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May 5th Edition

In This Issue:


Riding BE-cause ~ Charitable & Educational Events in the Carolinas

Lil' Weather

Free Thinking with FancyFree

Lester: An Easter ride in Eastern Tennessee

Ride Safe: Tim Shatley's Riding Academy Experience

Join Team TCR!

Loose Talk with Jon

UCP of South Carolina hosts

3rd annual Ride for a Life fundraiser

Saturday, May 30

Get your motors running and your kickstands up for a good cause!  United Cerebral Palsy of South Carolina (UCPSC) will host its third annual Ride for a Life motorcycle fundraiser on Saturday, May 30, 2015. (FLYER ABOVE)  Proceeds raised from the event will benefit the individuals served by UCPSC, all of whom have a range of life-long developmental and intellectual disabilities.  The event is being led for the second year in a row by members of the Mad Hatters Riding Club of Gaston, SC.

Registration for Ride for a Life is available on the UCPSC website,  The cost is $10 for a single rider and $15 for a rider with a passenger.  Event t-shirts are included with the registration fee at no extra cost for riders who pre-register online.  They will also be available for sale the day of the event.  Check-in begins at 9 a.m. at the United Cerebral Palsy of South Carolina office at 1101 Harbor Drive, West Columbia, SC and the ride kicks off at 11 a.m.  Riders will stop at several different locations around the Lake Murray area before arriving at the after party destination starting at 4 p.m.  The after party will feature music, a raffle, auction, and 50/50 drawing.  Maps and directions to the various destinations will be posted on the UCPSC event page.

Sponsors for this year’s Ride for a Life event include Palmetto RX Solutions from Columbia, SC and GuildQuality from Atlanta, GA.  Marketing and advertising support is provided by The Carolina Rider. 

For more information ...

please contact Alanna Layton, Development Coordinator for UCPSC, or 803-926-8878.

(2014 Ride for a Life group shot)

About United Cerebral Palsy of South Carolina

The mission of United Cerebral Palsy of South Carolina is to positively support and impact the achievement of a Life Without Limits for people with disabilities. UCPSC offers a wide range of programs and supports for these individuals and their families, including community living services, adult day programming and employment services. United Cerebral Palsy of South Carolina serves adults with a variety of developmental disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, intellectual disabilities, autism, Down syndrome, Spina Bifida, and traumatic brain injuries.  For more information, visit


The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area

for Week of May 5-12, 2015

Wednesday 83h & clear, Thursday 83h & clear, Friday 83h & p-cloudy, Saturday 82h & clear, Sunday 88h & clear, Monday 88h & p-cloudy, Tuesday 88h & p-cloudy (as per on 05/3/15)

Clear to Partly Cloudy

I'm more weeks behind than I like to be ... but I finally got a big part of my garden in last week. There's more I want in the ground for this season but I may have to be happy with the 'maters and peppers, herbs, punkins' and cukes that got planted and give up on the rows and rows more that I usually have to eat on. It's kinda one of those years so far - a bit behind but I'm peddling fast to catch back up.

In any event, my garden will be happy as the weather is warming up quite a bit this week. It may require the hose to be turned on more often since there's absolutely no rain in the forecast, but, again, something I've just gotta take in stride as a gardener.

And so it is with most anything - and so with the riding life. Sometimes we have time to ride, to kick back and enjoy THE Ride; and sometimes we've just gotta get somewhere fast. And sometimes the weather's perfect for riding; for the perfect ride ... and sometimes it's just impossible to get comfortable no matter what you wear or don't wear.

Gary Burgess who wrote previously of his far and wide travels, has an upcoming series of stories from his ride where he researches safety gear for riding. And he's thorough. Very thorough. In his articles which we expect to publish beginning next week, you'll get the info you want ... and more for referencing later too!

Speaking of safety, I'm happy to have another run of the Ride Safe column that we run periodically. Tim Shatley, who kicked this year off with a new riders' course for himself, graciously shared his experience of the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy and I know you'll enjoy it! If you've taken "the class," you'll surely relate to much of what he says. And if you haven't taken the class, perhaps it will nudge you to do so .. or to nudge someone else to do so! Remember, CPCC as well as many community colleges throughout The Carolinas offer MSF classes for beginning and experienced riders. Same for many Harley-Davidson dealerships everywhere. So, no excuses folks. Go learn the nitty-gritty of safe riding .. and then renew your knowledge again and again.

I'm on Facebook ... "friend me!"

Hello riders, remember it is all about the ride. We here at The Carolina Rider go one step further. We believe that it is all about the ride and the rider.  The wife and I took a much needed vacation a few weeks ago and took off up into eastern Tenn. It was spring break here for our youngest, who is still in school. So we packed up and went up into the Pigeon Forge area. We didn’t take both bikes but we did take mine, the dresser.  Our youngest is young enough that he cannot stay home alone, but old enough that he doesn’t want to spend every waking minute with mom and dad.

So the kids went with us for a few days but then they came home after 3 days and left me and Mrs. Lester there for 5 more days. So we rode, almost every day. We didn’t break any long distance or speed records, but we rode. We enjoyed the ride. We rode out through the country side and enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of the eastern Tennessee countryside. We didn’t go anywhere in particular, except for the ride through Cades Cove. That was relaxing and very beautiful. I recommend it highly.


Yes we were close to The Dragon, but we didn’t ride it. Too stressful for this trip. We camp up there a lot so we will save that ride for another day. When we ride it , I’ll report on it as well.  For now, just get the bikes out and ride. Ride to nowhere in particular and enjoy the surroundings, it is very therapeutic.

During our week, the weather went from one extreme to the other. If you look at our photos  you will see in the backgrounds of a lot of the highway photos, there is snow everywhere. On the roads, in the brush and mostly on the mountain tops. It was beautiful, and cold.  Down to 21 degrees, one night.  We were expecting spring like weather so we didn’t take our leathers, oops. Lol.  Needless to say, we didn’t ride a lot that day, just when the sun was up for a while. As the week went on it got warmer and warmer. High 70’s to low 80’s during the day and in the 50’s at night.  Perfect, although I do not recommend that you ride to get milkshakes  in 50 degree weather without your leathers. It was a good thing we didn’t have far to go.  That 50 degree’s felt a lot colder after those milkshakes.

As I said earlier, we took one day just to ride out to and through Cades Cove. There is a 35 mph 25 mile ride through the National Forest up there, just to get to the cove. I think the speed limit was 15 mph all the way through the cove.  Usually one has to be on the lookout for the wildlife, as we have in the past had deer come within 6 feet of us just walking across the road. This time however, we didn’t see anything wilder than a cow or a horse. I guess the Geezer Glide is louder than I thought, sorry!

The ride was still very relaxing. You'll see that in these photos - some of the countryside along with some of the barns and houses that were used at the Cove a hundred years ago. Those people actually lived off the land.  You will see a working grist mill grind up the corn to make corn meal.  It was fully operational, and actually running the day we went through.  We were able to study the water ways that were built just to carry water away from the creek, carry it to the grist mills, and back to the creek. Very interesting indeed. If these folks needed something to make their daily lives better, they would think it through and then make it. We saw an original blacksmiths shop and the tools that they made by hand there!

After we left Cades Cove we rode back down into Gatlinburg to have some dinner and a cold beverage. If you are ever going through and you get hungry or thirsty to stop into Blaine’s Grill & Bar in downtown Gatlinburg.  Tell Dale (the manager) that Lester sent you! It will not get you a freebie, but who knows it might get me one next time I go in, Ha. The photo of me and Mrs. Lester is us sitting out on the balcony at Blaine’s, just chillin.’

All in all, it was a wonderful week, I am looking forward to going back up to Tennessee next month again, and again in July. That is when we will hit the dragon. Also Myrtle Beach Bike week is coming up starting next weekend. I’ll be going down on the 15th and staying in a new place, as the old place canceled on me this year.  It just goes to show if you want to make plans for a ride, you better make them yourself !

As always if you see me out and about, tell me that you read it here and I’ll buy you an adult beverage.

Henry "Lester" Donald

Greenville / Spartanburg  Regional Rep.

My Experience

at the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy

                Since as far back as I can remember, motorcycling has always intrigued me.  I had a dirt bike for a short time when I was a kid, hell, if you could call that little putter a dirt bike, and that was the only experience I ever really had on two wheels that involved a motor.  Riding kind of ran in my family.  My dad used to tell stories of his younger “rebellious” days about his misadventures on two wheels.  My aunt had a Fat Bob and my uncle, when he grew tired of “ridin’ bitch,” bought himself a Sportster.   Any time I brought up the idea of us getting Harleys of our own, my father would simply reply, “I’ve had enough stitches to sew up that pair of Levi’s you’re wearing.  I’m done with it,” though I suspect it was just as much about what the neighbors would say if they heard those loud pipes breaking up the silence of their Saturday mornings.  And so I put all this “motorcycle nonsense” on the backburner.  But when the road calls long enough, it’s damned hard not to answer, or at least hear what it has to say before you slam the door in its face.

With this in mind, I figured the New Year was as good time a time as any to get around to unfinished business, and decided it was time to get my endorsement.  Besides, I was fresh out of grad school with my first “big boy” job teaching high school kids the finer points of mathematics, and I was slightly afraid all this newfound responsibility would make me a boring asshole.  However, those lectures of making textiles and broken bones that my dad gave me as a kid lingered on and I decided it probably wasn’t the best idea for me to go about this on my own.  It’s not like putting together chip core furniture from Wal-Mart where “I sure as hell don’t need no damned instruction book;” there was a little more at stake here.  So I signed up for the first course that came available, the Harley-Davidson New Rider Academy at Harley-Davidson of Charlotte.

The course started on a Thursday night, and I had at least an hour and a half drive to Charlotte in rush hour traffic, making this the perfect opportunity to sneak out of work a little early and hit the road.  I’m glad I did.  I had just enough time to eat a Colorado Omelet from the IHOP beside the dealership before the class started.  If you haven’t tried it, I can’t recommend it highly enough, especially if you are a fellow meat enthusiast.  But I digress…

I walked into the classroom with just enough time for some idle chat with my classmates, and what a band did we make.  There was me, a high school teacher, a few retired vets, one active duty vet looking to get an endorsement before he shipped out to Italy, a couple of people from India who wanted to get back into riding here in the states, an older fellow who had bought a Heritage and promised his wife he wouldn’t ride until he had taken a safety course, and an App State grad who… hell, I don’t remember what he did if I’m being honest (sorry, Baxter…).  The point is, outside of that class we would have never crossed paths, and even if we had I doubt we’d have found any common ground.  But here we were, because of this “motorcycle nonsense” that had brought us together.  The call of the road is some powerful shit.

Quickly after, it was time to get the show started.  The first instructor to speak was Jon Pendleton, a veritable mountain of a man who from that first time he opened his southern mouth I could tell was my kind of people.  The other was Amy Hope, the very image of the quintessential biker chick and one of the friendliest people I have had the pleasure of making acquaintance with in my life.  That first night was spent in the books, but my mind kept wandering to the back of the room, towards the fleet of motorcycles we would be riding that weekend.  That next day was quite easily the longest day of work that I’ve ever had to endure.

Saturday came and I got to the dealership and was greeted by a beautiful sight:  that bunch of bikes sitting out on the range with the engines running, warming up for the day ahead.  I remember grabbing the front brake lever, swinging my leg over the bike and standing it up.  Damn, was I ready!  Then came the instructions: with the bike cut off and in neutral, push it down the range to the start position.  I learned a very valuable lesson here:  pushing a bike is not nearly as fun as riding a bike.  That’ll be in the back of my mind when it comes time to service my bike or fill up on gas.

Very soon we were up and riding.  Within 45 minutes I came to a stop and dropped the damn thing, toppling to the pavement.  Jon walked over and said, “You know why that happened?  Your handlebars weren’t square when you stopped.”  That’s a mistake I wouldn’t make twice (at least in the course, but I’m pretty sure that lesson will stick. Wounded pride heals slowly).  That first day of slow speed maneuvers and such wore me the hell out.  The instructors had warned us that we’d be sore the next day, but I’ve got a habit of not believing something until I’ve tried it for myself.  Like the Monkees, I’m a believer now.  By the second day, we were covering things like cornering, swerving, quick stopping, etc.  I found that already the nerves that had me shaking in my boots that first day (though I wouldn’t admit it then, and wouldn’t be too keen on y’all sharing it now) had up and disappeared.  There wasn’t time to be nervous, we had shit to do!

, or at the very least save me some stitching.  But I think the most important lesson I learned is this:  I haven’t even scratched the surface.  As riders, there’s always new stuff for us to learn and skills to improve.  There will always be new roads, new friends, and new stories.  This is just the first step, the first twist of the throttle.  And I can already tell, I’m in for one hell of a ride.

Tim “Slick” Shatley

Those Drift Trikes!

I keep hearing about the drift trikes that're gonna be at this year's Smoke Out June 19-20 and this looks like some of the most fun we've seen in awhile! I'd seen the drift cars on TV shows but hadn't been aware of the trikes till Edge sent out some info recently and I'm definitely intrigued. Aren't you?

Edge, Organizer Extraordinaire of The Horse's "Smoke Out Rally" in Rockingham, NC, shared a video and a bit more info in an email last week that I know you'll wanna see......

"Bean're and his posse are coming out in force with an army of Drift Trikes and looking to race all challengers. Racing will be held both nights at the minibike track. ... " CLICK HERE to watch the video

He also shared this info for anyone wanting to catch some drift:

"The drift trikes are scheduled to run before the mini-bikes. The initial requirements include:

  • 1 speed transmission
  • 1 gear
  • No shifts
  • Under 6.5 horsepower (not hopped up... safety)
  • Rear tires can range from 10" slicks to 12" enduro with either sch. 40 or sch. 80 ABS or PVC
  • Kill switch
  • Check here for some useful stuff if you are thinking of building something.
  • Front brakes are a must with the PVC on the rear tires and the inability to stop quickly"

What more can I say? Smoke Out's gonna be smokin'!

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