What makes for a good Motorcycle Sport Touring Association
(MSTA) regional rally? Attendees want a wide choice of routes that
feature twisty, fun roads through nice countryside, inexpensive
lodging, good food and drink, and plenty of opportunities to
socialize. 2019 was the second year for MSTA FlyBy Week, and we
wanted to add some things to the list.
Since attendees come primarily for the riding opportunities,
maintaining and extending our route library is a top priority. This
year we added a second adventure route, with 160 miles of dirt
and gravel roads through Wayne National Forest East of Marietta.
We had requests for some shorter routes, so we developed one of
about 60 miles in Ohio, northeast of Marietta, and a West Virginia
route with two variants of 86 and 115 miles.
With a selection of 20+ routes covering over 4000 miles, it's not
possible to pre-ride them all. Since Ohio roads are in better shape
overall, we concentrated on checking as many routes as possible
in West Virginia, where conditions have been a bigger problem.
We started by getting friends from central West Virginia to check
the southernmost roads on a couple of one-day rides and report
back to us.
Since the new West Virginia short routes are close to the Ohio
river, we checked them along with the existing northern sections of
West Virginia routes on Tuesday and Wednesday of the rally,
updating affected routes on the website and reloading them on
GPS units when needed.
The Baymont Inn Marietta is under new management, and they took
good care of us. They gave us the large meeting room just off the
lobby for the entire week, allowing a spacious area for registration and
other activities. There were plenty of tables and chairs, providing a
nice place for attendees to hang out.
Some of the regular attendees brought new people with them and
many other first-timers just showed up on their own. Lots of new
people! We encouraged to speak up and ask questions, ask for help
finding riding partners, etc. It was fun to see their excitement when
they came back after their first day of riding with new friends.
This year we had free 15 minute mini massages available on
Thursday, Friday and Saturday. LMT Anne Marie LaFrance, of
Morganton, North Carolina, had ample space in the
meeting/registration room to set up her massage table, including a
private area for full body massage. The hotel provided a large screen
TV that Anne Marie used to display therapy animations and
demonstrate massage techniques.
Each evening, Monday-
Thursday, we had dinner tours to
nice restaurants downtown. We
gathered at 6:15PM and provided
transportation both ways so no
one had to put on gear, ride their
bike etc. Attendees can enjoy an
adult beverage and not worry
about driving. Monday and
Tuesday when attendance was
light, we car pooled. Wednesday
we rented a van, and a local
trolley bus company provided
shuttle service for the big crowd
on Thursday. The Galley and
Boathouse BBQ were the favorite
Friday evening was the traditional brat-hot-dog-burger
cookout behind the hotel at the "outdoor lounge," where
everyone gathers both Friday and Saturday.
For Saturday evening, we wanted to do something special for
dinner and Indiana squadron MSTA member Helene
Villemure ran the show. She and her small army of
volunteers made two hundred delicious shish-kabobs for one
of the most amazing dinners I have seen at a regional MSTA
More than two dozen loyal MSTA members volunteered during
FlyBy Week to pull everything together. There isn't enough space
to list them all, but special mention goes to lead volunteers Ron
Vess, who set up the outdoor lounge and parking lot, Chris Shoop,
who organized the dinner tours and Friday cookout, and Helene
Villemure, who was in charge of the Saturday cookout and created
the amazing shish-kabobs.
A big Tip of the Helmet goes to our sponsors-
Derek Smith at Thunder Roads Ohio magazine has helped us with
publicity and promotion from day one, including banners, logos and
a ton of editorial space in the magazine.
Iron Pony Motorsports, one of the country's largest dealerships,
provided promotional help, swag, and Iron Pony gift card door prizes.
MSTA member John Smith of Lemon & Barrett's Powersports in
nearby Parkersburg, WV, contributed cans of handy chain lube and
plastic polish door prizes.