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Ride Life

Stories From The Open Road

Better On A Bike

I’m no poet, but while seated in an aircraft at 35,000 feet somewhere over the Arabian Sea west of India, these words began to materialize in my head. Returning from a 16-day mission/relief trip to Indonesia with 127 Legacy Foundation, I longed to unwind on a motorcycle and ride off into uncrowded countryside. Through exhaustion, overseas illness, and jet-lag, I mused, “I’m always better on a bike.”

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Chasing George Wyman: Great Lakes to New York

It was at this point that I had a strange realization of the scale of the North American continent. Up until now, I had been putting in 500 to 800 mile days and the vastness of the mountain ranges, deserts, and plains had made a mere hundred miles feel like nothing but a short jaunt. Now, however, riding from Chicago to Goshen (a trip I had made many times), I realized just how far a hundred miles is, even when traveling in a car!

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Goodbye Wedgie, My Old Friend

Recently a message on social media brought me the sad news that my dear friend Steven O’Brien, affectionately known as “Wedgie,” had passed away. Having been in my orbit for close to 40 years, and a major part of my formative motorcycle and travel years, it was a huge personal loss. Memories of racing to London on our Japanese 550cc four-cylinder sport bikes, strafing the lanes of England, he in the saddle of his big Ducati V-twin and me on my Laverda triple will be always be there to remind me of my fun loving, gregarious friend. With his laugh, demeanor, his zest and love for life, Wedgie was, without a doubt, one of the largest personalities you could ever hope to meet.

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In Love With The Old

Older things made of simpler elements have charisma.
Chrome, rubber, steel and glass, basics of so many classic motorcycles of decades past, carry stories with them in their porous surfaces, either building shine or dulling patina as the pages of the calendar flip.  Those of us in love with old metal find solace in bikes built with steel and chrome instead of plastic and carbon fiber.

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Small Bore Mania 2024

I recently returned from two fabulous small bore motorcycle rallies. I first visited the 2nd annual Barber Small Bore Rally hosted by Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Alabama. The second rally was held in Maryville, Tennessee, the Smoky Mountain Small Bore Rally. This is my second year being involved with the small bore motorcycle community, and I even purchased a Honda Monkey a little over a year ago to participate.

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MZ’s Moto Memories: Honda CB550 Four

While visiting my folks in Kirkwood, Missouri one weekend in late Fall of 1979, I impulsively bought myself a slightly used candy blue Honda CB550-4 for about $575. The thing was bone stock and absolutely mint, other than it had some bad aftermarket accessories bolted onto it—including crash bars with highway pegs (never liked either of ‘em on my bikes), an enormous plexiglass windshield (never cared much for those either), higher handlebars, and a high sissy bar with back pad.

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This Old Bike And Me

I took my old 1978 Kawasaki KZ 650 out for a ride on a recent Sunday afternoon. The skies were clear, a warm gentle breeze was blowing, and I needed some alone time on a motorcycle. It had been a few weeks since I had last ridden the old bike, and it took a little coaxing to get her to fire up and settle into a smooth idle. Opening the petcock, adding some choke, thumbing the starter a couple of times, a little throttle massage until she was warm, then we were off into the rolling countryside south of our north Georgia home.

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Neale Bayly Rides: Cheap Fun On Two Wheels

That little Yamaha TT-R125L proved to be absolutely bullet proof, and apart from oil changes, air filter cleaning, chain lubing and adjusting, the only time it needed any wrenches turned was when something got too bent to ride. My son Luke had a unique ability to provide not only the most spectacular laps, but also more bent parts than the rest of us put together. So it was no surprise that the TT-R ended up on the ground in a pile of dust and limbs more times than any of us could remember while thankfully always surviving to ride another day.

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