Polar Bear Blog 2012/2013

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.


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. The American Motorcyclists Association (AMA) web site also has a very good section on "How to do Winter Riding Right."

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. It's easy. Some of our members have the square, white pass mounted to their windshields. Others use the license plate mount and zip tie it somewhere on their front forks. You can find out all you need to know and apply here: www.EZPass.com .

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 28, 2012

First week ride cancelled for Hurricane Sandy.

By: Chris Loynd

Bob Hartpence wanted to go. Up to the day before, he was sure we were on for Sunday.

But New Jersey officials would not let him cross the bridge to Cape May. At some level, Bob was right. Hurricane Sandy did not arrive until Monday.

We could have ridden down to Cape May and back. And it may have been the last use of what was to become a dwindling supply of gasoline.

When Sandy did come Monday afternoon into the evening, she betrayed her cutesy sounding name.

We were lucky in my small part of Stratford.

In hearing of others' travails, I felt almost guilty for never losing power. Heck, we never lost cable TV nor Internet.

Cynthia and I waited out the storm watching old movies and munching on microwave popcorn.

I did look outside at  midnight high tide.

Sandy, midnight, full moon high tide, flooded my street, never quite reached the Loynd home.

Hurricane tide surge.

The tide driven water came to within three houses of us. But never any farther.

We are on just enough of a rise.

Not all my Polar Bear buddies did as well.

And our New Jersey brethren, especially along the shoreline, got clobbered.

It wasn't much better for New York, worse if you lived on Staten Island or in Brooklyn.

Our Cape May ride last year saw some of our northern Polar Bear buddies snowed in and without electricity thanks to a freak October snow storm.

Folks just a block up the road lost several trees and power lines with them.

Just half a block away from my house the tide surged in and left a mess when it receded.

One benefit was a season's worth of wood from my neighbor's downed tree.

Lewes, Delaware, November 4, 2012

Week 2 Polar Bears, from left: Token2 and Grumpy.

By: Chris Loynd

There was a lively e-mail "discussion" of Connecticut bears deciding what to do about Sunday's ride to Lewes, Del.

Rumors of gun fights over gasoline and three-hour waits at New Jersey Turnpike filling stations scared off some of us, but not all of us.

Bob Hartpence said the ride was on. His optimistic e-mail promised that if you could just make it down to like exit 5 it was smooth sailing.

After last week's last ditch effort to hold his ride in the face of an on-coming hurricane, Captain summed it up quite nicely, "I would not play Russian roulette with that man."

Do not double dog dare this man, ever, for anything!

Grumpy and Token left on Saturday and made the ride just fine. Here's their report:

Roads good, traffic light, Jersey drivers were like usual Jersey drivers. Came down via TZ bridge. Bikes should top off tanks in Stamford in town as I95 is closed. 6 gals will get you south of I195 where gas is readily available short lines. Those with smaller tanks should carry a reserve can to avoid long lines north of I195.

No drama, no violence, no bodies at gas stations, Lewes is undamaged. Sorry to disappoint you Bart.

T2 & Grumpy. 


Bob and Token.

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Danbury, CT, November 11, 2012

Danbury bears that stayed for the photo, from left: Captain, Big Matt, CT Blogger, Mac, Jim, Grumpy, Fonz.

By Chris Loynd:

Fonz led us over the river and through the woods and way past Danbury into New York to arrive . . . finally . . . at our destination in nearby Danbury.

We were flattered to have the Polar Bears come to Connecticut.

Fonz maybe got a bit ambitious in finding us a "unique" route to make the ride more fun. We nearly missed sign-in. (I could have done without the New York part of the loop. Especially the ride back over the concrete plates, thump, thump, thump.

By the time we arrived the buffet was decimated. So about half our riders took off to another restaurant. Those of us who stayed, pictured above, were treated to a refreshed buffet.

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Sugar Loaf, NJ; November 18, 2011

Sugar Loaf riders, from left, Token2, Fonz, Russ, Captain, Pogy (in front), Chris, John J., Mac, Ken, Grumpy.

By Chris Loynd:

Token2 took us on another delightful ride through Harriman State Park.

He found us plenty of twisty roads up and down mountains of beautiful scenery and broad overlooks.

The weather was warm enough that I toughed out half the ride there with my electrics not working because I plugged into my jacket and not my liner.

When the single lane roads finally relented into a broad double lane, I zoomed ahead and got the group to the side.

We had a good turnout as you can see by the group photo.

Pogy angles for a different parking space after we arrived.

Our ride leader John Howard, a.k.a. Token2, not for the reason you think, he owns not one but two foreign motorcycles.
He speaks with some sort of accent too. But he's turned out to be a good rider and friend all the same.


Connecticut Polar Bear buddies.

Polar Bear Chief Bob Hartpence greets the Connecticut Bears (just de-layering at left).



Former Flight B Leader Richie checks in our us. Captain's talking to Bob H.

Great turnout on an un-bearishly warm day.

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Hopewell, NJ; November 25, 2012

Hopewell riders: Mac, Captain, Fonz and Grumpy.

Comment by: Chris Loynd

A chance to visit with my son, visiting for Thanksgiving, kept me home this Sunday.

He has moved to Pennsylvania to find work after Connecticut let him down. In three days he landed two interviews and a job.

As you can see by the photo, the Connecticut Bears were down to the hard core riders.


Check in and Bob photo of the week.




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Hatfield, Penn.; December 2, 2012

Montgomeryville riders, back row from left: Chris Loynd, Captain, Mac, John J., Token2, Grumpy.
Down front: Fonz and Pogy.

By: Chris Loynd

Well there was just no way the Captain was leading this ride. His last trip to Montgomeryville Cycle Center is now the stuff of legend among the Polar Bears.

I gladly took the lead.

For whatever reason, my GPS chooses a prosaic ride to Montgomeryville and a picturesque ride back home.

My GPS also insists on showing our destination on the wrong side of the road. I remembered this from the last time I overshot a couple of years ago. (Ever faithful Russ followed me the approximate 20 miles to the first U-turn. The rest of the riders dumped me and turned into the dealership.)

Crew safely arrived and chowing down on Montgomeryville Cycle Center goodies.

Even with the remembering, I missed the first entrance but reacted fast enough to catch the second. Once again my pals mostly took the FIRST entrance.

Geeze, the followed the Captain all the way to Montgomeryville.

Anyway, once inside the wonderful folks at the Cycle Center treated us to good winter food: chili, cornbread, hot dogs and lots of trimmings.

Garmin treated us to a covered bridge, twisty roads, scenic farmland and topped it off with an antique metal grate bridge over the Delaware River.

Unfortunately the skies, threatening all day, finally made good on their promise, treating us to a bit of rain on the ride home.

Our destination: Montgomeryville Cycle Center.













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You can also see a Blog Spot version of this blog where you can get automatic notifications when it is posted, usually before the picture version, and make comments, bring it on!  http://motorcyclepolarbear.blogspot.com/