Blog

“Game of Roads” National Rally Rescheduled for May 20-23, 2021

The Game of Roads Rally is RESCHEDULED for May 20-23, 2021 https://bmwra.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Take-1_1.mp4   We tried. We really tried. With the majority of spring and summer rallies postponed due to coronavirus, we really wanted to hold our “Game of Roads” National Rally in the fall because we know the healing power of riding and coming together. Our hope was that by September, coronavirus was going to be sufficiently under control that we could hold a safe rally. Rally Chair Matt Smith and his...

BMW Riders Association Announces Free Admission for First Responders and Nurses to the 2020 National Rally

By a unanimous decision, the BMW Riders Association Board of Directors has voted to give nurses and first responders free admission to the club’s 2020 National Rally as a way of thanking them for their efforts in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. “Board member Al Olme came up with the idea,” says BMW RA President Sibley Poland, “and the rest of the board quickly got behind it.” For his part, Al Olme says, “BMW Riders Association members are a...

Outside the Lines

“I’m scared.” The daunting hills of the ravine lay mere feet away as mottled rocks and boulders dot the hillsides like splattered paint. To my side, cliffs cascade down and away, dried trees and shrubs dangle dangerously, held merely by remnants of once marvelous roots. The environment is eerily quiet — lifeless, even. No chirping birds, barking dogs, or cars flying by, just the low whistle of my breathing and the nearly silent “thud” of my heartbeat. I lean to...

Riding in the Time of Coronavirus

“I’m 60, have no health issues and I am a nurse. Should I take my extended motorcycle trip?” Risk Management You prepare for months, review maps, buy essential equipment and then pack. Soon, you hope to be on the road for your three to six months trip. Sadly, Coronavirus is likely to have extended influence on your trip. There will be decisions to make about the safety of travel, about whom you travel with, and whether you should travel this season...

The Art and Science of Detailing A Motorcycle

When I joined the BMW community over 25 years ago, I quickly established a reputation in the local BMW club as having the cleanest bike with the fewest miles. It seemed that monster miles and clean motorcycles were mutually exclusive and, conversely, that there definitely was a correlation between the odometer reading and the cleanliness…or lack thereof… of a bike. I eventually decided to silence the critics by earning entry into the Iron Butt Association by completing an IBA SaddleSore...

In This Moment

An hour or so out of Sedona, Arizona, the red rock ridgelines provide a natural border to the sharpest and clearest blue sky I can remember. Purple wildflowers announce spring in the high desert, and the cool morning air delivers their sweet fragrance, stimulating dormant parts of my technology-anaesthetized senses. My physical body is doing what it was designed to do, embracing the low temperature by pumping extra blood (adrenaline, perhaps?), and the high is clean and the dialogue...

Budget Beemer: R 1150 RS

I’ve had nine BMWs since 1976, eight of them were bought new. Currently, I have a 2016 R 1200 RS still under warranty and I’ve almost never been a guy to have more than one bike in my garage. But in June, I flew to Sacramento, California to buy a 2004 R 1150 RS with 57,000 miles on it—my first used BMW and exactly the same color as the one I bought new in 2004. I kept asking people...

BMW Riders Association Announces Date and Location of 2020 Rally

The BMW Riders Association is pleased to announce that they've selected the Smoky Mountain Event Center in North Carolina (formerly known as the Haywood Country Fairgrounds) as the location of the 2020 National Rally. Located about 30 minutes west of Asheville, North Carolina, the rally will be close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Tail of the Dragon, the Rattler, and so many other epic roads. The date of the rally is September 17-20, 2020. Mark your calendars!

Budget Beemer: F 650 CS

[This story first appeared in the March-April issue of "On the Level"] As a mentor to several (now avid) motorcyclists, I know that the issue of which bike to recommend to the new or re-entry rider is of paramount importance. This is the vehicle which will either cultivate a rider’s passion or crush it. There are several BMW models which would make fine choices – but nothing fits the bill like the F 650 CS, an often-overlooked oddball that was...

KATDASH Airhead Instrument Lighting at the Set My Soul Free National Rally

If you have an airhead and have replaced instrument bulbs on your dashboard, come to the Set My Soul Free national rally Sept 5-8 in Woodstock, Virginia and visit the KATDASH booth with their LED lighting product. They will have special rally pricing, and on site installation assistance will be available. https://katdash.com/   See you in September. It's gonna be righteous. https://bmwra.org/national-rally-info/

Welcome Neale Bayly to Team OTL!

We're happy to announce that journalist, photographer, adventure rider, humanitarian, and all around good guy Neale Bayly is joining On The Level as a regular columnist. We've just wrapped up production of the July-August issue and are so psyched to have his first column "Addiction" in it!   Along with columnists Travis Wyman Racing, Tamela Rich, and our team of contributors, Neale is going to help us take OTL to the next LEVEL.   Welcome aboard Neale!   If you're not a member of...

It was the best of times…

My father taught my brother and I to ride as kids. I remember crawling onto the R 80 RT that rarely left the garage (and I eventually rode from Tulsa to the Daytona 200 through both an ice storm and the “Dragon” at Deals Gap). My brother and I learned throttle control and clutch operation on a 250cc two-stroke Yamaha Trials bike. Despite countless stories of riding adventures, the 15,000 mile round trip from Oklahoma to Denali (via Moto-GP in...

Gore-Tex Gore-Grip Technology

Advancements in glove technology construction have moved at a snail's pace for what seems like forever. As a supplier of waterproof seat covers, I've had my share of wet-weather riding as I test my product in all types of conditions. I've learned a few things over the years about gloves and what a rider needs from this sometimes overlooked piece of equipment. Gore-Tex introduced the world to the waterproof/breathable membrane. Along with others in the industry, the membrane has...

It’s Not All Parades and Puffy Clouds

"Doing traffic enforcement on a police motorcycle is not cruising around, in the wind, enjoying the ride." Sergeant Allen Noles, City of Grand Rapids, MI Police Department Editor’s Note: There are not a lot of careers in America where you can support a family while being paid to ride a motorcycle. One of the most visible of these careers is that of a police motorcycle officer. OTL Assistant Editor Ethan Powsner recently spent a morning with five members of the City...

BMW Brings the Future to CES

GS owners rejoice - you can now send your bike to Starbucks to get your Flat White while you stay home in your flannel onesies arguing on the internet about motor oil! I kid. BMW Motorrad brought their gravity-defying, self-riding R 1200 GS to the Las Vegas geek bazaar (bizarre?) known as the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and set it loose in a parking lot where it likely freaked out gamblers and partiers emerging bloodshot and bleary-eyed from 36-hour,...

BMW RA Board News

It is with great regret that we announce that Matt DeWald has stepped down as President of the BMW Riders Association and relinquished his seat on the Board of Trustees to pursue other personal and professional interests. Matt has been an enthusiastic and tireless supporter and advocate for the club for several years and his departure will be keenly felt. In accordance with club bylaws, Vice President Karen Jacobs will assume the role of President and remaining board members will...

A Day at the BMW Performance Center

Club member and OTL journalist Matt DeWald spent a day sharpening his riding skills at BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Read his story and learn more about the Performance Center in this excerpt from the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of OTL. BMW_RA_OTL_Jan-Feb 2019 Exploring

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