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2003-2005 Officers
February 2002 Issue 1

Eastern Deaf Bikers President's 100-Day Report ------------------------------1
Group Riding ----------------------------------------------------------------------2
Skyline Drive Via Motorcycle ----------------------------------------------------3

Eastern Deaf Bikers President's 100-Day Report
By Yvonne Mattiello
EDB President

I hope all of you are having a good year. I was elected the Eastern Deaf Bikers (EDB) President on November 3, 2001.

100 days already passed since then, and I am getting more excited as spring nears! It is the same kind of a feeling that veryone experiences as motorcyclists and co-riders. I am not able to explain this kind of excitement. I first rode with my husband Alvin on his Shovelhead WideGlide 1982 bike for the first time in 1997. It is amazing for me to realize how good I feel whenever the hard wind is hitting my face and how sore my butt is after a long ride. I will never stop riding until I am too old or fragile.

I have not met all of you yet, but I am looking forward to motorcycle riding group activities this spring. My husband and I spend time during weekends riding on our own and sometimes with friends. We hope to plan local events for EDB bikers to get together. We can also join other motorcyclists either deaf or hearing at their events.

We also own a Road King 1998 bike and use it for long trips. We attended Deaf Bikers of America (DBA) in Sturgis, South Dakota in 2000 for one week, where we had our first DBA gathering. We traveled to the Great Smoky Mountains and all over the East coast between New Hampshire and Georgia during our honeymoon in June 1999.

I was an active and paid member of DBA since 2000 until Deaf Bikers of America stopped collecting membership dues in 2001. In my view, DBA is just an unofficial organization that is open to deaf motorcyclists and their friends. DBA's main purpose is to promote recreational activities for local deaf bikers. We can grow and become more regional, or we can stay loose and local. We can have activities on our own, or join with activities with existing deaf bikers' organizations that we find on the Internet and EDB's OFF SITES links. It is up to the membership. It is important for EDB to remain an active recreational and support group.

Some goals and plans I have are to build EDB into more structured organization to serve and educate members through our EDB newsletters and group activities. Membership will update our safety information especially during our motorcycle journeys. We also need to have full access to any kind of information about motorcycling available in public. We need social gatherings to build friendships and to have safe, pleasurable riding experience together. We just need an EDB organization to meet our basic needs and goals in regard to motorcycling, socializing, and touring.

During my first 100 days I was busy with correspondence between members and EDB officers about things like setting up group activities, meetings, ideas, and goals to meet. We as EDB are all responsible for sharing and exchanging information, and for making EDB group activities happen. Remember, without members, EDB doesn't exist.

We members behaved as a team and we thank those members for their great team efforts. The following are some important activities we EDB board and members have been up to:
  • Working on a logo and redesigning the web page, chaired by our EDB Vice President Ed Martin. We are in search for a new and permanent logo.

  • Updating and posting information on EDB web from time to time with big help from Mui, our creative web master and designer.
  • Gathering detailed information and history about any motorcycle events or organization via Internet and word of mouth among members.

  • Raising funds for office supplies and publication.

  • Meeting with members to increase common awareness and understanding and to schedule group activities.

  • Writing letters to each other and to guests of EDB and gathering feedback from members and officers about what members want.

Some "housekeeping" chores that we accomplished are the following:

  • Opened the bank account at a bank in MD that has no maintenance fee and earns no interest in EDB's name with two users, the EDB President and EDB Treasurer.

  • Posted some extra information on EDB web, for example, two tributes of deaf bikers who died in 2001.

  • Raised some money from our EDB Meeting/Party on Feb. 23, 2002 in MD.

  • Set up Member Directory and Member Contact form on EDB web.

  • Issued our first January 2002 EDB newsletter and now this article is in this February 2002 newsletter.

  • Attended three motorcycle shows on January 4-5-6, 2002 in Chantilly, VA, on January 19, 2002 in Philadelphia, PA, and on February 1-2-3 in Baltimore, MD. (See more information in March 2002 Newsletter, coming soon).

  • Got a letter from Miss Deaf NJ Pageant about advertising spaces to buy and we replied and declined due to lack of funds available.

  • Had two board meetings on December 2, 2001 and January 12, 2002.

  • Set up Deaf Way II Presentation Planning and appointed Harry Barnum to chair. We are to plan our Poster Session Presentation at Deaf Way II to let people know about our EDB organization. (More information will be posted in our next newsletters and EDB web).

Please feel free anytime to contact and share any information with us. We, as EDB, will try our best to serve and meet your needs. We appreciate your continuing support and contribution to EDB's growth and success. We hope all EDB members enjoy your EDB membership and our friendship/support as well. We hope your enrollment in EDB will be a blessing and worthwhile journey.

I can be reached by ymattiello@comcast.net anytime. My presidential term will expire November 2004 or when the next general election is set up.

Please also feel free to post your articles in our EDB newsletter. Send to Louis Caplan, our EDB editor for edits and Louis will forward your final draft to our EDB President to approve in order to post it in EDB newsletter.

Have a safe riding. Be a true motorcyclist!

If you want to see EDB minutes to know more about EDB's meetings, email me for copies at EDBPres@aol.com. Minutes will be sent within 3 weeks. We are looking for one or more secretaries either temporary or permanent to help with writing meeting notes and minutes and to hold EDB's records.

Thank you!


Group Riding
By Louis F. Caplan
EDB Safety Officer

One of the joys of motorcycling is riding together in a group. If done right, the group ride is fun for everyone, and a great lead in to discussion among friends during the breaks. However, if done wrong, the group ride can lead to arguments, or worse, crashes.

There are two key steps to having a successful group ride. Planning and communication.

The person organizing a group ride should put a lot of effort into the planning stages. He should go over the route several times, using maps, then actually riding it out before the group does, if possible. The planner wants to be sure that all directions are accurate, including mileages between turns. A good, clear set of instructions (which will be given to every rider) should be written up. The planner (or an assistant) should then ride the route, checking for accuracy, changes in the road pattern, construction, hazards, etc. Depending on the length of the ride, gas stops and meal stops should also be accounted for and indicated in the directions. Another consideration is the length of the ride. Some people like to ride 100 miles in a day, have some dinner with friends, and go home. Others like a long day with a few hundred miles of roadways. If a group is going to a pre-planned ride (such as a poker run) this step should have been taken care of by the organization putting on the run.

Before and during the ride itself, the members of the ride need to constantly communicate with each other. Are some people new riders, or new to group riding? They need to let people know that so they can be put in a comfortable part of the group. Do others need to leave the ride early? Be sure to let someone know so that the group will not panic at your absence at a lunch stop!

During the ride, the ride leader will set the pace. She will be in the left part of the lane and set an appropriate speed. The rest of the group should ride in a staggered patter, right part of the lane, left part of the lane, etc., keeping at least 2 seconds following distance between them and the rider directly in front, and 1 second following distance between them and the rider ahead in the opposite part of the lane.




Rider Dshould be at least 2 seconds behind rider B and 1 second behind rider C If the roadway becomes very curvy, or hazardous, the lead rider should hold up one finger, indicating the group should form one line, with 2 seconds between each rider until the hazard has been passed.

Because there are motorcycles ahead of most of the riders, they may not see something in the roadway, such as a dead animal. Riders ahead should point, when safe, at the hazard so riders behind are aware that something up ahead requires their attention.

As I discussed in the January 2002 newsletter, the size of each group should be kept down. Large groups become hard to manage, and can become confusing for new riders.

These are just some of the things that should be kept in mind when forming a group ride. But as long as the ride is well planned, and the people in the ride communicate with each other, the ride should be enjoyable, and participants will become experienced group riders.

Skyline Drive Via Motorcycle
© 2000 By Louis F. Caplan
Used with permission of the author

"Sorry folks, it's going to be another hazy, hot and humid day."I rolled my eyes, the weatherman may be sorry, but he didn't know just how bad it would be. After a long, hot week at work, I was itching to get out and ride my motorcycle. It gets warm enough on the bike without the help of the heat wave toasting the East Coast. His sympathy wouldn't help to cool me off. If only there were some place cool to ride. That's when I decided on a day trip to Virginia's Skyline Drive.

Skyline Drive, in the Shenandoah National Park, is always a great road to ride. I often feel sorry for the people whose only encounter with the road is from the seats in their cars. To truly feel the full effects of Skyline Drive, they need to experience it from a different perspective, two wheels instead of four.

The Front Royal entrance of Skyline Drive is just 50 miles west of the D.C. Beltway on I-66. This was the only stretch of the trip where I envied the people in their air-conditioned cars. However, I kept my patience, I knew the fun would soon begin. Once I reached Front Royal, I quickly found my way to the northern entrance of Skyline Drive. After paying my entrance fee, the festivities began.

Skyline Drive travels through the Shenandoah Mountains, part of the Appalachians. (In fact the famous Appalachian Trail follows Skyline Drive through the park) Therefore, as I started this leg of my trip, the road had to go up. Up is where it's cooler, approximately four degrees cooler, Fahrenheit, for every 1,000 feet higher in elevation. More importantly, to go up, the road starts to take a series of switchbacks, right, then left, then right again.

This is what separates a motorcycle from a car. As a car turns back and forth, the driver simply turns the wheel in one direction, then the other. At most, the occupants feel some centrifugal force, pushing them in the opposite direction of the turn. But a motorcycle only has two wheels. To turn, I have to press on the handgrips, press left, press right. This action causes the motorcycle and me to lean, and thus turn. Lean to the right, lean to the left. I'm not just passively feeling the turns; I am a part of the turns.

I soon reached the Range View Overlook, 2,810 ft above sea level. Every one of these overlooks is breathtaking. It is said that years ago, before the modern day pollutants got into the atmosphere, on a very clear day one could see the Washington Monument from Skyline Drive. Unfortunately, all I could see in the distance was the haze that I had come to escape. But below me, above me, and around me, were the trees of the forest and the grass of the meadows. Neither was experiencing the heat wave, instead they displayed their brightest green. I knew I would have to come back again during the fall to see the trees when they change into their multi-colored autumn coats.

As I rode through the trees on the bike, I was not separated from them by a four-sided steel cage with windows. Instead I was a part of the environment, out there, feeling the wind, the change of temperature when I rode out of a shady area into the sun, able to smell the fresh mountain air. I raised the visor of my helmet to let more of the cooler air in, to cool my head. At times, when passing a section of road where both sides sloped downhill, it felt as if I was actually flying over the mountainside.

If you look at a map of Skyline Drive, you will see that as it weaves its way through the Shenandoahs, there is almost no stretch of the road that is straight. The constant curves are a siren call for us motorcyclists. As I rode the curves, all the tension of the long week of work started draining out. Now it was just my bike and me, working together as a team, leaning to the left, leaning to the right. Sometimes tilting so far, I felt I could reach down and touch the road, but I wisely decided not to test this.

As I came around a right hand sweeper, I looked ahead to a breathtaking view. Three deer grazing by the edge of the road. The animals here have learned that the traffic on Skyline Drive is mostly harmless, the deer were content to stay where they were, and only one interrupted her meal to look over and admire my motorcycle. Having seen the deer munching their meal, I decided to make a quick stop at the visitor center in Big Meadows and have a meal myself. Checking the time, I noticed it was starting to get late, so rather than head further south, I turned around, and started back north, to the Thornton Gap exit.

As I exited Skyline Drive, I picked up Rt. 211, a perfect road to end the day with. As 211 worked its way down from the mountaintops, it was extremely twisty, with several hairpin turns keeping me at full attention. I felt so good I had to let out a "YEE-HA!" while curving through back-to-back switchbacks. As I got closer to sea level, I could feel the surrounding air get slightly warmer, but since it was late in the day, it didn't reach an uncomfortable level. As I pointed the motorcycle home, I realized how lucky I was to have a naturally air-conditioned, twisty, yet scenic road within reach to help me keep my cool on those hazy, hot, and humid days that mother nature kept throwing at me.

To get to Skyline Drive: From the Washington, DC beltway, take I-66 West 50 miles to Exit 13. Next take Rt. 55 West 5.5 miles to Rt. 340 South. About 1/2 mile later, the entrance to Skyline Drive will be on your left.

Skyline Drive ends 105 miles later at I-64 in Waynesboro, Virginia (it becomes the Blue Ridge Parkway, another beautiful roadway, and a story for another time)

There are many scenic overlooks, which include a parking area off the main road.

Campgrounds, restaurants, and gas stations are available on Skyline Drive.

Travel on Skyline Drive costs the following:
$5 for people on foot, bicycles, or single person on a motorcycle
$10 for a car, or two people on a motorcycle (depending on the mood of the person collecting the money, you may only be charged $5 for 2 on a motorcycle)
$20 for a yearly pass

By keeping the receipt, you can access the road for 7 days.

NOTE: Deaf individuals qualify for the "Golden Access Passport," which is a lifetime admission permit. This allows people into most National Parks (including Skyline Drive) for free. Ask about it when enter Skyline Drive.

For more information on Skyline Drive, see: http://www.nps.gov/shen

NOTE FROM NEWSLETTER EDITOR: Skyline Drive is one of my favorite local rides. I'd like to start a monthly column with the favorite rides for other EDB members. If you'd like to write up a favorite ride, either a daytime ride, or a longer trip, please contact me. My e-mail address is listed in the officers section.