Tag: Events

Rhinebeck Grand National Super Meet: 1897 De Dion-Bouton Tricycle

Rhinebeck Grand National Super Meet: 1897 De Dion-Bouton Tricycle

Amongst the many beautiful antique motorcycles at the 2010 Rhinebeck Grand National Super Meet was one very special standout for me; the 1897 De Dion-Bouton tricycle.

Having never heard of this machine before as soon as I got home I started digging around in some of my motorcycle books and browsing the web for information on this charming 100+ year old relic.

De Dion-Bouton Tricycle - Rhinebeck National Meet De Dion-Bouton Tricycle Rhinebeck Grand national Super Meet
De Dion-Bouton Tricycle Rhinebeck National Meet

It so happens that the marque has a local Long Island connection. One of the brand’s most notable owners was motor racing enthusiast  William Kissam Vanderbilt II. In 1899, Vanderbilt ordered one of the 1 3/4HP tricycles from France and had it shipped to the US.

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The Hell Riders Wall of Death – Motordrome Motorcycle Thrill Show

The Hell Riders Wall of Death – Motordrome Motorcycle Thrill Show

Step right up, step right up! Thrills and chills await as motorcycle riders defy the laws of gravity. You won’t believe your eyes.

Wall of Death California Hell Riders Show

The Wall of Death.
A titillating name that hearkens back to the American circus sideshow era. It sounds forbidden, scary and most of all enticing. A thrill show indeed.

The exterior of the Motordrome has a Coney Island feel; red, white and blue all the way. It is a fire-breathing slice of Americana. The Hell Riders proudly display their stars and bars painted Indian and Harley-Davidson motorcycles on the stage as they entice the crowd to come, one come all, to see their show.

California Hell Riders Wall of Death Motordrome

The crowd filtered it’s way up the stairs and into the mouth of the tent. There was an excited buzz in the air as everyone peered down into the big wooden barrel. Once the music started and you heard the first engine come to life –  you went to a primal place that was fueled by gasoline and impure thoughts. From the sound of the crowd and the roar of the bikes to the feeling of the vibrations that traveled up through the floorboards – you became completely transfixed by what is unfolding in front of you.

Ian Daniels Slide for Life Go-Kart California Hell RidersSlide for Life – Go-Kart

The show opens with Ian Daniels on board a go-kart that you would swear has no chance of making it around the walls of the barrel! This trick is called the Slide for Life and it sets the tone for the excitement of the following three acts.

The Dips and Dives of Death

Next up was Sandra D.  on her 1957 Harley-Davidson Hummer.  She climbed the walls higher and higher during her Dips and Dives of Death show. As Sandra went round and round, up and down the sides of the barrel  she wore a smile on her face the whole time. As she rode closer to the top of the railing, it added to the element of danger that makes the show so exciting!

Free-hand Trick and Acrobatic Riding

Don Daniels II aboard the 1930 101 Indian Scout brought the excitement to the next level as he whirled around the rim of the Motordrome with no hands on the bars. His specialty is free-handed acrobatic riding. Around and around he went, snatching folded dollar bills out of the hands of the thrill-hungry crowd. And just to kick things up a notch, he spun himself sidesaddle and sat on the Indian with no hands and feet on the controls! Awesome!

Wall of Death Sandra D. Dips and Dives of Death Show Don Daniels II California Hell Rider Wall of Death Show Don Daniels II California Hell Riders

Two Times the Fun – California Pursuit Race

The show closer really got the crowd going. It was called the the California Pursuit Race. This act put Sandra D. and Ian Daniels in the Motordrome together at the same time. Ian on his go-kart and Sandra on the Harley climbing the walls together in a blur of speed and noise. How do they do it without colliding in their dizzying pace?! It was fantastic!

I give this show a 4 shiny pink stars.  It was really fun and exciting. You can view their performance schedule on the Wall of Death website. It is not to be missed!

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Sorry about the photos being blurry, but I was just shooting blind while watching the show. It was too exciting to watch through a lens!

Photos from The Larz Anderson Classic European Motorcycle Day

Photos from The Larz Anderson Classic European Motorcycle Day

Larz Anderson Carriage HouseLarz Anderson Classic European Motorcycle Day
On Sunday I left the house in the dark hours of the morning. Though the sun was not yet up, I could see that the streets were wet and the sky was heavy. I kept my fingers crossed that the day would be dry. I met up with Bill and Graham and we headed east to catch the Orient Point Ferry. As we rode along Sound Avenue, the sky went from the dawn barely breaking to being light in what seemed to be a matter of seconds. The sunrise transition seems to reach a point where it happens so quickly.
When we arrived at Larz Anderson in Brookline, Massachusetts, the entry gate was manned by a staff. They were collecting $10 for admission and $5 for parking. Crap. I only had $11 in my pocket. I tried to fish it out while the bikes in front of me were paying. One of the staffers then shouted to another to help ‘this fella,here‘ pointing to me. I shot him a quick dirty look. The person whom he spoke to then handed me an entry wristband and motioned me to go through, my $11 still in my pocket. I didn’t feel so bad getting in for free after being called a dude. Score!
Larz Anderson Auto Museum
15 Newton St
Brookline, MA 02445
click to enlarge
Larz Anderson - Ducati RowKenny Roberts RZ350 seen parked at Larz AndersonLarz Anderson European Motorcycle Day - BMWBenelli AmazonasLarz Anderson BMWTriumph Cub at Larz AndersonLarz Anderson - NortonLarz Anderson - BMWLarz Anderson - BSA
Crazies in the Cold, Dark Night – Crotona Midnight Run – 2007

Crazies in the Cold, Dark Night – Crotona Midnight Run – 2007

EVENT: The 89th Annual Crotona Midnight Run
DATE: February 11, 2007 12:00 am

Held by the Ramapo Motorcycle Club since 1999http://www.ramapomc.org/OpenEventSched.htm
Originally held by the Crotona Motorcycle Club, starting in 1911.

The Crotona Midnight Run is a timed road ride in which riders must follow a distributed route sheet that you receive at registration time. The first Key Time is 12:00 midnight, releasing a rider every minute thereafter. The total run distance is 120 miles, which is divided into 2 legs with a 2 hour layover in-between. Average speed is for the run is 30 mph. There are 10 secret checkpoints scattered throughout the route to record your placement and progress. Points are deducted for arriving at these checkpoints either too early or late.

You are not required to participate for points if you do not wish to.

Sounds simple, right? Riiiiiiiiiiight.

Initially, the Crotona Midnight Run just existed in my peripheral vision. Being that it is a local event, each year I’m made aware that it’s going on through a number of different digests or boards making announcements. Its full presence made itself known to me on Tuesday through an IM from a dear friend. It seems that my lovely boyfriend volunteered my dumb-ass up as a potential participant when he was asked if he wanted to give it a shot. Just like that, he threw me to the wolves knowing that it would be hard for me to say no to such an enticing offer.

The evidence. The first contact IM conversation:

    BILL: Crotona Run sat night at midnight
    KENNY: yeah I saw that
    BILL: take one of my bikes lets go
    KENNY: man, that’s gonna be COLLLLLD
    BILL: take the ST plug in & roll
    BILL: Ill take the wing
    BILL: ST even has an hot seat
    yeah that’s true its a little heatbox
    KENNY: tell fuzz, Id bet she’d jump in a heartbeat

Why would he think that?

  • Middle of the night? check
  • Sub 20° F degrees temperatures? check
  • Ice, potholes, sandy salted roads? check, check and check!

Oh yea, that’s right up my alley all right!

So, Tuesday I’d pretty much made up my mind that yes, indeed with Kenny’s blessing I’d give it a shot. From this point on, I was filled with exctiment and a hint of anxiety of the unknown. I felt, for lack of a better word, scared. When those close to me asked exactly what I was scared of, I really didn’t even know. As I thought about it, I was scared of being cold. I was scared of feeling sleepy. I was scared of quitting the ride before finishing. But as the days wore on, the thing that I found I was most scared of was not trying it. I hate the idea of regrets. So with that, I was committed to do this thing, whatever was to happen… c’est la vie.

My first step towards staying warm. Bill lent me a set of hippo hands. Sure they look like giant ovenmitts, but you know… I just don’t care. I am definitely going to get myself a pair soon.

My hippo-handed Triple.

Preparing my Triumph Speed Triple with Hippo Hands for the Crotona Midnight Run

In the days leading up to the actual Crotona Run, my very patient and truly wonderful 1-man pitcrew, wired up my heated grips. The neatly placed rocker switch is unobtrusive and easy to get to while riding. The heated grips in combination with the hippo hands allowed me to wear my regular non-winter leather riding gloves, while still having warm hands through temperatures that dipped down below 20°

Triumph Speed Triple

I must confess, I don’t really stay up very late. I’m pretty much an early riser who hasn’t seen 1:00 AM in quite some time. So with that, I *thought* I would try to sleep in or take a nap some time during the day on Saturday. No luck. My excitement and wonder was in overdrive. The hours until I was set to depart, flew by.

At 9:00 PM, I hug and kiss my family and tell them I love them. I take a deep breath and head out the front door it was time to go.
“Good Luck, Mommy!” my little one shouts.

9:00 PM 24° F

Fuzzygalore - Getting ready to leave for the Crotona Midnight Run

I buzz down the expressway to meet up with my lovely assistant for the evening, Bill. He’s modeling the Hypertext 1 piece from Firstgear. Its red and black motif is delicately juxtaposed to the silver of his Honda ST. With heated everything, this sport touring jewel hails from the the 2003 collection.

We head to the starting point, which is about 75 miles from here the Nathan’s in Yonkers.

Bill and his Honda ST Read for the Crotona Midnight Run

Check in & Registration for the Crotona Midnight Run 2007. This particular run appeared to be a great equalizer. Riders of all walks of life, all genres of bikes participating. The last I’d heard, there were about 60 registered riders. I may be mistaken, but I do not recall seeing another woman rider registering on her own bike. I found that to be curious.

[edit]02/17/07 Fuzz: Thank your Ramapo MCers for clarifying my error.
4 Ladies in total were out freezing their piggies that night!

We were given our numbers and route sheets. The booming voice from the man at the registration table says to me.. “Lucky 13, right here.” ::sigh::: Great. I hope its not a sign of things to come.

Crotona Midnight Run - Nathans in Yonkers

Crotona Midnight Run - Nathans in Yonkers

So at 12:13, I was released from the line and sent out into the cold dark night.

Off I go, memorizing snippets of the route sheet in sections. I have a habit of doing this in a little sing-songy way so that I don’t have to constantly read the route sheet. “Road X, Left…Road Y, Right…Left, Right, Right…” Portions of the route were through secondary roads that didn’t have much street lighting, so I had to re-sing my route at major intersections. I’m so glad we don’t use communicators in the helmets

Now remember, the designated average speed for this ride is 30 mph. Basically, given the mileage information plotted on the route sheet you can know exactly where you should be on the route at a given time. That concept didn’t last very long for me. Even when its cold out, its fairly hard to maintain 30 mph. Its so.. so… unnatural!

The 66 miles of leg 1 went smoothly. They seemed to go by in a blink, really. I ended up at the halfway point fairly close to the time I should’ve arrived, and in one piece. My anxieties were all gone. The unknown was now known. Nothing left to do but just enjoy the event for what it was.

Carmel Diner. Carmel, NY.
Around 2:00 am Arrival at the finish of the first leg.

Bill at the Halfway point in Carmel New York

So here we are, at the 2 hour layover. People began trickling in. I had some coffee, warmed up and waited for my second leg key time at 4:13 am. For me personally, I believe that this 2 hour span where I sat idly getting warm in the diner really served to allow my brain to go soft and for my body to relax. I think I might have done better on the second leg had I not sat so long.

Fuzzygalore and Bill at the Halfway point of the Crotona Mdnight Run in Carmel New York

The bikes parked along Rt 52 in Carmel.

Halfway point of the Crotona Mdnight Run in Carmel New York

Time to gear up again and get moving. 3:45 am. About 14° F Bill’s ST stopped registering the air temp at 14°, it then went to just two dashes so after we left the diner on this second leg, it might have been a bit colder. I later heard someone say it was about 10°.

Fuzzygalore and Bill at the Halfway point of the Crotona Mdnight Run in Carmel New York

Bikes at Halfway point of the Crotona Mdnight Run in Carmel New York

“I think I can, I think I can…”
The little Triple that could.

Fuzzygalore at the Halfway point of the Crotona Mdnight Run in Carmel New York

If you take one more picture of me dressed like a snowman, we’re gonna have problems.

Fuzzygalore at the Halfway point of the Crotona Mdnight Run in Carmel New York

Much like the first leg, the second too went by fairly smoothly. I could certainly begin to feel the effects of the hour and the cold making me less sharp. I’ve never had this happen before, but the inside of my visor actually frosted over inside. I had to scrape the frost away and make sure my mouth and nose were covered tightly with my neckwarmer. That was something different

As Bill and I pulled across the finish line and had our numbers logged for the last time, the sun came up. We did it. …well, except for having to now ride 75 miles back home.

When I arrived in my driveway at around 8:30 am, the garage door magically went up. As it rose, I saw 2 pairs of feet standing inside to welcome me home. The person attached to the pink feety pajamas says, “Mommy! Did you win?!?!” And while I may not have even come close to winning the timed portion of the event, I still felt like I won something. I did something I wasn’t sure I could do, from start to finish.

Some people scoff at these sorts of rides and dismiss them by saying things like, “Why?” or “That’s stupid.” I guess for some it really might be stupid or might not make any logical sense to ride around all night in the cold. But for whatever reason, it made sense to me. I wanted to try something that isn’t friendly to the body to see if I was able to beat it, to overcome my own fear of the unknown. I feel pretty good about that.

…yeah. I’d do it again.

Crotona Countdown

Crotona Countdown

I’ve got the Triple Hippo-Handed and she’s ready to go. Heated grips, heated jacket liner and a steaming, hot desire to not quit. Those things should carry me thru the night.

The frost is on the pumpkin this morning. Its currently 16 degrees. The weather man says its not going to be any colder than that between today and tomorrow, so I guess I have that to be thankful for!


A CERTAIN FRIEND: you know, this is insane
roger that, ghostrider
ME: but in the best possible way

A CERTAIN FRIEND: do we know what we are doing?
ME: aint it cool?


Some people might scoff, might say things like:

‘Why would you want to leave your nice warm bed to ride your bike all night, through the dark, in 20 degree weather?’

To them I say, ‘ I don’t know.’

You shouldn’t lick a 9V battery, but you just have to know what its like. Gotta try it for yourself.

Meeting the guys at 9:30 tonight to head to Nathan’s in Yonkers. Remind me to bring my EZ Pass, ok? I just want to be able to do this ride, start to finish. Wish me luck!