2017 – A new year

Looking ahead, but glancing in the rear-view mirror

by George Tranos

2017 – A new year! It’s hard to believe that 2016 has come and gone so quickly. As my mother used to tell me, the dawning of a new year is the time to take stock of where you’ve been and where you’re going. So with that in mind, let’s take a look back at the past year and at what’s in the works for the upcoming season.

How do you measure whether you’ve had a good motorcycling year? Is it the number of miles you’ve driven? Do you count the trips you’ve taken or where you’ve gone? How about the number of charity runs you’ve attended, the people you’ve met, or the fun you’ve had? Each of those things are important to some people.

One of the clubs I belong to measures its success by the number of Sunday morning get-togethers they hold. Members ride to a designated location, usually a diner, and have breakfast together. This is normally followed by a local ride to another destination ordinarily for lunch! Why is food always a common theme with riders? Anywhere from two to twenty members participate, socialize and ride every week.

This seems to be a common occurrence for many groups. It gives them a reason to ride, a place to go and people with similar interests to interact with. Most riders are friendly and we normally want to talk about our bikes, riding them and going places on them. Anytime we can be out there riding and having fun, it takes our minds off our regular activities.

One of the premiere weeks of the year for me is in early June and our yearly ride to Americade in Lake George, New York. We dedicate this week to riding and try to focus only on enjoying ourselves in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains. This may not necessarily be our longest trip of the year, but it is qualitatively the best! We always meet up with old friends, make some new ones and get a chance to ride some lovely, curving mountain roads.

This past year, we stayed at the headquarters’ hotel right in the heart of Lake George Village. From here, we could walk the town, enjoy the gorgeous lake view, grab some demo rides, or just return to the room to rest. It was great and we’re looking forward to doing it again this year.

What was your number one favorite riding moment from 2016? Did you get a chance to get away to a beautiful place or ride some memorable roads? If not, think about this upcoming year and what you can do to make it special. Surely you can set aside at least a long weekend or more for a great riding experience. While you don’t have to plan in advance to have a great trip, part of the fun of an epic ride is in the planning. You have many choices about where to go and what to see. Take the time during our down time in the winter to think about what you want to do for the 2017 riding season.

This past July, my wife (and your Tips, Tricks and Techniques columnist), Diane Ortiz, had the opportunity to ride cross country. She took a month off and spent most of that time as a ride leader for the Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride that rode from Brooklyn, New York, to San Francisco, California. This was the trip of a lifetime and she was able to participate! It took a lot of planning by her and the organizers and was hard work, but now she can now look back on it with fond memories.

Those types of trips don’t come along every day or even every year. Not all of us are even cut out to ride 30 days straight. But if it’s something you’ve been thinking and dreaming about, you should do everything you can to make it a reality! This might mean you have to find the right bike to go on, add accessories to make it more comfortable and choose the route and people you want to go with. It will require work, planning, patience and persistence to make it happen. You might have to do something to be physically more prepared for longer days in the saddle. Walking, light weight training, stretching, Yoga, whatever it takes might help you get there. If you want to make it happen, it can happen, but you have to make it a priority and get yourself ready. Are you up to it? Don’t wait until you physically can no longer do it – make it happen!

As 2016 fades into our rear-view mirror, now is the time to start thinking about how to improve for 2017. You have a fresh slate and the riding season will be here before you know it. Good luck and best wishes for the New Year!