Polar Bear Blog 2013/2014

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.


Back to Polar Bear Blog home page.

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 27, 2013

Season opener Connecticut Polar Bears. Standing, from left: Token2, Mac, Fonz, Captain, "too tall" NJ Matt.
Front row, Pogy, "CT Blogger" Chris, Grumpy.


By: Chris Loynd

Our ride to Cape May was maybe a bit rocky. Captain was leading and some of the CT Bears suggested that perhaps Captain's motorcycle pack leading skills were a bit rusty.

We "averaged" a good and proper highway speed. But the spread on the average speed was maybe a bit wider than everyone would have preferred.

We made it down the Garden State to Mile Zero in good order all the same.

What a difference a year makes! This ride was cancelled last year for hurricane Sandy.

Some of our riders questioned the Captain's throttle control.

After sign-in we hit the Lobster House in Cape May, something Pogy found a few years back. My favorite is the turtle soup, made from farm-raised, sustainable, turtles.

It's a big place with plenty of space, great food and great service: http://thelobsterhouse.com/

Warmish weather upon arrival in Cape May.

Ship's figurehead from the Lobster House in Cape May.

Before the first Polar Bear ride I had my bike serviced to be sure it would ride fine.

As we're traveling back home up the Garden State Parkway, the corner of my eye caught a something out of place. My brain first said "shoe." But I quickly knew that wasn't possible.

Immediately slowing and diving for the shoulder, I looked down again. Missing was my air cleaner cover.

My fellow riders pulled over. I took a brisk walk down the shoulder, no air cleaner cover. It's a nice bit of chrome and I would be sorry to go without it.

So I got back on the bike, rode up the shoulder a good ways and then rode back slowly. Sure enough, I saw it lying in the grass, face down.

Yes, I did find it! And dealer will replace my chrome air cleaner cover.

When I eventually got it back to the dealership, they promised to order me a new one. And the tech torqued down the scratched cover.

I'll leave it to him to get it back off.

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 and Chris, the turtle eaters.


Captain, our points champion.

Token2, on one of two reasons for his nickname. He also talks funny.

The many sides of Pogy . . .

Grumpy is our designated group shot photographer.

Sunset comes early on the longer winter runs. We're headed home after our traditional coffee stop,
last service on the Garden State Parkway featuring the slowest serving Dunkin' Donuts staff in the world.


Lewes, Del.; November 3

Lewes Polar Bears, from left: Grumpy, Jim, Captain, Fonz, Mac.



Pogy was otherwise occupied in Florida and could not make this week's ride.

Danbury, Conn.; November 10

Danbury, our most local ride, turned out a good-sized crowd. From left: Mac, his friend Denise, Pogy, Cindy,
Captain, Ken, Grumpy and Chris. Scott rode with us but left early to miss the rain.


By: Chris Loynd

It is perhaps a tribute to Connecticut's Polar Bears that the club decided last year to include a Connecticut location on the annual roster.

We are proud to be so recognized by The Polar Bear Grand Tour.

For most of us, Danbury is an hour or less away. We take the local roads to have a bit of fun.

Last year we nearly missed our own ride. Our ride leader decided to take advantage of the good weather and close location and took us to Danbury via New York.

This year we opted for a straight shot to Danbury.

In true New England fashion, the ride up to Danbury was under sunny and unseasonably warm skies. We no sooner sat down to lunch than someone announced, "It's gonna rain!"

Everybody whipped out their cell phones and tapped their radar apps and sure enough, it was coming.

Scott, who does not like to ride in rain, skipped lunch and headed for home in nearby Stamford. Hence he is not shown in the group photo.

The rest of us resolved to eat and then ride.

This day's warm and sunny start generated a substantial crowd of Polar Bear riders from beyond our borders. So the restaurant was still packed.

Perhaps because our group was so large, we got stuck at the bar.

Scott and Chris upon arrival, before the rain developed.
That bright, blue, sunny patch over Scott's shoulder is what we had all the way to Danbury.


That made it a bit difficult to catch up on conversation because you could only hear the person to your left or right. Any conversation reaching farther was inconvenient.

Last year the management of Molly Darcy's Pub put out a nice buffet. We arrived just as it was depleted. But they soon refreshed it and we ate well.

This year the Pub went with regular menu service and the kitchen was glacial.

I can be frustrating, I realize, to have a huge influx of customers on a day and time when your restaurant is likely rather slow. But isn't the additional income worth putting on extra servers and chefs?



Packed with Polar Bears.





Back to top . . .

Sugar Loaf, NY; November 17

Sugar Loaf riders, starting around the table from left: Token2, Jim, Mac, Joanna, Pogy, Captain, Fonz.

Not many details to report. However we picked up an enthusiastic new rider, Joanna, who is a friend of
Mac from the Patriot Guard Riders. Mac says she's jumping from one ride to perfect attendance next year. Ambitious!

Hopewell, NJ; November 24

Hopewell riders, from left: Captain, Mac, Token2, Pogy and Grumpy.

Back to top.     To next ride . . .

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/