Ringing in the New Year – The Isle of Man(hattan) Ride 2011

What is the Isle of Man(hattan)?

Isle of Manhattan LoopIt is a New Years Day motorcycle ride starting from the Side Walk Cafe on Avenue A. The ride’s course circles the island of Manhattan heading north along the East River topping out in the north around the George Washington Bridge. It then heads south along the West Side Highway and heads underground through the S Street viaduct and back to the Side Walk. The ride runs in snow, rain or shine.

The history of the ride, as it is told started with a man named “Skull,” over 15 years ago now.

New Year’s Day 2011 marked my first time participating in it.

I’m a morning person. Which is annoying to just about, well… everyone.

I was up bright and early around 6:30 on New Years day, despite having gone to bed at 1am. When the little hand swept over the 8, I heard Kenny beginning to stir. I said to him from the next room, “Are you excited?!” His response to my enthusiasm was… dead silence.

Now, I knew he heard me. But there are certain truths you learn while living with another person. I had committed a grievous sin by addressing him within the first few moments since he rolled out of bed. Knowing this, I didn’t press him further. Instead I went on about my task of getting ready for our ride.

A few minutes later I heard the sound of sleepy feet shuffling down the hall. In his deadpan, gravelly morning voice he managed to say, “its too early for that.”

For…? Music? Singing? Interpretive dance? It was too early for what? Seeing as how I’d already done a myriad of things (including those three mentioned) in the time between I’d asked him if he was excited and the time the response came, that enigmatic phrase could have applied to just about anything. Including going riding in Manhattan on New Years Day. I figured someone was second guessing their decision to come along with me.

New York City and it’s boroughs were hammered by a blizzard the day after Christmas. City agencies responsible for the snow removal turned the process into a complete clusterfuck. A week following the snow, side streets, walkways and even major through streets were still a snowy mess. Because of this, the correct weapons in our bike arsenal seemed to be the DRZs. The only downside – we actually had to ride them to NYC.

My DRZ Equation of Enjoyment:

Side Streets + Back Roads / Trails = Good.
Superslab + Indicated 70mph * 1 hour = Not So Good.

Ride into Manhattan on DRZ = Not So Good.

Heading to the Isle of Manhattan Ride 2011

We were meeting up with Dave about at about the halfway point of our trek into the city. As we pulled into the rest stop where we would be meeting him, we heard the familiar braaaaaap of his KTM coming up behind us. With his typical flare, he came to a riotous, skidding stop and wished us a happy New Year. I could already tell this was going to be a great morning.

With little fanfare, we motored our way along the slushy streets of New York to Avenue A. As the bikes started to trickle in there was a happy vibe as people began shaking hands and introducing themselves.

Isle of Manhattan Ride 2011

It was good to see some familiar faces, too. We hadn’t see Soth since last January. To finally get a chance to sit down and have a cup of coffee together was really nice. When he pulled up I pretty much smothered him like I was a mauling circus bear. He didn’t have any choice but to be hugged by me. Poor bugger.

The start of the ride was like an organic happening. People were milling around the sidewalks and the next thing you know, we were all pulling away from the snowy curbs heading out on our way. What followed was  25 or so miles of silly fun. We were a swarm of motorcycles taking over the roadways. What a great time! I’m so glad I went.

Kenny was riding with his GoPro on, so I made this little video of our ride. Enjoy!


Rachael is the whimsical writer behind the 20+ year old Girlie Motorcycle Blog. As a freelance blogger, she is on a mission to inspire laughter, self-examination, curiosity, and human connection. Girlie Motorcycle Blog can be found on several Best Motorcycle Blog lists.

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11 Responses

  1. Shybiker says:

    You write so well, Fuzzy. This reads like a gripping novel. I can’t wait to see who plays you in the movie-version of this story.

    I’ve heard about this ride before but, not being a morning-person, I wasn’t inclined to do it unless friends were going. Next year, if you want company, send up a flare!

    • Fuzzygalore says:

      Thanks so much, Ralph. You’ll have to keep it on your radar for next year. Have you done the Crotona Midnight Run?

      What a fun idea. Who would you pick to play yourself in the movie of your life?
      For myself, I see Helena Bonham Carter. Slightly demented with a hideous sense of style and a mess of hair that might have field mice living in it.

      If someone else is choosing for me, I hope they pick someone fabulous. And skinny! 😆

  2. Way to blitzkrieg the New Year!

  3. soth says:

    Fuzzy said – “Poor bugger.” LOL! It was really great to finally see you guys too… it gave me a warm “fuzzy” feeling. For 2011, one of my goals is to try to make the times between our visits a shorter interval if you guys’ll have me 🙂

  4. crudmop says:

    Let’s clarify – the “it’s too early for that” was actually “it’s too early to have the Sonos radio at 150 decibels” before I’ve managed to get my eyes to open without assistance from some c-clamps.

  5. Judy LaParne says:

    It didnt look too bad! Even a little sunshine..
    One thing to say; heated riding clothing:good!! LOL

    Happy New Year, darlin…

    • Fuzzygalore says:

      It was actually really nice out as the morning wore on, Judy. It warmed up to the high 40s.

      TM- It was salty and wet. We came home covered in filth. We went sans-heated gear but I was plenty warm with the rain liner and quilted liner in my gear.

      Sonja – I’m with you. I love a quiet morning ride. I do some of my best thinking then.

  6. SonjaM says:

    “its too early for that.” For…? Music? Singing? Interpretive dance? Good one!

    If I need to get up early for a ride I can be an early loud and happy bird, otherwise I am more the early but non-talkative person in the morning and I herewith like to distinguish I am by no means grumpy… only quiet. The morning hours have always been my favourite riding times. Unfortunately it is that time of the year where early get ups do not make much sense… it is already 10AM and the roads are still covered with hoar frost… dang!

    Keep on rolling!


  7. crudmop says:

    No heated gear on the DRZs, Judy – crappy lowpower stator=no electrics, we had to kick it old school.

  8. ToadMama says:

    Loved it! Looked a bit salty, though. You guys are braver than me. Of course, I don’t have heated clothes. Yet. 🙂

  1. December 29, 2011

    […] Post: Ringing In The New Year – The Isle Of Man(Hattan) Ride 2011 […]

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