In 1998 my dad bought his first motorcycle. It was a 1978 Honda Gold Wing GL1000. It was a big bike for dad, and quite a step for a beginning rider. Since it was autumn going into winter, the bike sat until spring. Then I bought my first motorcycle and whenever we could we would ride together. Eventually he downsized and a few bikes later wound up with a Honda Rebel. Dad loved that bike! That would be the last motorcycle he would own.
Not long after he started riding I received a postcard in the mail from Rider informing me that as a Christmas present from my father I would receive 12 issues. It was quite a magazine. Chock full of very informative articles, Favorite Rides we talked about doing and good safety advice. Every month we discussed at length all that we’d read. Every fall from that time on I eagerly awaited my little white postcard letting me know dad had once again renewed our subscription. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford it, it was just that it came from my dad! This magazine has been a part of my life for so long, I almost can’t remember when I wasn’t reading it. The day after we buried my dad I went to the mailbox to get the mail, and as I pulled it out, there was my October issue. As I walked into my home I choked up a little because I realized I would only receive two more issues from dad.
Thank you, Rider, for just one more connection with my dad. He loved your magazine, and I know he’s out there on the cruiser of his choice, riding those hills, curves and twisties he loved so much with his current issue of Rider in his saddlebags! Ride in Peace dad!
Kenny Riggins, Memphis, Tennessee
Great article from Frederick Tressler on riding the Ohio River Valley (“Big Water,” October 2019). I met Fred a few years back when he did a story on the Porter County Airport group’s Tiddler ride (“Running (Slowly) With The Pack,” November 2014). He’s right about Bloomington and the roads in the area. I’ve ridden a lot of places and Southern Indiana is special. Very rolling and laid-back. One thing I’d like to add is the Overlook Restaurant on State Road 62 in Leavenworth. Fantastic view of a big bend on the Ohio River, food is great and reasonably priced. You can sit out on a grassy knoll or stay in the dining area for a wide view. We watched a tug work a barge around the bend. I’ll be going back soon. More proof that “there’s more than corn in Indiana!” Oh wait, across the river there’s a big field with a crop of…corn!
Paul Watkins, Hebron, Indiana
Congratulations to Wendy Crockett, the first woman—and first mom—to win the Iron Butt Rally (Kickstarts, October 2019). As Rider mentioned, not only did she win, but she did it by riding just under 13,000 miles in 11 days (the requirement is just 11,000 miles in 11 days). That was incredible, you go girl! Nearly 20% of motorcycle riders are women, compared to less than 10% less than a decade ago. We could soon see 25% of motorcycle owners being female as the Boomers and mature riders retire out and are replaced by younger riders. Congratulations to all women—let’s make this world a better place!
Ray Salinas, Arvada, Colorado
Thanks for the article on group riding (“Sticking Together,” October 2019). As a rider of 45 years I appreciate safety. I am often the “Road Captain” (lead position) because I enjoying going to Google Maps and choosing a route. I believe that being on the left side of the lane affords me the best opportunity to keep the other riders safe. It’s interesting that in the two photos in the article (pages 38 and 44) the lead rider is in the right side of the lane. Is this intentional?
Before we leave on a trip I always tell my fellow riders (we’ve ridden about 150,00 miles together), “I don’t mind being first, if you don’t mind being lost.”
“Doc” Joe Sadowski, Chicago, Illinois
Good eyes, “Doc.” However, both photos happen to show riders in the middle of a larger group (the Sisters Centennial Ride and the Kyle Petty Charity Ride). Apologies if they were misleading. –JS
The October issue’s Retrospective article features the Matchless G12. In that article the crankshaft is described as “modular” iron. Sorry to nit pick but my background in metallurgy causes me to want to correct that point. The correct term is “nodular cast iron.” Most likely Clem was the victim of spell check. Cast iron has an abundance of carbon in the form of graphite. In common gray cast iron the graphite is contained in the form of flakes. In nodular cast iron the graphite is in the form of graphite nodules. Nodular cast iron has better mechanical properties and improved fatigue strength, and would be better able to withstand the flexing he mentions (although I would’ve thought any flex in a crankshaft is undesirable).
Ralph Noble, via email
After receiving the October issue I saw the CB500X on the cover and quickly turned to the article, thinking that Honda had built a bike for smaller riders like myself. I turned immediately to the specs page, only to discover the seat height is 32.7 inches. I didn’t even bother reading the article. Hey Honda, who do you think is looking at 500cc bikes? Not Shaquille O’Neal. Wake up!
Robert Copeland, Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee
I love to sit around and kick tires when not rolling. I also love pie, just like Clement Salvadori. Thus when he mentions a new-to-me pie place in Arizona (where I’m riding next month), I have to see where it is (Road Tales, October 2019). Imagine my disappointment when I couldn’t find Pie Town, Arizona. However, I did find Pie Town, New Mexico. I can understand the error, as certain parts of Arizona look an awful lot like certain parts of New Mexico.
Roger Mead, Kerrville, Texas
You can read more about Pie Town, New Mexico, in our touring feature in this issue. –EIC
My neighbor, Jerry Davis, a long time subscriber, will be turning 73 in December. I am Jerry’s neighbor and young (age 52) friend. Two and a half years ago we traveled to Utah together and rode the national parks. We called it “Adventia Before Dementia.” A couple of months ago Jerry told me he was thinking of going on one last long ride with no destination in mind and no advance reservations. A real trip. A real adventure. No cares about time or an urgency to get anywhere. Due to my teaching career, with school just getting started, I couldn’t go with him on his epic adventure this time. Well, he and Chuck, his 73-year-old friend, departed on Sunday, September 15, around 6:30 a.m. They are still gone. Jerry might return home by Wednesday, September 25. He will have ridden around 3,600 miles. Each night he texts me a brief snippet or report on how many miles they traveled and their current location. I hope my brothers and I have many more adventures and longer ones before my time comes. Thank you for your articles and a great magazine. Jerry gives me his copies.
Update, September 25, 10:55 p.m.—They made it home safe and sound.
John E. Walker, via email
Mark Tuttle’s October 2019 review of the Honda CB500X was excellent, and highlights the “sweet spot” qualities of the motorcycle. However, he states that these qualities make it “a great main ride for beginners and a nice second bike for commuting and short rides.” On the contrary, it is a great main ride for experienced riders and a sport touring bike for long rides. Having ridden for 35 years now, I became more and more disillusioned with the weight and thirstiness of bikes with twice the power and twice the weight. My old 1100 twin got 35 mpg, less than my Ford Fusion sedan, and plowed into corners rather than traipsing through them as the CB500X does. So after purchasing a CB500X, I rode it to Alabama and Iowa from my home in Virginia, two 2,000-plus-mile rides. Then this summer I rode it from California to Virginia, a ride of 4,500 miles, averaging 65 mpg and with a permanent smile on my face. Even with panniers and a full load of camping equipment, the CB500X had enough of power to top the Cascades, the Rockies and the Sand Hills of North Dakota, as well as to push through the headwinds of Wyoming and Iowa. What a lovely bike. A lot of experienced riders are foregoing heavy and complicated bikes, and the CB500X is indeed a “sweet spot.”
Paul Henderson, Charlottesville, Virginia