Backroad Bob's Motorcycle Adventures
Dual Sport Motorcycling, by Carl Adams

I’m a huge proponent of dual sporting. It really is the most fun you can have on two wheels and there’s no better way to hone your street skills than riding off-pavement. It’s July and the height of the dual sport season in the U.S. At this time of year you can still find cool days and you will find cool nights in my favorite place to ride - the Pennsylvania mountains. Here’s a review of the book where I found some good tips and explanations of several topics I’d never seen covered before and I’ve been dual sporting for twenty years. Enjoy!

Thanks to Ridin’ Ralph for the pics.

Book Review -

The Essential Guide To Dual Sport Motorcycling, by Carl Adams

Published by Whitehorse Press 2008

192 Pages - 8-1/4”x10-1/2” - $24.95 (List Price)

Available at Amazon Books - $18.35

by Robert H. Miller

© 2014 RHM Co. Intl

The author describes his book as “Everything you need to buy, ride, and enjoy the world’s most versatile motorcycles” and he does a good job of covering that vast territory. Where the author ventures into new material is with his chapters specifically on dual sport riding, describing the types of dual sport motorcycles, how to buy a dual sport motorcycle, tire selection, suspension tuning, mental preparation, long-distance dual sport touring, route mapping, and navigation.

The author evidently has a huge amount of dual sport time, but he doesn’t ever mention the complete dual sport experience of riding to a weekend event, participating in the event and riding home from the event all on your dual sport motorcycle. Perhaps it’s something he’s never done. He briefly covers dual sport touring in the opening chapter and then deservedly covers it much more comprehensively at the end of the book where he lists how to plan, what to take, and how to maintain your dual sport for extended rides. This is all very useful information seemingly never before published in book form. The book is sprinkled with these words of wisdom as well as loaded with full-color photos that are especially helpful in the tire selection, suspension, and navigation chapters.

In the third chapter, “Matching A Dual Sport To Your Needs” the author is right on target with the chapter’s title. Once a rider decides what he wants a dual sport motorcycle to do, and how much he wants to pay, it’s easy to choose which is the right one. The chapters on tires, suspension tuning, mental preparation, training, techniques, mapping, navigation, and touring trips are excellent. The author goes to great lengths to explain how a motorcycle suspension works off-pavement, how to troubleshoot off-road suspensions, the physics of off-road motorcycling, and techniques that are important to practice.

The author’s extensive dual sport experience is evident when he addresses the overlooked topics of “Riding With Others”, “Heat, Cold, and Dehydration”, and “Strong Body, Sound Mind”. The “Suggested Riding Apparel” paragraphs in the “Personal Riding Gear” chapter are especially helpful with their lists of gear for varying terrain, temperatures, and circumstances. The author’s effort is a very good first dual sport book. The only thing missing is coverage of East Coast dual sporting. There’s no mention of it. A beginning reader may think dual sporting can only be done in the desert West. A Foreword by an eastern rider may have helped here.

In the book’s introduction, the author makes a prophetic statement when he says, experienced off-road riders, especially those that have raced, “expect dual sports to be racing bikes with license plates and (they) miss the rich possibilities of dual sport”. This could only be said by someone who’s been there and done it. With credibility running this deep, you can’t go wrong with this read.

Dual Sport Motorcycling, by Carl Adams

Heisler’s Cloverleaf Dairy Bar - Good, Better, Best

Heisler’s Cloverleaf Dairy Bar and Restaurant -
Good, Better, Best

by Robert H. Miller
© 2014 RHM Co. Intl

This is one of those motorcycle destinations that’s been occasionally popping up on the ride radar for the past ten years. A mention on a blog here, a newspaper article there, but never anytime everywhere. The fact it kept surfacing was intriguing enough to look for a reason to ride there.
Rumor had it that Heisler’s was located “up in coal country, near Tamaqua”, but that was only half-right. Not really near Tamaqua, but definitely in the heart of coal country, Heister’s is closer to one of Pennsylvania’s top off-road riding destinations, the area surrounding the town of Mary-D than anything else. It’s really on State Route 1013 - a narrow “Legislative Route” that runs between Route 209 at Tuscarora and the intersection of Routes 443 and 895 at New Ringgold. These Legislative Routes and their poorer cousins, the three-digit Township Routes (T-Routes) criss-cross the Allegheny Mountains that run southwest to northeast in this region of Pennsylvania and connect the valley roads, like Routes 209, 54, 443, and 895 that parallel the ridges of Broad, Nesquehoning, Pisgah, Mauch Chunk, and Blue Mountains. Mountains, mountains, mountains. You get the idea.
Heisler’s was established as a dairy farm in 1924 and in 1957 a pasteurizing plant that served area farmers was built a quarter-mile from the farm. On this new site they built the dairy bar and developed their own ice cream recipes. The restaurant came later, but the original ice cream recipes remain. Today, you can choose from the usual hot dogs, hamburgers, and french fries then top it off with a decadent dessert of one or more of their 40 ice cream flavors. There’s also the local Polish delicacy of pierogies if you want to be adventurous. Heisler’s offers an opportunity to work off those ice cream treats with a miniature golf course, driving range, and game room. There’re indoor and outdoor picnic tables in case the weather doesn’t cooperate during your visit. If you want to work up a sweat, Pennsylvania’s twistiest road, Route 125, is twenty-five miles west of Tuscarora. Every weekend the squidly riders that hang out there provide free entertainment.
Still a family business, Heisler’s is run by Leonard Ostergaard - the nephew of founder Morris Heisler. They’re a retail and a commercial enterprise supplying area stores with their Heisler’s Cloverleaf Ice Cream and their trademark CMP (chocolate, marshmallow, peanut) Sundaes. They’re also very proud of their Purple Martin colony that takes up residence every summer in their fourteen Purple Martin “condominiums” scattered on the property.
Open daily from April to mid-October, Heisler’s is a place where the food is good, the ice cream is better, and the roads are the best that Pennsylvania Coal Country has to offer. The website is http://www.heislersdairy.com. The address is 743 Catawissa Road, Tamaqua and the phone number is 570.668.3399. The GPS coordinates are N40 43.646/W76 01.416.

Heisler’s Dairy Barn - Tamaqua, PA

Isle of Man TT Races Retro Ride

Isle of Man TT Races Retro Ride

by Robert H. Miller

© 2014 RHM Co. Intl.

Boys and girls, it’s TT time again so check out this group of retro German riders (think Rockers), riding retro bikes (old BMWs), the retro way (camping in a farmer’s field), to a retro place (the Isle of Man). This 30-minute video documents their travels from Germany to the Isle. It was posted this year, but could have been from decades past. If anyone asks you why you ride, direct them to this website -

http://www.autoblog.com/2014/03/21/taking-4-bmw-bikes-tt-roadtrip-isle-of-man-video/#continued

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COTA - MotoGP Texas Style

COTA - MotoGP Texas Style

by Robert H. Miller

© 2014 RHM Co. Intl.

April 11-13, 2014

Austin, Texas

A MotoGP weekend. Where to start? How about with the sights of very shiny multi-million dollar prototype racing motorcycles by the dozens, the one-percenters (the rich ones, not the motorcycle gang ones) and their weekend wives, a racetrack (Circuit of the Americas - COTA) that’s more than just a racetrack rising up like a phoenix from 1000 acres on the edge of Texas Hill County complete with a 300-foot observation tower that local Texans have dubbed The Giant Mullet. How about the sounds of prototype motorcycles that make noise like no others thundering, wailing, and thumping around a 3.4-mile track with 20 turns, a diabolical Turn One that rises 115-feet from the front straight, a hairpin Turn Eleven that takes the MotoGP riders from 179 mph to 64 mph and back up to 200 mph all within a few hundred yards? How about the smells of the acrid burnt fuel concoctions these bikes use that flash you back to every Formula 1, National Hillclimb, or Funny Car race you’ve ever been to? How about it?

You can read the lap by lap coverage on any number of websites, but here’s what you won’t see anywhere else. This track, with its combination of stop and start turns at One, Eleven, and Twelve, elevation changes at Turns One, Twelve, and Nineteen, and only one section that flows (Turns Two to Eleven) tests the best riders in the world like no other track. MotoGP riders generally don’t favor a track like this. When you’re bronco-riding a 250 hp, 340-lb. missile at 200 mph, a smooth, flowing track makes a MotoGP rider happy. All this proves Marquez, Vinales, and Miller (the three race winners) are amazing riders if you didn’t know it already. They were the only ones able to smoothly negotiate Turns 1 and 11. Those two turns had all the past MotoGP champs stumped except Marquez. What’s all this mean? It means Marquez is the new Rossi.

Great track, great views, great friendly local people and Austin is full of bars with live music every night (no country western) and no cover charges. What’s not to like?

COTA - MotoGP Texas Style

April 11-13, 2014

Austin, TX