By Nick Diaz
Motorcycling is my passion, since the spring of 1970, 51 years and over half a million miles.
Spring and Fall are by far the most enjoyable times to spend on a motorcycle. Spring – because the dreaded winter is over, renewal is in the air, and the trees have yet to grow leaves, allowing the rider to see for miles and miles – looking out for deer and such critters. Fall – because the dreaded summer is over. Sounds strange to people that a motorcyclist is glad that July and August are finished. Yet it’s true! Most of us two-wheeled old timers despise riding in the summer heat, particularly the heat of 2020. Day after day in the 90’s and triple digits – not much fun, particularly while sitting on top of a hot engine, in a full-face helmet, dripping sweat. Yes, some of us in the “Between-the-Sheetz Gang,” based in Frederick, Maryland, put a few miles on our machines this past summer; the rides consisted of getting together early in the morning and quitting before the heat of the day, which arrived as early as 10 A.M. Not fun. Give me Fall any time. When I wrote this it was October 23rd. With a week left in the month, I’d already cracked more miles on my Kawasaki Concours than I did in all of July.
This past summer, seven of us in the BTS Gang rode out to Marietta, OH, on a three-day, 900-mile ride. Why Marietta? What is there in Marietta that attracted us enough for us to spend two nights at a motel? There’s nothing in Marietta, except a liberal arts college by that name. So, why Marietta?
For the roads! The roads in southeastern Ohio provide some of the best entertainment for the road-riding soul anywhere east of the Mississippi. These roads are smooth, curvy, scenic, and practically deserted, except for the occasional local farm pickup or tractor. The colors of Fall, contrasted with the blue skies, made them even more spectacular. For the road-addicted motorcyclist, the road is the destination. The road is the end, (and the means to get to a good, cheap local eatery!) After all, we ride to eat, then eat to ride. The “invisible roads” as I’ve often written about. The spell of these invisible roads is irresistible.
One of the seven, a rider from the Annapolis area, expressed his romanticized view of our trip as follows:
“…a magnificent path of travel. Twisting mountain asphalt. Scenery viewed from the seat of a motorcycle. This sort of thing is good for the soul. I can’t imagine ever growing tired of it. On the brakes and pitching it in on corner entry. Opening the throttle and accelerating out of each and every apex – thousands over the course of three days. Feeling the tempo of the engine and the joy of gear engagement. Placing absolute trust in two tires’ contact patch. Other riders and machines in full view add to the visual thrill. No amusement park can match this stuff. An accomplished group of riders who work well together. Off the bikes, a group camaraderie that is fun to be around. I am delighted to be a part of it all.”
Looking forward to Spring, dreaming of RIDING!