It’s been awhile since I updated the club. I apologize, been a very busy few month here.
During the past few months we had an overnight ride to York, Pennsylvania. Road Captain, Jack Costa, put this ride together along with plans for us to attend a “Steel Toe” tour at the Harley-Davidson Manufacturing Plant.
We set off on this journey from Suffolk County Harley-Davidson in the “wee” early hours and made our way to York. Once we arrived at York, we split into two groups and proceeded to take the tour. This was the second time I have taken the tour and every time I do; I learn something new.
The guide took us to all facets of the factory, and we observed all Harley-Davidson models in various stages being built. It’s amazing watching the assembly line. I encourage anyone that has not taken the tour to attempt to arrange a tour. You will really enjoy and appreciate the bikes we love to ride.
Later that evening, we had a group dinner at the restaurant adjacent to the hotel we were staying. Of course a few laughs were had.
The next day, those whom did not head home, were treated to a ride by Road Captain Bob Bronzo. This ride took the group to Gettysburg and West Virginia. Although I had to leave and did not stay for this ride, I was told by those that joined the ride, it was awesome. Bob took them on some really nice back roads. I hope to be able to make this portion of the ride next year. Yes, that is right! Jack and Bob put such a wonderful ride together that the club has decided to make this an annual trip. Thank you Jack, for all the hard work you put into this ride, in order to make it a success. I know how much you put into this ride.
At the close of the month a large group attended “Dee’s Ride” benefiting Melissa’s wish. We rode to Nickerson Beach, in Long Beach, where we all got to meet “Twisted Sister” frontman, Dee Snider. The weather was beautiful and the ride was nice and relaxed. When we returned, we were treated to a hamburger lunch, and music performed by Dee, himself. Of course he played a few of Twisted’s classics as well as some Judaist Priest! Dee brought back memories of seeing him as a young teen at Hammerheads and Cheers in the 80’s. The guy can still bring it! Dee was also nice enough to take a picture with the entire Chapter. He’s a real down to earth guy! This ride will definitely be on next year’s schedule if you missed it.
During the month of October we had a few Impromptu rides. Due to the weather, rides to Kent Falls and the ride to Motorcyclepedia in upstate New York, had to be rescheduled for the spring of 2020, so look for those rides, they will be good.
Also during the month, Joe Giaimo, along with Road Captains Jack Costa and Bob Bronzo, took a ride through Connecticut, for a nice lunch and ferry ride home. Everyone I spoke to about the ride said it was one of the nicest, scenic rides they have ever been on, therefore we have decided to make this trip again, when the weather in nice.
At our October meeting, Biljana, was appointed our “Ladies of Harley Officer”. It was a well-deserved honor, and I know she will do a great job. Welcome aboard!
Sadly at the close of the month, we lost a dear friend, a brother and one of our Founding Member’s, Richie Ortiz. Richie was one of the first members that helped put this club together from its inception. Prior to getting sick, Richie was always seen at our meetings, helping out at functions and always there to lend a hand. Richie put up one hell of a fight and we will always remember him for his tenacity and courage, which he displayed during his sickness. I personally will always remember the day we did the ride in his honor when he came over the radio and thanked us for putting this together for him. He was overwhelmed. That is what this club is all about. Sure, we joke, we rib each other, but more than anything, we are there for each other. Richie may be gone physically, but I know he rides within me every day, and within all our members forever. He will never be forgotten by the Chapter!
I would also like to thank all the members that stepped up to help the Ortiz family, during their time of grieving. Either a meal, a call, etc. it all helped.
November came around and once again we did a few impromptu rides for those willing to brave the cold. One ride in particular, was to Horton’s lighthouse, and yes! I finally found the light house. It was a very cold day, and Dublin John decided to make the ride wearing summer gloves. Well truth be told, half way to the north shore, I stopped the ride to show some mercy to our resident “Irishman” and no, I did not give him a beer, I just reached into my saddlebag, and gave him an appropriate pair of gloves for riding. Needless to say, it helped, but our “Event Coordinator” failed to wear appropriate pants, as well, for that day of riding, and let’s say, I think he experienced a bit of “Shrinkage” He did finish the ride, and after, he headed straight to Oakdale to purchase appropriate gear!
Paul, myself and Charlie took a ride to Billy Joel’s “Twentieth Century Cycles” one Saturday. It was a nice leisurely ride to Oyster Bay, where we got a chance to view Billy Joel’s personal collection of Motorcycles. It was a slow day there, so we all gleaned a lot of information about the bikes from the curator. I’m sure this will be another future destination.
December, we conducted our first Christmas toy run benefiting the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park. We collected toys during the month at the dealership, for transport to the house, on December 22. Head Road Captain Paul, also solicited the help of Jen’s “Jeep club” to help us transport the toys, but they went far beyond transporting the toys. Jen and her friends Cathy and Rich, raised over $600.00 dollars from their members, and proceeded to purchase toys and gift cards for the residents of the house. To say I was overwhelmed, is an understatement. I hope in the future our members can help with any of their causes that they may need assistance.
The day prior to the ride, the Road Captains did a dry run. Unfortunately, Jack experienced a bent rim on his ride, due to the stellar (Tongue firmly planted in Cheek) roads we have here on Long Island, and New York, in particular. We were able to get Jack back to the dealership, where they were more than helpful, and got Jack back on the road for the next day’s ride.
The day of the ride, the weather cooperated. It was cool and clear. We assembled 40 bikes at the dealership for the ride to Ronald McDonald House. Jen and her two friend’s Jeeps were loaded with boxes of toys, and we made our way to the House. Upon arrival, I spoke to the House manager, and unloaded our booty, for the kids. To say the House manager was impressed and grateful, that would be an understatement. They were ecstatic. Our combined groups donated more than three thousand dollars in toys and gift cards. This donation went a long way to bringing cheer to those children and Families going through some terrible times. It was well worth the effort. Some of the families and kids came out to our bikes and expressed how thankful they were, for us being there. We hope to make this an annual event, for our Chapter. I personally want to thank all who donated and assisted in this event. You all made it a success.
Finally, on December 27, we had our Holiday party at the Irish Coffee Pub, in East Islip. Dublin John did an excellent job organizing the event, which was well attended by both our Chapter members, and members of the dealership. The food was excellent, and the beer, cold!! It was a nice night to just sit back and talk and relax with our members. If you could not attend, I suggest you do next year, as we will be doing this on a yearly basis. Thanks again to John, for organizing the party. Job well done.
In closing, I would like to wish all a very Happy New Year. We are currently putting our ride schedule together for next year, so if you have suggestions, please bring it to the table. It was a fun exciting year, with a lot of, “Firsts” that we look to continue as well as add to, as well. You get out of the Chapter, what you put into it, so let’s all participate and enjoy ourselves. We have a great group of people, who enjoy the camaraderie of riding motorcycles.
Till next time, stay safe and ride safe,
Suffolk County HOG Historian