About Us

Welcome to official blog of the Florida West Coast Motorcycle Club. An American Motorcycle Association Historic Club (No. 165), we are a family oriented riding and social club with a history back to 1936. Our motto is "Ride and Have Fun". Learn more about us or how to join our club.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Run with the Big Dogs

The Run with the Big Dogs Poker Run tells us that they have named Florida West Coast Motorcycle Club as a Platinum Sponsor of their event, which happens on Sunday, April 14.

Platinum is the highest sponsor status that is granted by the poker run. It generally is conferred to sponsors who donate $200 or more. FWCMC did not donate any cash, but it has supported Run with the Big Dogs through full-page ads in the club newsletter and through mentions on it Facebook page.

I believe that our former HOG Chapter, FBACC, won the club trophy in the Run with the Big Dogs event several years ago. It would be great to win it again!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It All Goes to the Dogs...

          The signature event that FWCMC is planning started out as an idea for a full-blown poker run that would recognize and benefit the canine police units in Tampa Bay. We thought of a run that would end up at the pet cemetery behind the old Fletcher’s dealership, because that is where a number of the police dogs are buried.

    We got fairly deep into the planning process of that event when we realized we were going to have to deal with and overcome some fairly sizeable problems: for one thing, there was a lot of construction activity outside of Fletcher’s on US19, and that made us worry about the safety of moving large numbers of bikes and bikers into and out of the Fletcher’s property; for another, we worried that we simply were not going to have enough time to do everything that needed to be done in time for the Memorial Day Weekend event.
     So we re-thought everything and decided we needed something that was a bit more modest. We decided on a ride-in bike show, with proceeds to benefit a number of area dog-related charities. Our friends at Sea Dog BrewingCo. on US19 at Enterprise were very excited about the idea and immediately go on board as the host facility for the bike show.  Our partner, Cycle Springs, also got on board right away, and biker lawyer Fran Haasch also indicated sponsorship interest.
   Activities Director Matt Knapik has been working hard on this event, and points out that we are going to need quite a few volunteers to make everything happen.  A number of people have already stepped up.  If you want to help, make sure you get in touch with Matt. You can reach him at
Right now, it looks like the beneficiaries of our fund-raising will be Dunedin Doggie Rescue, The Florida Pyranees Association and the Southeastern Guide Dog Association.
Last night we held a meeting about the event, which is dubbed “It All Goes To The Dogs,” and things are starting to come together. Special thanks need to go to Matt, who has really stepped up and taken charge, and to Sea Dog’s, which is turning into a much-valued club partner.
Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Yamaha Demo Days at Cycle Springs

Cycle Springs Powersports
Saturday, after our monthly club breakfast, I took a ride to Cycle Springs to check out the Star Demo Days. Yamaha had the entire line up of motorcycles available for test riding. I hadn't ridden a Yamaha since owning an 800cc Yamaha cruiser back in high school in the late eighties. The ominous clouds kept a crowd away, and I took my chances with the rain getting my newly cleaned Road King all wet.

The demo rides were being conducted in groups every thirty minutes. I had a chance to talk with the representatives from Yamaha on their line up.

Yamaha Bolt
An addition for 2014 is the Bolt. Other than a small Yamaha sticker on the fender, you could easily mistake this bike for a H-D Sportster. It brought me back to my 2001 1200 Custom. Priced at under $8,000, this is an entry level cruiser targeting sport bike riders looking to get into the cruiser market.

Owning a 2009 Road King Classic, I am not in the market for a new cruiser. I thought to myself, if I was going to add another bike to the garage what would I want? A garage accustomed to multiple brands, already housing a Harley, a Honda and Vespa. Maybe it was the impending rain and the thought of having to polish chrome, which made my eye drawn to the FZ8. However, it was more likely my inner child wanting a toy more than the rationalization that it would be an easy bike to clean after riding on rainy days.

Test Riding the FZ8
Not being in my twenties anymore, I wasn't interested in something which would tear up the track. I wanted to try something which would be fun to ride around town, but still let me sit in a more vertical position. So wearing my leather vest and "Captain America" helmet, I headed off on the FZ8 for a twenty minute guided test ride with one other customer. Other than the Vespa, I've only ridden Harleys for the past thirteen years. The first thing I noticed was how quiet the bike was. At an idle, I could hardly tell it was on. My second surprise was a red line around 10,000 RPM. I am use to keeping the tachometer under 3,000 RPM. This bike didn't even wake up until it hit 3k. I was impressed with the handling of the FZ8. Even for my large frame, I didn't feel the bike was too small. It braked well and had plenty of power on take off. Overall, this would be a great second (or even third) bike for use around town or commuting to work.

Overall, it was a fun time. I got to meet some new people, try out a new ride, and it never did rain. I would like to thank Jimmy Wallace and the group from Star Motorcycles for hosting the event. Now, I just need to think of a way to squeeze another bike into my garage.
The Star Motorcycles Demo Truck

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bike Week once again

I’ve been trying to remember the first time we went to Daytona for Bike Week. Beth says it was February 1993, and I have no reason to doubt her. I just remember that we flew into Daytona’s airport and rented an absolutely huge white Chevrolet Caprice, which was the only car they had left. Driving that big whale around Daytona among 250,000 motorcycles was quite an experience. So was parking it.

Anyway, it was mostly a good experience and we had a pretty good time. We stayed in a motel right across from the speedway. We went to the bike races, and we had lunch with Jim Paterson and his wife Jodi. Jim was the president of Harley-Davidson, and we had met him in 1988 on a ride to Milwaukee.

All that was 20 years and several lives ago.

Later that same year we moved permanently from Maine to Florida, and over the years we have ridden across the state  to Bike Week countless times.It’s usually fun, but there is a sameness to it that has kept us from attending for the past several years.

Until this year. Dick Pritchard took note of our long absence and decided that the club should put on an old-fashioned Bike Week trip once again. At first, about 10 couples signed up for the trip, but by the time March rolled around about half of them had dropped out for one reason or another.  So when we gathered at McDonald’s on Roosevelt last Thursday morning for the ride to Daytona, only four couples were on hand.

Dick and Judy Pritchard, Rick and Annette Mardis, Rick and Nil Beveridge, and Beth and me. Dave DiFiore and Nicole Cornelius got a late start and promised to come along a bit later in the day.

One one of our trips 10 or 12 years ago, we stayed in a room in a Daytona hotel that was right on the beach.  We were in a first-floor room, and some of our fellow lodgers amused themselves by doing burnouts in the parking lot until around 4 a.m. No one got a lot of sleep that night, and we vowed never to stay right in Daytona ever again. In later years, we either stayed in Mount Dora, about 50 miles west of Daytona, or in St. Augustine, about the same distance north.

The Edgewater Motel in St. Augustine
A great discovery was a little motel right on the  banks of the river in St. Augustine, a place called the Edgewater Inn. Nothing fancy, kind of old and 50s-like, but clean, well-maintained and within walking distance of downtown and historic St. Augustine, just on the other side of the bridge whose southern tip abutted the Edgewater’s property. That’s where we stayed this time, and it worked out great except for the crappy wireless Internet connection that only worked if I stood with my I-Pad directly in the center of the room, right between the desk and the TV set.

Hari Krishna. Hari Krishna. Krishna Krishna. Hari Hari.
There was a Hari Krishna parade in St. Augustine on Saturday. Not part of Bike Week. Frank says it was a big Hari Krishna weekend celebration.

All of the front doors fronted right on the parking lot so we could keep an eye on the motorcycles. The back doors opened onto a long patio area that fronted on the Matanzas River. Very scenic, with the historic St. Augustine buildings situated on the other bank. And no burnouts in the parking lot.

The bridge has a drawbridge, and we found that it got raised pretty frequently to let boat traffic through.  On the first evening, we walked across to have dinner at the A1A Ale House and, sure enough, we got caught for about 10 minutes when the drawbridge went up to let three or four pass through.

A couple of days later, we walked across again and got caught once more. This time turned out to be pretty funny, thought; when the drawbridge went up, and small crowd of young people hopped out of their cars, cranked up their stereos, and started dancing to very loud south-of-the-border music. Nilufer was so taken by it that she joined in. It was great and we got a few pictures.

Nil dancing to the drawbridge music
The members of our group did their own things while we were there. We all went to Destination Daytona on Friday, but then Beth and I headed south to New Smyrna Beach for dinner with friends while others either went downtown or headed back to St. Augustine.

On Saturday we toured downtown St. Augustine, but then some of us went back to the Edgewater for naps while others ride up the coast for a look at some of the beaches.

On Sunday we rode back through the Ocala National Forest and had breakfast in Polatka at the oldest diner in Florida (Angel’s) before making a stop at a little candy shop/bakery, most to fulfill Beth’s need for an occasional whoopie pie.

All in all, a great time with a great group of friends. Maybe we’ll recover enough to be ready for Biketoberfest.