it’s like the country is one major line of traffic, but it was along our way and was yet another nation for our group to tag. Almost immediately we crossed into Austria; with a tight lipped and very serious border guard waving us in with a flick of his pen. Ursula had promised us one last mountain ride – the Furajoch. We were told that this road would be very tight, almost one lane in places, but as technical as it was it was also one of the most beautiful. Winding our way higher we rode through forests and along some of the

We had a forecast of stiff rain for this day so we were all happy to awake to clear blue skies and wispy cumulous clouds floating about the mountains around Pontresina. Our ride would be on the short side this day, compared to the others, yet we would pass through 2.5 countries - as Lichtenstein is just so tiny.

Clockwise: Riding past castles and through valleys, morning briefing in Pontresina, village stop, lunch atop Furajoch, typical old-world buildings and the narrow passage roads.

We decided to ride with Ursula’s group today and after leaving the town we made time on a long valley road and then headed up the Albula Pass. Atop here the rocks from the taller peaks had slid for thousands of years and the tight and windy road was framed with large and unforgiving boulders. It felt as if we were riding through the forest of the moon. On the way down the pass opened up to yet another spectacular Alpen scene.

most impressive waterfalls of the trip – and believe me; we had seen many, many great cascades along this journey. We stopped atop the road at a restaurant for brats, schnitzel and schmaltz – which Shira had to have. We also found a guitar hanging on the wall and our own little birthday song was sung to the two gals, Nuri and Rene, that were celebrating that ‘trip around the sun’ that week. From here it was a short ride to our hotel for the night but the road was quite alluring and instead of stopping at the hotel we continued on for a little side trip to Lech and the ravines and gorges the region is famous for.

BACKROADS • NOVEMBER 2011 This is where we had a slight incident with the one thing we had told everyone repeatedly - the evil tour bus. I had stopped to take a picture of our riders running along the gorge. Getting on my bike to follow after them Shira called over the Cardo communicators that three bikes were down and a bus was involved. This was the very thing I had dreaded since we thought of this tour years back. The bus, whom they all spotted coming, easily could have waited a few seconds, but never count on that, and the driver decided to roll through the turn forcing three bikes against the cliff face.

Lucky for all we just ended up with the bikes against the wall; with just one machine falling over. Here on these tight roads the buses take up almost all the pavement, especially in the tight turns, and avoiding them can be a trying task indeed and you must be ever vigilant and aware of what might be coming down the road and never, ever, trust the bus driver. They are born evil and shouldn’t be allowed on the planet. With bikes and egos slightly bruised, and lesson learned, the group

Page 31 continued on to Lech for coffee and Shira and I returned to the hotel, calling it a day. The hotel tonight was the best of the trip. And, after dinner cakes were brought out for all the riders that were also celebrating birthdays – adding Stephen and Ed to the mix – with both men turning 60. I can’t think of a better way to commemorate this milestone than to ride in this motorcycling dreamland.

Warth, Austria to Erding, Germany As they say – all good things…. This was the first day that we really had to deal with serious moisture. Almost the entire trip, with a few quick exceptions, was rain free, but today would be a soggy one. Leaving Warth we rode through the last bit of mountainous terrain and a few hours later, after crossing back into Germany, we were running along the hilly farmlands of Bavaria.

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Although it was the last day of the tour, we did have a few stops to make. Our first was to a small church which was built around a crying statue of Jesus. The faithful adore crying icons and although I have seen many beautiful churches and cathedrals, the Pilgrimage Church of Weis was truly striking. In 1738, tears were seen on a dilapidated wooden figure of the Scourged Savior. This miracle resulted in a pilgrimage rush to see the sculpture. In 1740, a small chapel was built to house the statue but it was soon realized that the building would be too small for the number of pilgrims it attracted, and so Steingaden Abbey decided to commission a separate shrine. Many who have prayed in front of the statue of Jesus on the altar, have claimed that people have been miraculously cured of their diseases, which has made this church even more of a pilgrimage site. As stunning as the Weis Church was, our next destination was the Neuschwanstein Castle, a truly phenomenal sight. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner.

The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, but it was opened to the paying public immediately after his mysterious death in 1886. Since then over 60 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle. More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with up to 6,000 per day in the summer. The palace has appeared prominently in several movies and was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle and later, similar structures. Here we only stopped for pictures, but even though we had seen Castle Neuschwanstein before, it never fails to inspire. One wonders… what the mortgage and utilities might be on a place like this? As the day wound down the weather broke and we rode back to Erding under splashes of sunlight. Rolling back into the underground garage at the hotel we had that familiar feeling that always accompanies the end of an outstanding trip. We had made a plan nearly two years back and it had exceeded all of our expectations. Including the guides we had 28 folks riding along the magnificent Alps. Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and the tiny principality of Lichtenstein were all visited this week and well over 1,000 exciting kilometers were ridden. That evening we had a great meal, with Shira and I saying some words and our guides all saying how much fun they had with us as well. We think everybody had a fantastic time and we would like to thank all of you who made the trip to Europe to spend a week with us riding and exploring the backroads of the Europe. Hmmm, now the question is - where to next?


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Backroads Hits the Alps Hi Brian & Shira, Thanks again for a great week’s riding in the Alps it was the ride of a life time for me. I never thought I’d be riding in the Alps and would not have if not for Backroads putting this trip together. It was the best way to celebrate my 60th birthday. It was fun learning to ride the roads on the mountain passes with Alan, Angela and Ursula, our tour guides for the week. Great fun. Thanks again Backroads. Ed M. Dear Brian & Shira, It sounds somewhat trite or hackneyed to say that a particular event was “the trip of a lifetime,” but in the case of the Edelweiss High Alpine Tour, these words seem entirely appropriate. The food and accommodations were first class, our tour guides were friendly, helpful, and welcoming, our fellow riders were fine companions, and the roads were incomparable. For a lowland guy like me, the Alpine passes were exhilarating and at times, downright

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scary. It was an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life. We had never before visited Europe together - this was my first time over the pond, and she had gone to Greece in high school - so we really did not know what to expect. I came away with a great respect for the high level of driving skills exhibited by European drivers. Imagine, a land where motorcyclists are not hated, or even just tolerated, but embraced! This is Europe. Close your eyes and visualize a place where no one closes their eyes and travels five miles per hour under the speed limit in the passing lane of an expressway! This is Europe. A magical place where drivers actually check their rear view mirrors and ease to the right to allow a faster machine to pass. Now that we are back in North America, these fanciful thoughts seem almost like a dream. The hills were alive with the sound of… motorcycles. Rather than just rest on the free day in Bolzano, Bruce and I took the opportunity for a “short” ride with just a few bikes and two guides. The scenery was spectacular – rolling vineyards, apple orchards and sweeping curves through the countryside, and narrow streets and centuriesold buildings through the countless small towns. Ursula made sure we got to sample the local “sweetie” Kaiserschmarrn at our coffee stop, and Alan introduced us to his friends at the Labyrinthgarten Kränzel, a vineyard, organic winery and outdoor art museum. Bruce made friends with the crazy semi-nude mannequins scattered around the grounds.


Page 34 The ride up Grossglockner with its rugged scenery and sheer height was my most memorable day, but the Bolzano rest day was my favourite. So Brian and Shira, thank you for making this trip possible. We had the time of our lives! Cheers, Bruce & Gail Brown London, Ontario Canada (51st US State) Backroads Crew, An amazing adventure! Ate wiener schnitzel, apple strudel, and gelato sometimes 2-3 times/day, drank wine and beer and enjoyed every minute of it. Rode thru the most breathtaking roads and mountain passes in the world! Exciting and yet sometimes scary on those switchbacks! All the better to enjoy it w/old friends and new friends we met on this tour. Fantastic memories to treasure. Thanks, Renee and Bob Luongo Folks, After climbing up the 2,760 meter Passo Della Stelvio and its 48 hairpin switchbacks, we took a short rest on top for some sausage and a drink. The views were spectacular until the clouds lowered and it started to lightly snow. Off we rode towards Bormio, and another series of hairpins, followed by tunnels carved out of the edge of the mountains. Glad I wore my jacket’s liner on top, I couldn’t wait to remove it by the time we made it to the bottom. The riding skills of my companions and our Guides were evident as they effortlessly floated through the many curves facing us on this High Alps Tour. One cannot help but improve when riding with such skilled motorcyclists. There is nothing close to this in Northern Vermont, so I guess I shall have to go to Europe again. Sign me up, Shira! Stephen Pitman - Vermont

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Bill Heald Whenever I’m fortunate enough to get to ride a new motorcycle, the first question I’m typically asked by folks who want to know my impressions of the machine in question is a perfectly logical one: “What feature stands out the most about it?” While there’s a long list of things about Aprilia’s Dorsoduro 1200 that I can praise, there’s really one thing about this powerful urban-sports bike that I always think of when I’m asked about it, and it’s not something I usually focus on all that much. As we all know, V-Twins, no matter what their exact cylinder configuration or manufacturer, make a wonderfully joyful noise. But this new Aprilia has something really special erupting out of its tailpipes, and I was smitten the moment I first fired up its 90-degree, 1197cc mill. It sounds so unique that it’s hard to describe; almost like it’s the world’s largest four-stroke dirt bike yet seasoned with an Italian accent. If Hagrid had no Triumph to com-

mute to and from Hogwarts on (Sirius Black’s bike, not the Royal Enfield allegedly used in the Deathly Hallows Part One according to you muggle cinematic detail freaks), I could see him on a machine that rumbled like this when he twisted the throttle with his massive paw. It’s a deep, satisfying sound, and once again shows how much character a box-stock exhaust system can have these days. What’s even more impressive is all the muscle that’s behind the combustion audio, and Aprilia’s spec page states there’s 130 horsepower and 85 ft.-lbs of torque on tap. The power curve is as flat as a Mexican Mesa, too, and just grows in linear fashion the more you pour on the coals. As is becoming more common all the time with our ever-increasing techheavy fuel injection systems, there’s 3 modes to the Ride by Wire engine mapping that include Touring, Sport and Rain settings. As with the smaller 750 Dorsoduro we sampled last year, you can change these settings on the fly using the starter button to toggle through them (once the engine is running, obviously). To be honest, though, if you leave it in Touring mode you’ll certainly have all the power you need and Sport is a bit of overkill for what most of us would consider “normal” (or “sane,” as I like to call it) riding. Throttle response is flawless, and the 6-speed tranny is crisp with perfect ratios to distribute the power in efficient fashion. All is all it’s a great drivetrain, and not only hell-forstrong but wonderfully manageable as well.

BACKROADS • NOVEMBER 2011 The chassis of the Dorsoduro 1200 is contemporary urban-sport fare, with a Supermotardbased upright riding position and a high, 34.25-inch seat height. This is a tall bike to be sure, but like many Adventure Touring bikes (that it might be confused with but is actually not in the same genre of machine) it’s light on its feet and the broad, flat bars make short work of scooting through traffic as changes in direction require little leverage considering the 492-lb. curb weight. It also proved quite maneuverable around fallen trees and power lines, which I encountered frequently when a total hag called Irene visited these parts. The bars also have huge hand protectors, which can be a very welcome feature when negotiating tight quarters. The suspension does a good job of dealing with potholes, all while getting overly loose in the faster stuff. The 43mm Sachs front forks offer adjustable damping, and the aesthetically very cool hybrid frame mounts the fully-adjustable Sachs rear shock on the side, making it ridiculously easy to access for tweaking to your requirements. Finally, there’s a fine set of Brembo radiallymounted brake units that are very strong and very easy to modulate. As far as I know, ABS is not an option here in the US (yet) but the standard stoppers are superb, as were the Dunlop Sportmax Qualifiers that are OEM fitment along with Pirelli Corsa IIIs. Interestingly, the Dunlops are the exact same tires found on my Triumph Street Triple R and I’m very happy with their performance over the several thousand miles I’ve had them, especially in the rain. Other features include a very comprehensive instrument display with a trip computer you scroll through that has several useful modes, and Aprilia’s regular superb attention to detail. The styling is very unique (and the front profile looks a lot like Ridley Scott’s Alien when you look at it from a certain angle)

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showing that this bike really does reside in a lane all its own. My only gripes are a fuel tank that, at 3.96 gallons, limits range a bit and a seat that is unyielding enough to do the same. That’s a shame, because the comfy riding position combined with a very smooth engine (always present, but only in a good way) makes you want to keep on goin’. Big, bad, beautiful, and a creature with a deep, Vader-like growl that is intoxicating, the Dorsoduro 1200 is a most singular ride and can be had for $11,999 at your Aprilia dealer.

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free wheelin’

(Continued from Page 4)

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics!” Everything can be seen from a different direction. Let’s compare and contrast. Number of good riding days? We’re good with that, who doesn’t like the perfect day. But it doesn’t always happen. Likelihood of getting into a motorcycle crash? You can get hurt anywhere by any number of means. Practice your skill and be “Ever Vigilant!”- Just ask Shira. Percentage of smoother riding roadways? What, you don’t have suspension? This is a non-issue for most Backroads’ readers and riders I think. Population density and price of fuel? Both are non-issues and would not be part of my criteria. As I said, most of us go where the rest of the population is not, and gas these days is high everywhere. My criteria would consist of roads that are curvy with great elevation changes, superb scenery, interesting destinations, great eateries, friendly locals and reasonable law enforcement. Oh….right, that’s what we find in every issue of Backroads. Well, we are consistent in what we want. The survey did have some interesting facts on their criteria with Hawaii being the sunniest place and having the least crashes. It found North Dakota having the smoothest highways (not to mention the highest job growth in the US - ed.) and Wyoming and Alaska having the cheapest fuel and lowest population density respectively. As we know, ask the right question and anything can be found. But, surveys can be done again, with different criteria. So, even if I don’t think Florida is #1; that is okay. At least somebody is putting together surveys like this with riders in mind. You can find the entire survey at

poStcArdS froM the hedge

(Continued from Page 8)

byproducts of combustion though all phases of the process. Of course, far too many people aren’t too awfully concerned about curbing emissions or

consumption for that matter, which is another issue for another day. Whatever your feelings about this subject, the Mythbuster’s effort managed to create more questions than it answers, which is what good science usually does. A tip of a visor to the lads, for their fine (and arguably arguable) efforts. In my mind, the efficiency of motorcycles in daily transportation goes way further than just taking a person from point A to point B using less fuel, even though some cars (like the Toyota Prius and Chevy Volt) can now do this better. It’s about all phases of the transportation picture and includes overall resource management, traffic negotiation, parking efficiency, etc. And this doesn’t even approach the important fact that riding a motorcycle changes how seriously you take things like conducting your conveyance in a safe manner, and how it can shave a lot of time off your commute. Time itself is an ever-vanishing resource we can all use more of. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the heart of the matter, which is of course the pleasure motorcycles deliver even on a humdrum commute or how it’s the best way to see the world when traveling. But again, that’s another argument for another day.

on the MArk

(Continued from Page 9)

Arabia” but the Brough Superior was a villain. There are some rare, great moto chase scenes in the “Bourne” franchise, including one where a trialsriding stuntman scales a five-foot vertical wall; however, the cars are usually the stars. Unfortunately, we’re also fed a steady cinematic stream of stereotypical, scummy-looking lifestylers out to pillage a village and ride off on their deafening death machines. The sole redeeming example of the latter is The Lone Biker of the Apocalypse in the Coen’s hilarious “Raising Arizona” (vaporized courtesy of Nick Cage’s timely grenade pin pull). It’s a shame we don’t have more motorcycles and real riders showcased in glorious, full-length cinematic glory. Instead, we’re left clinging to a few scenes of our hero Steve McQueen as he desperately races to the Swiss border in “The Great Escape.” We treasure copies of the documentary “On Any Sunday” and its sequel, featuring McQueen racing enduros under the nom de guerre “Harvey Mushman.” Animation, documentation, or dramatization, we need a good dose of cycles on celluloid. Where are you when we need you, Harvey Mushman.


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What’s Happening



Every Sunday • Eastern Suffolk ABATE Breakfast Run. Crossroads Diner - Calverton NY. 10:30am. Eat and Ride After • 631-369-2221

17 • Bob’s BMW Holiday Cheer Day. Annual food & linen drive to celebrate the season with delicious food and good cheer. End of year savings • 10720 Guilford Rd, Jessup, MD • 301-497-8949 •

First Sunday of the month • Layton Meet at the Layton Deli, corner of Dingmans/Bevans Rd, CR 560, Layton, NJ. Meet around 8am – breakfast available. Join others for a ride or head out on your own


Every Tuesday • The Ear - Spring St, NYC. Come meet some fellow riders and do some benchracing or whatever. 8pm-ish

6-8 • North American International Motorcycle Supershow, International Centre, Toronto, Canada • • 888-661-7469

Third Tuesday • 7:30pm ABATE of the Garden State, North Jersey chapter. Black River Barn, 1178 Rt. 10 West, Randolph, NJ. 7:30pm. New members and all mc brands welcome. Help fight for rights as a motorcyclist in NJ! Alex Martinez 973-390-1918

13-25 • Progressive International Motorcycle Show. Washington DC •

Every Wednesday • Bike Night at the Airport Pub with Free BBQ and Juke Box. CR 639, Sussex, NY • 973-702-1215 Every Thursday • Bike Night at the Chatterbox Drive-In, Rtes. 15/206, Augusta, NJ. Tire kicking, good food and friends •

OCTOBER 2011 29 • Bob’s BMW Garage Sale. 10 years of accumulation must be sold. Too much to list come see for yourself • 10720 Guilford Rd, Jessup, MD • 301-497-8949 • 29 • Liberty Harley-Davidson Halloween Celebration with our World Famous Voodoo Chili, prizes for best customer costume and candy for the kids. Blood Drive 1-5pm • 12 W. Milton Ave, Rahway, NJ • 732-381-2400 • 29 • O’Toole’s Harley-Davidson Garage Party • 4pm. Men and Women welcome. Please RSVP. Also enjoy our Halloween Party • 4 Sullivan St, Wurtsboro, NY • 845-888-2426 • 30 • Bergen County H-D/BMW 7th Annual Fall Classic Bike Show and Run. Ride sign in at BCHD/BMW, 124 Essex St, Rochelle Park, NJ 10-11am. $20/$10 reg. 60 mile escorted ride leaves 11:30am SHARP to the Office Bar & Grill. Bike Show 1-4pm with music, food and raffles to benefit Tomorrow’s Children Fund. $20 to enter show/in by 2pm. For more info visit

NOVEMBER 13 • Liberty Harley-Davidson HOG Chapter 11th Annual Toy Run to benefit Bristol-Meyers Squibb Children’s Hospital, RWJ University Hosp, New Brunswick, NJ. Sign in: 10:30Noon. $15 with toy/$20 without towy/$15 passenger • 12 W. Milton Ave, Rahway, NJ • 732-381-2400 •

13-25 • The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows cruises its 12-city nationwide tour into the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center with the hottest new two-wheeled rides. This motorcycle extravaganza is the place to see the newest model sportbikes, dirt bikes, cruisers, scooters, customs, ATVs, aftermarket parts and accessories and more all under one roof. From new riders and hard core enthusiasts to women riders and motorcycle fans who aspire to ride, the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows is the place for people who love motorcycles to immerse themselves in bike culture, talk to experts, learn new riding techniques and more. In addition to hundreds of the latest bikes, the show will pack in high-energy entertainment including a thrilling motorcycle trials stunt show from The Smage Bros; an exotics pavilion featuring rare, high-end motorcycles; eye-popping customs at the world’s largest custom bike competition; digital graffiti walls to design a custom Kawasaki bike; a Women Ride Center featuring apparel, gear and bikes for women; and more. New model lineups and representatives from several manufacturers including BRP, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Star, Triumph, Yamaha, Beta, Darwin Motorcycles, KTM, MV Agusta, Norton and more will be on site to answer questions and provide information on the latest motorcycles, products and education • • Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street, New York • Friday, January 20, 12 p.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday, January 21, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Sunday, January 22, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. • Save an extra $2 when you purchase your ticket online by using the promo code SAVES2.

MAY 2012 17-20 • Backroads’ Spring Break XIV. Join us for our fourteenth Spring Break as we head south to Luray, Virginia. We’ll stay at the historic Mimslyn Inn (540-743-5105 • • mention Backroads Group for discount) which has 80 years in hospitality and is home to some of the best riding in the area. For additional overflow lodging please call the Best Western at 540-743-6511.

19 • Bob’s BMW hosts Allen Karl with dinner and drinks/tickets required. World adventurer, motivational raconteru and author shares stories of his world travels on his GS • 10720 Guilford Rd, Jessup, MD • 301-497-8949 • 25 • Tramontin Harley-Davidson Black Friday Sale. All Day • Exit 12 I-80, Hope, NJ • 908-459-4101 • 26 • Liberty Harley-Davidson Orange Saturday Party. Served All Day: Deep Fried Turkey with all the trimmings • 12 W. Milton Ave, Rahway, NJ • 732-381-2400 • 26 • Cross Country BMW Annual Open House. 875 Middlesex Ave, Metuchen, NJ • 732-635-0094 •

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The Boat House Restaurant FEEL THE WARMTH The Only Outdoor Lakeside Dining on Swartswood Lake


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THE CHATTERBOX DRIVE-IN GREAT FOOD • GOOD TIMES • EXCELLENT RIDING Located at Ross’ Corners • 1 Route 15 • Augusta NJ • 973-300-2300

Red Wolfe Inn

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Page 43

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHTS HEATED GLOVES FROM GERBINGS AND HARLEY-DAVIDSON FULL-FINGER WARMTH THAT EXTENDS THE RIDING SEASON Keep riding comfortably when the temperature drops with the new Dual-Source Heated Gloves from the Harley-Davidson MotorClothes line. They’re made from 100% leather with tricot fleece lining and a waterproof/breathable aquatex liner for dryness, and equipped with Gerbing’s Microwire technology that heats the entire length of each finger and thumb. For maximum versatility, they can be powered by the bike’s 12V electrical system or a 12V lithium rechargeable battery (sold separately). Includes a one-year limited warranty on the glove and a lifetime warranty on the heating elements. Available in S – 3XL sizes. Dual-Source Heated Gloves are available now at most Harley-Davidson dealerships and retail for $215.

GOTCHA! ADJUSTABLE STRAPS Gotcha! Straps are hook-and-loop nylon straps, designed to hold your gear on your bike or hold your panniers to the frame for added security when the going gets tough. The Straps are 2” wide, and come in 36” or 72” lengths and you can connect the straps in series to secure larger loads. And, these straps can be folded and easily fit through tie downs less than 2” wide. Gotcha! Straps have been lab tested with loads over 250 pounds. They are waterproof, self-tightening, non-stretchable, and bullet-proof durable. The hook-andloop is REALLY secure once it’s pressed into place. We have had a set of Gotcha! Straps in our saddlebags for a few months just waiting for the perfect opportunity to test them. Well that happened up on the rocky coast of Maine when one of our rider’s saddlebags jettisoned off her Honda Valkyrie, spining itself down the road. She had snapped the mount and we needed a way to secure the bag for the rest of the journey. Enter the Gotcha! Adjustable Straps. We linked two together and safely and securely attached her bag back onto her Honda. Job easily done. Gotcha! Straps, made in New Zealand, come in a bright blue color only and are a “secure” investment at just $7. Log onto to get yours today.

BLAZE SPORT SADDLEBAG SYSTEM FROM TWISTED THROTTLE The SW-MOTECH Bags Connection Blaze Sport Saddlebag System offers an innovative way to mount soft saddlebags onto sport-style motorcycles. The system features mounting arms that quickly attach to the motorcycle and then slip into channels located on the backside of each bag. These arms ease installation and support the bags to prevent side-to-side movement and potential contact with the exhaust or rear tire. The mounting arms detach quickly to retain the stock look of the motorcycle when the bags are removed. The Bags Connection Blaze Sport Saddlebags feature durable YKK RC-Fuse zippers and are expandable from 14 to 21 liters per bag.

These bags are made from high quality 1680 ballistic nylon and the main compartment has a top loading opening and outside pocket with side loading function. The bags have reflective trim for nighttime conspicuity and a “Dry Stuff” sack inner bag in case of a hard rain while on the road. To see how easy and well built this bag system is watch the video at> : The SW-MOTECH Bags Connection Blaze Sport Saddlebag System is available for many modern sport machines and list from $279 up. Find them at

PROGRESSIVE SUSPENSION – 465 SERIES MONOSHOCK WITH REMOTE ADJUSTABLE PRELOAD NOW AVAILABLE FOR THE BMW F800GS The popular BMW F800GS sits at the top of the Adventure Touring segment and is more likely than most machines of this class to see hard touring and dirt under its wheels. With that in mind Progressive Suspension created a shock specifically tuned to the needs of both rider and machine. Utilizing their proven 465 Series Monoshock, they’ve valved it, sprung it and tested the hell out of the shock until it transformed the ride of the small bore Beemers. Progressive Suspension also added a Remote Adjustable Preload (RAP) that makes adjusting for a passenger or a weeks worth of gear a simple twist of the knob. The 46mm bore shock is also stuffed with features like deflective disc damping, threaded body and a 5 position rebound adjuster. Setting it up to perfectly match your bike, weight and riding style is now a few clicks away. Includes remote mounting bracket. Stock height and lowered applications for F800GS as well as other BMW models. The 465 Series Monoshock with RAP MSRP is $745.90. Check it out on their website, or contact your local Progressive Suspension dealer for more information.


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Welcome to the Jungle - The Art of Learning to Ride Skillfully A column dedicated to your riding survival Motorcycle Accident MAnAgeMent trAining Frank L. Palmeri As riders the last especially long, cold, and snowy winter was extra frustrating. Once the weather broke we all wanted to get the bikes off the battery tenders and back out on the road where they belong. I was raring to go by April but I heard about a motorcycle accident scene management class that was being offered in my area. The class would take up an entire Saturday, one of the first really good riding days of the year, but I thought it might be a good thing to learn about crash scene management since, as we know all too well, crashes happen. Well, I’m glad I made the choice to attend the class, because it was probably the best motorcycle related training I’ve taken in over thirty years of riding.

Learn proper movement of the accident victim.

I’m going to try to summarize some of the key points of this training, but I want to stress that there is a big difference in reading a short article about accident crash scene management and taking a seven hour, hands on class. I urge you to go to to find a class in your area or arrange one for your riding group or club. Do it for your family, friends, loved ones, and fellow riders. You just never know when you’ll need this kind of information. I’m sorry I didn’t take the class sooner. Of course if a crash occurs you want EMS on the scene as soon as possible. To do this it helps to have a charged and working cell phone, but it is imperative to know where you are before you call. Sounds simple, but it’s not. We often ride up in the Adirondacks between Lake George and Lake Placid. When we get onto heavily wooded

Learn proper CPR.

county and seasonal roads, where we may not see another vehicle for hours at a time, I often have no idea where I am. The thing is, when you call 911 from a land line, that call is routed to your local police dept. There’s a good chance they’ll be able to figure out where you are. But when you call from a cell (some cell phones are GPS enabled or offer GPS tracking but many don’t), that call can be routed anywhere, and they may not know what you’re talking about. In this case, saying something like “We had lunch at the McDonalds in Corinth about a half hour ago, and then travelled west” can help. Also, if you have a GPS, that will provide your exact location. Lots of folks are die-hard map readers and avoid GPS, but the prices have come down so much that even if you loathe them, keeping one in your tank bag just for emergencies is a no-brainer. What if you’re so far in the middle of nowhere there’s no cell phone service? They showed how to place a downed rider in a kind of fetal position, so that if they vomit they won’t choke on it while you go get help. We got to practice it in the class; take the class so you can too. You might have to perform rescue breathing on a downed rider. They make things called breathing barriers so you can protect each other from exchanging bodily fluids. They gave each of us a small pouch containing latex gloves and a breathing barrier. The package is so small there is no reason every rider shouldn’t have one in his or her jacket or tank bag. The subject of whether or not to remove a downed rider’s helmet came up. In general you don’t want to remove a helmet, except in one case: if they’re not breathing. In that case, ideally you’d have two people helping, one to support the head/neck and one to remove the helmet. Again, we practiced this in the class. It’s something that is better learned by being shown the proper way and then being guided in how to do it properly. As motorcyclists we are very susceptible to spine, neck, and head injuries from being thrown violently from the bike or by impacting something hard. Spinal support and alignment are key until the downed rider can be CAT scanned and x-rayed. This is very important to keep in mind. For example, you should leave a downed rider Learn proper removal of right where they are until EMS arthe helmet if necessary. rives, unless they are in imminent danger – lying in the middle of the road, lying in a pool of gas, etc. If you have to move them, be very careful. In many states there are Good Samaritan laws that protect you if something happens; still, only move a downed rider if you absolutely have to. They showed us, and had us practice, several ways to do it Also don’t forget to watch out for yourself at a crash scene. If possible have someone direct traffic, and be careful where you stand. In fact a good tip for all of us is to pack our rain gear in our right side saddlebag. That way when you put it on you’ll be farther away from moving cars. Another thing for all of us to remember: 85% of motorcyclists are wearing helmets that are too big. A helmet has a much better chance of doing its job correctly if it’s sized right. Make sure yours is by getting fitted by someone who knows how to do it. There was plenty of other good stuff in the class – basic first aid, making splints, rescue breathing, and much more. The handouts and other materials serve as a good reminder and refresher as well. If nothing else, taking a class like this reminds you that when on a motorcycle you always want to wear good gear, ride within your limits, and ride like you’re invisible. Let’s face it, we don’t ever want to have anyone use these techniques on us if we can help it. One more good tip: at you can buy a bracelet with all your medical and contact info; some versions are even web enabled. This is a great way to make sure EMS has all your vitals as quickly as possible. Crashes are not something we like to think about as riders, but they do happen and knowledge is power. Taking a motorcycle accident scene management class is a great way to become aware of techniques that just might save a fellow rider’s life. Plan to take one this winter. Look into it today.


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AMA PRO MOTOCROSS Tony Lisanti Round 9 of the Lucas Oil Motocross series rolled into its annual stop in upstate New York on the sunny weekend of August 13. The weather for the weekend looked to be almost perfect so I decided to head up for a nice day’s ride on Friday before the event. Riding up on a sunny afternoon was just the ticket to unwind. I meandered my way west eventually linking up to Route 30 and then 206 near Downsville. I wound my way past some of the camp grounds, fly fishing spots and farms the area is know for, passing through the small towns of Walton and eventually linking up with Route 8 in Sydney. Although Route 8 is a state road it does provide a very entertaining ride as it winds north into New Berlin towards the track. As I rounded the last few curves, the familiar hills and white barn

marking the entrance to the track came into view. The track is located about a mile north of the small town of South Edmeston. The parking areas were filled with amateur riders who were racing on this Friday and would compete again on Sunday after the Pro races. The Robinson family built a second track a number of years ago for amateur competition that they refer to as “U2”. This regional event is the first after the popular Loretta Lynn Amateur National Motocross Championship. There were hundreds of competitors at the track and they ran something like 49 individual races or “motos” that day.

BACKROADS • NOVEMBER 2011 The main attraction this weekend though was the Pro Motocross to be held on Saturday. After checking in at the track I took a walk through the pits and saw the Kawasaki team prepping the new 2012 KX450F for Ryan Villopotto. He was the current points leader and current 2011 Supercross champ. A bat-

tered Chad Reed was having his Two Two Motorsports Honda CR450F prepped as well. All around the large factory semis were setting up, assembling the bikes, and getting ready for practice the next morning. Also noted was the new announcers tower erected at the track. Over the years, the track has been modified and access for both spectators, team members and press have been improved dramatically. The new structure and added bleachers dotting the track gave a real professional and fan friendly feel to the old ‘Dilla track. After my short visit I was back on the Street Glide for a short 20 mile or so ride east into Cooperstown. Checking in at the hotel with the many families that were in town for the little league games I couldn’t help but compare the baseball families with those of the amateur riders at the track. The amateur riders were a bit older as young teenagers than the baseball crowd, but the parents were the same. “Where did you leave your spikes?” versus “Where did you leave your goggles?”

Page 47 Still nice to see so many families involved with both sports. An added bonus was the announcement that the exemption for OHVs from the CPSCs Lead Ban had been signed by President Obama. This news bodes well for newbies getting into motorcycling and motocross in particular. I spent the evening taking a quick tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame followed by dinner at a local pub in the center of town. The next morning I

Page 48 was up early in order to attend a mandatory media safety meeting at the track. The morning was cool and there was a low lying fog that made riding past the farms and the tiny villages in the valleys very picturesque. As I crested a hill just a few miles from the track I came across a vantage point where I could see the track and pits from a distance. This called for a digital photo moment. It was interesting to see the oasis that is Undailla in the middle of the rolling hills. The circus was in town!

After settling it at the track, the day’s program was getting underway. Practice sessions for the 250cc and 450cc riders were beginning. For many of the riders this would be there first time at the fabled Unadilla track. By noon the practice sessions were over and the first 450cc race would get underway. For the first time, the second race or moto would be broadcast live on NBC. Heading into the 9th round of the AMA Pro Motocross, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopto and Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey were first and second in overall points. Two Two Motorsport’s Chad Reed was in third and

NOVEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS was hurting a bit after his spectacular crash and heroic finish at Millville. Indeed the battle for the outdoor motocross championship was as tight as the Supercross series which ended earlier in the year. Also thrown into the mix was Justin Barcia who was brought up from the 250cc class and would be competing on his 450 Honda for the first time. When the gate dropped for the first moto Justin Barcia got the holeshot, Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer was in second place for a very short time until Dungey passed him. Ryan Villopoto was in fifth, quickly moved into second

behind Barcia. Chad Reed unfortunately was running sixth behind the KTM of Mike Alessi. Reed eventually passed Alessi and settled into fifth. Villopoto hung close to the leaders and eventually passed both to take the lead. He went on to win the opening moto while Dungey, Barcia and Weimer finished 2-4. For the live NBC broadcast, Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer got the holeshot, but Mike Alessi passed him early on the first lap to take the lead. Justin Barcia had a great start, was ahead of Villopoto and Dungey, and passed Weimer into second. Ryan Villopoto would not be denied and worked his way up to pass Barcia and within half a lap Alessi for the lead.

BACKROADS • NOVEMBER 2011 Chad Reed did not get a great start which kept him behind the front runners in mid pack. Barcia kept Villopoto in his sites as did Ryan Dungey. At this point in the early part of the race the order was Villopoto, Barcia, Dungey, Alessi, Weimer, Reed and Metcalfe. I always remark how tough pro motocross riders are and even with Villopoto pulling away, Chad Reed kept going after Jake Weimer in an effort to score as many championship points as possible. Reed eventually passed Weimer, but fell. When he remounted he was in eighth pace. Reed caught a break when Muscle Milk Yamaha’s Justin Brayton crashed after passing Weimer. Weimer and Metcalfe were battling hard and eventually collided with each other, and Reed capitalized by passing both. After the 30 minute plus 2 lap moto, Villopoto crossed the finish line in convincing style, an eight second lead over second place Ryan Dungey. Dungy battled with Barcia for second in the closing laps and managed to stay on his bike after colliding with Barcia on the down hill side of a jump. Barcia, however finished a very respectable third. For the third race in a row Reed did not make a top three finish and settled fourth. It was Ryan Villopoto’s day winning both motos and the overall on his 23rd birthday. The track, fans, racers and hosts were fantastic. Even the weather held out having a crisp dry day in the low 80’s. The AMA motocross series would move on to Southwick Massachusettes in two weeks time.

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Page 49 As I packed up my gear and got ready to head home, I could see dark storm clouds to the south. Uh-oh- that wasn’t supposed to happen. My gut told me to stick to the main roads although traffic heading south on Route 8 would be slow. I cut east and then south on some rolling county roads that paralleled Route 8 and reconnected with the state route well south of the bottle necks. By the time I hit Route 17 the rain was falling in earnest. The temperature dropped as well. After a three hour rain soaked ride home, I arrived at my so called “Fortress of Solitude” to a smiling welcoming Gena. I poured the water out of my boots, wrung out my socks, hung up the wet gear and headed out to a great dinner. The next morning I had time to watch the race via DVR and look at my photos. I was able to watch and reflect on the race and came to the conclusion that MX rules! Tracks change, the riders seemingly get younger (it’s actually me getting older) but the racing is still the best. If you have not been to an outdoor MX race- GO!. Unadilla will be on the calendar again in early August next year and I’ll be there. I hope you will be too!

With the changing seasons, take the time to get your cold weather riding gear in order and remember to watch for wet leaves on the road.

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The 2011 Finger Lakes BMW Rally This year, while many (but not as many as hoped) of the BMW faithful rode to Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania Shira and I and a number of even more faithful readers were winging about the European Alps. While Bloomsburg sweated under 115-degree heat we were turning up the Gerbings on the Grossglockner. In truth we wished we had been able to attend that two-wheeled events; but it was not to be. Still we have been getting that BMW camaraderie fix each year for the last dozen at summer’s end, spending Labor Day weekend in Watkins Glen, New York at the annual BMW Finger Lakes Rally. This year was the 35th years, one of the oldest of its kind in the USA. But, as it has done all year long around the nation, Mother Nature was being an evil woman and a few days before the rally she hurled a storm named Irene up the east coast. Although not as powerful as we feared, the hours after the storm saw millions of dollars in devastation. Bridges and roads swept away. Homes and valuables ruined. General carnage.

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BACKROADS • NOVEMBER 2011 Even the Killington Classic was cancelled. We had a major clean up at Backroads Central, but MWAG still stands. Giving ourselves a few days to tidy up home and office our planned grand ride to the Finger Lakes got shorter and shorter. We finally got on the road for just a millisecond when Shira’s and my long strange trip almost truly ended as a woman, maybe slightly distracted by two loose dogs and a baby, not to mention a big ass, sight-blocking tree that is so coming down this winter clipped into Shira as she went to pull out of the driveway, throwing her down the road in a low-side. Lucky for us she was only bruised and the crash bars from Twisted Throttle saved her leg and the bike, offering themselves up in the act. State Troopers were called and paper work exchanged and during that time I was removing the now very bent bars and accessed the damage. A few hours later we finally got on the road and still had to fight a number of detours, drowned roads and downed trees, and that was just the first 20 miles out of New Jersey.

Page 51 It was like somebody was trying to tell us something. Eventually we crossed over the swollen river and picked up US 6 – The Grand Army of the Republic Highway. I am reading a book by Earl Swift on the creation of our US Highway system called “The Big Roads” and US 6 now had a different feel and I appreciated it more than before. Still, we are Backroads so near Lake Wallenpaupack we headed into the forests along some twisty roads we had plotted out over the previous day’s deluge. Our planned trip would most likely be cut in half and the accident and delay just cut our time even more. Such is life; and Shira was fine and still riding with me so who am I to complain. We vectored on some new roads to us and for awhile I had no idea where I really was, but was trusting both GPS and Manually Acquired Positioning System – also known as MAPS – to head us in the general direction we needed to go. Along the way we ran across old silk factories, the Klots Throwing Company and even the odd camel on the road. By late afternoon we rode through Camptown – yes, the place of racing and Do Da-Do Da fame, and then took lunch high above French Azilium at the Marie Antoinette Restaurant.

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Page 52 The place might look like a rough roadhouse but they serve up burgers that even the Queen of France would appreciate. From there we picked up Route 414 south and did battle with Pennsylvania’s ever vigilant and busy road crews for a few dozen miles. But, take note, Route 414 is going to be awesome in a few months after this facelift. By this time it was getting late, Shira was a bit more than sore from getting tackled by the SUV earlier that morning, so we made our way to Wellsboro, a town we are more than familiar with.

We always have fun here in this town, plenty of restaurants, bars and shops, so we took a suite at the Sherwood –a very motorcycle friendly place by the way – but were slightly disappointed that the Concours Owners Group was nowhere to be found. Now that is rare indeed in this town. Earlier I said that Mother Nature could be wicked at times, but most of the time she is just fickle and slightly unkind. Thus was the next day. I had awoken at dawn to a beautiful late summer’s day; but by the time we got geared up and ready to go the rain had begun to patter down. We had run a lengthy ride through the Alleghenies but by the time we neared the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania we had quite a squall upon us. Heavy cold rains and bursts of lightning right over our heads. I made the call and we doubled back to the Wellsboro Diner for breakfast and to wait out the tempest. This diner is a classic and the food was excellent. We took our time and waited for the rains to lighten a bit before taking off for the day. Our path had us going south, but that was the same way the storms were headed. So we adjusted our route to the west along Route 6. Around 11ish the clouds faded into a harsh memory and we could see part of our original route on the Garmin a few miles and one large ridge line to our left. We decided to make our way to it, as the route promised to be fun and a bit more interesting. But, to get to it we had to cross the mountains along a dozen or so miles of tight twisty dirt forest roads.


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In truth, this road was very well maintained and all but the biggest bikes would have been alright on this first stretch of gravel. Not so later on; but that’s what GSs are for. This part of the nation we have always considered beautiful, but the true beauty lies along these gravel and dirt backroads that run over the peaks themselves and not just along the valleys. Deep forests, dapples of sunlight bursting through with varying rays of intensity. Plenty of wildlife – you must always be on the lookout for deer and elk – it is a part of nature that hasn’t been touch by the hand of man. Since we had been talking about natural disasters, with a recent earthquake and the hurricane I thought I would bring Shira to the Kinzua State Park where the remnants of the old train bridge still juts out across the valley. It was brought down a decade ago by a tornado and rather than rebuild it the state made a park around the disaster. Talk about making lemonade. Still, in a trip born from delays and detours, we ran into another PA road crew rebuilding the approach road and after waiting 20 minutes with no real movement in sight, we made a u-turn and headed to the town of Smethport. Here the Manually Acquired Positioning Systems came out and we once again re-routed, this time north towards New York. On our route was the town of Eldred, which has one of the most fascinating and complete museums on World War II we had ever seen. Well worth the

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road trip all by itself. Although it might be sounding as this trip’s caboose was cooked that was far from the truth. In fact, our caboose was waiting for us Avoca, New York at the Caboose Hotel, where we had booked an actual caboose that had been retrofitted into a very neat, if tiny, guest room. So with a destination in mind we followed along a mix of our route and the maps; when the inevitable wash out, road closure or detour happened, we tried to take it in stride. Along the way we passed Almond Lake, created by the Army Corp of Engineers. A perfect place for birding and we spotted a huge eagle that flew


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over our heads and landed in a large dead pine keeping an eagle’s eye on us as we passed under him. The Caboose Hotel was very neat and more than a bit different. We found dinner and a bottle of wine in the town of Bath and spent the sunset alongside a vintage caboose. There was an actual rally to attend, just a few Finger Lakes to the west from Avoca, so we meandered along some scenic backroads heading east.

In Hammondsport we found breakfast at the local ice cream parlor and then spent a few hours at another museum – The Glenn Curtis Museum. If the World War II Museum in Eldred was one of the most impressive on the war then the Curtis Museum is such for one man. For those of you who do not know of Glenn Curtis he was once known as “The Fastest Man on Earth” setting a record in 1907 at Ormond Beach, Florida on his own 8-cyclinder motorcycle running it to 137 miles per hour. He was, in many ways, the father of modern flight and so many other things, including the Aerocar, the forefather of the modern day holiday trailer. The museum is huge and has a very impressive collection of older and formidable motorcycles. During our Finger Lakes Spring Break last season we had a day trip here and all who had not seen it were impressed. Heading up from Hammondsport, along the west shore of Keuka Lake we stopped at one of our favorite wineries – Dr. Konstantin Frank – for a few bottles of their wonderful Rkatsiteli that would be enjoyed once parked at the rally. And, simply because we were near we made a brief stop at the “World’s Largest Pancake Griddle” – Seymour insists we do things like this. The Finger Lakes, as pretty as they are, are not celebrated for their twisty roads, as most run in a pleasant if boring grid, but outside of Penn Yan we did find some hills, twists and more than a bit of gravel to play with as we headed towards a mecca of auto racing in the United States – Watkins Glen. We checked into our room at the famous Seneca Lodge – a member of Backroads Moto-Inn Program and a place with just a little bit of racing history, and one of the coolest bars on the planet, and then rode over to the camp grounds where the Finger Lakes BMW Club was

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Page 55 Each year Bob Henig puts together a brunch at the famed Belhurst Castle, on the northern end of Seneca Lake. Although he could get the group to the

holding their 35th annual gathering. There were a few good vendors, as always, and a ton of folks we don’t get to see nearly as often as we would like. There was talk of storms on the horizon but that night and the next morning were as perfect for a rally as they come. Well, until the heat rolled in. Shira, in her ever-lasting quest for good food, found the “Best Breakfast in Ithaca” at the Carriage House Café right by Cornell University. Our buddy Marc from Canada joined us and we rolled over to Cayuga Lake and to the university. As promised breakfast was delightful and wanting to show off some natural wonders to our friend from the north we made a You and your bike are quick stop at Robert H. Treman Park, a place we have % * been to many times, but it is simply so stunning it never covered with gets old. Genuine Harley-Davidson®

castle with a straight run up Route 14, he did an excellent routing job and we spent a good hour meandering around farmlands and around the Amish. One buggy we passed had three little girls in the back all smiles and waves as we rode past. I always find this remarkable – both the Amish themselves and how children of all sorts seem to love motorcycles and riders.

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Created thousands of years ago it easily rivals the more famous gorge at Watkins Glen, but is rarely as crowded. Heading back to the Finger Lakes Rally we let the GPS do it’s thing and it plotted us on some surprisingly twisty roads; as we have said, much of this region can get grid like; but the challenging roads are there they simply have to be sniffed out. By mid-afternoon it was nearing the mid 90’s and the humidity was stifling. Just a short walk from our room at Seneca Lodge is the park at Watkins Glen and their huge and cooling pool which we took direct advantage of for the remainder of the afternoon before returning back for another great night at the Seneca’s excellent restaurant and bar. We were up and out early the next morning to partake in a fantastic Finger Lakes Rally tradition, Bob’s BMW Excellent Brunch Run, which raises tons of money for our favorite charity the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, better known as The Ride For Kids.

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owners call “A Finger Lake Wienery.” Decent dogs and a bit more - a Great All American Diner Run in the future for sure. Filled up for the night we rode back to Watkins Glen and the final closing festivities of the rally. The storms that were promised showed up in earnest that Labor Day and we had an easy, yet soaking ride back to northern New Jersey and home. Labor Day Weekend usually signals the end of Summer; but for us, it signals the beginning of Autumn – a superb time to be riding. And, for us, we couldn’t wait as we had a full Fall plate indeed. Se you on the road!

The brunch and people were great and although we knew many folks there Shira and I took off for our own ride afterward and simply went picking roads for no apparent reason, finding a good 30 miles or so of fine gravel for our daily dose of dust! Our route brought us past the racetrack where we could hear the Porsche and Ferrari Clubs making some serious speed and racket. It was a beautiful sound. We stopped by the rally site for an hour or so, picking up a few items from the vendor area and then took part of the day off – relaxing, reading napping – the usual. Later in the afternoon we followed Shira’s lead to R.E.D. Hots, what the

WHAT’S UP WITH DAT? Dear Professor Know-It–All, The other day I was putting a route into my Garmin Zumo 660 and when I was done and put the little battery door back on it asked me to “Close Battery Door” even though I already did. I took it off and closed it again and it said the same thing. What’s Up With Dat? Now my Zumo is useless. Sincerely, Lost in America Dear Lost, What has happened is that there is, or in your case was, a tiny magnet on the backside of the battery door. It is extremely small but without it the circuitry will not be complete in the GPS and it will not fire up. You most likely lost this miniscule magnet when you took the door off the first time. If this happens take a close look around the floor or table and see if you can find it and use a tiny dap of glue to put it back in place. If this happens on the road and the little bugger cannot be found you can

use a very tiny one from a refrigerator magnet, as long as it is tiny enough to fit with the door closed. Once home simply order one or two from Garmin for the future. The door also has a fragile gasket and you want to take care with this each time you open and especially close the battery door. It helps when closing your Zumo 660 or 665 battery door to push the latch to the open position as it relieves stress on the door and locks. Good luck, Professor Know-It –All

Little Tiny Magnet

Join us for our fourteenth Spring Break as we head south to Luray, Virginia. We’ll stay at the historic Mimslyn Inn which has 80 years in hospitality and home to some of the best riding in the area.

There are only a few suites still available at $199/night Please call 540-743-5105 and ask for the Backroads Group for special discount. Additional lodging available at Best Western, Luray, VA 540-743-6511



November 2011  

Backroads High Alpine Adventure with Edelweiss Bike Travel, Unadilla's AMA Pro Motocross, Finger Lakes BMW Rally and so much more