Saturday, April 23, 2011

Another Supporter Signs on to Help Out With Our Little Adventure! Welcome Aboard Martin Motorsports!

Boyertown, PA's only Hodaka dealer (ok April Fool's - there aren't ANY dealers for new Hodakas and there haven't been since about 1978) .......anyway Martin Motorsports of Boyertown, PA has now joined us in support of our little adventure ride to Oregon. What interest would a full line Triumph, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki dealer have in a jaunt like this? Simple, it's owned and operated by folks who love everything motorcycle! Remember, this is the same dealership that just over a month ago was shut down by owners Dennis and Jan Martin on a Spring Saturday in order to host an indoor vintage bike show The Modern Classics....check that out by clicking HERE . How are they helping us? A couple of ways to be sure. First, their parts department is a great source for all the standard cycle bits like chains, sprockets, light bulbs, tires and such. Secondly, we're now going to be able stage all our spare parts (the unwieldy ones we don't want to carry with us) at Martin's. Having parts staged at a place that has daily UPS and FedEx shipping and where knowledgeable folks can grab the correct part out of a box (or off a bike!) is a pretty nice travel insurance policy. Don't ya think?

Better yet, Martin Motorsports is now going to be the "official" starting point for our ride! Throughout the riding season Martin hosts a monthly event called "Second Sunday." On the second Sunday of each month they open up the store and host an event for local riders. There is typically food, frivolity, special prices on parts and accessories and just general hanging out with lots of bench racing. Seems that the second Sunday in June this year is also our appointed departure date. More details to come but the current plan is for us to lay down a cloud of two-stroke oil smoke and head on out about 9:30am that Sunday, June 12th. Here's hoping a few friends, both new and old can join us that Sunday morning and wish us bon voyage!  


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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just Who Are Those Two Strokes Anyway ?

Don Verdiani (l) and Jack Broomall (r) in 1977 when our Hodaka motorcycles were brand new. Come to think of it, we were a bit "newer" ourselves. We've been doing misguided "stuff" together for a very long time!


That official online arbiter of the English language, the Urban Dictionary, tells us that "Stroke" can mean 1. a person of less than average intelligence; 2. an unsavory character; 3. an old person,  i.e. Look at that old stroke in the golf cart; or 4. a person who hasn't a clue. We plead guilty on all charges. (Note: we do recognize that the Urban Dictionary has a few other definitions for "Stroke", many of which are, ahem, .... shall we say, less appropriate, for a family audience. This is however, a story suitable for all ages so we'll just elect to leave that discussion behind us.) Just who are we then, the protagonists in this adventure? The "Two Strokes" if you will. We share a number of common threads. We are both on the disadvantageous side of 60 years of age. We both grew up in Southeast Pennsylvania and live there today, despite having spent many years residing elsewhere. Perhaps, most significantly, we each have spent (or wasted, as some might suggest....) a substantial portion of our lives riding, driving, or otherwise playing with mechanical contrivances. Together we have shared a long series of misadventures going back over 40 years.  If you are in any way intrigued by this adventure then maybe you might wish to know a bit about us individually. Here are our abbreviated bike-ographies!

                                                        Don Verdiani


Don Verdiani is a retired Chemical Engineer and serious gearhead. While admitting to starting out with four-wheeled vehicles, the first motorcycle (a 1947 Indian Chief) appeared in the mid-60’s. The first ride was 5 miles on the Indian being towed behind a Studebaker up the hills of Ithaca, NY, probably not the smartest thing he ever did. He and the Indian both survived the trip, the Indian got restored, and Don was hooked on motorcycles, especially saving interesting, neglected ones. Thus a string of Harleys, BSAs, Yamahas, Spanish dirt bikes, and even a Hodaka through the 70’s. Then began the dark time of motorcyclelessness (family, job, etc., etc.)….


                                Don, current day hooligan on his Ducati Monster. 

In the early 80’s, a neglected Triumph Trident appeared, followed by a box of Bonneville parts found in a Toledo, Ohio muffler shop, and it all began again. Lonely, unloved bikes started following him home to be restored to their proper, mostly British, state. The current fleet includes three Triumphs, three BSAs, one Norton and two Ariels, some running, some not yet. Recently, some non-British machines have joined the herd, including the most recent addition, a Hodaka 250 SL Thunderdog, coming in pretty sad shape and great need, because this is one that’s going cross country to 2011 Hodaka Days in a few weeks.  Don and his wife Sandy live near West Chester, PA.



                                                    Jack Broomall

Jack Broomall's motorcycling career also started in the 60's, with clandestine rides on a friend's Yamaha in direct violation of a parental edict which prohibited motorcycling. Later, away at college, he tasted bike ownership for the first time and found that it agreed with him. He has owned and ridden a selection of bikes almost continuously since that time. Interestingly, that first bike, a 1970 Kawasaki 90cc "Bushmaster" was surely the last small displacement two-stroke bike he used for travel - a veteran of several "big" 200 mile trips between school at Penn State and the family home outside Philadelphia.  
 

                    First bike, 1970. Note the very complete 1970s style riding gear!

Jack's subsequent motorcycle adventures have taken him across the North American continent 4 times, as well  to Alaska, the Alps, Italy, the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man. He is a member of the Iron Butt Association and also holds a number of Land Speed Records which he set on motorcycles at the Bonneville Salt Flats. He is a member of the Bonneville 200 Mile Per Hour Club, though no Hodakas were involved in any way in gaining entry to that prestigeous organization! He has also been known to do occasional track days and has a couple of other 70's bike restorations in the works, in addition to the current Hodaka project. He resides in Malvern , PA with his wife Lisa, also a rider, and their cat Koty, who actually runs the household.   


In the next installment we'll talk about the two bikes, both 1977 model year Hodakas, that we'll be using in our attempted trip across the country. After that we'll spend some time on our route and travel planning/details. Just two months today till we depart! Please join us!



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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Some pics of both the people and the bikes! 66 days till departure!

For those of you who are interested in our misguided adventure here are several pics of the two of us as well as our (hopefully) trusty steeds!



On the left is Jack's 1977 125cc "Wombat". To the right Don's 1977 SL250 "Thunderdog." One of the absolute best things about Hodakas is the quirky selection of names. If not "Wombat" and "Thunderdog" we could have found ourselves riding "Road Toads", "Super Rats", or even "Dirt Squirts."


Jack Broomall and Don Verdiani. Soon to add this trip to over 40 years of crazy adventures together.


Jack and his 125 "Wombat." Is it really rational to undertake a trip of nearly 3000 miles on a 13 horsepower motorcycle?

Don and his 250 cc "Thunderdog" kitted out in Giant Loop soft luggage.




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