In a normal riding year, I would have attended seven rallies and about 8000 miles by now. (mid June) Thanks to COVID and other issues, most of the rallies were cancelled and I have not been able to do a trip or even an overnight motorcycle ride since FlyBy Week at the end of August last year. Since then I’ve done a lot of day rides (~6000 miles worth) and pretty well worn out the roads in Southwest and South Central Ohio.
Last weekend I met a friend in Lexington, Kentucky, to ride a couple of routes from a previous MSTA STAR rally held there a few years ago. We arrived at the local Days Inn on Thursday where check-in was in at a window. We swiped our credit cards in a reader on a table, signed our paperwork and gave it to the clerk through a slot at the bottom of the window. We checked in to our separate rooms.
Dinners were at a bar next door with outside seating and fans that blew plenty of fresh air on us from the parking lot. Continental breakfast at the hotel was simple. Go to the breakfast room, where there are arrows and lines on the floor leading you around the wall to a station where you pick up one or more paper bags. Each bag had a sausage biscuit and oatmeal honey bar in it. There were some fresh oranges, orange juice and coffee. That’s it. There were two tables in the room with two chairs each. We were the only ones there at the time, but we took our food and ate in our separate rooms.
Our routes were about 225 miles per day on the wonderful fun roads North of Lexington. Kentucky has really gotten their act together- about 95% smooth blacktop. There were a couple of detours due to construction, but even the “goat path” narrow roads with no center line were paved and in good condition. As a bonus, roads were almost universally free of gravel.
A couple of cautions: Gas stations and convenience stores are open, but about half do not have public restroom access. That includes restaurants such as Wendy’s, which had no indoor or outdoor seating either. On a positive note, our Saturday lunch stop was at Bienke’s restaurant in Cynthiana, KY, which had plenty of indoor (spread out) seating and restrooms available. Pro tip: carry toilet paper and towels in a saddlebag in case you need to take any Tour de France style “necessary breaks” at the side of a country road.
If you’re ready to hit the road for a few days, you can’t go wrong in Kentucky!
Sena’s New 50 Series Bluetooth Communicators
Sena announced their new 50 series communicators around the end of April. I was skeptical- Would they actually start shipping soon? Would the new model come with mature firmware that actually worked?
The big claim was that their new Mesh 2.0 technology overcomes the mesh intercom shortcomings of the previous 30K model. To enable the 50 Series mesh 2.0 system to operate with my 30K, Sena released a firmware update for it. I updated mine and tried it out on a ride in mid May. I was shocked at the difference. The 30K now works great in mesh intercom mode like never before.
I have long felt that Bluetooth communicators needed one more generation of development to be a solid product. Seeing how well the 30K works with Mesh 2.0 firmware, I had the confidence to order a new 50S, which I’ve had for over a month and about 1500 miles. I love it. Everything works out of the box, just like you would want. The speakers are louder, slimmer and have foam on the edges as well as the front. The voice commands are very complete and easy to use, there’s support for Siri and Google voice, etc. If you ride with other Sena users, you’ll be delighted. Mesh 2.0 is the way to go! (Am keeping the 30K as a spare to loan to friends with the older 20S model to use when we ride together.)
FlyBy Week and the Pandemic
As COVID continues to hang over our heads, I’ve been working on how we can still have FlyBy Week in Marietta, Ohio, the last week of August. Fortunately Marietta is one of the least affected Ohio cities. Some activities will have to be modified or eliminated, but overall it looks like we are good to go.
Riding activities for FlyBy Week, especially in the smaller groups typical of the MSTA sport touring style, are unaffected. This will be the best year ever for FlyBy Week routes- we have 25 to choose from, including five Adventure routes in both Ohio and West Virginia. All routes have been completely redone to include gas stops every 75-100 miles, with a good lunch stop located at 50-70% distance. Each route is available in two distinct versions- one for older and non-Garmin GPS models and the other for newer BMW and Garmin models that use the Trip Planner App. These routes are easier to use and more reliable than ever before.
Social distancing represents the greatest challenge. We will probably not be able to have the traditional Friday burger burn or the group buffet on Saturday night. Attendees will be on their own for meals but we will provide a comprehensive list of dining options including take-out and delivery services.
Fortunately, our trademark “Outdoor Lounge” with lots of chairs and flexible spacious outdoor seating enables a fun and safe outdoor gathering that is quite compatible with social distancing restrictions.
The Monday – Thursday “Dinner Tours” are cancelled for this year- we will not be able to provide a bus or van to transport groups downtown for dinner. Most of the nice restaurants in town are currently open, and attendees can still arrange their own transportation or make informal group arrangements for whatever they are comfortable with.
To minimize risk, we strongly encourage online registration. For those who must register in person at the event, the room we use is quite large and since registration is spread through the whole week, there are never more than a few people in the room at the same time. Go to go to flybyweek.com for the latest information. Hope to see you there- August 24-30.
Ohio ST Owners (OH-STOC ) Rally at Shawnee State Park
Report by Pat Mogavero, President, MSTA
Spent Friday and Saturday over at Shawnee State Park (Oh) with the ST-Owners Club. Rode over Friday, arriving about three PM and hanging out until around nine. They put out a great buffet dinner that included pulled pork, pulled chicken and all the fixings. Dessert was a choice of Cherry or Peach cobbler that was baked over the coals at the central campfire. Yum!
Saturday the OH-STOC group did a ride to Hillbilly Hotdogs in West Virginia, stopping at the Flood Mural Wall in Portsmouth, Ohio. Back to the cabins they had another nice dinner spread that, included homemade Italian fare, salads and sides.
If you’re looking for another group to hang out with when there’s no MSTA event near you or happening on your schedule, I recommend checking out the ST-Owners group events. This one, OH-STOC, has been happening every year for a long time and is hosted by MSTA member W Patrick O’Bryant. I talked with many of the people there about the MSTA and many are already planning on attending FlyBy Week in August. Good people and a good time!
Connect with local Ohio Motorcycle Sport Touring Association riders at these monthly breakfasts:
Southwest Ohio Breakfast, 9AM July 18
Village Family Restaurant
144 S. Main St.
Waynesville, OH 45068
Central Ohio Breakfast, 8AM, August 2
6515 S High St
Lockbourne, OH 43137
MSTA regional events for August-
River City Ride- July 31-August 2, 2020, Corydon, Indiana
For more info and updates, contact Will Bishop at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.ridemsta.com/mstaforums/index.php?board=20.0
Register online at http://www.planetreg.com/RCR-2020
FlyBy Week- August 24-30, 2020, Marietta, Ohio. For full info and registration, go to flybyweek.com or contact event coordinator Norm Kern at email@example.com Event registration: http://c.planetreg.com/flybyweek2020