Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure


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About On The Mark

Having piloted a motorcycle for many years, Mark has many thoughts floating in his helmet and he's ready to share them with us.

Name: Mark Byers

Current Rides: 'Honestly, his stable is in such a constant flux that we can't keep track of it. If you need to know, just ask him.

Favorite quote:

If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.

- Winston Churchill

Road Trip

“Young men will do stupid stuff to get girls. Old men will do stupid stuff to get motorcycles.”

I find Interstate highway travel painful, especially on four wheels. The endless droning down slabs infested with raging, tailgating, left-lane-lingering, idiot tweeters torments me to no end. All it takes is for one of those critters to take out another and you’re left with a miles-long, life-sucking, gridlock. The piece of I-81 that runs concurrently with I-64 between Staunton and Lexington, Virginia is so vile that Betsy and I will take the Blue Ridge Parkway and stomach the 45 MPH speed limit, arriving much later but in better mental fettle, just to avoid that putrescent portion of pavement. So when Dangerous Dan called and said, “Hey, wanna leave at two in the morning, slab it down 95 to Myrtle Beach to pick up a cool-ass motorcycle, then slab across South Carolina and Georgia to Alabama to pick up another one and then drive home?” I predictably said…”Oh, HELL YES!”

I was uncharacteristically excited. The thrill of the chase for two low-mileage, screaming-deal, neo-retro-classic bikes was all it took to turn what would normally have been a hate-fest into an unmissable bro-trip. I can’t undersell the joy of riding with Dangerous, whose wit includes telling me that a kick-starter is “how men start motorcycles.” The prospect of spending 48 hours cooped up with an articulate technician with an encyclopedic knowledge of everything two-wheeled was more than I could refuse. Plus, I consider him one of my best friends in the world. The Testosterone Truck was about to roll!

In the days prior, we exchanged calls like a couple schoolgirls planning a double-date to the Prom. We (mostly he) changed the rear shocks, front calipers and pads, and oil and rotated the tires. I filled one of my big coolers with caffeinated sodas, a few V-8’s, and some token waters. There were two big bags of food, including homemade pepperoni rolls, numerous kinds of chips, pretzels, cheese and crackers, pop-tarts, doughnut holes, bananas, granola bars, and a carefully-selected bonanza of Halloween candy. If we were going to get stuck in traffic, at least we could feast. A change of clothes and bare-bones toiletries went in, because on a trip like this, who the hell shaves? I attached a three-rail trailer to the truck (in case we ran across a couple MORE bikes we had to have - always do that). Plus, we had more tiedown straps than a big-city dominatrix.

OTMBroRoadTripI’m a night owl, so the prospect of leaving at zero-two-hundred had me thinking I might as well stay up, but I knew better, so I was in bed ungodly early. I later found Dangerous did the same thing, but neither of us had much success sleeping more than a few hours. I was up before the alarm, made us a road breakfast of hot ham-and-cheese bagels (wrapped in foil just like Wawa does), and had the truck running and the destination in the GPS before Double D got there. Despite my threat not to speak to him until 9 AM because he got me up so early, I drove and we chatted like my granddaughter and her bestie. We scored the first bike in Myrtle and headed for ‘Bama, arriving at a reasonable hour. Not to be too stupid, we put up in a hotel and collected the next bike after a good rest.

We spent too long talking to Giorgio and petting his six dogs, but were soon underway for the ten-plus-hour sojourn home. Riding the high of seeing envious drivers slowing to check out our two cool-as-hell bikes, we gossiped like two maids, calling our wives to make sure we had some details straight. A torrent of sweet caffeine flowed down our gullets as we made our way across multiple states, stopping only to fill the truck and empty ourselves. Traffic was charitably light most places and we made excellent time, pulling into my drive before the news came on. What would normally have been a trail of tears for me turned out to be an amazing trip: I got the chance to spend a lot of time with someone with whom I don’t normally get to do that. Plus, we scored two awesome bikes. Yeah, I hate Interstate driving, but if Dangerous called tomorrow to see if I wanted to do it again, the answer would be “Hell yeah!” I still have a half dozen bottled waters and a couple V-8s…