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(photo from Danny Dalton)

August 18th Edition

In This Issue:

 

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

Lil' Weather

Free Thinking with FancyFree

Boda: History of CBA Part 2

BIG RIDE 2 Rides Out!

Your Myrtle Beach Discount Card

Tarheel Tornado: My Sturgis 75th Anniversary Adventures

Loose Talk with Jon

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The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area

for Week of August 18-25, 2015

Wednesday 91h & 30% rain, Thursday 92h & 40% rain, Friday 89h & p-cloudy, Saturday 89h & p-cloudy, Sunday 91h & clear, Monday 92h & 60% rain, Tuesday 88h & p-cloudy (as per www.intellicast.com on 08/18/15)

 

We've had the opportunity to be in Maggie Valley at least twice a year as we join Sonny Productions' rallies held at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds and connect with new and old friends in the area.

There are a couple things that stand out about Maggie Valley:

  • Motorcycles are EVERYWHERE around you!

  • Beautiful mountain ridges are EVERYWHERE around you!

Unless it's raining hard or cold, you're gonna hear motorcycle engines, see two- and three-wheeled travelers and joy-riders. It's an area that serves riders well. There is such a variety of accomodations from camping to cabins to old-style motels to inns and more. Accomodations cater to riders and many have covered parking, places to wash off the road, and info for the ride ahead. All roads around Maggie lead to great rides in every direction. There's a wide variety of restaurants and shops and if you can't find it right in the Valley, you're just a short ride to whatever you're looking for nearby in Waynesville or Cherokee or wherever else you may wander.

It's the mountains of North Carolina and it's snuggled up close to the borders of other states too. South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee are arms lengths from the area and mountain vistas abound in Maggie Valley. Honestly, at the Festival Grounds of Maggie where Sonny stages his twice-a-year car and bike rallies, it doesn't matter which direction you look, you are surrounded by mountains. It's a 360 degree bit of heaven for those of us who love to gaze at mountain ridges. The photos above are just shots I snatched on my cellphone. Nothing fancy photographically and they were early before all vendors were set up and the crowds hadn't arrived. But still, right there in all 3 shots, MOUNTAINS in the background!

It was a pleasure to hang out with Maggie this past weekend. I'm looking forward to our next trip into the hills...

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In the early 1970’s bikers were a much different breed than today’s riders.  Several of the original core members of the CBA were members of local and national motorcycle clubs with all that entails.  The Hells Angels and Outlaws were the most notorious of the local clubs that included the Brothers, the Diablos, the Ghost Riders, the Good, Bad & Ugly, the Pagans, the Southern Gentlemen, and the Tar Heel Stompers.

This was also an era of change.  National clubs like the Hells Angels and Outlaws began “patching over” smaller clubs like the Tar Heel Stompers.  In most clubs, an individual must start as a “hang around” who associates with club members.  After a while, he may gain a “sponsor” to guide him through the customs and traditions of the club as a “prospect”.  After serving an indefinite time as a “prospect”, the prospective member is put up for a vote of the membership or “patch holders” to determine his suitability.  If he is not “black-balled”, after an initiation, he swears allegiance to the club.
In a “patching over”, a club is invited to give up their club patch and take on the patch of another club – usually without the need to prospect.  Sometimes this is a mutual decision of the two clubs’ membership.  At other times, it’s forced with threats of violence.

Some members of these clubs were involved in drugs and prostitution through a variety of businesses, mostly along Wilkinson Boulevard in Charlotte.  Disputes over these businesses lead to a 10-year long war between the Outlaws and Hell’s Angels.
Recognizing that the CBA was working for all bikers, it was decided that membership in the CBA would be open to all who followed the simple rules of the group.  CBA members often acted as liaisons to their clubs.  Later, several members resigned from their motorcycle clubs to focus on repealing the helmet laws.

In 1973, the fledgling Concerned Bikers Association (CBA) elected its first officers.  They included George McLeod (in photo below,) as President, Bob Trimnal and Rick Nail as Vice-Presidents, Cliff and Ardyth Wayne as Secretaries, and Beau Vernon as Treasurer.  Rick Nail was elected President the second year and Bob Trimnal and Gary Earnhardt were vice presidents.  Rick went on to serve as State President for 20 years.  Meetings were held in members’ homes or in local parks if the weather was good.

At first, the CBA had few ideas about how to approach repealing the helmet laws of North Carolina.  None of the members were really familiar with the legislative process.   After much discussion, it was decided to hire a lawyer, Donald Tepper from Pineville, NC, to start working for the CBA in January, 1974.  He explained some of the complexities involved.  Most members felt that his retainer fee of $1500.00 was justified even though raising the money was difficult.

Those early efforts were a far cry from what the CBA does now.  Over the years, the CBA’s strategies have evolved and now individual CBA/ABATE chapters have organized Constituent Teams that conduct lobbying trips to Raleigh.  These teams speak with their local elected officials and share our concerns and desires.  Much of our success can be attributed to the activities of these teams, and to the efforts of individual members maintaining awareness of the issues and contacting their legislators.

Localized groups of a single, large motorcycle club are often called chapters or charters, and the first chapter established for a club is referred to as the mother chapter. This model was followed by the CBA with Charlotte becoming the Mother Chapter once the organization acquired a second chapter in Raleigh, NC on September 8, 1975.


In October, 1975, CBA members Magoo and Boda were selected to try to challenge the helmet law in the Supreme Court.  In order to do that, they had to get ticketed for riding without a helmet.  It turned out to be surprisingly hard to get a ticket.  After riding around Charlotte and Winston-Salem for several hours, they manage to get the tickets by pulling up behind police cruisers and bumping them with the front tires of their motorcycles.

In court, they argued that sound attenuation from wearing helmets represents impairment in the ability of a rider to perceive or discriminate warning or other useful sounds that will decrease the risk of being involved in an accident; and that helmets can increase perspiration in warm weather and lead to sweat effecting vision.  Another argument was that motorcycle helmets have no statistically significant effect on the probability of fatality; and helmets increase the severity of neck injuries. Although helmets reduce the severity of head injuries, an individual is faced with a tradeoff between head and neck injuries in deciding whether or not to wear helmets. Unfortunately for the CBA, they won their cases and were not given convictions that would have allowed an appeal to a higher court.

Over the years, other members tried to contest the law.  In March, 1976, Wild Man Lovelace tried a new approach.  This time, Wild Man had his helmet strapped to his leg rather than on his head.  When he went to court, the prosecutor voided the ticket.  He said the Assistant District Attorneys were too busy to fool with helmet law tickets.

This was the routine for some time in the 1970s, if you were willing to go to court, you could ride without a helmet.  Later, the various District Attorneys informed CBA members that if they persisted in challenging the law, they would be prosecuted as habitual offenders.

In October 1975, North Carolina’s Senator Jesse Helms introduced Senate Bill 2293 to amend section 402 of Title 23 of Federal Code of Regulations relating to highway safety.  The bill, known as "the Helms’ Angels Act,” specifically opposed federal requirements for mandatory helmet laws and other anti-motorcycle legislation.  House Bill 3869 was also introduced to prevent the Department of Transportation from blackmailing states into helmet laws by threating to withhold highway funds.

 

The Tornado and Mrs. Tornado finally got under way to Sturgis S.D. for the 75th anniversary bike rally. We decided late that we would leave Thursday night July 30th, instead of Friday the 31st. It meant that I would be driving through the night, but it would give us more time to get there. Besides, other than a place to stay at Sturgis, we have been winging everything from the beginning anyway.

We made our way to Sturgis by way of Little Rock AR, so we could visit our son before heading on to Sturgis. That was the main reason for leaving early. We recently found out it will soon be Grandpa Tornado, so it was important that Grandma Tornado got a chance to get some face time.

A normal trip would be 10.5 hours, but pulling that big honker of an RV it took 15 hours. We took the southern route through Atlanta to avoid the mountains as much as we could, and even though that route is only 12 miles different, it just takes longer towing that rig. More fuel stops, slower pace, etc. However, we did arrive about lunch time Friday, and stayed until about 4pm Saturday. Yeah, if you do the math that meant I drove through the night again to get to our spot in Belle Fourche SD. To tell the truth I was wasted by the time we got there, but we were there and ready for the rally.

Monday we left Belle Fourche and headed out 34 to Hulett WY on our way to Devil’s Tower. (pictured in the title photo above) We did not get 2 miles and saw our first wreck involving a motorcycle. You know I love to ride, but I always want to come back in one piece. Be careful out there! In case you didn’t know, Mrs. Tornado rode with me for the first time last year at the 75th Myrtle Beach rally. It only took me 36 years to get her back on a bike. She has always been nervous about riding, and I haven’t pushed her to ride, so this is special. The crazy thing about it is now she has rode with me twice in 36 years, and that she now has been to 2 of the 4 major bike rally’s for their 75th anniversary years. What timing!

We stopped often for pictures, stopped in Hullett and did some shopping then on to Devil’s Tower. I thought we may be through for the day, but Mrs. Tornado said she was having a good time and wouldn’t mind riding some more. With that I took off down 585 to 85 and back up through Deadwood. From there we tried to get into Sturgis, but the traffic was horrific. I don’t know what the estimates are so far, but there are a lot of people here. So that was our first day. The weather was great, sunny, with a cool breeze blowing in the evening. Only thing left was to await the arrival of a friend from work heading across country on his bike and making a stopover for bike week. He was only staying one day. He arrived on time, spent the night with us, and was on his way the next day. Be safe my friend and enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, we took the back roads to 79 and down into Sturgis. It took a while, but we made it, took in some sights, and did some shopping. . My God it was crowded. Grandma Tornado was impressed with the sheer number of bikes, and that everyone was generally very nice. She did spot a couple of eye openers, but I pretended not to notice.

We made our way to the dealership, and I got my pins and poker chips, and then on to Rapid City dealership. Everywhere we went, they had already sold out of a lot of items. If you found something you liked, you better grab it. The forecast for the day was rain, but it held off long enough to get the ride in. Rapid City dealership was huge. Much larger than the last time I was here. More vendors, more stuff of every kind but had much less clothing items. They even expanded across the road. Everywhere we went they were selling out of clothing items. Again, if you found something you liked, you better grab it.

There were some severe storms coming in from Wyoming, and a lot of bikers were hightailing it out of there. I feel sorry for all the primitive campers out there. It was rough. The weather is supposed to be good tomorrow, and we are planning our final run to Mt Rushmore and Needles Highway.

Wednesday was a good day weather wise, and a little cooler. We went down through Spearfish Canyon back up to Lead and down 385 to Mt Rushmore. It was heavy traffic all the way, often 20-30 mph. It was about 175 mile from the RV to the back side of Needles Hwy, another 40 or so back to Rapid City and another 60 back to the RV. That was some great riding, but slow as crap, so when we started back, I headed for the most open route I could find and put that little piggy in the wind. It was a hard day for Grandma Tornado, but she did great. In fact she did really well for her first longer-distance ride. We saw a buffalo, and numerous other wildlife I honestly didn’t know what they were. Some strange looking birds! Needles Hwy was great, but unnerved Grandma Tornado a bit.

(on our way home, we stopped in Bowling Green, KY and enjoyed a 55/56/57 Chevy Show - the largest gathering of Tri-Fives ever!)

All in all a good trip to Sturgis. Thursday is travel day heading out to Michigan, and working my way back home.

Until next time!
The Tarheel Tornado

The State Capital Ahead

I spoke with Kris Weiss of Ray Price Harley-Davidson in Raleigh, NC this week to catch up about the upcoming Capital City Bikefest. Kris and everyone involved in this very popular event are busy getting things in place for the September 25-27 fest that takes over downtown Raleigh.

Up and down streets and at the dealership itself, there's music and food, stunts and shows that go on. Capital City Bikefest reported over 125,000 attendees last year for this free family-oriented weekend.

This will be the first time I've attended Bikefest. We're taking The BIG RIDE 2 up and look forward to being part of it all. Maybe we'll see you there?

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