Tag Archive: victory


Every summer there is a very large gathering of bikers in Lake George, NY.  When I say a large gathering, I am not joking in any sense of the word.  For one week in June, it is estimated that 50-60,000 bikes roll into Lake George for Americade.  Along with all those bikers come tons of vendors and motorcycle companies.  During this week, you can find darn near anything you need for your motorcycle.  From nuts and bolts to custom seats to tires to camping trailers you can tow behind your motorcycle, it’s at Americade.  I can’t imagine needing something that I couldn’t find there.

Corbin's Custom bike(?)

Each year when Americade rolls around, Rose and I head up two times during the week it is going on.  Once, in the car in case we buy something too big to carry home on the bike, and the second time on the bike to meet our friends and go on some rides in the area.  Some of the rides in Lake George area and the surrounding area are amazing.

A heavily customized Harley Rocker

We have a bunch of friends that rent a hotel just outside of the town every year.  We usually go up the second day and meet them for a three lake ride and then go back and hang out at their hotel or go into town to see what’s going on.  Hanging with those guys is always a guaranteed good time.  They will keep you in stitches with their hi-jinks.  They are some of the best friends you can have.

One of Geico's bikes

As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the big motorcycle manufacturers come into town and offer free demo rides on their bikes.  Two years ago, I took out a few Harleys on a demo.  Up at the Roaring Brook Ranch, you can find demos from BMW, Triumph, Can-Am, Victory, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki.  It’s a great place to try out that bike you may be thinking about purchasing.

Another Geico bike

Another thing I love about Americade is going down by the lake and looking at the parking lot full of bikes.  It’s like a sea of motorcycles.  Walking through the parking lot, you can see a vast majority of bikes from all different manufacturers.

A sea of bikes

You will also see a lot of crazy customized bikes.  Bikes with amazing paint jobs.  Bikes with trailers.  You just never know what you will see next.  I even saw a chopper with a small inline 6-cylinder motor and covered with spikes.  Even the guy’s helmet was covered with spikes.

So, this year I will attend Americade as I do every year.  There’s talk that the Department of Environmental Conservation has raised the fee for the space Americade uses by some ridiculous amount and Americade might not come back next year.  This is absurd.  Come  on, New York.  Soda tax, fat tax, closing the state parks, and now trying to kill Americade?  This is getting out of control.

No matter what you do at Americade, don’t do this…

You’ll get in big trouble!  See ya soon!

I am hoping to start writing more about motorcycles in the near future.  I want to try and help raise awareness as much as possible about bikers and clear up some of the stereotypes out there.  For this blog, I wanted to let people know about the good things bikers do for the community.

Over the last few years, I have been a part in many fundraisers as a biker.  Most of the fundraisers are Poker Runs.  Poker Runs are when a large group of bikers get together and ride to raise money for someone in need.  It may be for a fallen biker, a child with a rare disease, or perhaps a biker’s child that has cancer.  A Poker Run is a ride where each biker pays a fee for the rider and a passenger should they have one.  They then go to three more stops before returning to the starting point.  At each stop, they get a card.  At the end of the ride, whoever has the best hand wins a prize.

Last year, a group I ride with every Wednesday night during the warmer months did a poker run for a member’s daughter.  She was diagnosed with cancer and the ride was to raise money to help with medical bills.  In the months leading up to the Poker Run, members of the group went to local businesses looking for donations to help raise money by entering those prizes in a silent raffle.  There was also a 50/50 raffle the day of the ride.  If you are unfamiliar with a 50/50 raffle, tickets are sold throughout the day.  At the drawing, 50% of the money from tickets sold, goes to the fundraiser, and the person with the winning raffle ticket gets the other 50%.

After the ride was over, we met back at our usual meeting place and had dinner and a band played for us.  People entered into a silent auction for the prizes that had been donated, hopeful they would be the winner.  At the end of the night, the money was tallied up.  The group had raised nearly $8,000 dollars for this young girl’s medical bills.  It is an amazing feeling to be part of that.

Riding in a group that large takes focus and cooperation.  Everyone should know the rules of riding in a group.  There are guidelines and hand signals that you must know to keep everyone safe.  The bikes behind the lead bike are blockers (if used).  The blockers stop traffic that could come from side streets and split the pack up, keeping everyone safe.  The riders behind the blockers and through the rest of the pack must ride in a staggered position.  If the riders do not stagger and ride side by side, it could be dangerous.  Should one of the bikes have to swerve to miss a pothole or dead animal in the road, there is a chance they could take out the rider next to them and then cause a chain reaction.  Because of this, the bikers are to ride one bike on the right, and one bike just behind on the left, then one just behind that one on the right and so on and so forth.

In the back of the pack, there are a few sweepers.  The job of the sweepers is to pull over with anyone in the pack should they have an engine problem.  The sweeper will then assist them in getting back on the road, or calling for help.  If all of these things are done correctly, the pack will be safe and no accidents will happen.  Here is a chart I found with the proper hand signals for riding in groups;

Group Riding Hand Signals

Group Riding Hand Signals

Imagine this, if you will.  You are in a pack of 100 motorcycles, riding to raise money for someone in need.  In front of you, you see bikes for a mile.  When you look in your mirror, the same thing.  It is a feeling I will never forget.

I want to make the public more aware that all bikers aren’t bad guys.  Sure, there are some that are.  But a good portion of the bikers that participate in these events are Vietnam Veterans who risked their lives fighting for our freedom.  They deserve a huge thank you for all they do for the community.  If you see a Vet, please thank them for the freedoms we have today…

**Image Courtesy of Group Riding Hand Signals

Here in the Northeast, the weather can be pretty brutal during Winter.  Even more so if you have a motorcycle, or two in my case.  It’s awful.  I love the area, and wouldn’t move, so I just have to suck it up, but I don’t have to be happy about it.

As I was going through ideas I had written down for possible blog topics, I found one that made me smile.  It was about a great ride I took this past summer through the Catskill Mountains.  One of the reasons for thinking about the ride (other than five months of cold weather) came from a few announcements today on Twitter.  One of them was from Harley-Davidson© announcing their new $36k bagger.  Yes, I said $36k for a Harley.  Have they lost their mind?  They are nice and all, but not my thing.  I could pick up two bikes for that amount of money.  Secondly, a friend on Twitter ( @MotorcycleFans ) posts and re-tweets some great motorcycle info everyday.  A lot of the tweets are news in the motorcycle industry.  There were some great tweets about some new Victory motorcycles as well.  I’ve come to know @MotorcycleFans as Chessie.  Chessie has a great blog called 365 Degrees, photos from each day.  Check it out.

So, this past summer, I felt like going for a ride.  Rose didn’t want to go, so I headed out on my own on the FJR.  We have a GPS unit for this bike, but I don’t use it a lot.  I learned my way around Albany a few years ago by filling up the tank and picking a road to see where it brought me.  No matter where I went, I would always find my way out.  I would also learn fun roads to everywhere, rather than taking the main roads. I get around very well now after being here for only a few years.

That day, I wasn’t sure where I was going, but remembered a fun ride that our good friend Dusty had taken us on a few weeks earlier.  Dusty’s friend was in the middle on her bike and is a little timid, so I wanted to ride this one particular road again, but this time at a much faster pace.  It was amazing.  County route 308 on Delmar if you are from the Albany area.  Lots of twists and turns, great for laying it right over.

I got on that road and it was pure bliss.  These are the times where you remember why you love riding so much.  All your cares and worries seem to disappear.  It is so therapeutic.  After a few more roads, I ended up in Athens, NY.  I stopped for a drink and a snack, then I debated what to do.  I could turn around and head back, or I could keep going and keep taking roads to see where I would end up.  I went with the latter.

Next thing you know, I am on Route 23 in Catskill and and a huge smile comes across my face.  I know exactly where to go.  Up into the mountains.  The ride up there is a motorcyclist’s dream.  25 mile per hour corners, 15 mile per hour hairpins, double lane uphill passes, sweeping corners…what a ride!  If you ever get the chance, get on the bike and ride this road.

This road continues through the Catskills and by Windham mountain.  The ride after Windham is pure countryside.  Beautiful vistas, mountains soaring into the sky and views for miles.  Somewhere on route 30, I stopped and took a break to grab some pictures.  As I pulled into the overlook parking lot, I saw a great site.  An older gentleman and his wife on their Harley that had stopped for the same view I had.  As soon as I got off the bike, I noticed the gentleman’s haircut.  I pegged him immediately as a former Marine.  Dead on.  I struck up a conversation with him and his wife, and they were great people.  They asked me about GPS units, and I pulled mine out of the trunk and showed them how it worked.  While I was there, I grabbed the next few shots.  The panorama was taken by standing on the guard rail.

Panorama 2
The trunk held the camera bag and GPS

The trunk held the camera bag and GPS

Catskill Creek

Catskill Creek

After the overlook, I kept on going up 30 until I hit Route 20 and back into Albany I went.  What a great day.  It was about 150 miles round trip.  Here’s a map from the Harley-Davidson Ride Planner© that I used for the trip, in case you want to try out this ride.  Or let me know.  I’d love to go again.

Trip Map

Trip Map

Do you ride?  Been on a bike?  Love them?  Hate them?  Let me know.  Please feel free to subscribe to my blog.  Oh, and if you’re on Twitter, follow me @TCRPMG …See ya real soon!

Most people don’t know this about me, but another of my passions in life are motorcycles.  I like all different kinds – choppers, rockets, cruisers, Harleys, BMWs, Hondas.  I have been riding for almost 10 years now thanks to my best friend Jay.  He threw me on a Honda CBR600F3 about ten years ago and said “take it for a spin.”  I had never been on a motorcycle before.  So, here I am, in the middle of Stockbridge, MA on this bike scared to death that I am gonna kill myself my first time out.  He had told me to take it for a quick spin.  Ok, I can do this.  Waiting for traffic to clear, (which could take forever in Stockbridge during tourist season) then I let out the clutch and give it a little gas.  Ok, that wasn’t so bad.  I didn’t die.  Traffic is moving incredibly slowly and I want to go.  Finally, traffic moves out of the way and I crack the throttle.  Seconds later, I look down and I am over 70 mph.  WOW!  What a rush.

If you’ve never been on a sportbike before, imagine Ferrari type power in a 350+/- pounds bike.  Zero to sixty in seconds.  That was it.  I was hooked.  About four hours later, I brought the bike back to Jay with the biggest smile on my face.  It had begun.  Over the next few years, I rode a few other bikes owned by Jay and my brother Mark.  All of them rockets.  I was definitely a sportbike guy.

A few years later, I decided I was going to buy a bike for myself.  I went to the dealer and was all set to buy a brand new Yamaha R6 in Raven.  I was offered a job instead, and they put me in the Harley building selling Harley-Davidsons©.  Yuck.  I was a sportbike guy.  I didn’t like those biker types.  Their motorcycles were way to loud, and oh so slow.  Not my thing.  Fast forward a few months – I am selling Harleys and they keep hounding me to buy one.  I want to go fast, I say.  These things only have 68 hp.  It can’t get out of it’s own way.  “Try this out” the say as they point to a Harley-Davidson V-Rod©.

Interesting.  Great style, 120hp motor made in conjunction with Porsche.  Ok.  I will give it a shot.  So, off we go on a 30ish degree day with a few flurries in the air to test this bike out.  I have to admit, I came back with a smile on my face.  The bike was brand new and had a custom Harley-Davidson© paint kit on it.  I liked it more than I cared to admit at the time.  As I was considering it, they mentioned that someone had a V-Rod© there on consignment with only 1800 miles on it, lots of chrome and lowered two inches front and rear.  I checked it out.  It was gorgeous.  I was in love.  The battery was a little low from sitting around for a bit, so we charged it up and hit the ignition.  Holy Shit!  What a bark from that exhaust.  This thing was obnoxiously loud.  It had to be mine.

Looking back, I met some amazing people over the course of my time at the dealership.  Since then I have met a ton of bikers and let me tell you that while there some bad eggs out there, there are some pretty damn good people out there on motorcycles.  During the summer, we ride every Wednesday night with an awesome group called No Destination run by an amazing woman named Patti.  I have made so many friends there and over the last five years or so in the motorcycle community.  I have been to many, many poker runs to raise money for people who lost family members, or have an illness racking up thousands of dollars in bills.  The Toys for Tots run in the late fall, where you will find 300 to 400 bikes no matter how cold the weather is, bringing toys for needy children and raising money to make sure these kids have a good Christmas.  Here is a pic I took at this year’s run at Brunswick Harley.

Toys For Tots

Toys For Tots

I have also been lucky enough to be a part of a few Patriot Guard Missions.  These bikers go to the funerals of soldiers that have served our country and died, or are killed in the line of duty.  It is an honor to be part of these rides, but heartbreaking to see these young men and women die so young fighting for our freedom.

Another group I am very proud to be a part of is a forum composed of some of my friends that were in a V-Rod© forum and it spun off a photography forum called Movie Photo Forums – a great forum if you are into photography and motorcycles.  Most of the active participants ride, and a bunch actually ride V-Rods©.  There are some incredibly talented members there and I am proud to be a part of it.  They have become like family to me.  I get a lot of inspiration for my photography from the members there.  A bunch of us met in Canandaigua last summer on the bikes and rode together.  We even spent some time shooting in the area while we were there.

I guess what I am getting at is looking back to when I was a sportbike guy and I stereotyped “bikers” I had no idea what I was talking about.  There truly are some amazing people out there.  Don’t judge.  I could write about this all day, but you’d probably get tired of reading and head out.  So I will end this with a pic of my bike and my girlfriend Rose’s bike -or the Cadillac- as i like to call it.  We take my Harley for local rides, and her “Cadillac” for trips to Canandaigua or Montreal.

Our bikes

Our bikes

A few pics I have taken of bikes over the last few years…

FJR in the Catskills

FJR in the Catskills

Chad's Victory

Chad's Victory

Custom Rocker

Custom Rocker

Geico bike

Geico bike