MSTA FlyBy Week 2023- August 21-27, Marietta, Ohio
Sport Touring Corner
By Norm Kern
MSTA FlyBy Week was fun and exciting this year- 160 attendees had a great time riding the twisty roads of Southeast Ohio and Northern West Virginia. I rode my Suzuki V Strom to Marietta on Sunday to get set up at the Comfort Suites event hotel, and was ready to open registration on Monday morning.
The new Staunton Turnpike route was created by combining the 60 mile West Virginia route 47, which I had previously ridden on the way to the Canaan Valley rally, with part of a new route that local guru Ron Vess had shown me in May. I connected them using roads that looked good on the map, knowing that corrections would probably be needed.
For the first half of the route, everything was perfect. It looked like I would be back at the hotel by 1:30 PM, but then encountered a huge construction project where a section of US 33 was being straightened. This closed all crossroads going north from my route for over ten miles. Getting around the construction put me in unfamiliar territory making it difficult to get back on the original route. Fortunately I found a path that saved the route but wound up riding over seventy miles out of my way, getting back to the hotel just in time to open registration.
Seeing the construction activity in West Virginia, I rode the Country Lanes route on Tuesday, finding and routing around a couple more construction detours. On Wednesday, I rode the Ron Vess Spec-Tech route in Ohio, fixing one more detour problem. Fortunately the other routes were all in pretty good shape, and the GPS files worked well for all of them.
Free Bike Wash
Jeremy Riffle had the bike wash set up on Monday and it was very popular all week. This year we added a new 10×20 popup canopy to the existing 10×10, forming three nice shaded bike wash stalls.
The Muc-Off power washer sprayed soap foam and provided the right pressure for rinsing.
The electric blower was useful for removing excess water and made drying easier. Jeremy even gave out microfiber towels in a nice zippered pouch as gifts for everyone.
Those who trailered to the rally carpooled attendees for the dinner tours on Monday and Tuesday, which worked well. On Wednesday, the Outdoor Lounge opened and the Aunt K’s Kitchen food truck was in the hotel parking lot, making it fun and convenient to dine and hang out at the hotel, which had a nice patio in the rear with comfortable chairs and sofas.
Transportation downtown for Thursday’s dinner tour was always a challenge, and this year the trolley bus we normally use was out of service. Chris Shoop rented two large passenger vans and we were able to accommodate everyone.
Friday and Saturday, we had the food truck back so people could eat when they wanted and hang out at the hotel. Wings Etc, a sports bar and restaurant was located right across the street from the hotel for those who wanted a bit more.
Routes and GPS stuff
Thursday was the biggest arrival day for attendees and we were ready for them. Registration was quick and easy, thanks to about ten volunteers who each gave some of their time during the week.
The GPS table was very busy. Unfortunately, my GPS support guru and helper Scott Lane had a deer strike on the way to Marietta, which kept him out for the whole week, so I was struggling to handle the GPS stuff by myself. Tom Brown and Anthony Crawford from Chicago saw my predicament, came back with their computers, and pitched in to help people choose and load their routes. Here’s a big Tip of the Helmet to Tom and Anthony!
On Thursday and Friday, we had our favorite massage therapist, Anne-Marie LaFrance, from Morganton, North Carolina, providing free mini and full body massages.
To Sum Up
This was the best FlyBy Week we have had yet. The weather was mostly cooperative throughout the week; there was some rain early on Friday and Saturday, but it cleared up quickly and the roads dried out, allowing everyone to ride. Everyone enjoyed the hotel, the routes, and all the activities.
I believe we achieved a good balance between dining downtown and spending time at the hotel. We were able to do a lot for attendees without overworking our volunteers, so everyone had a great time.
Next year’s FlyBy Week will be held from August 19-25, 2024, once again at the Comfort Suites Marietta, Ohio hotel. The 2024 flybyweek.com website will go live and registration will open on January 1. We would like to thank all who attended and we look forward to seeing you again next year!
Connect with local Ohio Motorcycle Sport Touring Association riders at these monthly breakfasts:
Southwest Ohio Breakfast, 9AM, October 21
Village Family Restaurant
144 S. Main St.
Waynesville, OH 45068
Central Ohio Breakfast, 8AM, November 5
6515 S High St
Lockbourne, OH 43137