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 Hotel
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.

Dinner Tours
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 dining spots
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 event.

Our Volunteers
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.