2018 Articles

Fort Mountain Special--July 28, 2018

in 2018 Articles


Saturday the 28th, six riders (Larry, Dave, SteveD, Mel, BobK, and Don) met in Ball Ground for a leisurely ramble north toward Ellijay and the Cohutta’s.  We didn’t realize it, but we would soon ride thru the “Shine Peddler’s Metric Century” bicycle ride in the Jasper area.  On peaceful backroads like Grandview and Burnt Mountain, it really wasn’t any trouble for either us or the hundred or so cyclists we encountered.  “It’s all good” when you’re on two wheels.  

Our first stop was www.Apex Cycle Shop.com located deep in the woods outside of Ellijay (no one will ever stumble across this place by accident – GPS required!)  Apex is an award-winning custom bike builder converting old BMW’s and Ducati’s into cool works of art.  The owner Wes gave us an awesome tour of his shop, custom bikes, and a lounge worthy of HGTV.  At the risk of overstating it, this place just oozes cool – check ‘em out for yourself. 

Next stop was to be the awesome overlook at Fort Mountain State Park (W of beginning to rumble.  So… we took the “quicker and easier” option of stopping at the Cohutta Overlook on 52 outside the park.  A great view and quicker to lunch.  But before lunch was the wonderful ride down the mountain to Chatsworth on a true first-class motorcycle road!  Lunch at Edna’s was delicious

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Return To Bell Mountain--September 15, 2018

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In March 2017, several hardy souls rode to Bell Mountain (just outside Hiawassee) and experienced rain, wind and snow – yet still talked about what a great ride it was?!  With that praise bouncing in our brains, we decided to try it again, this time without the snow, but maybe still the rain and wind as Hurricane Florence was just over the line in SC.  As Larry, Steve and Dave fueled up to start, another V-Strom pulled in, gassed up and decided our plan beat his and joined us!  Welcome, Robert (from Holly Springs)!  It was a pleasure to ride with you and hope to see you again.

The riders took favorite backroads like Matt Hwy, Bannister and 115 to Cleveland to their morning chicken biscuit with the folks that invented chicken biscuits.  Although those roads were efficient, they weren’t nearly as pleasing as 75 N to Helen, then Sautee Nacoochee and 197 along the west shores of Lake Burton and Moccasin Creek State Park – very enjoyable and very deserted on a Saturday morning.  From there, 76 (Georgia’s Mtn Hwy) led to Hiawassee and Bell Mtn. 

The road up Bell Mtn is a steep, former Jeep trail now nicely paved, albeit narrow and with the same tight switchbacks.   About a quarter is one-car-wide and the rest is a car-and-a-half.  But your reward is a 5 star view (on a 4 star scale)!  The 360 view overlooking the Hiawassee mountains and Lake Chatuge is spectacular – the best overlook we’ve seen.  And as the commercial says… “We’ve seen a thing or two!”  Don’t worry about the trip up… there were 10:1 bikes to the cars at the top!

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Really Back Backroad Ride-November 10, 2018

in 2018 Articles

Some say it was 29 degrees, others 30 or 32. but all agreed it was cold when five of us started out at 9:30 am to explore some back roads in Cherokee, Bartow, Gordon, Pickens and Dawson counties. To accommodate the cold nearly all of us had brought along some heat in the form of heated vests and gloves. All except our hearty Englishman who relied on his thick leather jacket.

We started out from Ball Ground but soon turned on to Mineral Springs road and headed West with the sun on our backs. We explored many different roads, some paved, some gravel and some wash-boarded dirt, really enjoying some new mountain vistas and passing through some farms and "ranches'  that kindled thoughts of earlier days in north Georgia. I won't name all of the roads but there is a map at  

Route Map November 10, 2018

We got to Jasper around noon and headed for 61 Main for lunch, and warmth. After a longer wait than usual (there was some sort of celebration in the back) we were seated an had a great lunch.

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Not a Triumphant Ride

in 2018 Articles

I hadn't been able to get out with my pals for a ride for quite a while, so when the opportunity arose to go out this last Saturday of July I was stoked.  I prepared my 2010 Triumph Tiger 1050 the night before the ride and all was good.   

I was up and ready to go right on time to meet my pals up at Apex Cycles in Ellijay.  I started the Tiger and got my gear on. I rode up the driveway and to my horror the front brake lever pulled straight back to the handlebars with no resistance.  A gentle application of back brake brought me to a stop.  I found myself, in disbelief, repeatedly pulling on the brake lever in the faint hope that my first finding was wrong. It was not. 

I inspected the bike, but there was no sign of a hydraulic leak and the reservoir was full.  There was just no brake pressure on the lever.  I inspected the garage where the bike rests between rides.  No sign of a problem there at all, not even a drop of oil on the floor of the Tiger's bed.  It was no good, this bike was going nowhere today. 

Disappointed about not being able to ride my Tiger I considered my options and decided to ride my 1970 TR25W Triumph.  Usually my older bikes are finicky about starting, but first kick this baby started up!  Excellent, I was off meet the lads.  I decided to forego any saddle backs and wet weather gear; I would just rough it if I get caught in rain.

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