Tag Archives: Rallies & Clubs

Americade 2021 Rally Report

Americade 2021 Rally Review
One of the guided rides at Americade was the Lake Placid Adventure, which included a stop at Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks. (Photos by the author and Andy DeLivron)

One of the many downsides of the pandemic was the cancellation of motorcycle rallies and other events. Americade, billed as the world’s largest touring rally, has been held in Lake George, New York, in late spring (typically the first week of June) every year since 1983.

The 2020 edition of Americade, which would have been touring guru Fred Rau’s 30th consecutive appearance at the event, had to be canceled. In January of this year, Americade announced that the event would be moved from early June to September 20-25.

Americade 2021 Rally Review
Riders head out on one of the many guided tours that took place daily during Americade. Rallygoers could choose from Twisties & Treats, NY & VT Covered Bridges, Vermont Spoiler, Scenic Riding & Fine Dining, and the Lake Placid Adventure, and each tour included lunch and door prizes.

“We want to make 100% sure that a 2021 Americade will happen,” said Christian Dutcher, Director of Americade. “Moving it to September gives us a very high likelihood of it happening. September is also a perfect time of year for riding, with mild temperatures, no rain, and fall foliage season beginning. It should be beautiful.”

Happen it did, and the event was a great success. Though, since it was Americade, of course there was some rain!

Americade 2021 Rally Review
Demo rides on the latest models are always popular at Americade.
Americade 2021 Rally Review
This is one of two wooden signs hand-carved years ago by Rider’s former National Sales Director Joe Salluzzo.

Rider has supported Americade since the early days, and as we do every year, we sponsored the Opening Celebration on Monday night, which is open to participants who preregister for the rally. Guests enjoyed dinner under the big tent on the lawn of the Fort William Henry Hotel & Conference Center, overlooking Lake George and the surrounding mountains. The Rick Bolton Trio and mentalist Dustin Dean provided entertainment, and we gave away door prizes.

The rally kicked off in earnest on Tuesday with guided and unguided rides, seminars, vendors and food at the Tour Expo, demo rides (BMW, Honda, Indian, KTM, Triumph, and Yamaha), boat rides, live entertainment, and many other activities. Since Lake George is on the eastern edge of Adirondack Park and not far from Vermont, there’s no shortage of fantastic roads within a 100-mile radius.

Americade 2021 Rally Review
The Americade Knights of the Round Table, with Fred Rau, Bill Dutcher, Momma D, and Greg Drevenstedt telling tall tales.
Americade 2021 Rally Review
These guys really love Americade.

On Tuesday evening, as guests enjoyed the Medieval Feast under the big tent, I did an onstage interview for the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast with Bill, Gini, and Christian Dutcher, the family that founded and runs Americade. We talked about how the rally began and what has helped it become such a popular and unique event. (To listen to the episode, go to ridermagazine.com/insider.)

Onstage after the podcast interview was the Americade Knights of the Round Table. Fred Rau, Bill Dutcher, Momma D (Dee Jones), and I wore crowns and drank mead as we told humorous and embarrassing stories about our collective travels and experiences on two wheels. The crowd had plenty of laughs at our expense, and they especially enjoyed it when we took questions from the audience.

Americade 2021 Rally Review
Riders came from far and wide to enjoy the scenic riding and activities at Americade.

Wednesday morning began drizzly and gray. At 7 a.m. Fred Rau hosted his popular coffee club. At 7:30 a.m., with raingear on, I queued up on Beach Road for the Lake Placid Adventure, one of several guided rides that day. We were joined by a group from the Wounded Warrior Project, which Americade has supported for several years. The rain stopped after about an hour, and we enjoyed a scenic ride up to Whiteface Mountain, a delicious lunch at the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid, and stops at the Olympic training facilities for the long jump and bobsled.

Americade 2021 Rally Review
A group from the Wounded Warrior Project on the Lake Placid Adventure tour.

Under the big tent on Wednesday and Saturday nights, comedian Alonzo Bodden entertained large crowds. During his stand-up sets and “Heavy Lightweight” special on Amazon Prime Video, Bodden’s comedy is topical. But as a longtime motorcycle enthusiast with several bikes in his garage, when Bodden performs at Americade, he interacts with the audience and spins comedy gold from his on-the-spot moto-related dialogue. Bodden returns year after year, and every show is unique. (To listen to our interview with Alonzo Bodden on the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast, visit ridermagazine.com/insider.)

Americade 2021 Rally Review
Taking a moment to swap bikes on our Triumph ride with Alonzo Bodden, Peter Jones, Adam VanderVeen, and Dean Court.

On Thursday, I had a chance to go on a ride with Bodden, The Moto Life columnist Peter Jones, Adam VanderVeen from Triumph America, and Isle of Man TT racer Dean Court. After the demo rides ended, we gassed up a Rocket 3 GT, Trident 660, Street Triple, and Speed Triple 1200 RS, and wound our way up Highway 9N along the western shore of Lake George. We made it back to town just before the rain began.

Americade 2021 Rally Review
At the Tour Expo, rallygoers can have audio systems, LED lights, and other accessories installed on their motorcycles while they wait.
Americade 2021 Rally Review
On Saturday the sun was out and the Tour Expo was a popular place for attendees to buy accessories, apparel, seat cush-ions, T-shirts, and more.

After a major storm blew through in the wee hours of Friday morning, the skies cleared and the next two days were sunny. Being only a few hours from the New York and Boston metro areas, Friday and Saturday are always the busiest days at Americade. The Expo was packed with folks shopping for new gear and having audio systems and accessories installed on their bikes.

Under the big tent was the Friday Night Spectacular, with a dinner, People’s Choice judging, Brown Liquor Social Club, Vintage Bike Roar, awards, and major door prizes. There was a boat cruise on the Minne-Ha-Ha and fireworks over the lake.

Americade 2021 Rally Review
The Ride for Kids charity event at Americade raised more than $17,000

Saturday featured a Ride for Kids charity ride that raised more than $17,000 for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. From 1-10 p.m. was the Block Party & Music Festival. As with every night of the rally, there were bikes parked along Canada Street and others cruising up and down, many adorned with brightly colored lights.

Next year’s Americade will take place June 6-11, 2022, so start making plans now. For more information, visit americade.com.

Check out some of the bikes we saw at Americade:

The post Americade 2021 Rally Report first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

VIDEO: IMS Rides – Riding the Central California Coast

We joined Progressive IMS Outdoors for a ride up the coast to Sonoma Raceway for the Northern California show. Check out Episode 9 of IMS Rides: Riding the Central California Coast, brought to you by Cardo Systems and Brake Free Tech. Thanks to Riders Share for the use of a BMW R 1250 GS for the trip.⁠

Click here for a map of the route

⁠We cruised up U.S. Highway 101 to Santa Barbara, went over San Marcos Pass on Highway 154, and had lunch at the funky Madonna Inn.⁠

Then the fun really began on California Highway 1, riding past Morro Rock, checking out the elephant seals near San Simeon, and riding on the world famous stretch of Highway 1 from Ragged Point to Big Sur, for a night of camping at Fernwood Resort.⁠

IMS Outdoors IMS Rides Episode 9 Riding the Central California Coast video
Fernwood Resort is located on Highway 1 in Big Sur, California.

Fort Bragg to Sonoma Raceway: IMS Outdoors Northern California Ride

Even though it was July, the rugged Big Sur coast was foggy and cold. We rolled over the iconic Bixby Bridge before arriving in Carmel-by-the-Sea.⁠

After hugging Monterey Bay on Highway 1, in Santa Cruz we turned onto tight, twisty Highway 9 and rode into the towering redwoods. We continued north on Highway 35 (aka Skyline Drive) and stopped for lunch at the legendary Alice’s Restaurant.⁠

IMS Outdoors IMS Rides Episode 9 Riding the Central California Coast video
Riding through the redwoods on California Route 9 near Santa Cruz.

Back on Highway 1 along the coast for a fantastic ride from Half Moon Bay to Pacifica, including a 4,000-ft Devils Slide Tunnel bored through the mountains.

In San Francisco, we stretched our legs at the Presidio before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and heading to Sonoma Raceway for the Progressive IMS Outdoors show.⁠

IMS Outdoors IMS Rides Episode 9 Riding the Central California Coast video

For the 2021 Progressive IMS Outdoors tour schedule and to buy tickets, visit motorcycleshows.com.

The post VIDEO: IMS Rides – Riding the Central California Coast first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Fort Bragg to Sonoma Raceway: IMS Outdoors Northern California Ride

Open Road to Progressive IMS Outdoors Northern California Ride Sonoma Raceway
Taking in the view from Duncans Point on a cold, foggy summer day.
(Photo by Kevin Wing)

For 2021, the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows tour has been rebranded as Progressive IMS Outdoors and events will be held outside, like open-air powersports festivals. The tour will visit nine major markets around the U.S. between July and November (see the full schedule at motorcycleshows.com). Each stop will be a three-day event for powersports enthusiasts and potential riders of all ages and skill levels, with motorcycle demo rides and hands-on experiences unique to each venue. 

The first stop is in Northern California, at Sonoma Raceway over the weekend of July 16-18. We’re providing suggested scenic rides to or near each tour stop, with routes available on the REVER app. The Northern California ride is a 165-mile paved route that starts in the coastal town of Fort Bragg and ends at Sonoma Raceway, which is located north of San Francisco. Most of the route follows California State Route 1 south along the scenic, rugged Pacific Coast. 

Open Road to Progressive IMS Outdoors Northern California Ride Sonoma Raceway REVER map

Click here to view the REVER route shown above

Fort Bragg is a charming burg that’s home to the Sea Glass Museum, the Skunk Train, and North Coast Brewing Company. Heading south through town on Route 1 (Main Street), the ride begins on the Noyo River Bridge. Known in this area as Shoreline Highway, Route 1 is a scenic two-lane road that winds along the contours of the coast. Despite being just 165 miles long, this route typically takes four to five hours, not including stops. 

Open Road to Progressive IMS Outdoors Northern California Ride Sonoma Raceway
The route starts on the Noyo River Bridge in Fort Bragg. (Photo by Clement Salvadori)

You’ll want to stop often at the many towns, natural areas, scenic overlooks, and state parks along the way, such as the Navarro River Bridge, where Route 128 goes inland to the Navarro River Redwoods State Park. Other highlights include Mendocino, Point Arena Lighthouse, Stewarts Point, Salt Point State Park, Fort Ross, Jenner, Sonoma Coast State Park, Duncans Point, and Bodega Bay. 

Open Road to Progressive IMS Outdoors Northern California Ride Sonoma Raceway
Jenner is a charming village near where the Russian River flows into the Pacific. (Photo by Clement Salvadori)

After riding along the eastern edge of Tomales Bay, you’ll arrive in the town of Point Reyes Station. Turn onto Point Reyes-Petaluma Road, which follows Lagunitas Creek and passes along the Nicasio Reservoir. The route continues east, crosses U.S. Route 101, and follows State Route 37 (Sears Point Road) and State Route 121 (Arnold Drive) to Sonoma Raceway. Enjoy the ride and enjoy the show!

For more information about Progressive IMS Outdoors and to buy tickets, visit motorcycleshows.com.

Open Road to Progressive IMS Outdoors Northern California Ride Sonoma Raceway
Sonoma Raceway is located northern of San Pablo Bay.

The post Fort Bragg to Sonoma Raceway: IMS Outdoors Northern California Ride first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Adirondack Motomarathon Set for June 1-4

Motomarathon
A photo from the 2009 Pikes Peak Motomarathon in Colorado. The 2021 event will be held in upstate New York.

With the New York Adirondack Motomarathon scheduled for June 1-4 based out of North River, New York, the first organized motorcycle sport-touring event format is back in action after a COVID-19 hiatus.

After moving its headquarters from Colorado to the East Coast last year, the iconic Motomarathon Association will retain its original format developed over more than 30 years of organized group riding that compresses as many twisty and scenic roads as possible into a four-day motorcycle vacation.

Motomarathons have been run in virtually every popular riding area in America, from the Rocky Mountains to the California Coastal Ranges and Pacific Northwest, from the Ozarks to the Great Smokies, and from the Great Lakes to New England.

Routes are designed by local experts and kept secret until the evening before each day’s ride. Participants complete a series of self-recorded checkpoints, photographing their badge numbers at designated landmarks to validate their completion of the route. These checkpoints are recorded by the Motomarathon Association for event, annual and lifetime standings.

“Motomarathon is the perfect post-pandemic pastime, and the Adirondack Mountains have some of the best riding roads in the country,” said new owner John Bossolt, who takes over the reins from founder John Metzger. “Long-distance motorcycle sport touring may be one of the purest forms of individual recreation that can be shared with others, but with virtually zero contact.”

Metzger, author of two books on the subject – Meditation by Motorcycle and Motorcycling Through Midlife – continues on as an advisor.

For more information, visit Motomarathon’s website (motomarathon.com) or Facebook page.

The post Adirondack Motomarathon Set for June 1-4 first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Christian Dutcher: Ep. 10 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast

Rider Magazine Insider Podcast Episode 10 Christian Dutcher Director Americade Touratech DirtDaze Rally
Christian Dutcher is the Director of Americade and the Touratech DirtDaze Rally.

Our guest is Christian Dutcher, Director of Americade, the Touratech DirtDaze Rally and Rolling Thru America, a motorcycle tour company focusing on the Eastern U.S. Americade is the World’s Largest Touring Rally and takes place each year in Lake George, New York. Due to the pandemic, Americade was cancelled in 2020 and will move from June to September in 2021. We discuss what makes Americade such a special event, from the scenic rides and huge vendor area to the entertainment and family-friendly atmosphere.

Check out the episode on SoundCloudStitcher or iTunes, or you can listen on the Rider Magazine Insider podcast webpage.

The post Christian Dutcher: Ep. 10 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Christian Dutcher: Ep. 10 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast

Rider Magazine Insider Podcast Episode 10 Christian Dutcher Director Americade Touratech DirtDaze Rally
Christian Dutcher is the Director of Americade and the Touratech DirtDaze Rally.

Our guest is Christian Dutcher, Director of Americade, the Touratech DirtDaze Rally and Rolling Thru America, a motorcycle tour company focusing on the Eastern U.S. Americade is the World’s Largest Touring Rally and takes place each year in Lake George, New York. Due to the pandemic, Americade was cancelled in 2020 and will move from June to September in 2021. We discuss what makes Americade such a special event, from the scenic rides and huge vendor area to the entertainment and family-friendly atmosphere.

Check out the episode on SoundCloudStitcher or iTunes, or you can listen on the Rider Magazine Insider podcast webpage.

The post Christian Dutcher: Ep. 10 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Christian Dutcher: Ep. 10 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast

Rider Magazine Insider Podcast Episode 10 Christian Dutcher Director Americade Touratech DirtDaze Rally
Christian Dutcher is the Director of Americade and the Touratech DirtDaze Rally.

Our guest is Christian Dutcher, Director of Americade, the Touratech DirtDaze Rally and Rolling Thru America, a motorcycle tour company focusing on the Eastern U.S. Americade is the World’s Largest Touring Rally and takes place each year in Lake George, New York. Due to the pandemic, Americade was cancelled in 2020 and will move from June to September in 2021. We discuss what makes Americade such a special event, from the scenic rides and huge vendor area to the entertainment and family-friendly atmosphere.

Check out the episode on SoundCloudStitcher or iTunes, or you can listen on the Rider Magazine Insider podcast webpage.

The post Christian Dutcher: Ep. 10 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Babes Ride Out 7

Babes Ride Out 7
Babes Ride Out 7 attracted women on all flavors of motorcycles — cruisers, sportbikes, ADVs and more — to the golden hills of central California. Photos by the author.

A women-only rally celebrating the camaraderie of two wheels.

It all started, like these things often do, with two friends who just wanted to share a newfound love of riding motorcycles. They planned a “girls’ weekend” of riding and camping in California’s Mojave Desert, and thought it might be fun to invite some of the fellow women riders they’d been connecting with on social media (but had yet to meet in person). Playfully, they dubbed it Babes in Borrego. The year was 2013, and to their surprise 50 women showed up, some having come from as far away as New York and Oregon. They were all there for one simple reason: they loved to ride motorcycles. 

The next year Anya and Ashmore, the two founding friends, stepped up their game for what they were now calling Babes Ride Out, renting a private campground near Joshua Tree, California. They expected 150 women; instead they got 500. The next year, 1,500. That same year, 2015, they hosted their first off-road-oriented event, called (of course) Babes in the Dirt. In 2016, Babes Ride Out — or BRO for short — expanded to the East Coast and then to the UK. Anya and Ashmore had tapped into a powerful force: women who were passionate about riding and who craved the camaraderie that only a gathering of motorcyclists seems to provide, without egos or expectations — and, incidentally, without men.

Babes Ride Out jacket
Sorry, gents. There’s only one rule at BRO: no boys allowed. Well…two rules. The other is have fun!

BRO is a female-only event, and 2019 was my second one. My first time, in 2017, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As someone who was never one of the “cool girls” as a teenager, I was actually pretty worried it would feel like a bigger, scarier version of the junior high school lunchroom. It turned out to be the complete opposite. The whole event was infused with an energy of inclusiveness and fellowship, unlike any rally I’d ever attended. I knew I’d be back.

For 2019, BRO made a location change for the first time, from the desert to the rolling golden hills south of Paso Robles in California’s Central Coast wine country. Most everything else stayed the same; BRO has always been a riding-centric event, and on Saturday the camp empties out as everyone hits the road one on of the pre-planned routes (sponsor Biltwell provided printed maps) or one of their own devising.

Big Sur motorcycle ride
BRO has always been a riding event first and foremost, so on Saturday the camp empties out as everyone hits the scenic California roads. My group chose to cruise up Highway 1 to Big Sur for lunch, not a bad way to spend a Saturday!

Most of the pre-planned routes are short, a few hours or so, to give riders a chance to return to camp and take part in welding or leatherwork workshops hosted by Real Deal Revolution (co-founded by the late Jessi Combs), Harley-Davidson demo rides, M1GP minibike knee-dragging seminars, bike games and more. In the evenings, there is karaoke, live music (this year was Twisted Gypsy, a Fleetwood Mac tribute band), vendors and craftswomen, a tattoo station, free beer and whiskey (“till it runs out!”), telescopes for stargazing and food trucks for late-night grub.

Entrance to the private venue is secured 24 hours a day, and they take the “no guys allowed” rule seriously. Most of us camped in the big open field, but plenty of women brought RVs and there are even some available for rent. For those who wanted to camp but don’t own all the gear or couldn’t transport it on their bike, items like tents, sleeping pads and sleeping bags are also available to rent.

Babes Ride Out camping
The private venue, which has 24-hour security, included a huge open field for camping. Meeting new friends is a large part of the BRO experience, so even if you roll in alone you’re likely to have a neighbor stroll up and introduce herself.

There was a lot of smiling, a lot of laughter, dancing like no guys are watching, fantastic riding in California’s Central Coast and, of course, the warm camaraderie of a couple thousand women coming together to celebrate the passion we all share. Consider me a Babes believer; this is a special experience and I encourage female riders of all persuasions to attend at least one if you can. You won’t be disappointed. 

BRO East typically takes place in early June; BRO West takes place in mid-October; Babes in the Dirt takes place in late April. See websites for locations and updates.

Babesrideout.com / Babesinthedirt.com

Keep scrolling for more photos!

Babes Ride Out barn
The barn was the center of the action each evening, with a karaoke contest the first night and live music by Twisted Gypsy, a Fleetwood Mac tribute band, the second night.
Babes Ride Out Twisted Gypsy
Babes Ride Out
The barn also hosted several female artisans offering their crafts, like custom embroidery and helmet pinstriping. A raffle included items like hand-painted helmets, jackets, camping gear and more.
Real Deal Revolution
Between daytime rides and in the evenings, attendees could sign up for Real Deal Revolution workshops including leatherwork, welding, painting and more. This year was bittersweet, as the event paid tribute to Real Deal co-founder, land speed racer, television personality and all-around awesome lady Jessi Combs, who tragically died in a land speed record attempt in August.
Real Deal Revolution Babes Ride Out
Christina with Real Deal Revolution hosts a leatherworking workshop, making keychains participants got to keep.
Real Deal Revolution Babes Ride Out
The hands-on experience continued with welding classes. Real Deal Revolution’s self-stated mission is to “revolutionize the perception of skilled trades…and women’s role in them.”
M1GP Babes Ride Out
Most of the ladies in this picture had never dragged a knee before today, but after our M1GP minibike seminar we were all feeling like professional racers.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

17th Annual Blue Ridge Gatherings

Blue Ridge Parkway
The gently curving Blue Ridge Parkway helped us get to the Blue Ridge Gathering — and lots of twisty mountain roads that aren’t so well known. Photos by the author.

The Blue Ridge Gathering is an annual meeting of sport-touring riders in western North Carolina, one of the best regions in the U.S. for motorcycling. In October 2018, riders came from as far as Newfoundland to ride some amazing mountain roads.

“I dug through the archives and the first records are from 2002, so this must be the 17th annual Blue Ridge Gathering,” said Phil Derryberry of Nashville, Tennessee, one of the event’s founders. “The original goal was to bring together Honda ST riders in these mountains, but it’s simply become a gathering of people who like to ride here. It’s not about what you ride, just that you do ride.”

Newfoundland license plate
Just how good are the roads in these parts? Good enough that Jim G. Gow rode from York Harbour, Newfoundland — 2,400 miles one-way — just to get here.

Phil is a self-described 7th generation Tennessee hillbilly. “The first Derryberrys were Adam and Eve — yes, really,” he smiled. “They settled there before Tennessee was a state. Both of my grandfathers were moonshiners and bootleggers at one point in their lives.” Though he’s a software developer and highly accomplished pianist, Phil embraces his hillbilly roots. Part of that, he told me, is knowing the best mountain roads, and he says they’re in these parts.

“People come to the Blue Ridge Gathering with a goal of riding some great roads they’ve never seen before,” he explained by a blazing campfire. “I study maps and explore, so it changes every year. If you’re not from around here, you’re not likely to find the roads that I found.” 

Moonshine Creek Campground in Balsam, North Carolina
Moonshine Creek Campground in Balsam, North Carolina, is ideally situated for easy access to some of the region’s best twisty mountain roads.

I can attest to Phil’s talent finding roads. These aren’t the ones you’ve heard of, like the gently curving Blue Ridge Parkway or the 11-mile stretch of U.S. Route 129 known as the Tail of the Dragon (which crosses into Tennessee). Such roads are fun, but they’re also tourist attractions that get crowded. Phil finds roads that most people wouldn’t, ones with unexciting monikers like Lower Flat Creek Road and Macedonia Church Road. They are challenging, technical and demand each rider’s full attention. 

When riding these roads in a group, it helps to have a simple approach that keeps the group united while everyone rides their own ride. Phil is a proponent of Drop and Sweep. “Some guys who come to the Blue Ridge Gathering have skills close to pro racers and some are relative newbies,” Phil explained. “If you ride to the lowest common denominator, it’s not good for everyone. With Drop and Sweep, you ride your own ride at your own speed, but the group remains a group, just spread out. It’s a safer way to organize a group ride because it relieves dynamics based on skill level. I learned it while I was touring in England and it worked so well I started to use it here.” (To learn more about Drop and Sweep, visit unclephil.us/groupride.htm.) 

touring motorcycle riders
After breakfast, people joining the group ride review the simple rules for Drop and Sweep.
touring motorcycle riders
To learn more about Drop and Sweep, visit unclephil.us.

After riding several of Phil’s roads, I sat down at a coffee shop in Marshall, North Carolina, and asked Blue Ridge Gathering riders about their experiences. “All of us are at least a day’s ride from this area and we think nothing of riding here to ride these roads,” said Ashley Horn, a Honda ST1300 rider from Jacksonville, Florida. “I came here in my pre-motorcycle years for hiking and wished I had a motorcycle. My wife then was a big ‘no motorcycles’ person, so I got a new wife — and a motorcycle. This is my happy place.”

“I first came up here in my car to visit friends,” said Dave Doolin, also of Jacksonville, who came on a Honda Gold Wing. “They didn’t ride and when I was up here in their truck and saw the roads, I was fit to be tied without a motorcycle to ride. Ever since, I come on a motorcycle. This region has become an important part of my life.”

motorcycle camping
Honda ST1300s are still the most commonly seen bikes at the Blue Ridge Gathering, but all riders and bikes are welcome.
motorcycle camping
The Blue Ridge Gathering has always been primarily a camping event.

Wayne Efthyvoulou, a long-time sportbike rider from Easthampton, New Jersey, was on his first long tour aboard a purpose-designed sport tourer, his newly acquired Honda ST1300. He was succinct: “It’s great here.” 

The Blue Ridge Gathering is not a commercial event so riders only pay for a campsite or cabin, meals and gas. (Fair warning: you’ll eat up tires faster than usual!) “What makes the Blue Ridge Gathering different is we take roads that aren’t on anybody’s radar,” said Phil. “Most don’t make the ‘Tour North Carolina’ maps. They’re steep, twisty, challenging mountain roads unique to this part of the U.S. I’d love for people who come to have a great safe ride, enjoy some scenery, talk around a campfire after dark and leave feeling like they learned something. And that’s about it.”

For more information, visit blueridgegathering.com.

Macedonia Church Road (State Route 1326) in Rosman, North Carolina
Steve Efthyvoulou and his son Wayne, both from New Jersey, rest along wonderfully winding Macedonia Church Road (State Route 1326) in Rosman, North Carolina.
Macedonia Church Road
Speaking of wonderfully winding Macedonia Church Road…here it is.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

The Quail Gathering XI

Quail XI, Quail 2019
The weather was wonderful, the motorcycles beautiful (mostly), the food delicious, and more than 3,000 people came to enjoy the show. Photos by the author and David Fairchild

The Quail Motorcycle Gathering has been going on for 11 years now, and I’m happy to say it was just as good the 11th time around. You ride along Carmel Valley Road, going east from Carmel, and signs soon indicate the Quail Lodge is off to the right (on Valley Greens Drive, in case you need that for your GPS). Ride past the lodge, cross a little bridge, then you see a lot of white tents off to your right and a straight road ahead — lined with hundreds of parked motorcycles.

Find a slot to back your bike into, and then walk over to the entrance. For 11 years I’ve left my gear on the bike and never lost anything, but there is a free “gear valet” tent should you be of a nervous nature. If you didn’t get an $85 ticket ahead of time, pay your $95, pick up a very well-done program — makes a great souvenir — and head on in. By 11 o’clock some 3,000 people are walking around this large grassy area, looking at more than 300 motorcycles on display, from scooters to customized creations, some gorgeous, some bizarre. A tasty lunch is provided for the price of the ticket; since the culinary pavilions are open from 11 to 3, peckish types can eat several lunches. Encircling the grass are a whole lot of tents featuring everything from motorcycle manufacturers to auction houses to medics with their electric bicycles, waiting to rush off and succor any ailing individual…perhaps someone so stricken by the beauty of the motorcycles that he or she faints from overwrought pleasure.

The Quail has never discriminated, as long as a machine has two wheels (sometimes three) and a motor, internal combustion or electric. For the awards there are nine traditional competing classes running from Antique to Custom/Modified, and a dozen featured classes that can be quite subjective, as they include subjects like Innovation and Design & Style. The tents on the sidelines may be showing off the very latest in modernism, including a rather expensive Arch motorcycle from the company of which Keanu Reeves is part owner; one of those will probably appear in the next “John Wick” movie. Or the latest battery-powered streetfighter from Italy, the Energica Eva, claiming a top speed of 125 mph and a range of less than 100 miles.

Since 2019 is the 50th anniversary of Honda’s CB750, that was a major part of the show. And it happened to be the 100th anniversary of the Brough Superior, so there were a few of those on display, most restored, but one had 90-year-old paint. By the way, it is important that that word Superior word be kept in there, as Daddy Brough had been building Brough bikes for a few years, since 1908, and then his son George came along and had the nerve to make what he claimed was a superior version. Which, apparently, it was. More than 3,000 Brough Superiors were built between 1919 and 1940, and to the surprise of many perhaps a third survive to this day. But not a single Daddy Brough to be seen.

Quail XI, Quail 2019, Brough Superior
This 1939 Brough Superior SS100 used a 998cc Matchless V-twin, and the 100 stood for guaranteed miles per hour, not engine size.

Somewhat more CB750s came off the production line, like 53,000 in 1969, and I’ve seen the figure of 444,000 total for the single overhead cam version, which was around for a long 10 years before becoming the double overhead cam. And Honda models with that 750cc (roughly) air-cooled in-line-four engine have stayed around into the 21st century. A pseudo-replica came out in 2007, though I don’t think that model ever made it stateside due to problems with the Department of Transportation.

More than 7,000 of the first batch of CB750s were called “sandcast” models, but an interesting tidbit of information is that the sandcast name is a misnomer. As Honda was concerned about the sales possibilities for this all-new-and-different motorcycle, rather than making more expensive production casting dies for the long run, it used less expensive gravity-casting metal molds for the first batch of engine cases. This left a rough finish that was mistaken for sand casting. Once the popularity of this bike was established, production die-casting molds were made.

Quail XI, Quail 2019, CB750 display
That is part of the Honda CB750 display, and the people who brought their CB750s to display are relaxing, while the mass of viewers are busy viewing.

A third featured class was for (pre-2000) Off-Road Wonders, covering every aspect of off-roading, from enduros to motocross. History tells us that observed trials riding began in Scotland more than 100 years ago. It was fun to look at some middle-aged machines intended for grueling events like the original Paris-Dakar Rally in the Sahara Desert.

Quail XI, Quail 2019, Sportster Enduro
We’re not sure why anybody would want to turn a Harley Sportster into an enduro bike, but this aesthetically questionable version was done by Jim Carducci.

Since The Gathering happened to coincide with International Female Ride Day, three women had their time on stage, including much-published Cristine Sommer-Simmons, who has motivated a lot of women to try the pleasures of motorcycling. The star of this three-way chat was obviously 11-year-old Kayla Yaakov, who has been road racing for two years and winning — much to the disgruntlement of those she has beaten. Also on hand was Ginger Damon, of Moto Couture, a company making fashionable protective gear for women.

There is always someone of note to serve as the latest Legend of the Sport, and this year it was legendary racer Malcolm Smith, who starred in the “On Any Sunday” movie. When he got on stage with his movie buddy Mert Lawwill, listening to their reminiscences hosted by Master of Ceremonies and sartorial wonder Paul d’Orleans of The Vintagent was pure pleasure.

Quail XI, Quail 2019, Malcom Smith
The Quail always nominates a Legend of the Sport, and for 2019 it was Malcolm Smith, who was one of the trio starring in the “On Any Sunday” movie.

The judges, under the leadership of Somer Hooker, finished their work in early afternoon, and more than 30 awards were handed out — Sam Roberts’ sandcast 1969 CB750 won Best of Show. All of the awards can be found online.

As a postscript, I will add that it takes a lot of work to keep a show like this going, and a fellow named Gordon McCall should probably take credit for that. He’s a local man, raised on the Monterey Peninsula, and well versed in the art of promotion as he puts on expensive car shows and very expensive airplane events. He is also good at promoting himself, with a pleasant short article about his buying his first motorcycle (a Honda 50) at age 14 appearing in an April edition of The Wall Street Journal.

Quail XI, Quail 2019, best of show
That’s Sam Roberts looking proud as his 1969 “sandcast” Honda CB750 just won the Best of Show award. (Photo by Tom Meadows)

How do The Gathering’s finances work? At last count there were 46 sponsors, from Geico insurance to Marianne’s ice cream — which people have been enjoying since 1947. The sponsors all contribute to the costs, from rental of the property for three days to feeding the crowd. And the tickets bought by the attendees probably add $250,000 or more. Money in, with money out including expenses, charitable donations and profit — if there is any to be had. The 2020 show is already being advertised…May 16th.

Keep scrolling for more pictures of the bikes at Quail XI….

Quail XI, Quail 2019, Curtiss Warhawk
The Curtiss Warhawk is powered by a 2,063cc OHV V-twin bolted into a monocoque frame, and can be yours for a mere $105,000; only 35 will be built.
Quail XI, Quail 2019, BMW with sidecar
Cars being expensive in the early 1950s, sidecars were popular; this classy outfit has a 1954 BMW R67/2 bolted to a S500 Steib.
Quail XI, Quail 2019, 1953 Indian Chief
This 1953 Indian Chief is the final example of the original marque; its demise was partially attributed to the company’s not upgrading the flathead V-twin to overhead.
Quail XI, Quail 2019, Revival The Birdcage
Revival Cycles’ “The Revival Birdcage” custom has a titanium trellis frame built around the Big Boxer engine that will power a BMW cruiser in 2020.
Quail XI, Quail 2019, Laverda
Laverda was a noted Italian company in the 1970s, coming out with very fast motorcycles, including this 3C triple with two disc brakes on the front wheel.
Quail XI, Quail 2019, Asymmetric Aero
So what is this curious machine? It’s called the Asymmetric Aero, powered by a Triumph 650 pushrod engine, and did 175 mph at Bonneville Salt Flats.
Quail XI, Quail 2019, vintage scooters
Anything with two—or sometimes three—wheels and a motor is welcome, as with this quartet of scooters, a Lambretta at the front, a trio of Vespas behind.
Quail XI, Quail 2019, BSA Bantan, Moto Guzzi Cardellino
A pair of tiddlers, with a 1950 BSA Bantam 125 in British post-office red, backed by a 1956 Moto Guzzi 65cc Cardellino in MG red.

Source: RiderMagazine.com