Brian in the Belly of the Beast: Riding an R 18 to Sturgis!

After retiring from a long career of corporate work, I decided the first thing I was going to do was buy a motorcycle and ride it to Sturgis. Surely my riding buddies – many of whom ride Harleys – would be up for that trip! They didn’t even hesitate when I told them I’d be arriving on a BMW, and a BMW cruiser at that. We’ll see how it goes, and I’ll share the trip with you. Visit this page to see how the trip is faring!


Video of the trip posted by my brother, Kevin. The live riding videos are from Iron Mountain Road and Needles Highway. Both are scenic, super twisty roads. My brother-in-law, Jim, handled them like a pro despite the fact that he had just taken the MSF course a couple of months earlier. He did take some private lessons which obviously helped.

Day 1 was Tuesday, and I rode north from New Jersey through Harriman State Park in New York – a common destination for people in the area with a lot of twisty roads, lakes, and mountains. I ran into some issues with my Yeti cup rising up out of my cup holder and I kept kicking out the 12-volt connection for my phone and GPS while using for the heel shifter, but I fixed everything up with some zip ties. Just a couple of examples of typical day-one issues that can occur during the first trip with a new bike.
I bought my R 18 Classic from BMW (Motorrad) of Manhattan, in the heart of New York City!
I took Route 6 west from there to Coudersport, Pennsylvania, where I spent the night.

Loaded up and ready to go, it’s easy to pack the R 18 Classic for an extended trip.

It’s not a rest stop unless you get a photo of your bike.
I’m currently in fort Wayne, Indiana. Spent the night in Cleveland last night after stopping at Sill’s BMW for my 600-mile service. The owner has an interesting event coming up that I’ll let you know about as soon as I get more details.
The obligatory photo for the foodies among us. I’m pretty sure this has enough calories to feed an entire army.
 I visited the rock and roll Hall of Fame this morning.
Not the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but still a cool landmark to visit.
Enjoy the first batch of photos! More to come!
One of the best parts of any trip is the weird stuff you see – it just pops up unexpectedly on the side of the road! It’s great to be able to make the time to go back and get a photo to cement the memory.
Part biker bar, part bike museum, the Iron Horse Social Club is a must-see location in Savannah, Illinois.
It’s great getting to talk to people again after over a year of pandemic-related isolation.