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that Tommy, of Airhead Cycles in Manas- sas, Virginia, had a booth set up. I’ve gotten to know this gentleman over the phone for many years, as he had worked for Capital Cycle for several decades. He was at the last National in New York and I certainly hope that he will continue to show up at our gatherings. It was good to see those tables of his, covered with airhead parts. I’ve never taken a demo ride at a National


Rally but was intrigued by the C-Evolution bike that BMW had among their demo fleet. I showed up at 8 a.m. to sign up for a mid-morning ride on the all-electric bike that is built along the lines of a large scooter. Jenn, our guide, gave me an individual ori- entation as the bike did have some differ- ences in the controls and instruments. I built an all-electric three-wheel bike about 10 years ago (and have brought it to a couple National Rallies), so I had a basic idea of the quirks inherent in electric vehicles. After a run of about 10 miles, I was very impressed! Keeping up with the somewhat spirited rid- ing of our guide was not a problem. It has a regeneration system that captures coasting energy and adds it to the onboard battery. This feels just like engine braking to the rider. The staff told me the bike has around a 100-mile range, partly depending on what setting the rider selects. It easily ran up to 60 mph with more speed obviously avail- able. BMW is supposed to bring in 50 of them next year (all to be sold in California) with other plans “unknown now.” I’d con- sider getting one, but I already have my home-built “Priapus” for fair weather urban riding here at home. My only objections to


Me, after a fast ten miles on the new BMW “Concept E”. Obviously at its best as an “urban commuter” rather than a touring machine, but who just has one motorcycle? Pretty good if the only faults found were my opinions of the styling!


the C-Evolution were too much plastic and too much Back to the Future styling. I would definitely take a rattle (spray) can to the neon-green side panels! The rally went by quickly, as they all tend


to do. I spent a fair amount of time at Air- head Central, keeping my hands clean most of the time. Greg Hutchinson from Califor- nia was getting his hands dirty as I observed him helping several airhead owners set valves and deal with electrical issues. I did get my soldering iron out a second time to


help a rider install new brushes in his alternator My seminar went well, with lots of good


questions. I laid out the contents of my travel bag to illustrate things that could be useful on any trip out of town. I brought my Slash 5, Strider, in to allow me to illustrate the technique of balancing carburetors on flat twin bikes. The following day saw Tom Cutter do his style of Airhead Q&A. I enjoyed learning a few more bits of infor- mation from the fellow who taught a couple of Butler and Smith mechanics training courses I was part of in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Come Sunday morning, Susanna and I


tore down our camp and loaded the bikes with our gear. We took Interstate 80 across Wyoming for the return trip. Nice roads, mild weather and minimal winds and good-running airheads made for a pleasant couple of days. As we approached Laramie, where we would turn south toward Denver, I was reminded of the advertisement for the 1923 Jordan Playboy car: “Somewhere West of Laramie…” I arranged the camera and our riding for a few miles to get some shots of Susanna riding east toward that city.


"Somewhere West of Laramie.” Near-perfect riding conditions as we headed home from Salt Lake City. Warm but not hot, a bit of a tailwind, good pavement and minimal traffic. It took awhile to get that 1923 advertisement for the Jordan Playboy out of my brain!


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