Best Motorcycle Events for Riders in the Smoky Mountains

There are all kinds of motorcycle events though few focus on the best thing about your motorcycle – riding it.

Best Motorcycle Events for Riders in the Smoky Mountains

Best Motorcycle Events for Riders in the Smoky Mountains – I’ve attended many events, often as a vendor, but few focus on the best thing about your motorcycle – riding it.

Most shows, rallies, and gatherings center on one thing – getting you off your bike so you can reach your wallet. Park it here, pay to get in, visit our vendors. OK, so they have a place in the big scheme of things. You get to ride there and back, maybe play a few riding games in the grass to entertain the crowds, but mostly you and your bike part ways for the duration. I seem to end up at them too often, and I’d rather be riding.

Best Motorcycle Events for Riders

Best Motorcycle Events for Riders in the Smoky Mountains – typical rally scene. Surrounded by some of the best riding in the world, the bikes sit idle, the riders milling about wondering what next? Riding opportunity wasted.

Looking back on this year, two events hit the mark for me. Well run, well organized, and all about the ride – the RoadRUNNER Magazine event in Maggie Valley and The Smoky Mountain Motomarathon in Asheville / Fontana. Both were firsts for the Smoky Mountains region and both impressed someone who believes motorcycles are best enjoyed when riding them. Both endured weather conditions that kept most bikers in the lazy-boy watching the tube, yet the riders who came went out on the road every day and had a blast.

Best Motorcycle Events for Riders

Best Motorcycle Events for Riders in the Smoky Mountains – Well organized rides made for an outstanding RoadRUNNER Magazine event in Maggie Valley, NC. The weather did not stop the riders from having a great time on their bikes. Lining up for the days adventures one wet morning. The weather cleared, and it was a great time.

The RoadRUNNER Magazine Event in Maggie Valley drew several hundred riders. Each morning they set out in small groups led by a guide to show them the way. There were a variety of destinations, skill levels, lengths of ride, even some dual-sport routes. At the end of the day, riders returned to a catered dinner and swapped stories beneath a circus-sized tent. Off to bed, then back on the road the next day. The handful of vendors were there to give support to the riders, to address the needs that came up when you get so many bikers together. Despite several days of rain, the groups went out each morning and came in happy every evening.

Best Motorcycle Events for Riders

Best Motorcycle Events for Riders in the Smoky Mountains – I got to enjoy one of the dual sport rides at the RoadRUNNER magazine event, one of the highlights of my year. There was something for everyone at this well run gathering, all had a great time.

The Smoky Mountain Motomarathon drew only a couple dozen riders, but those that attended were the hard core enthusiasts that go unsung in the magazines and print. These men and women came in from all over the country and Canada, most riding from home to participate in an event designed to challenge their skills and fortitude. When greeted by Hurricane Sandy with the winds, rain, snow, and ice, they cheerfully saddled up each day eager to get out and ride whatever came up. They enthusiastically went out in conditions that kept cars off the road, and every one of them returned safe and sound each night, ready to embrace the next day.

Best Motorcycle Events for Riders

Best Motorcycle Events for Riders in the Smoky Mountains – Photo from one of the Smoky Mountain Motomarathon riders during the event as Hurricane Sandy added to the already challenging routes. It slowed them down, but didn’t stop these hard core riders. Awesome event, pretty sure the weather will be better next year.

As you hunker down for the all-to-long winter season and your thoughts turn to riding goals for next year, consider these two events for your calendar.  They were both firsts, and if you’d like to see them back let the organizers know it’s what you want to see more of. I know it’s my kind of motorcycle event, and I’ll lend my support again next year if you want to see more like them.

Best Motorcycle Events for Riders

Best Motorcycle Events for Riders in the Smoky Mountains – bagging a checkpoint in the Motomarathon – Each rider is issued a badge. Route sheets are dispersed at the last minute. As you ride the routes you verify your checkpoints with a photo of your badge at each location. Points scored for each checkpoint. Cool idea.

If this is your idea of what makes a great motorcycle event, let these organizers know you want more of it. Contact them, show you are interested, and I’ll do what I can to help make it happen for you.

RoadRUNNER Magazine – http://www.roadrunner.travel

MotoMarathon –  http://www.motomarathon.com

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wayne busch - Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Rider.com

Wayne Busch

– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com

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Learn Total Control

Wayne is an advanced motorcycle instructor for Total Rider Tech teaching Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Courses. Isn’t it time you looked into advanced rider training to ride more confidently and safely? It can transform your mountain riding experience.  Total Rider Tech

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A Fun Motorcycle Ride out of Maggie Valley, NC

photo-Wayne-shares-the-secret-roads

A Holiday Motel in Maggie Valley hosted the ride and fed us well!

13 bikes left with me, 2 returned. Here’s what happened on our motorcycle “fun ride” –

I came in Friday night to share my Secret Roads with the riders in Maggie Valley. With 200 great motorcycle rides on my map of the Great Motorcycle Rides of the Smoky Mountains, I helped them plan their rides for Saturday.

I then invited them to come on a “Fun Ride” in the morning.

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The riders from the A Holiday Motel stop for a group shot on The Rattler Motorcycle route.

So what’s a “Fun Ride”? Quite simply, I’m going out for a ride. You are welcome to tag along. No strings, no hassles, no fees, no one is responsible for you. It’s an opportunity to hook up with a “local” who knows the roads and will likely take you places you’d otherwise never see.

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Some of the group on NC 209 a.k.a. The Rattler.

A “Fun Ride” invites adventure. The route is decided on the fly. Nothing’s been scouted, no arrangements for meals, stops, etc. The group of riders I met at the A Holiday Motel in Maggie Valley this weekend wanted to ride to Hot Springs, NC and experience parts of “The Rattler” motorcycle ride. I got them on the best sections, and a whole lot more.

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Such a great day to be out riding. Follow the leader!

Adventure? Yesterday I chose one photo stop in a “parking lot” that was more like a minefield, but everyone survived without dropping their bikes. We stopped for lunch at a place I’d never been when we were hungry and it was pretty darned good.  Some got chased by a dog. Each break spot serendipitously had something memorable about it (a parrot riding a motorcycle?). The weather was sweet, the roads clean, and I know there are other stories to be told.

photo-parrot-rides-on-motorcycle

Polly wants a diaper? Poor mans bike alarm? Touch my bike and you'll lose a finger! I wonder what this riders leathers look like! Seen at a stop on our ride through Hot Springs, NC.

The group paired down as the day wore on.  Some needed to be back earlier and followed the quick route home. No big deal, nobody is counting heads at the rest stops or will come back looking for you at the end of the day. We lost one rider when he wore out a tire, and another tagged along with him to insure he made it for repairs. Some followed along only as part of another ride they’d planned for the day. No rules, no hassles, ride your own ride.

photo-belts-show-through-tire

So how good were those roads? This tire tells the tale! Our only mechanical issue of the day and I knew where to get it fixed. Thanks to MR Motorcycle in Asheville for getting him back on the road.

I returned to the A Holiday Motel with two bikes at the end of the day. Others had peeled off at the Leather Shack, the gas stations, or went up for a quick ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway as we came into town. Those two, both women on their own bikes, had really enjoyed the day and had fun. I know I did. At the superb BBQ dinner provided by the A Holiday Motel that night, everyone was very happy after a nice day riding motorcycles through the Smoky Mountains.

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Making our way back on the best section of NC 63. It was a great day of riding. This road was tame after what we'd been through earlier.

The next “Fun Ride” will be based out of The Lodge at Copperhead in Blairsville, Ga. on Saturday, May 19. On Friday evening, I’ll do a short “Secret Roads” presentation and share what I know in hopes you’ll find some great new rides to add to your collection. Afterwards, I’ll be out on the porch, most likely in the vicinity of the very nice bar at the Lodge. Come see me if you’re interested. Kickstands up at 09:30 on Saturday.

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The Lodge at Copperhead near Blairsville, GA sits on the Gauntlet Motorcycle Ride

I’m going out for a ride on Saturday, May 19. Maybe, you’d like to tag along. Bring a full tank and an empty bladder.

A Holiday Motel in Maggie Valley

The Rattler” motorcycle ride

Map – Great Motorcycle Rides of the Smoky Mountains

The Lodge at Copperhead in Blairsville, Ga

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Photo-Wayne Busch

– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com

Total Rider Tech Logo

Learn Total Control

Wayne is an advanced motorcycle instructor for Total Rider Tech teaching Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Courses. Isn’t it time you looked into advanced rider training to ride more confidently and safely? It can transform your mountain riding experience.  Total Rider Tech

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Total Control Advanced Motorcycle Clinic + The Dragon = Become a better rider!

Photo-motorcycles-on-the-dragon

Ride better, ride safer!

I’m seeing notable improvement in my riding just from reading his book and applying the techniques – I can’t wait for the July 16 class in Robbinsville, NC!

DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS CHANCE TO BECOME A BETTER RIDER!

Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic comes to Robbinsville, NC , July 16-17. Master the techniques to become a better motorcycle rider just down the road from one of the most challenging motorcycle roads in the nation, The Dragon at Deals Gap. Learn the methods in the class, then put them to practice on The Dragon – it couldn’t get much better!

SportBikes4Hire

Contact Greg McCoy at SportBikes4Hire.com

Whether you’re on a cruiser, a sport bike, dual-sport, or sports touring motorcycle, the tips and techniques from a Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic can make you a better, safer, and more confident motorcyclist. I’ve been studying Lee Parks Total Control book to get ready for the class and I am already seeing results I am impressed with.

Photo-motorcycles-on-the-dragon

Learn to tame the Dragon

I made a couple passes through The Dragon at Deals Gap recently, the ideal place to practice the techniques Lee Parks details in his book. As I started my first run through the notoriously twisty road I found myself behind a couple cars. I was content to just plod along using the opportunity to practice the techniques at a slow and controlled pace. As I rode, a guy on a sports bike fell in behind me.

About a third of the way through the 11 mile ride, the cars peeled off onto the roadside pull-outs to let us pass. With open road ahead, I picked up the pace, and was surprised the sporty rider was not sucking on my back wheel. I didn’t feel like I was pushing hard, I was more content to focus on the techniques and practice what I’d been reading about. It was a spirited though easy pace and I felt confident and in control of what was happening.

http://youtu.be/K3LwcTxGjzQ

Photo-a-sport-bike-on-the-dragon

It works for all bikes

About 2/3 of the way through the ride I slowed and pulled to the side to let the sporty guy take his turn. Watching him ahead of me, I was impressed as he shredded through the curves, knee down, working the corners to the edge of the tires. It was pretty to watch, and while he wasn’t booking it on the straights, he was definitely  making the most of those enjoyable curves. I stayed right with him and he seemed to be working it a whole lot harder than I was.

As we neared the end of the run, his hand shot out with a thumbs up and he pulled into the Calderwood Overlook as I motored past. Lee Parks was making a difference in my riding others could see.

Class is Filling, limited space – CONTACT GREG NOW!

JULY 16-17
Robbinsville, North Carolina

Contact: Greg McCoy
greg@SportBikes4Hire.com
http:SportBikes4Hire.com
865-809-9147

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Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 

 

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Learn Total Control of your Motorcycle near the Dragon at Deals Gap

Photo - Dragon Riders

Master the skills to tame the Dragon

Have you ever come into a corner too fast and wondered if you’d make it? Can you swing your bike around on a two lane road or do you have to go looking for a place to turn around? Do you know how to set your bikes suspension correctly for yourself, your riding style, carrying a passenger or loaded with luggage? Would you like to have the skills, knowledge, and mindset to not only tame the Dragon but become a master of it?

Take your motorcycle riding to the next level with Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic July 16 – 17 in Robbinsville, North Carolina. Learn the skills, techniques, and mental preparation to get the most out of your motorcycle and improve your overall confidence and enjoyment of riding.

This is not for the newbie. Lee Parks Clinics teach the experienced rider how to handle a bike at speed, ride with control and confidence, and master the complex dynamics of setting your bike up correctly for your riding style. Whether you’re on a crusier, a touring bike, or a race replica, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills to get the most out of your ride and be safer doing it.

Photo - Rider on the Dragon

Master control regardless of conditions

You CAN ride faster, safer, and with more confidence and control with the knowledge you’ll gain from Lee Parks experienced rider instruction. Before you balk at the price, consider the cost of missing that next curve that shuts down on you, the tow truck winching your bike up the rocky embankment to plop it on it’s side on the back of a flatbed. In the last 6 weeks I’ve seen a bike in the Tennessee River in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a sad group of onlookers at a crash site on the Cherohala Skyway, and just yesterday, a rider went over the guardrail on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Overheard at the Dragon – They were winching his bike up after the wreck when the rider said, “That’s not my bike”. A few minutes later they found the remains that had laid there unseen for who knows how long.

Lee Parks has been teaching these classes for years all across the country sharing the knowledge and experience he gained from years of racing and track riding and translating those skills and principles to be applied in everyday road riding. You CAN be a better rider. You CAN be a safer rider. It’s a small price to pay for an invaluable gain in your riding knowledge, experience, and confidence.

SportBikes4Hire

Contact Greg McCoy at SportBikes4Hire.com

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn these skills so close to the Dragon in Robbinsville July 16 – 17. Contact Greg McCoy at SportBikes4Hire.com to learn more about the class – 865-809-9147; greg@SportBikes4Hire.com.

I’ll be there. Hope to see you as well.

Class is Filling, limited space – CONTACT GREG NOW!

JULY 16-17
Robbinsville, North Carolina

Contact: Greg McCoy
greg@SportBikes4Hire.com
http:SportBikes4Hire.com
865-809-9147

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Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 
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Why Am I Kicking Off the Asheville Bikefest 2011 at the Easy Rider Motorcycle Show?

Photo - Easyrider Events

Easyrider Events

It was a busy week that found me in four states, the last of which was South Carolina at the Greenville Easy Riders Bike Show where I spent the day promoting the Asheville Bikefest and Blue Ridge Run coming next spring. This is a difficult post for me to write as I don’t want to get on the wrong side of so many who are involved with motorcycle events, people I need to work with, people who buy my America Rides Maps, and those for whom motorcycling has a different appeal. Please try to forgive me my viewpoint. In general, I don’t do events, it’s not for me.

Photo - Setting up at Bike show

2 Hours to set up before the doors open. Mark and Yvonne prepare our stall.

For those who are involved, it’s a tremendous amount of work and hassle. I shudder at the tough life of being a vendor, the constant travel, set up and break down, long days spent trying to stand out from the rest of the crowd and reach people, hoping the weather cooperates and people turn out in sufficient numbers to make it worthwhile. I’ve done it a few times and I respect those who either make it their living or spend their efforts doing promotions for products and manufacturers.

Photo from Easyriders Bike Show

Quite the assortment of custom motorcycles at the show - unfortunatley, they're not my cup of tea.

Nor do I go out of my way to attend events – The circus formula always seems the same. Vendors, bike shows, stunt shows, loud music, festival food and (not so cheap) cheap beer, bike games, yadda yadda. Of course the crowds who attend are generally as much a part of the experience as anything else, people and bike watching is one of the best parts, there’s always something that has you shaking your head for one reason or another. I suppose it’s as good an excuse as any to visit new places, a reason to ride somewhere, and for some it seems to be all about chasing the next party.

Photo - Amazing detail work on this trike

The detail work on some of these machines is amazing but for me they are just enormous paper weights - too delicate to ride.

Despite this viewpoint, I was up at 4 AM Saturday morning loading my stuff in the truck quite happy to be rendezvousing with Yvonne and Mark Cresswell, promoters of the Asheville Bikefest and Blue Ridge Run for the ride down to Greenville.  I was eager to spend the beautiful fall riding day in a booth encouraging people to come to the event next spring. WHY?

Photo from Easyrider Bike Show

Hundred of hours, thousands of dollars to build a bike you don't dare ride. While I appreciate the dedication and effort, I'm still a function beats form guy.

For me, motorcycling is all about the ride. “Go” trumps “show” for me. Function beats form. Give me the bike that best lets me engage the road and relate to the ride. Sure I appreciate the esthetics of my machine, but my days of cleaning chrome, fretting every blemish and speck, washing, waxing, and polishing, and pondering the next piece of bling are long over. I’ve got better things to do with my time, I’d rather be out on the road.  The reason I’m so enthusiastic about the Asheville Bikefest and Blue Ridge Run and why I believe in it – it’s about the riding.

Photo - concept bikes at show

Either concept bikes or movie props, I couldn't determine if they actually moved under their own power. I wouldn't want to have to ride one of these very far.

Located just minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway and hundreds and hundreds of miles of some of the best motorcycle riding found anywhere, the Asheville Bikefest and Blue Ridge Run can’t help but become one of the nations major motorcycle events because it has so much more to offer the motorcycling visitor simply because of its geography. Combine one of the worlds best motorcycle riding locations with the talent and experience to coordinate a major event, throw in the outstanding scenery in a location within easy reach of millions of riders, add the spice of fun and funky Asheville, and you’ve got a recipe for an experience that will satisfy any taste. As the spring rally at Myrtle Beach continues to implode and burn out, this new star is rising thanks to the Cresswells at Worldwide Dynamics.  Their legacy of involvement with promoting some of the biggest motorcycle events such as Sturgis, Laconia, Leesburg, and others bring the connections and clout to not only bring in the big dogs from the factories, but be selective in choosing the best of vendors and entertainment.

Photo - skeleton on a motorcycle

Halloween themes were timely this late in October.

Last year was the first Asheville Bikefest and Blue Ridge Run and we all wondered if it would go at all. Approvals and commitments did not come in until the last minutes and the opportunities for pre-promotion were scant. Most of the big dogs know better than to invest their time in a first year show. It’s a hurdle you’ve got to clear, a bar to jump to show it can be done. That leap is behind us now and the majors are making their commitments.

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Me at the Asheville Bikefest and Blue Ridge Run helping you find the best rides and routes.

I’ll be back again this year acting as “Route Master” (unless we come up with a better title). Let Mark handle the Bikefest end of things. My mission is to get you out to enjoy the riding just as the first warm spring weather breaks and the trees and mountain foliage are in full bloom. There are so many outstanding motorcycle rides nearby you can come back every year for the rest of your life and ride a great new motorcycle route each time, though I suspect you’ll develop a handful of classics that are worth revisiting over and over. I think I did a good job last year giving out 30 local ride maps – trust me, nobody rode them all. I’ll be your resource to help you plan those daily excursions, route you to the best of the best, and help you discover the hidden sights and treasures that abound.

 

Photo - Yvonne on her Royal Enfeild

Yvonne on her 2010 Royal Enfield Military Edition motorcycle, a design virtually unchanged since 1955. She really likes it.

Pencil in May 12 – 15, 2011 on your calendar for the Asheville Bikefest and Blue Ridge Run. Kick off your riding season with a bang, get outfitted, test ride that new bike, and discover the undiscovered secrets that make the Smoky Mountains one of the best motorcycling regions in the world. It’s all about the ride.

Asheville Bikefest and Blue Ridge Run 

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Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com

 

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Jay Leno Recommends Visiting Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum in Maggie Valley, NC

 

Photo - Jay Leno at Event

Jay Leno at Pebble Beach Event

See the interview at Jay Leno’s Garage, here.

In mid-August 2010, Wheels Through Time Museum Curator and Founder, Dale Walksler, was bestowed the honor of displaying two rare American racing motorcycles from the museum collection at the famed Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California.  Regarded as the world’s premier gathering of automotive history, the sixty year-old invitation-only event annually brings together several hundred of the rarest and most desirable vehicles ever produced for a one-day spectacle that attracts tens of thousands of fans and spectators from around the globe.

2010 marked the second year in which motorcycles were displayed, with a total of twelve two-wheel machines gracing what is often referred to as the best finishing hole in golf — Pebble Beach’s 18th Fairway.   When the judging was complete, Walksler and both museum machines in attendance came away with two out of three of the shows top honors — the rare 1909 Reading Standard placing second, and the one-of-a-kind 1929 Harley-Davidson DAR placing third.

While at the Concours, both Walksler and the two Wheels Through Time motorcycles garnered particular attention from fans and specators alike, including one of the most famed celebrities in show business, Jay Leno.  During the show, the avid car and motorcycle enthusiast, and host of NBC’s Tonight Show, conducted an in-depth, six-minute interview with Walksler highlighting both the prestige and excellence of those machines lucky enough to be invited to the once-a-year gathering.

During the interview, which was recently released on the “Jay Leno’s Garage” website, a subsidiary of NBC’s Tonight Show, Walksler and Leno discuss one of the award winning machines from Wheels Through Time — the 1929 Harley-Davidson DAR board track racer — addressing both its rarity and significance in the history of American motorcycling, and how it holds a special place in the museum’s collection of over 300 of our country’s most historic two-wheelers.  Walksler shares the intimate details of how the machine was found after sitting idle for over 70 years, and the process in which it was brought back to its former, ear-splitting glory.

Photo - Jay Leno and Dale Walksler from Wheel Through Time Motorcycle Museum in Maggie Valley

Jay Leno and Dale Walksler from Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum in Maggie Valley, NC

Jay also offers high praise for the Wheels Through Time Museum itself during the segment, citing it as one of the best museum’s in North America.  During the interview Walksler and Leno share the origins of the museum — a dream of Walkslers since he began collecting over 40 years ago — and the museum’s focus on rare, all-American motorcycles, particularly those with great stories and exceptional pasts.

“Having the opportunity to display two machines at Pebble Beach is an outstanding honor for myself and the entire museum staff,” said Walksler.  “We’re so proud to share these machines with the rest of the automotive and motorcycle world, and Jay has played a big part in sharing them with a wider audiencethan ever before.”  During the segment, Leno even addressed his hopes of coming to shoot another piece at the museum in the future.

The interview can be seen on the Jay Leno’s Garage website, located at www.JayLenosGarage.com, accessed by visiting the videos page and clicking on the “motorcycles” link on the left side of the page.  Titled “Motorcycles of Pebble Beach 2010”, the video also touches on other rare motorcycles featured at the Concours.

For more information about the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Jay Leno’s Garage, or the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC, visit www.WheelsThroughTime.com or call (828) 926-6266.

Read the story and see more pictures on the Wheels Through Time website.

Matt Walksler

Wheels Through Time Museum

P.O. 790 / 62 Vintage Lane

Maggie Valley, NC 28751

(828) 926-6266

mattw@wheelsthroughtime.com

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Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer

 

– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com

 

 

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Pre 1916 Coast to Coast Motorcycle Race Going On? Here are the photos!

http://www.motorcyclecannonball.com/ – here are some of the photos I took this morning.

Photo - Cannonball motorcycle run

Bust? Highly likely

I can’t adequately describe this event so I’m just going to give you the link right off the bat. See for yourself, follow them as they progress, it’s just hard to believe it’s actually happening.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle run

7:30 AM and getting ready

For those of us in western North Carolina, it’s not all that unusual to see vintage motorcycles from time to time thanks to Dale Walksler’s Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum in Maggie Valley.  Not only does he have one of the most extensive collections of early motorcycles, and a historical representation of the Harley Davidson line, but they all run and he races them. More than once I’ve been cruising through Maggie Valley when he pulls up alongside on one of the vintage motorcycles out for a spin.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle run

Not all the bikes were vintage - THIS WAS MY FIRST ROAD BIKE! 1974 Harley Davidson 90cc

I watched the bikes straggle in last night. They filled the A Holiday Motel in Maggie Valley as well as 2 others. I got to talk with the support crews and some of the riders.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Excelsior Motorcycles were well represented

What’s it like riding one of these? They’re lucky to hit 50 mph so you don’t get windblown. The seats are fairly springy. It’s not all that bad – so they say.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Plenty of early Harleys

On the other hand, going up hills is a challenge. I think those pedals get used. Things fall off – like brakes.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Lots of Indian Motorcycles

Electrical problems, particularly magnetos, are a problem that can stop you dead and tough to resolve.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Somehow they got the magneto repaired on this Indian.

A lot of these guys were up till the early morning hours in Wheels Through Time repairing the bikes to keep them running.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Not all the bikes were restored to original condition

It was interesting to see what it took to make these bikes run. The right fuel mix, careful coaxing and monitoring, and a lot of attention.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Some bikes were in mint condition

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Would you race this baby across the country?

48 bikes started the race. Some had already dropped by this 3rd day. Will any make the west coast?

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Getting them started is a challenge

They average about 200 miles per day. The longest day is 300 miles. No interstates. Only one rest day. Holy cow.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

I wouldn't know where to start to work the controls

I hope they make it. I’d like to see it become an annual event, though I don’t know how long the bikes could make repeated trips.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

You couldn't pay enough to duplicate the finish on this machine.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

The detailing on this machine attests to its authenticity

It’s something to see motorcycles nearly 100 years old not only running, but racing.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Best to get an assistant to do the starting

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Is that a "cheater tank" on this Harley?

Some of these guys were stopping to fill up every 20 miles.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

With VERY limited range, this was the way to go.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

A police escort helps

it’s pretty cool to see these old bikes. It’s even cooler to see them run. But when you see them take off down the road to race, it just defies coolness and becomes something beyond.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

People came from surrounding states to see the event.

Follow the progress, read the trails and tribulations of the riders a thttp://www.motorcyclecannonball.com/

 

 

 

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

The race is on!

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Another racer hits the road

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Dude, that flag is gonna slow you down!

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Horsepower Ok. Dog power - disqualified.

If you like this you need to pay a visit to Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum in Maggie Valley, NC.

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

 

– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com

 

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Cannonball Vintage Motorcycles in Maggie Valley

I just got a couple photos this evening, bikes were still coming  in and heading to Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum on the Cannonball cross country vintage motorcycle race.

Photo - vintage Harley

One of three similar vintage Harleys in the Cannonball motorcycle race.

I’ll head over first thing in the morning when things get organized and the bikes are all together to head out and get some more pics. They’ve taken all the rooms at the A Holiday Motel in Maggie Valley.

The bikes were just rolling in this evening. Too scattered for good photos. More in the morning.

The bikes were just rolling in this evening. Too scattered for good photos. More in the morning.

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

 

– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com

 

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Another Great Motorcycle Ride to be Added to the List – My Secret

It’s not all that frequently I miss a great motorcycle ride in my explorations. I really try to be thorough as well as intuitive, so few slip by. Still, I can’t claim to know ALL the great roads in the southern Appalachians, just the vast majority of them. I continue to find more, and quite embarrassingly, they are too often close to home. Everyone believes they know ALL the great roads right in their back yard. Time and again I am proven wrong, and that’s not such a bad thing.

Stop reading now if you think I am giving this one away. No photos, no road names, nada. I just gave away 30 routes at the Asheville Bikefest for free and people gobbled them up. Nor is this a post about the Asheville Bikefest, I think you may be getting sick of hearing about that, but be cautioned, there will be more to come. The event was far more successful than expected and stuff is flooding in. The only reason I mention the event is because I found this great road because of it.

As Route Master for the Asheville Bikefest (there I go again, last time) I spoke with countless people helping them find the best rides in the area and getting them to see the most in the time they had. When you’re passionate about something, even work becomes fun. I went almost non-stop for four days and I had a great time. That’s why I founded America Rides Maps.

So anyway, this guy wants me to direct him to one of the two dozen local roadside waterfalls, which I do, so he can get of picture of his bike behind it. Yeah, you can actually drive behind this waterfall right off the road. He didn’t find it. Why, I don’t know, it’s one of the most obvious roadside waterfalls there is but that doesn’t matter. What matters is this guy doesn’t give up. He gets directions which lead him off into the forest. He rides and rides everything in sight, exploring places I know better than to go. He never finds it.

The next day he comes back to me and tells me he couldn’t find the waterfall. I’m a bit incredulous, it’s so easy. I redirect him. He relates his adventures and tells me he found this awesome motorcycle ride. I’m dubious. If he couldn’t find the easy waterfall do I believe him now? I made a mental note of it nonetheless. About an hour later I’m talking to a couple of women. They’re buying maps of the areas closest to them (we all think we know our own back yard), right down the street from the “event which will not be named again in this post. Out of curiosity, I ask if they know of this road the guy mentioned. “I live on that road, it’s great!”

So I can’t resist. Today I have to check it out. It rocks. Who cares how or why I missed it.   I’ll add it to the “The Best Roads South of Great Smoky Mountains State Park – EAST” map tomorrow. The other routes in the area I’d previously identified were detours around a congested town and a four lane section of road which formed one leg of a 100 mile+ triangle of superb riding. Now I think I’m looking forward to the detour more than the great rides that lead to it.

I have some more leads to follow up. I know some will be disappointing. I think I’ve done at least one and rejected it, my standards are high, but you never know. I’d be very pleased to find another jewel.

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Waiting to Hear About the Asheville Bikefest and the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Run

Photo - The Headquarters building

The big log building in the background was the headquarters for the event - as Route Master I rarely left it.

From before the gates opened to well after they closed, I spent the last four days at the Asheville Bikefest and yet I never really saw it. As Route Master for the event I was stationed in the luxurious air conditioned headquarters building and tasked with helping folks get out and ride the fantastic motorcycle roads in the surrounding area. I rarely stepped outside nor ventured far from my post.

Photo - the Route Master at work

A printer, 30 routes, and me at work helping you find the best rides and routes.

Flanked by two long tables stacked with 30 motorcycle ride routes for people to choose from, I spent much of my time running back and forth to the printer to maintain the supply. There were great motorcycle rides in most every point of the compass, up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway, and to several of my personal favorite motorcycle roads. It kept me busy. When my wife came down Saturday to help me out, I urged her to take a few minutes and grab some photos. She probably saw more of the event than I did.

Photo - vintage Triumph Bonneville

A vintage Triumph Bonneville parked right out front - I rode one of those back in the day and find myself back on a Triumph today. Great bikes!

I met folks from as far away as Maine, New York, Florida, and a whole lot from South Carolina and Virginia. Considering the remnants of the Myrtle Beach Bike Rally were going on simultaneously, it was encouraging to see so many who had chosen to come here instead, a sure sign that beach venue has lost it’s luster. Most who came seemed to be local. It was a surprising turnout considering all the competing events in the region and up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Asheville-Bikefest-pics

Yamaha / Star / Boss Hoss and other big rigs set up in one corner. There was a steady stream of demo rides the whole time.

I expect more photos soon. I saw some wild ones from The Anti Team Stunt Show with the bikes in flames. When I caught the last of them on Sunday, they were pulling out all the stops and those boys went home with some painful souvenirs.

Photo - stunts provided by the Anti Team

Three stunt shows each day from the Anti Team kept getting better and better. They kept finding more stuff to blow up or burn, sometimes themselves.

I was there, but I can’t tell you much about it. I was too busy. I’ll post more as it comes in. If you made it, let me know what you thought and I’ll try to do even better next year. Unlike others, this event is all about the great motorcycle riding and should be one you add to your motorcycle vacation plans.

See some cool videos of the show at http://theantiteam.com

For routes and maps: http://americaridesmaps.com

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