Story by Robi Baishnab
This story was originally published the Sept. 2023 edition of the MSTA Ohio Chapter email newsletter. The story has been edited to match the MSTA website’s style.
As with every past MSTA FlyBy Week rally event I’ve attended, there were lively lessons, surprising stories and bonds built. We created vivid memories as we move our bodies faster than nature expected, guided by physical laws as we traverse the roads of southeast Ohio and West Virginia. The Earth holds us sometimes too much, sometimes too little.
One of my friends experienced the Earth’s pull a bit too much as he test-drove the effects of dehydration (and fainted while off the bike). Through his experience we gained a better understanding of the importance of staying hydrated and candidly communicating with your riding group. Bryan Dunlap connected with Jim LaPoint, who drove about 90 cager-minutes with his trailer to bring our stricken friend’s bike back to Marietta. And Clem Willis stayed behind with him, which allowed the rest of us to continue on to lunch. It’s clear that good-hearted people are abundant in this group.
Regardless of the weather or road conditions—be it gravel, smooth pavement, ruts, tar snakes, fog, deer, turkeys, rain, heat or slow-moving cars — you can always count on the rest and refueling breaks to be filled with questions and explanations. On one such break we learned that Pat O’Bryant has been riding since he was eight years old, even regularly riding a unicycle to school. This experience apparently honed skills useful for when your dirt bike happens to share the unicycle’s single-wheel connection to Earth.
The MSTA serves as an incubator for calculated risk-taking, primarily focused on maximizing the thrill of G-forces and the quest for pie or some other charming mom-and-pop culinary gem. This year we visited the Hutte in Helvetia, W.Va., and Around the World Gourmet in Bellaire, Ohio, which rank among my favorite lunch destinations.
FlyBy Week wouldn’t be possible without the dedicated individuals who make it happen and continuously strive to enhance the experience for as many people as possible. This event exists due to the genuine care of its participants. Remember, a group is only as strong as its members. Members include individuals who, much like me, relish the exhilarating rides facilitated by the amazing MSTA volunteers.
For years, I’ve been urging my brother-in-law and nephews to join me at FlyBy. I’ve told them that next year is an absolute must — no excuses. Mark it on your calendars. Experience the thoughtfully planned routes, savor the off-bike dining experiences, and engage in even richer conversations — lessons that can be directly applied to each day’s riding.
I encourage everyone to step onto their personal soapboxes and passionately advocate to fellow riders the value of MSTA membership and the FlyBy Week experience.