Sport Touring Corner
By Norm Kern
Marietta, Ohio, August 23-29- Motorcycle Sport Touring Association’s regional FlyBy Week was fantastic this year. For starters we had good weather- although temperatures were warm, the entire week was dry except for a shower Tuesday afternoon.
Riders were ready- everyone was eager to get free from the restrictions of COVID and get together for some serious riding.
Roads were ready- in both Ohio and West Virginia they were in the best shape in years. This year’s event had twenty seven routes to choose from, including six adventure routes, so there was something for everyone.
The new dual hotel venue, featuring the adjoining Hampton and Microtel Inns, worked out great, providing both space for our “outdoor lounge” and a meeting room for registration and seminars.
Everyone rode routes during the day and most took advantage of the nightly “dinner tours,” where transportation was provided to and from nice restaurants downtown so attendees did not have to put on gear and ride their bikes to dinner. Those who didn’t go downtown had more than twelve places to eat within easy walking distance of the hotels, including Las Trampas, a superb Mexican restaurant.
A clean motorcycle makes for a happy rider. Jeremy Riffle of Dayton, Ohio’s Vehicle Enhancements Inc, is a detailing expert, and brought a trailer full of bike washing equipment and supplies for the free use of event attendees. He even washed some of their bikes for them.
Thursday- Saturday our masseuse, Anne-Marie LaFrance, performed free twenty minute mini massages in the registration room and gave a seminar on pain management Friday evening.
After arriving and getting set up on Monday, I was able to lead a ride every day and still get back in time to open registration. Tuesday and Wednesday, I had special routes set up to check the county roads of Northern West Virginia and was pleasantly surprised at their good condition. The only problem was the failure of fellow rider Jennie Kimes’ clutch on Wednesday. I brought her back to the hotel on my bike, where one of the other attendees immediately offered the use of his truck and trailer to retrieve her bike. The clutch problem was not fixable, but she still got to ride on Thursday, borrowing Jeremy Riffle’s new 790 KTM Adventure bike.
Thursday I led some new people on the Hillbilly Hot Dogs technical route, over 260 miles of twisty back roads. My friend Emanuel Papp, from Dayton, Ohio, rode from home and planned to meet us there at 11 AM. We pulled in within a minute of each other- perfect!
On the return route after lunch, Emanuel, who had been having trouble with his fuel gauge, ran out of gas. You may think that is bad luck, but he coasted to a stop only a couple hundred feet from a gas station. Only took him a minute to push it across the road and fill up.
Friday I led a larger group on the new road route created by local resident Ron Vess, which included a number of formerly gravel county roads that have been upgraded to nice pavement, thanks to the pipeline and oil development of the past few years which is now complete.
We were having a great time until we came to the spot where a bridge was being repaired and the road was completely blocked. We backtracked a short distance and were able to detour on a gravel road that only took us about a quarter mile before coming out on another nice paved road. The lunch stop on this route was the Sakura Family Restaurant in Bellaire, Ohio. It’s an Asian restaurant with a wide variety of good food.
A number of attendees rode the adventure routes throughout the week, with Marcus Yonker and Brian Holmes leading rides on the weekend. We are developing more routes for the ADV riders and are very happy to have them.
For 2021, we had over 140 riders from 17 states, with around forty first time attendees. Thursday the most popular day of arrival, although there were many who came earlier in the week and some left before the weekend. It was a nice size group that made it easy to meet new people and connect with others to ride with.
Connect with local Ohio Motorcycle Sport Touring Association riders at these monthly breakfasts:
Southwest Ohio Breakfast, 9AM, October 16
Village Family Restaurant
144 S. Main St.
Waynesville, OH 45068
Central Ohio Breakfast, 8AM, November 7
6515 S High St
Lockbourne, OH 43137