Friday, January 26, 2018

Top Tools for Every Rider


Looking to do some of your own maintenance so you’re not constantly running back to the dealership or to your buddy for help with your bike? We get it - it’s nice to be able to take care of some smaller maintenance issues on your own. If you’re just getting going with at-home maintenance, check out the board below for our recommendations and some other great resources on the topic. This should help you pick which tools you buy to outfit your garage. 




A Compiled List of Motorcycle Basics


There’s a lot of information out there if you are just getting into riding and it can be hard to decide what to listen to. So, we’ve put together a list of our top resources to help get you started.

Step #1: Figure out what you want to ride

If you’ve never been on a bike before, it can be hard to decide what you want - so take your time and check out all your options. These three articles should give you a good place to start - and then once you have your license, you can actually go test ride some of these bad boys.


Step #2: Keep your noggin covered - and find other gear you’ll need

While some of this other gear might be optional - helmets definitely aren’t. They also aren’t cheap. So pick one you like and plan to be happy with for a while. Web Bike World’s reviews are thorough - but if you are looking for other gear - gloves, pants, etc. - you can’t go wrong with the article from Best Beginning Motorcycles.


Step #3: Get trained & learn the laws

Motorcycle laws are different in every state (and there are some strange ones that exist) - and you’ll want to be educated when you head out on the road. Study up and take a course to make sure you feel comfortable.


Step #4: Check out local clubs

Once you’re educated and outfitted - find other riders in your area. The dealership you purchased your ride from may have some groups, but if not - look for local meetups to help you get going in the community.


We hope this helps get you started - and cuts out some of the noise of the Internet. You can’t go wrong learning how to ride. It actually IS as fun as it’s cracked up to be.

Top Notch Backpacks


It’s no shocker that bikes don’t have tons of storage - even if you’ve added some saddlebags on your ride - so having a backpack that is reliable and sturdy is crucial. But - let’s be honest - sometimes wearing a backpack makes you feel like you’re back in school. Well - not these backpacks. These are sleek and definitely worthy of a spot on your ride… or should we say back?


This bag comes in a variety of color options - although we’re fans of the dark grey. It’s got plenty of room inside to hold your gear - and two conveniently placed outer pockets for things you need to get to more easily. We like the security the outer flap provides - so you’re sure the the stuff in those outside pockets is going to stay put. 


Any bag that can hold all of our stuff and our helmet is an automatic win in our book. And this guy comes at a great price point. It’s got a sporty feel to it and plenty of room inside. Another perk - because this is made by a brand catering to the needs of bikers - this pack has reflective piping to help you stand out at night. 


This backpack is surprisingly large - bragging it can hold somewhere between three to five days worth of travel goods - and it has the ability to charge your phone. So if you like to take your bike out for several days at a time, this could be the one for you. It also says that it’s an “anti-theft” backpack - although we couldn’t tell exactly why - but our best guess is because of where the zipper is placed - if someone tried to get in there, you would definitely feel it. 


No matter your style - this backpack has you covered. Looking for something bright and bold? They’ve got it. Prefer to go with all black? They’ve got that too. These bags have a drawstring top and are plenty long - so you can shove stuff deep in there. Also - the flap that closes over the top has storage for things like your wallet and phone and allows you use that for additional outside storage - maybe even your helmet. 


This is the most fashionable and high-design backpack we included - but we like that it can go from “day-to-night” or “bike-to-business” pretty easily. So maybe you use this as your backpack during the week - and then switch to one of the other options during the weekend? Just a thought. This guy also still has plenty of storage - and offers a horizontal strap that gives you nice streamlined back support so it should be comfortable to have on your back while you ride.

So there you have it. These bags should give you a little extra storage while you ride - so you can easily take everything you need with you while you’re out and about.





Thursday, December 28, 2017

In Case You Missed It: IMS New York City


We get it - you can’t travel to every motorcycle event going on. It would be great - but adult life gets in the way - and as annoying as it is, it usually wins out. No worries - that’s why you have us.

We were up at the IMS New York City show earlier this month and it was… impressive. The event was packed - and for good reason. The manufacturers and vendors really brought their A-game with bigger booths, interactive experiences, and better bikes.

Two big takeaways to sum up the show:

There’s a new motorcycle culture in town

And the Shift booth was there to represent. The whole space had a coffee shop meets brewery vibe - and was focused on all things motorcycle culture and lifestyle. The space was open - feeling like a market with several popup booths scattered throughout. Each spot had a small description of the company, with some swag items you could pick up and a cool motorcycle lifestyle magazine called META that you could read. Shift is a good name for this - because it was a public acknowledgement of the changing culture in our industry. No longer is riding just about being a badass - sure, that’s an added perk - but it’s starting to have more of a relaxed, almost inclusive vibe about it, opening it up to more riders.

The manufacturers brought their A-game

The manufacturers weren’t messing around - their booths were bigger and better than ever - and, no surprise, the bikes were equally as impressive.

Harley’s booth was packed. If their bikes weren’t drawing people in - the “test ride” section certainly was. And since there weren’t live test rides at the event - Harley got creative by setting up a bike in front of a winding highway backdrop to let people take pictures on. Considering that new lifestyle focus that seems to be creeping into the our industry - this seemed particularly on point. People were lined up.

For many - this was the first time they got to see the new Honda Goldwing up close. And while we were hearing mixed reviews about it from people during the show - it didn’t stop people from checking it out. And while it looks alot like previous year’s - the upgraded features are, admittedly, pretty cool.

Vanderhall was one of the most unexpected things we saw. To be honest, I’m not even sure what to call it… it’s basically half Slingshot, half vintage car. Built on a three wheel frame it technically still qualifies as a motorcycle, but the grill on the front gives it a vintage sportscar feel. I’m not sure it would be my first choice for an actual purchase - but in terms of something cool to see at the show - it definitely hit the mark. We wouldn’t mind renting one of these bad boys for a weekend trip down the California or Florida coasts.

Bottom line - a motorcycle show in New York City isn’t a bad place to be. We liked the new vibe and were happy to see so many bikers in one spot. Definitely worth a stop if you can make it out next year.

The Path to 2022: Harley is Leading the Way


I’m sure you’ve all noticed - the change that has been slowly taking over the motorcycle industry for the past few years. We - and by we, I mean all riders - have changed. Our preferences. Our interests. Our new community - its different.

It’s not just that some of us are getting older, it's really the different types of people who are choosing to ride. For some of us our bike is a toy, or a weekend alternative to that larger 4 wheeled ride in the driveway. For others, we ride because our dad did and his dad did too. And then there are those of us who want a bike that’s nothing like their old man’s. You get the idea. We aren’t a one size fits all community, and that means we need that many more bikes to choose from.

Harley has gotten this memo loud and clear and they are taking this new challenge on with a bold “get out of my way” type attitude by promising 50 new models in the next 5 years. Because seriously, who doesn’t like options?

These new models will run the gamut - providing bikes for any type of rider - some bigger with a classic build, some smaller and more sleek - and that’s just what this industry - and our riding community - needs.

Trust us, no one wants to see more people get involved in riding than we do. So, props to Harley for stepping up their game and ushering in this new era for all of us riders. It’s about time the motorcycle industry embraced both the new and old faces of our community.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Chic Clothes


Let’s just say it - shopping for women’s clothes can be hard, even if you are one. Even though the holidays just passed, we want to help you out with some suggestions for that motorcycle-riding lady in your life - whether you need them now, or in the future. And since we know you’re likely already out of your comfort zone - we’ve picked items from stores you might not frequent all the time. 

Let’s start with the all important jacket. A motorcycle jacket has to be multi-functional - and we think all of these options meet that mark. You could easily ride in them and then head out to a nice dinner afterwards. While we know black leather is a favorite, we threw in some varying color and texture options, just in case.

Clean lines. Super chic.

An alternative to the traditional leather options.

We like that this grey isn’t pushy - nice and subtle.

Now onto the boot options. We wanted to give you a tall, medium, and small option - so you’re covered no matter what type of booth the recipient might already have. Again - all three of these choices give off a high-fashion flare that could go from bike to night out seamlessly.

The braided detail on these.

A little heel hight never hurt anyone.

The grommets give these regular boots just a little more.

Since riding around pantless isn’t encouraged - we’ve included some options in that department for you. Some that are very simple, some that have a little more flare - but all that would be comfortable for riding, but again and fit our theme of being easily worn out and about.

The ribbed detail mixed with the leather will be a crowd pleaser.

Simple, but comfortable.

We love the lace detail in the rips.

And last - but not least - accessories because it’s winter time and staying warm is important in extending the riding season. Bundle up with these and head out.

Mixing textures for the win.

Not too restrictive for the ride.

Finger wiggle room to work the gears.

There you have it - a full outfit. Now, we wish you the best of luck - we know the struggle can be real.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Why I Ride


We are part of an exclusive and elite group. A tight-knit community of strangers - connected by a passion as natural to us as breathing - riding.

Outsiders choose to stay away - potentially scared of the perceived danger, rebellious stereotypes, or just because they prefer to drive a Prius - but they’ll never know what they’re missing.

There’s nothing quite like the rush we get from the ride - and the pleasure we get from the hum of our engine. That rush is the same in good weather and in bad. Of course - in bad weather, the ride comes with complimentary pelts of rain that feel like small bullets - but it’s worth it. You feel alive and you know you can’t slow down. Sure - drivers passing by look at us like we’re crazy - but that’s what riding does to us. Drives us crazy, while keeping us sane. And - let’s be honest - that rush is our solution for anything.

Bad day at work? Take a ride.
Kids being a pain? Take a ride.
Feeling sick? Take a ride.

It’s always guaranteed to make you feel better.

So this Thanksgiving - take some time to be thankful. Thankful for the person who got you into riding, thankful that you come home safely each time, and thankful that riding will be a permanent part of your existence.



Southern Rides

I hope it’s a long winter this year … said no biker ever

But seriously, it’s starting to get cold and no one hates winter more than someone who has a bike sitting in the garage. Check out a few interesting southern rides to help you thaw out and stay sane:




Custom Moto

Custom Moto

Shops that are changing the face of motorcycling

Moto-curious. Lifestyle. Community ... and the birth of a whole new generation of bike shops.

These shops are popping up across the country with a whole new take on what it means to be a motorcycle shop. They aren’t focused on selling bikes, but rather on getting people excited about riding and the community that comes with it. They’ve set out to change how and why people visit a local shop - and to be honest - we think it’s awesome.

We’ve found three shops - each taking a different spin on what they do and how they do it - but all doing it right.

Brother Moto - Atlanta, GA

This place is DIY garage that offers members community tools and advice on fixing up their ride, but you wouldn’t know it from walking through the front doors. The vibe is warm and inviting with big couches throughout, scattered coffee table books, and an awesome coffee bar with plenty of caffeine
to go around. If you ignore the garage and the vintage motorcycles around the space - you could easily just assume this was the latest coffee bar or brewery in town - not the motorcycle club it really is.

The guys who founded Brother Moto are the epitome of cool. They ride and rebuild vintage bikes - sending them back onto the streets of ATL humming like new - and new and old riders share advice and tools in the shop’s garage. Their focus was on building a space that anyone felt comfortable in - whether or not you ride - making the it as much for the moto-curious as it is for life-long riders. And they did just that. The result is a space where people feel just as comfortable coming in for a cup of coffee, as they do to work on their ride.

Classified Moto - Richmond, VA

This shop keeps things closer to the chest. They aren’t open to the public - but they are creating some unique bikes that are getting national attention - particularly after they built a bike for The Walking
Dead. Yes, you read that right. These bikes are made up of vintage and modern parts to give them a look all their own.

Want to see them in person? You can ask to stop by if you’re passing through Richmond - but good luck. The shop keeps their location a secret - however, their social media presence is on point. From Instagram to YouTube, Classified Moto is more than happy to show you what they’re all about -from a distance. They have great photos of their latest creations and even a new video series, called Restricted, that gives you a peek into their day-to-day.

Jane Motorcycles - Brooklyn, NY

The tall white ceilings and natural wood throughout Jane Motorcycle shop immediately took me by surprise. Not that motorcycle shops can’t have these things - but the open and airy aesthetic has a high-end retail vibe to it that was unexpected. The huge garage door on the front opens up to invite people passing by to stop in - and the coffee bar at the front sends smells of roasted beans and
caffeine drifting up and down the street. Jane partners with local coffee roasters and a local sandwich shop, giving people a reason to come in and stay awhile. Not into motorcycles? Totally fine - their baristas don’t discriminate.

But beyond the smells and sandwiches, Jane Motorcycles is building a motorcycle lifestyle brand. You can get a badass motorcycle from them - that is the perfect mix of vintage and modern - but you can also buy clothing designed specifically for riding, art, or even books. Anything you need to dream about riding - they’ve got you covered.

Of course - all of us are riders - but even if you aren’t, these shops are still pretty damn cool. They have a lot to offer - and are worth a visit (if they’ll let you), even if it’s just for the coffee and the atmosphere.

Friday, October 13, 2017

New Location - Same Great Show

New Location - Same Great Show
AIMExpo 2017

For the first time in its five year run - AIMExpo moved from Orlando, FL to Columbus, OH. While the move was initially controversial - the show seemed to fit in it’s new environment. Rich with great
restaurants, bars, and nightlife opportunities for after the show - attendees were pleasantly surprised by what Columbus had to offer. The hope was that the AIMExpo would essentially take over the city for the show dates - and did it ever.

Around the Greater Columbus Convention Center, bikes were lined up - parked alongside busy city streets. The surrounding hotels were packed with riders who attended for both work and play. With a huge variety of exhibitors to meet with, products to sample, bikes to test ride, and informative presentations - AIMExpo had a little bit
of everything to engage the most novice of powersports enthusiasts to riders who’ve been at it for years. 

From Indian to Yamaha to Suzuki and Harley Davidson - all the big manufacturers pulled out the stops for this show. They were there with their best displays, most bad-ass bikes, and off-road units that could take you to the farthest reaching corners of our country.

Buyers definitely took notice of the lower price points of the smaller, lightweight bikes from all the manufacturers - many sporting a stop-you-in-your tracks matte black paint - and rumors flew about the big Honda announcement coming up in the next few weeks. Some hoped there would be a sneak peek at the show - no such luck - but the leading rumor was that they would release an automatic Goldwing. Time will tell. 

Next year, the show’s headed to Vegas - lining up with Las Vegas Bike Week and Monster Energy Cup in October - giving attendees more than enough to keep them busy. It should definitely be a top destination on your 2018 list.

The Legend of the Bell

Photo Courtesy of Bike Bandit

The Legend of the Bell

October - especially because of Halloween - brings out a superstitious side of us. From avoiding ladders to making sure black cats don’t cross your path - this is the month to scare the crap out of your friends and watch over your shoulder for a rogue zombie. The motorcycling community is no stranger to superstition - from riding with the rear pegs down to green bikes being bad luck to - our personal favorite - the Gremlin Bell.

While the exact origin is unknown - the superstition says that by attaching a small silver or brass bell to the lowest part of a motorcycle’s frame, the rider will be protected from road gremlins trying to harm them. If the road gremlins do grab a rider’s bike - the hollow part of the bell will catch them - and while they may be able to hold on initially, the ringing and bouncing of the bell will drive them crazy and they will let go - leaving the rider safe to ride on. Here’s the catch though - riders can’t purchase these bells for themselves - they need to be given one from another rider as a sign of goodwill and camaraderie.

This tradition runs deep with Harley riders - but many other cruiser and touring riders have also adopted it over the years. And while there will never be a way to prove if this superstition is real - October is the month to give it a chance - so hit the road during this weirdly spooky month and toll the bell.



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Ride of a Lifetime Through Glacier National Park


The Ride of a Lifetime Through Glacier National Park

Written by: Leticia Cline, Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys
Photos by: Preston Burroughs

For mountain climbers, reaching Mt Everest is the ultimate claim to fame. For motorcyclists, Going-to-the-Sun Road is the Mt. Everest of motorcycle rides in the continental U.S. Like Everest, it’s not easy to get to, it’s not always passable and it provides some of the most challenging climbs in the world, boasting some of the more sinister turns and elevation changes of any paved road in the country.
Going-to-the-Sun Road was the National Park Service’s first to cross the trans-continental divide. It lies in a distant remote part of the United States in Montana near the Canadian border and because of its remote northern location, a fair amount of snow tends to collect on top. Up to 80 feet of snow can accumulate atop the 6,646-foot high Logan Pass and Snow banks as high as 8 feet can line the road at certain points as late as July and August. Consequently, it’s one of the most difficult patches of asphalt in North America to snowplow come springtime–taking crews two months in the late spring/early summer to simply clear the road for travel.


On a whim my boyfriend and I and the photographer of these photos, Preston Burroughs, decided to ride to Glacier after the 77th Sturgis rally, only a 700-mile stretch between us and what I now consider the most beautiful place on earth. Along the way we picked up a friend and rider, Abram Boise. The ride there was nothing short of beautiful; I don’t think anyone could ever say a bad thing about Montana’s landscape– but it was nothing compared to what was in store for us when we reached the National Park. We got in just before sunset and set up camp at Chewing Black Bones, a native Blackfoot tribal campground on the lower Saint Mary Lake at the base of Glacier National Park. There are plenty of places in the area to stay but if you are going to have a real experience then this is the place I suggest. The spiritual land has a permanent Tipi village you can can sleep in, if you decide not to set up your tent. Plus it offers a glimpse of what Rocky Mountain life might have been like before you and I were born, while providing a movie set backdrop to what already seems unreal.


The sun was beginning to set, so we jumped on our bikes and road just 6 miles into the park to Goose Island, a place that was so authentic it looked fake. There had been a forest fire a few days before so the sky was blanketed in a grey haze. There were bits of a crimson fire sun peaking over the snow capped mountains, blue glacier water flanked by evergreens, with patches of wildflowers, alpine mosses and ferns stretching across the forest floor. It’s a awe-inspiring scene impossible to adequately describe in words or capture in photos. The entire time standing there felt more like I was watching a real life painting than visiting a location. The sun and shadow revealed new definitions of beauty that I never knew existed and made me even more excited to ride deeper into the park the next day to see what else I would find.

Starting out in St. Mary, you get to take in the incredible 4,500 ft peaks that rise above the surface of Lake McDonald into that ‘big sky’ that Montana is famous for. Even though we stopped at Goose Island again, I greeted it with the same overwhelming sense of excitement that I did the day before, realizing that it’s possible for a place to be so monumental that it never gets old. As the road continues its’ steady ascent, cedars give way to towering clusters of firs. Past The Loop is the Garden Wall. This sheer cliff shoots up more than a thousand feet, forming a spine that makes up part of the Continental Divide. Water falling to the west of the divide drains toward the Pacific Ocean, while precipitation to the east eventually flows to the Atlantic.


Next you will ride along a section known as Logan Pass along steep cliffs that line the roads edge and demand you keep track of the road, despite the magnificent scenery. A waterfall actually flows down off the uphill side over the road and into the river, so don’t go with it over the edge! Logan Pass is known for its beautiful wildflowers and mountain peaks. Pull over and take it all in. You have now climbed 3000 feet from Lake McDonald. The valleys spread out below you, and incredible vistas spread out in all directions. There’s a visitor center here as well, just be aware that everyone stops here and parking can be limited. While at the visitor’s center you can opt to take a short 1.5 mile hike on the boardwalk trail to Hidden Lake Overlook, another real life painting.


Slowly making your way down the east side, you’ll pass the Jackson Glacier Overlook, where you can probably take off that extra sweatshirt. There’s a section of the road called The Weeping Wall. A waterfall cascades 100 feet down, over the rocks and onto part of the road so proceed with caution as the other side is over a 4500 foot cliff drop-off. Regardless of how scary this may all sound, it’s not every day that you get to ride under a waterfall surrounded by nature’s wonders, all while riding to the sun. This is an unmatched section of road. You will see jagged peaks, crystal mountain lakes, immense glaciers, unbelievable valley views, waterfalls, alpine wildflowers, meadows, streams and even wildlife… all while dodging water, weather, possible falling rocks, steep drops, twisty turns and a steep grade on the descent. So yeah, it’s challenging, but good things are never easy.


But for all its scenic wonders, the Sun Road experience is not without a few negatives: The road is undergoing a multi-year rehabilitation project, so construction delays can be torturous. The speed limit is a buzz-killing 40 mph and much of the ride quality depends on the crowds. If you can ignore the traffic or get out early, you’ll enjoy the turns, climbs and waterfalls in a more relaxed mode. Also, keep in mind that the weather is a major factor up here. If you plan on making the trip any other time than the middle of summer, you would be very foolish not to make a few phone calls and make sure the roads aren’t snow-covered. Overall, the roads are in good shape, well-maintained with tons of places to pull over and sit and watch or explore the surroundings.

Along its eastern end, Sun Road parallels Saint Mary Lake and takes you back to Saint Mary’s Visitors Center. This impressive ride goes from one end of Glacier NP to the other, crossing through one of the more breathtaking sections of the Rocky Mountains. It is only 50 miles long but there is no shortage of pullouts to stop and take it all in or go on a hike . The scenery is among the best in the world and you will not be disappointed. The road slinks through almost every type of terrain, from lowland glacial lakes to alpine tundra. On this trip you’ll want to make sure to bring plenty of film, warm clothing, and your hiking boots. This route covers a remote area of Montana and if your looking for urban amenities (such as restaurants, craft shops, etc) you will not have much luck.


The end of the drive takes you into West Glacier, MT, a town that’s very touristy. After you pick up your souvenirs, head over to Glacier Distillery and get a flight of their Ryes and whiskeys, you deserve it! It’s a great way to celebrate the completion of the most beautiful ride of your life. If there’s time once you’re fully sober, head west on Hwy 2 about 13 miles and you’ll see the “House of Mystery” on the right … it’s a place where supposedly there is a vortex that causes things like marbles to role up hill and brooms to stand on their own. Further down the road there is a place with a huge wooden maze for humans to try to get through. Also, the town of Whitefish has a great lake with a public beach if you want to hang out and enjoy a swim.

If you really want to push this experience, you can head just a few miles over the border and experience the Canadian Glacier NP. That’s next on my list…I hear it’s even more grand than the one here in the U.S.


Overall I would not suggest this road for the faint at heart or inexperienced riders, but it’s also one you can not miss. Just take it easy, ride smart and enjoy your surroundings. There are plenty of other roads where you can stretch your heavy wrist and open it up for a more racing type of ride. This is a place to be savored and a place to come back to again and again. Of all the things I rode away with, the top one was a new mission to discover more wondrous spaces and to get back to the basics. After all, that’s a huge reason why we ride…for freedom and to reconnect with the land. We are the modern day pioneers. We are just on a different kind of steed and there are still so many parts of the world left to discover. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Panacea: An RBMA Feature

PARTNER FEATURE FROM RUSS BROWN MOTORCYCLE ATTORNEYS

WRITTEN BY CHRIS GIBBANY

My name is Chris Gibbany and I have been a BAM member for almost 10 years. I am from Harrison, a very small town in Arkansas. Although I have been riding since I was 16, I have never participated in a long ride and I have NEVER taken a “vacation” of any sort. When I found out that “The Long Road”, a 1000+ mile journey that ends up at The Smoke Out in Rockingham, North Carolina, was leaving from Eureka Springs, just 45 miles from where I live, I started making preparations to ride it on my rigid 1956 Harley FL Panhead. In the beginning there were seven of us who were going to ride vintage bikes there, with me being the only woman. I secured sponsorship to help me pay for expenses along the way. Sta-bil and 303 Products, made by Gold Eagle became my main sponsor. Avon Tyres came on board with a new set of tires; Spectro Oils gave me a case of 60 weight oil, Viking Bags and Motorcycle House supplied me with a Go-Pro and Baker Drivetrain helped out with a gas card. Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys offered me funds in return for the story about my ride…


At the last minute, four of the guys backed out. Since my husband and I were riding two old bikes, with him on a 1946 UL Flathead, we decided to bring a chase rig, leave a day early and arrive at The Smoke Out on Saturday instead of Friday. Even though “The Long Road” had no particular “rules”, we were no longer qualified to participate in it.


Our trip was pretty uneventful until we got to a small town in Tennessee where we just happened upon the type of motel where you sleep above the covers while firmly gripping the matching “husband and wife” Sig-Sauer pistols that we brought along. When my husband got a text from our chase driver, it read “Will trade beer for pistol”. He wasn’t kidding so we swapped items and each spent the night with one pistol per room with the chair up against the door.

Our travelling partner ended up with a room that had a connecting door; NOT connected to ours, so as he put it “Now I have to watch two doors!” It really was quite funny! The man who checked us in could barely speak English as he told me “One muffin, one banana, one coffee”, when I asked about breakfast. Of course, since we are rogue bikers, we all ended up taking as many bananas and muffins as we could so that we wouldn’t have to eat again while on the road.


We spent most of our time on the interstate so that we could spend more time riding in the Smokey Mountains. Once we got to North Carolina, we stayed on the Cherokee Reservation. Cherokee is the starting or exiting point of America’s favorite scenic drive- The Blue Ridge Parkway. It consists of 469 miles that follows closely the highest ridges between the Shenandoah and the Great Smokey Mountains National Parks. I am not easily impressed, but riding on The Parkway has got to be one of the greatest pleasures I have ever experienced.


Riding on such pristine, well maintained roads, where the speed is limited to 45 mph and the scenic beauty actually brings a tear to your eye was unbelievable! The gorgeous flowers, shrubs and bushes alongside the road were breathtaking! The road is intended for people who want to take a leisurely ride or drive while not being in a rush so that you can enjoy the scenery. Seeing the morning fog rise over the Smokey Mountains in the early hours is something that I won’t soon forget. The highway flows in such a way that it truly is captivating, heart pounding, magical and ADDICTIVE! I would love to go back and ride the entire 469 miles- maybe next year on my 1939 Knucklehead!

The Smokey Mountains seem to have their own weather where it tends to rain every day. On the first day had to ride down the mountain for over 20 miles, without a front fender!!!! I don’t normally ride in the rain with an old bike, but the rain wasn’t getting any lighter and I HAD to get off of the mountain.


Once we got back to the motel at Cherokee, my husband realized that the rear axle bearings were going out on my Panhead. Since the rain had changed our plans, we went to “Wheels Through Time Museum”. We got there a few hours before closing time and there was so much to look at that it was very overwhelming. As they were closing I decided to buy a Knucklehead sticker and patch for my jacket. While I was inside talking to the ladies at the counter and buying tickets to win the 1948 Panhead that they are giving away this fall, Gabe was outside talking to Dale Walksler, the museum’s curator. He told Dale that we were on our way to Rockingham and that my bearings were bad. Dale proceeded to have Gabe follow him back into the museum, took him over to the exhibit “Chopper Graveyard” and GAVE him the parts that my bike needed. While passing through the gift shop, Dale also grabbed a DVD and threw it in my bag free of charge! WOW, what a place and what a terrific man for helping his fellow rider!


As we proceeded to roll into Aberdeen, which was about 25 miles from Rockingham, we saw that the bearings weren’t my only problem as I had also lost a front axle nut! Since we had a chase truck we did take some extra parts in case of breakdowns, but alas I did not expect to lose an axle nut! Our only hope was to drive to a hardware store and hope that we could get one. When we arrived at the local Lowe’s, our hopes were high but were soon shattered as the 3/4 fine thread nut was nowhere to be had. My husband is a master mechanic with over 30 years’ experience and I knew that he could fix the situation. We all had a blank look on our faces, as I wasn’t going to be able to ride my bike to The Smoke Out, after coming 1000 miles across the country.


As I stood in that aisle I did the only thing I knew how to do, I prayed to GOD and asked that HE put the idea in my head to fix my bike. And just like that, he immediately told me “trailer ball”. I ran to my husband screaming “trailer ball”. Lo and behold for only $8.00 there was the solution to my problem!!!

GOD put the wisdom in my head so that I could continue my journey. We did make it to The Smoke Out but the real journey was getting there. At The Smoke Out was the usual crowd of people who go to bike rallies but mixed in were lots of cool vintage bikes. I wanted to race my Panhead but it proceeded to rain in Rockingham and those ideas were soon sent out the window. After soaking up as much of the scene as we could before dark, we got on our bikes and went back to the Marriott where we had all been upgraded to two bedroom suites due to their basic rooms not being clean when we arrived. This time we didn’t have to clutch our pistols and stay awake all night as God had shown himself once again and I KNEW everything was going to be alright.


My bike leaves a lot to be desired to most people- no turn signals, no horn, no speedo, no front fender, one mirror and no seat cushion at all. This bike means the world to me- I designed it and my husband and I built it in a backyard shed. It took me over six years to build it; couponing to save money, selling practically everything I had that I didn’t need and being so frugal I squeaked!


My Panhead represents everything that I not only stand for but that I also want out of life- dedication, adventure and peace. I love this bike that I call “Panacea”, which means “a solution or remedy to all difficulties”. I hope everyone can find their own “Panacea”.