2020 Year-In Review: Good Weather and Lonely Rides
Like most things this year, the 2020 motorcycle season was anything but normal. There was great riding weather, but travel restrictions and social distancing rules limited our ability to travel and meet like we would in a “normal” year. In a “normal” year, Motorcycle-Vermont posts hundreds of motorcycle events in Vermont and the Northeast. This year was memorable for all the events we didn’t post. Vermont Thunder and the Annual Toy Run ran but were highly modified and for the first time in nearly 40 years, Americade was canceled. Dealerships didn’t run their usual rides, bike nights, and meet-ups. It was a lonely summer. Not everything was a bummer in 2020, though. The summer of 2020 was the hottest Vermont summer on record and one of the driest, with severe drought across the region for most of the season. This made for great riding weather, even if you couldn’t ride with your friends. The Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route(NEBDR) -- a 1,400 mile adventure motorcycle route from Hancock, NY to the Canadian border -- launched in the spring. The route crosses through Vermont, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Riders were impressed with the Vermont section, whose class-4 roads present the toughest challenges of the route. In many ways, Vermont is made for adventure bikes with our abundance of gravel roads and access to off-road challenges. Guide to The Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route Section 5 Guide to The Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route Section 4 When things return to normal, the NEBDR will benefit all of Vermont motorcycling. Riders from a across the country riding the route experiencing Vermont’s unique character will want to return for another sample of our state. Vermont’s lodging and restaurant owners will benefit from motorcyclists using the route and from increased motorcycle traffic buying meals and renting rooms. Vermont motorcycle dealers had a good year selling bikes as people looked for recreation that allowed them to socially distance themselves from others. Off-road bikes, dual-sports, and adventure bikes were big sellers with popular models selling out. Dealerships had to work harder for each sale, taking unique approaches to meet customer demands, adding services like free delivery and touchless sales. Flexibility was key to survival -- adapt or die -- and Vermont’s service-oriented dealers focused on their customers and benefited. Vermont Dealerships Adapt to Survive Not all the news was good for Vermont motorcycle dealers, however. Wilkinson Harley Davidson in Barre bought Green Mountain Harley Davidson in Essex Junction during the winter of 2019-2020 and was ramping operations when the pandemic hit. As in-person sales ground to a halt, Wilkins made the calculation that it was better to close the Essex Junction store than have it drag down a successful business. It was a hard decision to close the Essex Junction store, but one that John Lyon, Co-Owner of Wilkins Harley said was necessary, “We’re making decisions to preserve the long-term viability of the business,” he said. Motorcycle-Vermont also went through changes this year, moving our website platform from older technology to one that supports mobile devices better and enables us to focus more on content. Our platform is still developing and expect more improvements in 2021. Motorcycle-Vermont started a new motorcycle photography service in 2020, with a focus on capturing action photos for the average rider. This unique service gives motorcyclists a chance to get that glory shot they’ve always wanted. New Motorcycle Photo Service Offered And, finally, Motorcycle-Vermont welcomed the Sunset Motor Inn in Morrisville as a new sponsor. Sunset Motor Inn is ideally located for riders touring on VT-1000 or looking for a base for tours through northern Vermont. We would like to thank all who supported us in 2020, including our readers and our long-term sponsors, MotoVermont, Cyclewise Ducati/Triumph, Americade, and MotoFab.
Last summer I purchased a 2103 Triumph Tiger 800 XC as a gravel road slayer. The bike has proved to be a great tool for the job, offering stability, power, and occasionally grace as my do-everthing bike. Although I love the bike generally, there is one thing that I don’t like at all: the seat. The stock seat on the Triumph Tiger is a dish that constantly slides me forward into the tank. The longer I ride, the more I sink into the bottom of the dish and the more I became locked into that position. My legs are forced to splay outward as I slide into the rear of the tank. Eventually, changing gears required an awkward pull upward to raise my leg to get my toe under the shifter. Not fun at all! The solution: a Seat Concepts tall seat kit! The Seat Concepts kit consists of new seat foam and a custom cover. The kit uses the stock seat pan as the base. The Seat Concepts foam is denser and fills in the valley that forms the deadly dish of the stock seat. As a result, I sit higher and no longer slide forward into the tank. It also provides a nice padded place for my knees when I’m standing on the bike. The kit totally transformed the Tiger for me and now I can ride longer and feel better in control of the bike. Kit installation is a straightforward process that you can complete in a couple of hours or less, depending on how good you are with a staple gun. Start by disassembling your current seat. To disassemble your seat, simply pull the staples that hold the cover on. The seat foam isn’t glued or otherwise attached to the seat pan. Once the seat cover is off, the two pieces separate easily. Seat Concepts has a good video on how to assemble the kit, so I won’t show you my learning experience. Here is the video of a professional installing the kit. There are a few tips an amateur like me can pass along, though. First, a pneumatic staple gun will definitely help the process. I used my spring powered gun and found myself constantly getting half-installed staples that I had pulled out and re-shoot. If you’ve been waiting to purchase a pneumatic staple gun, you now have the perfect excuse to get one. Second, the directions call for 1/4 inch or 3/16 inch staples. I purchased a box of 1/4 inch staples, only to find that they were too short to penetrate the foam and cover and frequently had 1/4 inch stables pull right out immediately after shooting them. I ended up using 3/8 inch staples instead. Third, if you can get a friend to help you, it will make the job easier. Your friend can drive the staples, while you pull the seat cover tight. When I was finished, I still had some wrinkles that I needed to remove. I light a fire in the woodstove and warmed up the seat and then worked around the seat, pulling staples out, stretching the fabric, and then re-stapling the cover and I was able to remove most of the wrinkles. The Tiger seat has many curves and I suspect that other seats that are less curvy would be easier to install. In all, I would say the Seat Concepts seat is far superior to the stock and I’m super glad I made this upgrade. If you have a seat that ruins your ride, I’d definitely give Seat Concepts a try: they just might change the way you experience your bike. Related Seat Concepts Installing Oxford Heated Grips on a Triumph Tiger 800 XC
Smugglers Notch and Lincoln Gap close for the Winter
With substantial snow falling above 1,000 feet on Monday evening the Vermont Agency of Transportation has closed Vermont route 108 through Smugglers Notch. The road over Lincoln Gap has also been closed. These roads are closed seasonally due to the difficulty clearing snow off of these roads. The Lincoln gap road also serves as a snowmobile trail during the winter.
The MotoVermont Training Tour is one of the company's most popular events. The class combines range training, with a focus on skills development, with a tour in the Green Mountains. The tour reinforces what riders have learned in the field.
Book Late Summer/Fall Motorcycle Photoshoot for You and Friends!
Photographer Bob LoCicero of Motorcycle-Vermont is now taking bookings for late-summer/fall motorcycle photo shoots. This is a great opportunity to get really cool photos of you and your friends riding in beautiful late summer/fall light. This is a unique opportunity to get action shots of you on your bike in beautiful Vermont locations. Bob is a professional motorcycle photographer who has worked for Moto Vermont, Americade, Cyclewise, Green Mountain Harley Davidson, the AMA and others. You can see more of his work at his portfolio site here, BobLPhoto.com. This new service is reasonably priced with "sitting" fees starting at only $120 for an hour-and-half shoot with digital image delivery for a single rider. To learn more, contact Bob at Bob@Motorcycle-Vermont.com.
Guide to The Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route Section 4 NEBDR
The Vermont section of the Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route (NEBDR) is a great sampler of Vermont adventure riding. From twisty tarmac to challenging off-road sections, the Vermont sections of the NEBDR (NE3, NE4, and NE5) have it all. The Vermont section of the NEBDR begins at the end of section NE3 when you cross the Vermont-Mass boarder. There is a cool sign at the state line that is selfie-worthy, even for those of us who abhor selfies. Immediately following the state line, you’ll encounter your first class-4 section on Smith Rd. Smith Rd is easy to find -- simply ride straight ahead at the end of West Hill Dr. The road is rocky and narrow and has a few muddy, boulder sections. The road is used as an ATV trail so be ready for traffic coming from the other direction. At just under a mile in length, Smith Rd is a good indicator of your ability to ride other class-4 sections. If you cannot ride Smith Rd, you may want to rethink taking on other challenging sections. At the end of Smith Rd you’ll pop-out onto a class 3 dirt road. Keep your eyes peeled for the turn onto your second class-4 road,Tooksberry Rd, as it comes up quickly and the turn is behind you, to your left, as you round a corner. Tooksberry Road ups the ante on challenge, as it is rockier than Smith Rd and includes a loose hill climb after a right-angle, right turn shortly after starting the road. This right-hand turn could easily be missed since there is another nice looking road straight ahead. Like Smith Rd, Tooksberry Road is shared with ATV’s and is not really wide enough for you both to charge ahead at full speed. You’ll need to ride aggressively to make the hill climbs -- just make sure you have a clear path when you do so. Tooksberry Road ends abruptly, dumping you out on a class-3 dirt road. Watch for traffic coming from your left as you enter the roadway and for ATV traffic turning off the class 3 road onto Tooksberry Rd. If you are riding North-to-South, the turn onto the north end of Tooksberry Rd is easy to miss: look for the ATV trail sign pointing to the road. Follow the NEBDR through Readsboro until you reach the Readsboro General Store and the end of section NE3. The store is the start of NE4. If you have a small gas tank you’ll want to fill up at the Readsboro store, since it is approximately 105 miles until the next gas on the route. North of Readsboro, you ride VT-8, which is a tasty twisty-bit of tarmac. In Searsburg, take a hard left turn onto Forest Service Road 71 (aka Somerset Rd) -- the first of several awesome Forest Service Roads you’ll ride in Vermont FR71 heads due north, winding along the Deerfield River as you ride through the Green Mountain National Forest on a well-graded forest road. You’ve got to love this road thru a canopy of trees! At the end of FR71, you turn right onto the Stratton-Arlington Road. The route becomes a series of small dirt/gravel backroads and some moderate length pavement sections until at mile 62 when you reach your first class-4 section of NE4, Joy Rd. Joy Road looks like someone’s driveway at its southern end, where the road is a simple two-track with grass in the middle. The road becomes narrower as it climbs up a hill, becoming a single track that runs along an old stone wall. There a few rocky bits and some mud, but the challenge level is not significantly different from what you have encountered already. After Joy Rd, the NEBDR settles down with some very nice pavement sections and pleasant dirt roads. VT-121 leads you to Grafton. Here the Grafton store provides a great place to grab a nice pastry or other baked goods, Vermont cheese, and products. The store has benches out front where you can sit and watch the world go by or head up the road a mile and stop at a nice pond with a picnic table (see waypoints). The next major town the NEBDR passes through is Londonderry. You can find food, gas, and auto parts there, along with lodging options. North of Londonderry, the NEBDR heads back into the Green Mountain National Forest on Forest Service Road 10 (FR10). The turn onto FR10 can be easily missed, so watch carefully for this right-turn. FR10 (Danby Mountain Road/Tabor Mountain Road) is a pleasant ride through the White Rocks National Recreation area. You will find disbursed camping along the road (see waypoints for a recommendation from a Facebook group). There is an overlook park about 11 miles from the start of FR10. The view from the park has grown up in recent years, obscuring most of it. There are picnic benches and bathrooms in the parking area and it is still a nice spot for a break. Past the overlook, the NEBDR descends to VT-7. The Mount Tabor Country Store on VT-7 has gas ($5 minimum for credit card; pay before you pump), deli sandwiches and food. Icebed road is your next class 4 challenge and it is significantly harder than the ones you have encountered so far. The road begins as a two-track but quickly puts your skills to the test with an open ledge that crosses a small stream. As you progress up the road you’ll find the ledges steeper and rockier. If it has rained recently, you may find the rocks covered in slippery, Vermont goo-dew, making traction difficult. If you’re riding a loaded down big bike with 50/50 tires, I recommend the go-around for Icebed Road (unless you have very good skills and/or a crew you can push you up the ledges). If you do take the go-around, VT-140 is a great piece of twisty pavement. If you’re riding north to south, you’ll find the entrance to Icebed road on your right just before the parking lot for the White Rocks picnic area. The road doesn’t look like much here, but yes, that’s it! (see photo). After some pavement and gravel roads, Tabor Road comes up quickly as your next challenge. This class 4 has a rocky, boulder-strewn hill climb that can bounce you around and create some traction challenges. After the hill climb, you descend into a flatter, mud, and rock section. A bit over a mile into Tabor Rd, you’ll come to a T-intersection. Turn left to continue on the track. At this point, the NEBDR overlaps with the Catamount ski trail. The Catamount Trail is a backcountry ski trail that traverses the length of Vermont. When you emerge from Tabor Road, you’ll continue on a gravel road until you cross VT-100. Cross VT-100 onto Kingdom Road (a.k.a. Tyson Rd) -- a fun sport bike road. Continue on Kingdom Rd for 2.3 miles, then take a left onto Reading Pond Rd. Reading Pond Rd starts out as a nice two-track lane through the woods and is the longest off-road section of NE4 at about 8 miles in length. Watch for hikers and bicycle traffic on the road. Reading Pond Road becomes Mt Moses Rd and gets increasingly challenging. There are several loose rocky hill climbs and one steep loose descent. Overall, the technical challenge on this road is not as great as on Icebed Road or Tabor Road, but there are enough challenges to keep you up on your pegs. If you lose focus, you may find yourself quickly on the ground as I did on a loose rocky descent. After Mt Moses Rd, follow the BDR on gravel roads until you reach US4. You’ll travel a short distance on US4 before making a right to head north again on the BDR. If you need gas, stay on US4 and continue west to the Bridgewater Corners store. A little farther down the road is the Long Trail Brewery where you can pick up fresh beer for your night’s camp. Your next off-road section is in the Aquaduct Trails mountain biking network. The turn into the network is difficult to see: it looks like a driveway with a cluster of mailboxes on either side. The road, Grassy Lane, is a gentle two-track to start. Watch for mountain bike traffic crossing your path, as the mountain bike trails crisscross the class 4 road through the network. Just past the reservoir on your right (about 1.2 miles in) you’ll see a tempting uphill two-track. This isn’t the BDR; bare right to continue on the BDR. You’ll descend to short muddy section, followed by a steep uphill. Take you time to pick a good line and shouldn’t have any problem. You’ll exit the trail network on a gravel road. Turn left and travel a short distance to Vermont Route 12 and head north again. Perry Road will come up on your right about 2.8 miles after turning onto VT-12. Take a right onto Perry Road, a pleasant gravel road. The class-4 section of Perry Road begin about a mile up the road. Perry Road is wide and relatively flat. The major challenge is the road can be very muddy and some of the mud holes can be quite deep. Unless things are wet or you are running tire that quickly pack with mud, you shouldn’t have a problem. Perry Road ends at a paved road, which will take you the Barnard General Store and the end of section 4. The Barnard store has deli sandwiches, beer and pastry. If you need gas you can get ethanol free, pure gas at the store. Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route Movie Purchase the Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route movie through our Amazon link and you'll support both the Official BDR organization and Motorcycle-Vermont.com The Delorme Gazetteers are detailed maps that supplement the Offical Butler BDR map and GPX routes. Read our review of the New Hampshire/Vermont Atlas & Gazetteer Related Williamsville Eatery Ride Vermont Class-4 Roads with Respect Download Official NEBDR Tracks Guide to the Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route (NEBDR) Section NE5 Motorcycle Vermont custom waypoints, NE3, NE4, NE5
Laconia City Council Votes to Prohibit Vendors from Motorcycle Week Event
The Laconia City council voted on Monday to prohibit permits for vendors and beer tents at this year's event. Nonprofit organizations will still be allowed permits for the event. Motorcycle week typically happens in June each year. This year, due to the pandemic, the event has been moved to August 22-30. This year is the 97th anniversary of the event. The Loudon Classic motorcycle race and other riding events are still scheduled. See the Laconia Motorcycle Week web site for details.
The 2020 United Motorcyclists of Vermont Toy Run is Saturday, August 8th. The annual Toy Run is the largest charity motorcycle ride in the State of Vermont, attracting hundreds of riders from around New England in support of the Shriner's Hospitals for Children. This year's Toy Run is going to look different from previous years. The biggest changes are there will be no toys accepted (the hospitals are not accepting them) and there will be no police escorted ride. In lieu of toys, please donate cash or checks. To make your donation, ride to Wilkins Harley Davidson in Barre, where you can make your donation and pick up your 2020 Toy Run pin. Then, ride your own ride! Ride through Montpelier and take a photo in front of the State House. Donations will be accepted between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Guide to The Northeast Backcountry Discover Route Section 5 NEBDR
This is part-2 of Motorcycle-Vermont’s guide to the Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route - Vermont (NEBDR). This is a living document that will be updated regularly as we ride the trail, so continue to check for updates. It is also a good idea to read our guide to riding class-4 roads in Vermont for general information about class-4 roads. Section NE5 Barnard to Woodsville, NH features single-lane dirt roads, gravel forest service roads, challenging class-4 off-road sections and some great pavement. You’ll pass the Robert Frost cabins, and ride the Middlebury, Lincoln and Roxbury gaps, and travel some remote roads. The section begins at the Barnard General Store. The store has a great deli, delectable baked goods, and gas for your bike. Silver Lake State Park is across from the store. The park has camping at tent and lean-to sites and coin-operated showers. If you choose to stay there, you can swim in their beautiful lake. Hunger Mountain Road Hunger Mountain Road runs from Barnard (southern end) to VT-107 in Stockbridge (Northern end). When traveling from the Barnard General Store ride north on VT-12. Ride .4 miles and bear left onto West Rd (TH-5). Ride 1.1 miles to a 4-way intersection. Turn right onto Chateauguay Rd. Ride .4 mile and then bear left onto Mt Hunger Rd (a.k.a. (Old Hunger Mtn Rd). You'll enter the woods just past the last house on a gravel road. There is a sign indicating that you're on a class-4 road and maintenance is no longer the town's responsibility. When traveling north to south, navigation is a bit of a challenge. Finding the beginning of the class-4 section can be confusing. After leaving VT-107, head steeply up a short gravel section. The road turns sharply right and then heads up a steep hill. When you come to a 3-way fork (good looking road on the left, little-used road in the middle, and even less used road on the right) take the middle road. The road is not overly technical, despite it's unimproved or primitive surface rating on town maps. For the most part, the road is two-track dirt, with a few ledge rolls. During wet seasons you may find mud holes, but for the most part, these should be short and shouldn't be much of a problem. You'll find the road is somewhat easier to traverse from south to north, because you will be traveling predominately downhill. Riding north to south is slightly more difficult because you are running uphill, but it is not overly technical. Wet weather would, of course, make things more challenging. Hunger Mountain Road to Liberty Hill Rd After Hunger Mountain Road, the NEBDR heads north on predominately gravel roads. You’ll have some spectacular views in the Stockbridge area as the route twists and turns specifically to get you great views. Although the official NEBDR route doesn’t include Pittsfield, there is gas, food, and hardware available there, only a few miles south the route. You can also find several lodging options there. Pittsfield was one of 13 towns isolated during Tropical Storm Irene. The town was cut off when VT-100 was ripped apart just north and just south of the town, making it impossible enter or leave via a car. I was trapped in the town during Irene and found it a pleasant place to be marooned for a couple of days. There is an Inn there that has nice accommodations. After a few days, it became apparent that the VT-100 would not be open any time soon. Since I was prepared with my backpacking gear, I drove to the end of Michigan Road and hiked north to meet my wife on VT-73, leaving my trusty Corrolla behind. It was just over a month before I could return and retrieve my car. Liberty Hill Road Liberty Hill Road in Pittsfield is a short class 4 at 1.24 miles long and is favorite on my mid-state dual-sport loop. Riding from the south, you’ll leave the pavement of VT-100 and turn onto a nice gravel road. As you head uphill, the surface stays gravel well past the intersection with Forsha Rd. As you pass the last house, the road turns to dirt and has some rutted sections. After about 3/4 of a mile, the road heads downhill and becomes rocky. If you pick your line carefully, you’ll have no problem navigating this section. When traveling south, you’ll leave the tarmac of VT-100 and travel up a gravel road. The class-4 section begins by climbing the rocky section, making it somewhat more difficult traveling from north to south. My preference is to ride the road from south to north, as it is somewhat easier to ride and you will be rewarded with a spectacular view to the southeast when you emerge from the woods. Liberty Hill Road to Green Road This section includes the longest stretch of pavement in the NE5 section. Don’t worry, there is still plenty of challenge left before you reach Woodsville at the NH border! The town of Rochester is another good stop for fuel and food. There is a well stocked hardware store, a small grocery store, and a beautiful town green with park benches and picnic tables, right on Route 100. The Rochester Cafe and Country Store has Vermont memorabilia, real milkshakes and classic sandwiches. Sandy’s Books and Bakery is a “hippie” bakery and bookstore where you can fill your belly with great food and your mind with big ideas (just make sure you have room in your saddlebags for an actual book). North of Rochester you hit Hancock, where you’ll find fuel at the intersection of VT-100 and VT-125. VT-125 is a great piece of pavement, with a smooth surface, twists, and views. You’ll pass by the Robert Frost interpretive trail, just before coming to forest road 59, Steam Mill Rd. The Natural Turnpike The Natural Turnpike (forest road 54) is, without doubt, the coolest name ever for a dirt road through the woods. The road was a stagecoach route in the early 1900s connecting Lincoln with Ripton. The Natural Turnpike is, like most forest service roads in Vermont, in excellent condition. It is more like a class-3 gravel road in terms of surface. The road does have two-way vehicle traffic and is used regularly by hikers to reach trailheads, so ride right and expect cars in the middle of the road. The road is open seasonally, which means it’s usually closed until early to mid-May each year. You can check this Forest Service page for the status of the road. If you look carefully, you can find free dispersed camping alongside the road. After completing the Natural Turnpike, follow the track through Lincoln and enjoy the scenic views. You’ll see the backside of the Sugarbush ski area and have beautiful views throughout Lincoln. Green Road Green road is a mile long class-4 section with a moderate amount of challenge when climbing from south to north, you’ll gain 284 feet in about a mile. When dry, your biggest challenge will be picking a good line. When wet, Green Rd can become a slippery, mud fest as you near the top of the climb. I’ve seen carnage on this road on a wet, early spring dual-sport ride, which made the climb muddy, slippery and rutted. In most years, though, this shouldn’t be an issue. The south entrance doesn’t always have a road sign. Look for the large orange triangle sign announcing that the road is a class-4 road, on your left, shortly after turning onto Ripton Rd. The road is a gravel two-track and looks like a driveway. If you miss the turn for Green Rd and continue straight, you’ll be on the NE5 ALT - Easier Green Road track. Continue straight to Browns Road, where you’ll take a right to continue on the main BDR track. The north entrance is off of the mild, gravel, class-3 Green Rd. When traveling south, the entrance to the class-4 section is straight ahead and easy to find. You’ll be traveling downhill on the most difficult section. After Green Rd, the NEBDR snakes around Lincoln and then descends to Lincoln center, where you’ll find the Lincoln General store (food, deli, no gas). The route continues with the Lincoln Gap road. The Lincoln Gap Road The road climbs steadily as you approach the gap and turns to dirt. Shortly after turning to dirt, you’ll pass a Forest Service Road on your right. The forest service road doesn’t connect anything, but it can make for an uncrowded side trip. The road is of good quality and is similar to a class 3 dirt road. After the dirt section, the road returns to pavement and climbs very steeply, with grades as steep as 24% at points. The gap itself does not offer a view, but you can get a western view if you're willing to take a short walk. The Lincoln Gap West Vista trail is just west of the peak. When traveling east, look for a pull-off on your left. The trail is a short hike to the vista. At the peak of the gap there is a large parking lot. Here the Long Trail crosses and it is usually busy with hikers and cars. The ride down to Warren is narrow and twisty. The road is shaded by trees and the surface can stay wet long after rain. The pavement can get moss-covered making it extra slippery. Lincoln Gap road ends on VT-100 in Warren. The Warren Store is across VT-100 and through a covered bridge. The store is a good spot for lunch with baked goods and deli sandwiches, and they have a beautiful deck overlooking the Mad River, making it a great rest stop. Roxbury Gap The BDR heads east out of Warren on paved roads. You'll have views of the Sugarbush ski area to your left as your turn onto Roxbury Gap road. Roxbury Gap climbs approximately 1,000 feet in about 2 miles. There are 25 mph hairpins and steep climbs on a paved surface. At the top of the gap the road turns to gravel and descends the Roxbury side with easterly views. Roxbury Gap to VT-110 After Roxbury Gap, the NEBDR snakes its way through Roxbury, Braintree, and Brookfield on narrow dirt roads and class-3 gravel roads. There are views of the Greens to the southeast, rows of old maple trees, lining dirt roads past colonial-era homes and barns. Approximately 15 miles after crossing VT-12, the NEBDR descends down the narrow dirt Davis Acre road. At the bottom of the hill, Cram Hill road continues on straight north, while the BDR takes a hard right turn and heads uphill. It is easy to mistake Cram Hill Rd as the route (it isn’t). If you need a break, you may want to venture up Cram Hill Rd for a short bit, as the road is easy (at least at the start) and winds along a pretty stream. There are plenty of places to sit and rest while taking in some nature before continuing on. The next tricky intersection is at Lamsom Pond Rd. Traveling “north” (you’re actually headed south/east at this point) Lamsom Pond Rd is a narrow, dirt road that will be on your right. Lamsom Pond Rd is a class-4 road, but is non-technical and passable on a street bike. It’s class-4 designation is due to being only a single lane wide. The road is open to two-way traffic, so caution is needed. Shortly after Lamsom Pond Rd, the NEBDR becomes VT-66. VT-66 descends to the floating bridge in Brookfield VT. After crossing the bridge, the route takes a left and then bears right uphill on Ralph Rd, a narrow dirt road. After crossing VT-14 (pavement) the route takes a right onto Taylor Hill Drive, an easy class-4 dirt road. The route continues on a series of dirt and gravel roads with frequent turns. Watch your track carefully. Just before you come to VT-100, the route takes a left on a short class-4 section (rocks, some mud). You can continue straight on Bobbinshop Road to pass a cool barn with a lot of automotive memorabilia. Continuing straight leads to VT-100. Turn left to stay on the NEBDR. Pepper Rd/Clay Slide Road After crossing VT-110 in Chelsea, the NEBDR climbs to the height of land and rides along a ridge on Pepper Rd. Pepper Road is a pleasant, narrow, gravel and dirt, two-track lined with old maple trees. Pepper Road descends to a large turnaround area. Pepper Road continues straight, up a steep, muddy, rutted hill. Do not mistake this for the BDR (like I did). The BDR takes a hard left onto Clay Slide Road, which you might not see until you’re past it. Clay Slide Road is a flat, short (.71 mile), muddy road that I suspect was included in the BDR to enable riders to link the scenic Pepper Road with Hart Hollow Rd or to provide some challenge. While this section is fine in dry weather, in wet seasons less experienced riders on a fully loaded bike may want to skip this road. Riders heading south on the NEBDR should be aware that the entrance to Clay Slide Road is hard to see. Keep your eyes open for the sharp right-hand turn off of the gravel Hart Hollow Road. If you miss the turn, you can use the by-pass route (NE5 ALT - Easier Pepper Rd) to continue south on the BDR. Washington/Woodchuck Hollow Rd After emerging from the woods onto Hart Hollow Road, the NEBDR rides gravel roads into Washington. There is a store with basic supplies and gas in Washington. From Washington, the NEBDR travels a series of smaller class-3 and class-4 roads, starting with Woodchuck Hollow Road. Technically, Woodchuck Hollow Road is as class-3 road that is “below standard”. Despite the road’s classification, it is functionally a class-4 road. There are open ledges and rocky sections that will test your skid plate, especially if you choose your line poorly. The start of the class-4 section of Woodchuck Hollow Rd begins in an open turn-around. Take the left fork, uphill on a gravel/dirt two-track. Woodchuck Hollow climbs and descends several times on a dirt and rock surface. The class-4 section is approximately 2 miles long. Corinth/Maplewood Road The start of Maplewood Road is easily missed (I did). Look for a hard right turn, past the Corinth Historical Society building. Maplewood Road is a narrow dirt road that runs past a series of camps. The road isn’t overly technical but is a narrow, dirt road with two-way traffic. Approximately 1.4 miles from the Historical Society building, the NEBDR reaches an intersection where it appears to go straight; the route takes a left and heads uphill. Another tricky intersection is at the 3-mile mark, when Maplewood Road continues to the left and the NEBDR heads down a smaller, rockier route. See the waypoints in this GPX file. Corinth The NEBDR emerges from the Maplewood Road section onto the pavement. Watch carefully for the left turn in Corinth center at the Corinth Academy building (Corinth Historical Society). If you find yourself comfortably tooling down a paved road, you have probably gone too far. The NEBDR takes a left at the Corinth Academy build and, after a short distance, takes a hard left-hand turn uphill onto a narrow class-4 road (Coppermine Road). This turn is very easy to miss, as it is behind you! Coppermine Road twists through the woods on a fun, class-4 dirt track. Watch for low hanging branches! After Coppermine Road, the NEBDR travels some gravel down to the paved VT-25. The East Corinth General Store (gas; deli; supplies) is at the intersection of VT-25 and Village Rd. Tucker Mtn/Comigan Rd The NE5 Alt - Easier Tucker Mtn track cuts out the most difficult climb of the NE5 section and a significant mud pit. If you’re running late, have poor tires, a heavy bike, or just aren’t that skilled (or maybe all three of these!) you'll probably want to take the go-around. The next class-4 section is on Page Hill Road. The road is marked on the southern end with a sign indicating that there is no winter maintenance. The class-4 section is short and unremarkable. After Page Hill the route takes gravel roads to Old Stagecoach Road. Old Stagecoach Road is a two-lane dirt road that is heavily rutted. At the end of Old Stagecoach, the NEBDR makes a left onto Comigan Road. There is a large mud pit at the southern end of Comigan road. While the pit is fairly short, it is pretty deep and not easily avoided. A solo rider on a heavy bike with 50/50 tires may find the mud a significant challenge. When traveling from north to south, look for the Comigan Road turn just before a culvert (see photo). This turn is easy to miss. The Tucker Mountain hill climb is perhaps the most technical riding of section NE5. Throughout the Tucker Mountain Forest area, there are water bars lined with rocks. Proceed with caution as these water bars can be very rough. I never did find the right speed and found they slowed me down, just when I need speed for climbing. There is a rocky hill climb in this section which may be challenging for some riders. After the Tucker Mountain hill climb, you will descend to a kiosk. The NEBDR proceeds straight, into the woods. To left is a short sandy hill climb to the summit of Tucker Mountain, where you can get a full 360-degree view. End NE5 Section The NEBDR leaves the Tucker Mountain Forest and proceeds on a series of gravel roads until it reaches US-302. You follow US-302 as it crosses the Connecticut River, on an iron bridge, into NH and the end of the Vermont section of the NEBDR. Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route Video Purchase the Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route movie through our Amazon link and you'll support both the Official BDR organization and Motorcycle-Vermont.com Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route Trailer Related Ride Vermont Class-4 Roads with Respect Download Official NEBDR Tracks Motorcycle-Vermont NEBDR Section 3, 4 and 5 Custom Waypoints Guide to the Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route in Vermont, sections NE3 and NE4 The Delorme Gazetteers are detailed maps that supplement the Offical Butler BDR map and GPX routes. Read our review of the New Hampshire/Vermont Atlas & Gazetteer
Americade 2020 is canceled, Christian Dutcher, CEO of Americade, announced on July 2nd in a Facebook message to the community. “Up until last week, we felt pretty good about the event. We had a full expo. We had motorcycle manufacturers. We had a safety plan that was very sound and that New York state had embraced.” Dutcher said. “When we rescheduled the event, our primary objective was to have a safe event,” Dutcher said. But, during the previous week, things have changed. “We have gone from feeling like we can comfortably run a safe event, to feeling like, ‘we’re not so sure’. And, that’s not a position we want to be in”, he said. Americade draws attendees from all over the country and this is a cause for concern. “It’s extremely disappointing,” Dutcher said. Americade is offering full refunds to all who have preregistered. If registrants put their 2020 registration fee towards Americade 2021, they will receive an extra $20 credit and be allowed to register a week before anyone else. Early registration allows attendees to register for high demand events before they sell out. The cancellation is a blow to Warren County, where the event is hosted. Estimates place the economic activity generated by the event between $20 million and $46 million. Lake George Region Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gina Mintzer said the cancellation meant a substantial loss of revenue for the county’s businesses. “It’s a big economic hit for the area, but it’s truly the right thing to do,” she said, noting that Dutcher was focusing on protecting the health and well-being of the area citizens as well as the rally’s participants and vendors, rather than seeking financial gain. Related Americade Web Site
T The Gifford Medical Center Last Mile Ride to raise money for end-of-life care is being held between August 1 and 15th, as a virtual event. The money raised helps patients seek alternative therapies like Reiki, massage, and music therapy. They also provide unique services to support families, like providing meals for those spending their last moments with loved ones and helping with transportation costs for far-away families. Unlike previous years, there is no group gathering or ride this year. “We decided to create LMR Home Edition to protect the health and safety of all in our community as we continue to adapt to the COVID-19 public health crisis,” said event organizer and Gifford Director of Development Ashley Lincoln. “LMR Home Edition reflects our new reality while supporting the same great cause. Now more than ever, we are counting on our community to join us, virtually, as we raise funds to support patients at the end of life and their families.” The 15-day event window honors that this year marks the 15th anniversary of the event. To participate, riders should register on the Last Mile Ride website and download a route sheet from a past ride (GPX files for routes). Riders can then ride anytime between August 1st and 15th. Registration fees are by donation. The suggested donation is $50 for an individual rider or $75 for a rider and passenger. Participants are encouraged to take photos and videos and post to social media with the hashtags #LastMileRide #LMRfromHome #15thLMR or tag them on Facebook with @LastMileRide or Instagram with @LastMileRide_VT. Organizers of the event regret they cannot properly celebrate the 15th-anniversary milestone, but promise to have a party at next year’s event. “While we are disappointed that we can’t come together in person to celebrate our 15th annual event, we encourage riding partners, friends, and families to celebrate this milestone, safely, and continue their tradition of giving,” said Lincoln. For additional details and to register, see the Last Mile Ride website.
The 2020 Last Mile Ride -- Home Edition has provided 5 great options for riders looking to run route previously ridden for the Last Mile Ride. Below are routes from 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014. You can find downloadable GPX tracks with waypoints linked below. The tracks can be downloaded and then loaded into your GPS unit so you can follow the track from the ride of your choice. Read more about the Last Mile Ride here. Last Mile Routes 2009 Last Mile Route GPX 2010 Last Mile Route GPX 2012 Last Mile Route GPX 2013 Last Mile Route GPX 2014 Last Mile Route GPX Last Mile Route Descriptions