My brother Hiatt introduced me to the Ride Of The Century ROC. He found it online and told me all about it, but had never been himself. This year, he was able to come in town and participate in the event himself.
Since I had done the event the previous year, I had a general idea of what to expect and when to do things. Hiatt and I planned a long ride Saturday, ending at the family event where we could watch the motorcycle stunting in a parking lot. Our ride took us out historic highway 94 from St. Charles. After we went out, we started on our way back and worked our way North, using a local ferries to get us across the Missouri river.
We took the long way up the West side of the Illinois river to the town of Hardin, IL where there is a bridge that lets us join the Great River Road, going down the East side of the Illinois river. The Great River Road runs much closer to the river and has a fantastic view. Along the way, there are some very interesting towns…
Ultimately, we worked our way over to Top Shooter’s bar in Columbia, IL. There, we were able to watch bikers stunting in the parking lot. Unfortunately, it was nearly over when we got there, so we didn’t get to see as much riding as we wanted.
On a quick side note, this event used to be held at Big St. Charles motorsports. It was scheduled to be there, but cancelled at nearly the last minute. I had a feeling that the city/police didn’t want this event taking place. I later read an article in the Riverfront times stating that Big St. Charles was approached by the police eluding to them that they should not have the event if they knew what was good for their business. So instead of a large festival of motorcycles in a large safe parking lot, they were forced to stunt in a recently patched lot that wasn’t as safe.
On Sunday, the organized ride was to start at 2pm. As Hiatt and I started to think about getting ready, we went out to start our bikes, and Hiatt’s bike wouldn’t start. He was having issues with the charging system on his bike. Instead of the fun lunch I had planned downtown for the two of us, I put his bike on my trickle charger and set off for a less exciting lunch. When we got back from lunch, his bike still didn’t want to start. Eventually I convinced Hiatt to pull his battery and put it in my bike. I could run mine for several minutes and get charge back in his. It wasn’t easy to switch the batteries, but running it with a high idle in mine for 10 minutes did the trick for the ride!
Ultimately, we were much later to the ride than we wanted, but that turned out for the best. The local police had some crazy roadblocks set up and were harassing motorcyclists with reckless abandon. The normal organized ride was broken up by the police. I’m disappointed in how the police dealt with motorcycles. One particular incident I witnessed had a car on the highway swerve from the fast lane to the exit ramp (4 lanes) right in front of a group of motorcycles with a police Tahoe vehicle about 15 feet behind the motorcycle. I’m not a fan of tailgating…
Overall it was a great weekend for two brothers to get together and ride their motorcycles even if the event that brought us together was a bit of a bust. When I asked Hiatt what he thought about the next year, he is already ready to come back!