Polar Bear Blog 2014/2015

Riding Motorcycles in Winter, on purpose!
Thanks to the AMA Polar Bear Grand Tour.


Polar Bear Motorcycles
by: Chris Loynd

If you've stumbled onto this page out of curiosity, you're welcome to stay and read the saga of riding motorcycles in the winter.

Several of us from Connecticut, participate in the Polar Bear Grand Tour, a winter-long set of destination rides sanctioned by the American Motorcycle Association (AMA): www.PolarBearGrandTour.com.

I enjoy writing and the antics of my fellow Polar Bears often provide good fodder. This blog allows me to preserve some great memories and to share them with my fellow Polar Bear motorcycle riders, you, and anyone else in the world. Enjoy! So despite my first editor's warning about committing to a weekly column, here it us, usually posted by the Saturday after our Sunday ride.

Motorcycle Polar Bear Blog Author Chris Loynd on first polar bear motorcycle ride.

Me, Chris Loynd, on my
very first Polar Bear ride 2002.
To read the story of that
first ride, follow this link:

Polar Bear Story.

If you're interested in riding with us from Connecticut, it is very informal. Each rider is responsible for his or her own safety. We meet at the Stratford (Conn.) Dunkin' Donuts, I-95, Exit 30, at the corner of Lordship Blvd., and Honeyspot Rd. To get on the e-mail list for weekly departure times, contact me:
Chris Loynd chris@InfluentialCom.com

Please keep in mind I sometimes exaggerate here in an attempt at humor. I make no promises for the veracity of any statements. No warranty is expressed or implied. Your mileage may vary. Void where prohibited. Past blog performance does not guarantee future blog results.

Read this blog with a very big grain of salt. (And discount anything Russ Curtis tells you by at least 30 percent!)

Polar Bear Riders from 2004. Full face helmets, plenty of layers and electric clothing keep us toasty.

Rides:

Sorry, for 2008/09 there was no blog.

You can also follow this blog -- without pictures -- on Blogspot:
http://www.motorcyclepolarbear.blogspot.com/ where you can "follow" the blog for automatic notice when the newest post appears.

Use your REFRESH button to see the latest entries.

Other essays:
My first Polar Bear ride.
Dimes and Throttles.
Tribute to fellow CT Bear Clark Makinson.

Connecticut Motorcycle Polar Bear Logo
Join the CT Polar Bear Riders!

Special Notice to Prospective Polar Bears:
Someone who wanted to ride with us approached me and said he was concerned about keeping up with us on the highway. I assured him -- and now you -- that our goal is first and always: safe riding. If you are a novice rider, you're still welcome to join us. Because all the locations are more than 100 miles away, we do a lot of expressway riding. So you should be comfortable riding on I-95, the parkways and turnpikes in New York metropolitan area traffic. But we do not speed excessively, ride aggressively nor berate endlessly any new riders. Remember each and every rider is responsible for his own safety. If you're not comfortable, ride up to the leader, tap your helmet and we'll stop at the next rest area or exit and have a discussion.

You do not need electric clothing, or even any special equipment, to ride in the winter. John Kammerer simply bundles up in layers, the last layer a good riding jacket to block the wind. Investing in some electrics, long underwear, insulated boots and a full-face helmet can make your experience a lot warmer.

Check out these pages for some information and tips on winter riding: Winter Riding.

You can also find out more information at the Polar Bear (PB) web site: www.PolarBearGrandTour.com where there's a section for new members.

EZ Pass is strongly recommended. Most all our rides end up on the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. Having EZ Pass makes it very easy to keep the bikes together. It also saves a lot of time. We especially like the express toll lanes where we can ride right through as a group single-file without ever slowing down. Plus, you get a discount on most tolls, for example $2 off the GW Bridge off peak, 25% off NJ Turnpike. If you want to ride with us and do not have EZ Pass, we'll accommodate you on a few trial rides. Then if you decide riding with the Polar Bears is for you, apply for the pass.

Also, please be sure we welcome all bikes, all brands. Many Connecticut PB riders are on Harleys. But we don't discriminate. Randy Tefft, a PB rider from New Hampshire, has joined us on occasion on his Moto Guzzi. One of our regulars, John Howard, owns a BMW and Honda ST. Pogy and Tom are Gold Wing riders. And one of our own Harley riders actually has a backup bike -- it's a Honda Gold Wing.

If you have any questions or concerns about joining us, call me or send an e-mail (my addresses are at the top of this page or on the contact us page of this web site).

See the Polar Bear Grand Tour site weekly for pictures of riders from all over, not just the Connecticut riders featured on my blog. Grand Tour photos are mostly taken by Walter Kern. Check out his blog "Motorcycle Views" for all sorts of useful information and motorcycle news: http://motorcycleviews.com/

 

Cape May, NJ; October 26, 2014

Season opener Connecticut Polar Bears. Standing, from left: Fonz, Mac, Captain, Joanna, Scott, Pogy (down front), Token2, "too tall" NJ Matt, Grumpy.
 

By: Chris Loynd & Captain

Saturday before our season opening ride to Cape May I took my bike out for a short shakedown ride. Good thing. It died.

It died on I-95 close to my exit to home. I coasted it the wrong way down the ramp, pushed it partway home, finally got it started, but it ran like crap.

So unfortunately I missed the Cape May ride.

Captain filed this report.

The weather was outstanding. We gathered at the DD. Matt came up from New Jersey to ride with us, followed by Johnny B., a.k.a. Grumpy, Mac and the bell tapper Fonz at 7:28 for our 7:30 a.m. departure.

Captain is this week's blog reporter as Chris "CT Blogger" was bikeless.
 

Fonz said he would take the lead, following his GPS. As we assembled for departure, we formed up leaving the first spot open for our ride leader.

As it turned out, Fonz was developing a new technique, i.e., leading from behind.

So I took the lead and to his credit, Fonz was a great sweep for the entire ride.

We headed south on I-95, picking up Pogy and Scott at the Darien rest stop.

We picked up Token2 and Joanna, Mac's friend, at the I-287 and Hutchinson Parkway bus stop.

Over the GWB and south on the NJTP taking the crossover at exit 11 to the GSP, taking our first break at MM 100 on the GSP.
 

This week's leader/sweep, the Fonz with New Jersey Matt.
 

I pulled everyone over to fuel, Joanna topped off and the rest were OK with another 75 miles.

Who knew that Token2's virtual BMW fuel tank would need replenishment? He saw a sign stating 58 miles to next fuel and freaked out. So we stopped early.

We arrived at the VFW at 11:32 a.m.

We signed in, then lunched at the restaurant by the bridge entering Cape May.

At 1:30 p.m. we headed north, made two stops for fuel and a break. We passed on coffee at the top and I arrived home at sunset, 5:55 p.m.

A good time was had by all.

 

Bob picture of the week. The ceremonial commemorative towel is Fonz's idea.

Here I am with the Harley from Cape May last year.

Not sure what the future will bring, but I will have to figure out a way to ride with the Polar Bears this season.

Work is more challenging than ever, but I'll do what I can to keep up the blog.

Some posts may be mostly all photos. Others will have a bit of narrative.

Stay tuned!

 

Chris Loynd motorcycle polar bear blog

Will try to keep up the blog, but no promises!
 

Pogy reads his cell phone in the shadow of his tour pack.
 


Our guys in scenic Cape May.
 

Fonz and Matt.
 

A good turnout on such a beautiful riding day.
 

Flight A Leaders Pat and John.
 

Flight B Leaders Jim and Joan.
 


Lewes, Del.; November 2, 2014

Unfortunately Grumpy had trouble with the wind and his camera tripod.
That's him on the left, then Fonz, Captain, Joanna, Matt, Mac and Pogy down front.

 

By: Chris Loynd, Grumpy and Joanna

Work duty kept me from riding Sunday, even though my bike wasn't ready in any case.

I was more than a little disappointed when Brothers Harley-Davidson told me they couldn't pick up my bike because their truck's lift gate was broken. "We can give you the names of some towing companies," was their best reply.

Fortunately, I have motorcycle friends. Soon after communicating my frustration on Facebook, Fonz came to my rescue.
 

I had to work this Sunday, Chocolate Expo, Meadowlands, NJ.
 

His friend Jose has a couple of trailers and graciously took my bike up to Brothers' on Saturday.

I will be riding for sure next Sunday, although I'm not yet sure how. Fonz has offered to lend me his Fatboy and Token2 his ST.

Meanwhile, Grumpy offers this brief report:

Morning Chris. I couldn't get a photo of the wind but it was blowing real good and the Delaware bridge scared me.

Hope to see you next week.

And Joanna had very different news:

Hi guys! I can't believe that this happened.

When selfies go bad. Pogy and Grumpy at Lewes, Del.
 

You all know how much I really wanted to do Polar Bear rides.

I got on the ramp to the Goethals Bridge and a car very suddenly stopped before me. I squeezed the brake and it locked and I fishtailed finally landing on the side and tumbling along the bike.

Broken pinkie. Not sure how the bike is going to make it. Going to talk to an insurance adjuster tomorrow.

Thanks for all your calls.

Joanna and Mac in Lewes.
 

Joanna and Matt at Irish Eyes in Lewes.
 

Captain, Fonz and Pogy at Irish Eyes.
 


 

 

 

 

 

Polar Bear Quartermasters Jim and Natalie with this year's shirts.
 

Bob picture of the week.
 


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Bridgewater, NJ; November 9, 2014

Bridgewater Bears strike a thoughtful pose. From left Joanna, Grumpy, Scott, Captain, Token2 and CT Blogger.
Pogy takes center stage down front, but did not take the thoughtful cue.

 

By: Chris Loynd

It was an eventful run this Sunday. I endured my fellow riders' taunts for my new, old, plastic motorcycle. We had GPS troubles. Joanna's Harley and pinky, both damaged on last week's ride, had her on four -- not two -- wheels.

As reported in last week's blog, my Harley succumbed to winter riding. As of this posting, I still am not sure of next steps for the old gal. My preference is to restore the Springer and then never ride it in winter weather again.

That left me without a motorcycle for Polar Bear riding. Not wanting to give up winter riding, I scouted some alternatives to the Harley. Something inexpensive enough that I wouldn't care about the inevitable corrosion destruction.
 

Now don't read anything into Joanna's gesturing; she's simply showing her damaged pinky.
 

Perhaps something like a Honda Shadow would work. One of my riding buddies went to Americade with me, he on his Shadow and me on my Harley. We got along just fine. I never noticed Phil had any trouble keeping up with me.

Even brand new Shadows can be had for less than 10 grand. Used ones with low mileage go for less than $5,000.

And so it was I found myself at Libby's Motoworld in New Haven looking over used bikes.

They talked me into a Honda ST1100, 1997, but just 30,000 on the clock.

First argument --after riding the big Harley, you'll want more motor than a Shadow offers.

Second argument -- these bikes are the Honda Accords of bikedom. It'll go 200,000 miles. Finding one with just 30,000 on it is rarer than hen's teeth.
 

Corroded relay from the Harley on left. New, to me, Honda ST 1100 on right.
 

I was a bit skeptical about replacing my unreliable 12-year-old bike with a 17-year-old motorcycle.

Fortunately I have well-connected motorcycle pals. The Pogster is well known at Libby's. I asked him to get me the skinny on the ST.

Not only did Pogy boost my confidence in purchasing the bike, he even moved the Libby boys from "as is" to 30-day warranty. Thank you Pogy!

I also asked fellow Polar Bear Token2 about ST riding. He has a ST 1300 and heartily endorsed the bike.
 

Honda and Harley at our destination. CT Blogger's new/old ST left,
Grumpy's nearly new Road Glide on the right.
 

Those of you who haven't read this blog for years should know Token's nickname came about because he was the first person to join our Connecticut Bears on a metric motorcycle. (It's not because of his foreign accent.)

He became Token-squared when he dared show up on a BMW with ice cream cases bolted to both sides of its rear.

"I promise I won't rip on you for riding a Honda," Token said, "I'll just sit back and gloat as the others do."

With my friend-induced confidence I swung the deal for just 3 grand. That's with a set of new tires.

Sunday was my first long ride on the new, to me, bike.
 

Pogy is hot for plastic.
 

Now I admit as a Harley rider I've always wondered what it would be like to own a sport bike. They do have their sexy side. Part of me thought all that power may be corrupting.

The ST is no CBRR, but it will leap to 90 mph in top gear just for the asking. I haven't yet leaned it over very much, but no doubt she'll carve corners.

This bike is like a midlife crisis with a much younger woman. She's lithe, sleek, fast and powerful. Compared to the old gal Harley this hot Honda requires a more aggressive and athletic riding position.

This old guy might have to start exercising and go on a diet to ride her. I must admit I was never so glad to stretch my legs back straight when I finally got to a stoplight.
 

The original CT Polar Bear plastic rider, John Howard, a.k.a. Token-squared.
 

I'm not the only CT Bear to go from Harley to Honda. Captain abandoned his Road King for a plastic behemoth, the veritable Gold Wing, years ago.

Sorry Harley guys. I still love the Milwaukee iron, but Japanese plastic may be better suited to winter. And I don't think I'll feel so bad about the $3,000 ST getting chewed up by DOT-spread sodium and magnesium chloride.

As justification I brought my rusted Harley relay along to show my fellow bears the damage done.

When I showed the part to Polar Bear Grand Pooh Bah Bob he noted that the Harley mechanics had to cut off the relay's leads.

"Yeah," I answered.
 

Hmmm, if you look carefully you'll see this week's ride group was aboard three
Hondas and two Harleys. Who's the token now?

 

"Well that means the part was still attached," Bob quipped, "pretty good for a Harley."

So I rode my plastic motorcycle over to the Dunkin to start Sunday's ride, meeting Captain and Grumpy.

Grumpy was having trouble with his Harley GPS. It would not load any directions. I had my Garmin GPS 660 with me, but in the saddlebag. I haven't yet figured out where or how to mount it on the ST, figured I'd get Token's advice.

Since the Harley GPS is made by Garmin and essentially the same model (you just pay extra for the bar-and-shield logo on the start up screen) I offered my unit to Grumpy.

He took it from me and attached it to his mount and it booted up just fine.
 

Scott and Captain at our destination.
 

Out of habit, I reached past Grumpy and gave my GPS a little tug just to make sure it was secure in the mount.

It was a prophetic gesture.

Relaxing at home after our ride I got a call from Pogy. Based upon our recommendations he upgraded his former GPS for the 660 motorcycle unit.

This was his second ride with the unit. He'd asked me lots of questions about operating the unit, but I neglected to tell him about that little tug.

He told me he felt a thump on his leg as he went through the Tappan Zee Bridge tolls and it was his new GPS. It bounced out of the mount and was gone!

With my GPS working and programmed, Grumpy confidently took the lead.
 

Pogy says, "I want YOU to tug your GPS."
 

We picked up Pogy, Scott and Token2 along the way. Joanna drove her car and was waiting for us at the destination.

Despite her damaged pinky she gave hugs all around and joined us for lunch.

She does not yet know the disposition of her Harley. Hopefully insurance adjusters and mechanics can get her back on two wheels by the time her pinky is ready to twist the throttle.

Next Sunday we ride to Sugar Loaf, New York. If the weather is good enough, Token2 will lead us on some scenic lanes and tasty twisties.

I might have a chance to see what the new girl can do in the corners, if I'm not stuck behind some lumbering Harley.
 

CT Blogger Polar Bear Chris Loynd at the Eagles in Bridgewater.
You're welcome to join us, on plastic or metal motorcycles.

Chrome or plastic, it's still riding motorcycles. Photographer Bernard Walsh caught Grumpy and I riding into the destination, he aboard his Road Glide and me on my newly acquired ST 1100. Token2 trails in the background.
 

Local Fraternal Order of Eagles offered a tasty grill buffet.
 

Captain, Joanna and Token2 enjoying lunch at the Eagles aerie.
 


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Long Valley, NY; November 16, 2014

Long Valley riders. Pogy (front and center) started it! Across the back are, from left: this week's ride leader
Token2, Captain, Mac, Kenny, Grumpy, CT Blogger, New Jersey Matt.

 

By: Chris Loynd

Tucked away in the Ramapo Mountains, on the other side of Harriman State Park from Connecticut, the Barnsider Tavern sits on the far side of Token2's backyard.

One of our westernmost Connecticut Bears, T2 knows both sides of the Hudson River quite well.

When he's not making the world safe for legacy personal consumer products, he gets to play around on these nearby twisty mountain roads. So we always ask him to lead this Polar Bear ride. T2 never disappoints, even that time he went twice around the traffic circle. Sunday was no exception.
 


 

Scenery was magnificent, complete with snowy frosting on rocky outcrops.

Up and down mountains we rode. Here and there opened wonderful vistas, if you dared a glance at speed.

We passed hikers and bicyclists taking their scenery in more leisurely doses.

Riding sweep, I enjoyed watching our line of bikes snake up and down steep grades, disappearing and reappearing over a hill or around a corner.
 

 
Check back for more clips as I find time to edit them.

I even caught a bit of it on my GoPro. You can see a rough cut of the first batch on my YouTube Channel.

Sunday was also my first time with the new (to me) Honda ST1100 on some tasty twisties.

It was a safe and managed test of the ST's cornering abilities because I was riding behind Gold Wing tanks and lumbering Harleys.

Here and there I goosed the throttle and pushed harder in a turn. This had the immediate effect of curling the edges of my mouth upward.

Leaning my Harley Springer into the corners and scraping the floorboards is fun. But the ST. Wow! I have a lot of work to get those pegs to scrape.

Now I understand flickable.
 

Fellow Honda ST rider, New Jersey Matt, right, offered me some advice on my pegs.
Turns out the spring was installed upside down by a previous owner or mechanic.

 

As you can hear on the video, I experimented quite a bit with the gears. ST 1100 couldn't care less. She pulled without lugging, spun up the revs without whining, was responsive in every gear.

I felt maybe thirty percent of the "sport" in my sport-touring bike. It felt good.

Also on STs were our ride leader T2 and NJ Matt. As lead rider, T2 had more opportunities to get a bit aggressive in the turns.

He could not get away with too much fun. He's British and so saddled with intrinsic politeness, preventing him leaving the Gold Wing tanks and lumbering Harleys in his dust.

NJ Matt was stuck in the middle.
 

Oh what fun it is to ride! My motorcycle smile after a great ride on scenic and twisty roads.
 

So there was little more they could do, despite their bigger ST 1300s.

Everyone enjoyed the corners, some of us more aggressively than others.

At times big gaps opened in our line as the more cautious riders slowed.

We all arrived in good order and spirits. One thought to a man: "Thank you Token!"

Barnsider Tavern was warm. Lunch was tasty, our server sweet.

Grumpy and Pogy liked the pickles and our waitress brought them more. It took a bit more effort to get them Tabasco, but when it was done we had three bottles.
 

Friendly service for T2 and Mac.
 

Grumpy let slip that his birthday recently passed. T2, his British propriety kicking in, arranged for a mini celebration.

Many happy returns of the day Johnny B.

Then T2's English manners failed him a bit. He said something liberal.

Captain promptly jumped in predicting the end of the world, or at least the United States, and at any moment no less. He was cheered on by our more conservative riders. NJ Matt and I kept our mouths shut.

Fortunately Armageddon held off just a bit longer.

We took the group photo and enjoyed a more prosaic ride home.
 

Grumpy's celebratory belated birthday cobbler.
 


 

 

Polar Bear Photographer Bernard Walsh caught our group arriving, Token2 up front this week on his Honda ST 1300.
Captain right behind him on his Honda Gold Wing.

 


 

 

 

 

Photographer to photographer, Grumpy catches Bernard Walsh (who captured our arrival this week).
 

Polar Bear Grand Tour volunteers, flight A and B. Thank you for all you do.
They track our points, award our patches and pins, and make every ride.

 

And of course our wonderful leader, Polar Bear Grand Pooh Bah Bob.
(That guy in the foreground is not Santa, but Mac MacArthur.)

 


 

 
 

Second clip from this Sunday's ride.
 


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Hopewell, NJ; November 23, 2014

Connecticut Polar Bears this Sunday, from left: Ken, Grumpy, Fonz (in front), NJ Matt,
Token2, Pogy (in front), Captain, CT Blogger, Joanna, Scott and Mac.

 

By: Chris Loynd

We peer pressured a couple of our regular riders into taking charge of our ride this week.

Adopted CT Bear, New Jersey Matt, rode up from his home in the Garden State to the Constitution State to turn around and ride back south.

A lot of the Polar Bear Grand Tour ride destinations are more or less walking distance from Matt's house.

And it's not a good idea to take short rides in the winter. You gotta get that engine hot enough to boil condensation out of the oil.

So on occasion Matt uses more than a tank full, even on his ST 1300, and meets us at the Stratford Dunkin' Donuts in the morning.
 

NJ Matt, in glow-light jacket, was this week's ride leader.
Also pictured upon arrival are Pogy, foreground, and Fonz, middleground (LOL)
.
 

Since our destination was his home ground, we pressured Matt into leading.

Earlier I'd invited Scott to take a turn as sweep and he agreed.

To give our novices the best possible chance at a successful ride, I lectured my fellow riders before we left.

"Patience. Order. Wait for the sweep to clear the lane," I said.

And for the most part they did.

Pogy didn't. But in his defense, he was in Darien when I gave my speech.

He got the idea, I think, when he jumped too soon and found himself alone in the sweep's cleared lane. If that didn't work, I was in a position to block him the next time.
 

Sweep Scott at our destination.
 

To offer any assistance, or just moral support, we put a couple of our more experienced riders as seconds to our novices.

Captain was second bike to Matt's lead. I was penultimate in line to assist Scott should any sweeping issues come up.

Matt and Scott did a great job. The rest of our riders behaved themselves, for the most part.

We rode down to Hillbilly Hall like we knew what we were about.

Matt even found us some scenery once we got off the interstate. Or it may have been the Hopewell-Wertsville Road detour that gets the credit.

There's some serious money in central Jersey!
 

Ride leader New Jersey Matt relaxes a lunch after a job well done.
 

We rode past horse farms and house farms, yes, house farms. Rolling countryside probably once a horse farm is now covered with many million dollar homes with multicar garages.

There's a hint of the opulence well spring soon after exiting I-287 in Somerville. Set back from Route 202 are one after another white, futuristic buildings behind artificial berms and landscaping. Next to them are banks of solar panels, hidden behind rows of groomed yews. In front of each building are tasteful, unassuming signs. The signs say Johnson & Johnson, Hoffman La-Roche, Ortho Clinical, McNeil, Janssen.

Hillbilly Hall is something of a non sequitur.
 

Ride sweep Scott at Hillbilly Hall.
 

Apparently there are country folk, remnant artifacts perhaps of original settlers and farmers, scattered on the fringes of pharmaceutical grandeur.

Joanna surprised us just as we settled into lunch. She's still on four wheels, but not for long.

Her pinky prognosis is much improved. Her insurance company rapid.

Fellow Polar Bear Jim got her a sweet deal on a Harley Street Glide and she's soon ready to ride.

There's only one glitch. Her new bike is at a dealership in Buffalo. Yes, THAT Buffalo. The Buffalo that got like nine feet of snow this week.

We expect to have her back with us on two wheels in February.
 

Patience Pogy, patience. Wait for the leader to take the lane.
 

We took the group picture, gassed the bikes and headed for home.

Matt decided not to double down on the ride back to Connecticut. He led us onto I-287 but jumped off a few exits later.

Captain took over the lead. Scott held his position as sweep, but his job was harder under Captain's control.

Scott was sometimes slow to clear the lane called by the leader. Matt waited. Captain did not.

Unable to see down our line of bikes, impatient as a Fox News correspondent, the Captain soon resorted to the pirate code: Them that falls behind is left behind.
 

Token2, Joanna and Fonz. Fonz joined us like a magic trick,
suddenly appearing in my mirror soon after we headed down I-95.

 

Our line jumbled a bit, a car between us now and then. Captain whipped his Honda pony pretty good at times and we scrambled to keep up.

Scott may have been frustrated, not as familiar with the Captain as some of the other CT Bears.

Mac waived us off the rest stop at Greenwich but Scott and impatient Pogy kept on cranking.

I got to poke a little fun at the Captain then and he calmed down a bit for the tiny bit of ride left to us, me in sweep, jamming the left lane for our now small group.

Blog author and backup sweep, CT Blogger, Chris.
 


 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joanna's new ride, delivered from the Buffalo snows.
 


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Collegeville, Penn.; November 30, 2014

Collegeville riders, from left across the back: Token2, Captain, Ken, Fonz, Grumpy, CT Blogger.
Down front with the big smile, Pogy.

 

By: Chris Loynd

Collegeville is a haul for the Connecticut Chapter of Polar Bears. Most of the ride is unprepossessing expressway. Even off the Interstates, Route 202 was a familiar run of pharmaceutical companies and strip malls.

There was, finally, a smattering of scenery, most of it over the bridge in Pennsylvania.

This Sunday after Thanksgiving, we knew there would be traffic getting back over the Tappan Zee Bridge and through congested Connecticut.

With the travel time involved, we were sure to be riding home in the dark as well, which is not a happy circumstance for some of our crew.
 

Grumpy was living up to his nickname.
 

So you can forgive us for being somewhat disconsolate with the restaurant's slow service.

Why do these places so often not prepare for an influx of Polar Bear riders? I don't know the restaurant business. But I would guess most of our destinations are not packed for two hours on most Sundays.

I would think the influx of riders -- and our cash -- would spur management to prepare ahead.

Add some staff. Next offer a special, simplified menu. The best places offer a few choices of tasty food that can be quickly prepared. Or they proffer a prix fix buffet.

Instead, Appalachian Brewing Company started us out with a 20 minute wait to get a table.
 

It's a bad sign when the manager is taking orders.
 

We were in unfamiliar country and ready to sit and relax after our long ride over.

So we acquiesced.

When seated we waited to put in our order. When we put in our order, we were told it was going to be a wait to get our food. Finally, we waited to get our check, despite an immediate request.

Fortunately the food was good. They had real Coca-Cola and the pickles were right. Even Grumpy softened, if only a bit.

Captain got so whiney I threatened to change his nickname to Grumpy2.

We nearly came to blows getting the weekly group photo.
 

Gentle Grumpy.
 

Smiles you see pictured above occurred after Captain's last straw comment threw Grumpy over the edge. We all had a good laugh at his reaction and the tension broke like a wave.

I thought maybe to mount my GoPro camera for some shots of the sporadic scenery on the ride home.

Feeling more than rushed, I looked up as I fitted my last glove to see most of my compadres had already left the parking lot.

Rushing causes mistakes. And at the nearby gas stop, I noticed my GoPro was gone!

My already behind fellow riders waited a bit more as I retraced my steps. I found the GoPro in my parking space at the restaurant.
 

Fortunately we could look to our stoic Brit to model our best behavior.
 

In my rush to ride, I missed the Pogy jiggle. If you recall from our Bridgewater ride, Pogy forgot to check his mount and it cost him a GPS.

By the way, Pogy was bragging that he got his new GPS from Garmin in just a few days. I told him that's because Garmin saw he ordered a new unit every two weeks. Heck, one more replacement GPS and he'll qualify for dealer status.

My good fortune the tough little GoPro was none the worse for its drop. I stuck it back on the Honda's tail and gave it a yanking enough to shake the whole bike. Yup, that should stay now.

I did get some good footage. But you'll have to wait a bit for me to edit it. I'm still learning the tools. Plus there's a lot of footage to examine.
 

Pogy and Chris both learning to check their equipment mounts.
We'll have to add Jiggle to T-CLOCKS.

 

Even our coffee stop was truncated. I really would have enjoyed sitting down for a cup of coffee. But peer pressure being what it is, we had time only to pee.

I learned something useful about Dunkin' Donuts, but only too late. As I was again suiting up, I saw Fonz had a small cup of something. Turns out you can get a shot of espresso to go.

Truthfully, I could have used a bit of time off the bike to stretch out and relax my legs.

This was my longest ride on the ST1100 so far. And with my long legs, I found it challenging.

A new set of "blades" highway pegs did not really help much. They're up high on the bike, still close in to my body.
 

Unflappable Fonz.
 

Finally home I sat down on my Lazy Boy sofa, pulled the ripcord so the footrest came up, and there was my revelation.

I looked over at Cynthia and said, this, this right here, is the riding position on my Harley.

Legs stretched out, slightly higher than my hips, back supported, this is how you do multiple miles.

By contrast the ST1100 is like sitting up on a straight backed chair with my legs folded and tucked behind. The Honda needs a bit of ergonomic work to truly realize the "touring" part of its "sport-touring" moniker.

I'm not sure how I'll make it down to Cape May on this thing; or Vineland for that matter.
 

Chris Loynd
 

At least Grumpy earned his 30-point rocker for his efforts.
 

Pogy earned his rocker as well this week.
 

Poor hostess did not seem to know what to make of the bikers.
 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Polar Bear Grand Tour photographer published this photo of Ken on the official web page.
 

Do they only offer one size of temp plates in Pennsylvania? We got a kick out of this new bike's oversized tag.
 

Polar Bear Grand Tour Grand Marshal Bob shared this and we pass it along here.
 


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Montgomeryville, Penn.; December 7, 2014

Montgomeryville riders, L-R, Captain, Pogy, Mac and NJ Matt.
 

By: Pogy

Talked to the Captain at 0800 – he was sitting at the Duncan Donut in Stratford, so far only New Jersey Matt had showed up.

He asked me if I would lead and I accepted with the stipulation that he lead us to the GW and then I would take it from there. ( don’t like the roads in NYC).

I was picked up in Darien at 0855 – there were 4 of us – The Captain, Fat Mac and New Jersey Matt and myself.

Our travel to the GW was uneventful,  I took lead and somewhere down the pike we stopped to pee.
 

Captain earned his red rocker this ride.
 

Me and the Captain agreed that I would take 7A off the pike like we should have last year.  So off we go and Im having second thoughts about 7A because I have never gone that way to Hatfield, Pa – only from the PA Pike.  So to make it short, It wasn’t the right move to exit there but we eventually made our way to Montgomeryville Cycle. 

 They had lunch for us, meat ball grinders (4 balls per roll) and brownies.  After eating, we saddled up and decided to run 202 North to 287.  Again, the run was uneventful, traffic flowed, it was a comfortable temp, a sunny day and riding with the guys from the Ct. Polar Bears------what more could one ask for   

 

Mac is back, feeling better and enjoying his meatballs.
 

Chris, CT Blogger, missed the ride on Sunday. He exchanged it for a Costa Rican sunset with his best gal.
 

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