What’s the point of owning a motorcycle if you never get out and ride it? What’s the point of wearing the gear and going to rallies just to park your bike and walk away? We live in the greatest country in the world, and our beautiful land is connected by some of the best back roads and highways that could be found anywhere. That was the thought behind the concept of the inaugural Hot Bike Power Tour. We wanted to give you the chance to meet up with other like-minded riders, hop on our steeds, and hit the open road. Together we wanted to create a million memories, ride 1,000 miles, and spend five days seeing some of the best roads that our country has to offer. It was also an opportunity to spend some time with our readers and truly make new friends with the people who read Hot Bike. After all, it’s not our magazine; Hot Bike is a reflection of you, the readers, and the Power Tour offered days of one-on-one time that will help shape the future of the magazine. For the first time out, the Hot Bike Power Tour was an overwhelming success. We learned, listened, and improved the experience with each stop. For those who attended, it was truly a history-making trip that will continue to grow and become one of the trips to make in a rider’s life journey.
Staring Point: Little Rock, Arkansas Little Rock proved to be the perfect kick-off point for the tour. With a city rich in history, the anticipation could be felt as more than 120 riders mounted up early in the morning with nothing but promises of good times ahead. Location: Downtown Little Rock
Stop 1: Jackson, Tennessee Bumpus Harley-Davidson played host to the first stop on the Power Tour. On a blissful Sunday afternoon, thousands of supporters and fans showed up for a fun day in the sun that included a huge custom bike show, bands, shops, and more. Location: Bumpus Harley-Davidson
Stop 2: Bowling Green, Kentucky The Chevrolet Corvette is as much an American icon as any American-built V-twin. This made the National Corvette Museum the perfect stopping point for another rally. While in town, an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of RC Components was a huge treat for all the Longriders. Location: National Corvette Museum
Stop 3: Anderson, Indiana Thumpety thump. Thumpety thump. Those are the sounds heard as we pulled up to the Hoosier Park Racing Casino in Anderson, Indiana. The racetrack and casino was the perfect backdrop for the party to continue, as riders could take their luck at the tables or on the track. Location: Hoosier Park Racing Casino
Stop 4: Racine, Wisconsin The final stop of tour ended up in the gorgeous lakeside town of Racine, Wisconsin. After a very “interesting” route through downtown Chicago, every single of the 120 Longriders were grinning ear to ear knowing they had completed the 1,000-plus mile journey. A special ceremony was held the following morning for all 120 Longriders who made the entire trip. They were all granted a lifetime pass to participate in all future Hot Bike Power Tours for their part in making motorcycle history. Location: Racine’s lakefront
John Zamora Editor, Hot Bike Magazine
I honestly didn’t know what to expect as I arrived in Little Rock. I was riding the Official Hot Bike Power Tour 1989 Electra Glide Sport that was built for me by Torch Industries chock-full of parts from the pages of the magazine. With only 30 miles on the bike, I was hoping to at least finish the ride and not have to take the long, sad ride in the chase Ford Raptor truck and trailer. Little Rock was, for lack of a better word, hot! With temperatures and humidity levels matching in the 90s, it was a scorcher of a start off. Being the first stop, it was interesting as readers would approach me and call me by name. What was more memorable was all the face-to-face feedback they offered on everything from digital versions of the magazine to the amount of girls we run each issue. It’s easy to sling comments from behind a keyboard, but it’s another to have someone tell you in person. I took away some great suggestions and kicked off more than one friendship. As we rolled on down to Jackson (I’m a huge Johnny Cash fan, by the way), my bike suffered a few sputters and spurts in the extreme heat. The dealership proved to be a great meeting point, and I was impressed at all the custom bikes that rolled out for the bike show. After the temperatures cooled, I made a quick call back to Torch, and with a few carb adjustments, the bike was running as good as new. The next day found us hitting some beautiful backcountry and roads on the way to Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Corvette Museum was an awesome place to regroup and party down. Motorcycle guys are usually car guys, and as an owner of three classic cars, it was fun to shift our brains from two to four wheels for a day. The next morning, we got an exclusive tour of the inner workings of RC Components. After seeing firsthand the inner workings, I know I wouldn’t think twice before throwing down my hard-earned green on anything the company makes. The factory tour meant our ride was had a delayed start, which got us to the Hoosier Casino and Racetrack later in the afternoon. Nonetheless, the sound of the ponies thumping in the background, the chance to lay it all on the tables, and the awesome turnout of bikes and people made for another great stop. Practically halfway through, my bike was running almost near flawlessly. It being a brand-new motor, I took the evening to do a little parking-lot maintenance with an AmsOil oil change under the setting sun. As we set off on the final day of riding, I couldn’t wait to take my bike back to its birthplace. By this time, I had truly bonded with my bike. I knew what it would and wouldn’t do, and I couldn’t wait to prove that custom bikes are made to be ridden. This day proved to be the most interesting route of the trip. About halfway through the day, the preprinted directions had us going straight through downtown Chicago. What looked like a short distance on paper was actually a long series of stoplights and potholes that put my newly assembled bike through its paces. When it survived this torture test of roads, I knew there was nothing this bike couldn’t handle. As we approached the final stop, the scenery vastly improved and miles ticked away. Once we were lakefront with the biggest turnout of the trip upon us, I grabbed a fistful of throttle that signaled that we had made it. Looking back, it truly was one of the best rides I had ever been on in my 18-plus years of riding. The best part is that I hadn’t made it alone. Along the way with each stop and gas fill-up, the group truly bonded and became friends. The Hot Bike Power Tour to me was everything I thought it would have been and so much more. It’s one thing to put words on paper of the love affair with riding, but it’s quite another to do it firsthand with hundreds of my now-closest friends. This trip proved to be a trip I will remember and talk (and write) about for the rest of my life. If you didn’t make it, you missed out. Don’t miss out again!
Jeff Holt Editor in Chief
When we first began to discuss the plan to have a Power Tour years ago, I was really excited to do so. Just think of it like this: I was given the reigns of something that had never been done before. Being able to design a motorcycle tour that covered some of the best American roads the country had to offer was one hell of a concept and one I relished being a part of. After many sit-downs and phone meetings to even make sure it was going to happen, it was green-lighted by the suits holding the company purse strings. Once it was truly a thumbs-up affair, we looked at every sort of highway and byway from coast to coast. We also contacted hundreds of compatible cities and bike-friendly towns, and once we filtered them down to a manageable number, we came up with the ultimate idea. Let’s start south, go north, and end up 30 miles from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the weekend of Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary party. Then all the hard work kicked off. Searching paper maps, GPS coordinates, and talking to as many Harley, Victory, and Indian dealerships for the best local rides to link together, we toiled for months over the perfect path we were going to take for this first-ever Power Tour. Once the course was set, we sent in a recon team to pre-run the course, and after working out a few kinks, we were ready to go. When we put the word out to our advertisers regarding the tour, it only took about 15 minutes for GEICO Motorcycle to be the title sponsor and for AmsOil to also come in as the official oil of the Power Tour with Pulstar, Dynojet, Superchips, Bell Helmets, and RC Components all coming in to aid us with their sponsorship time and dollars. After a year and a half of gabbing, planning, and promoting, I now stood in Little Rock, Arkansas, with a mic in my hand thanking a rather large group of riders for showing up on the first day of the first official Hot Bike Power Tour. That morning until the end of the day was a rather long and hot haul in the southern sun, but the 2014 Indian Chieftain I was riding handled it all without fail. Some of the scenery that initial day was just plain magnificent, and once we arrived at Bumpus H-D in Jackson, Tennessee, the bikes were parked and the beers flowed while the local bands played into the night. Some other highlights along the way were when I was thrown from a moving golf cart and practically ran over by it in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I also got to meet up with good friends Pat and Rex from Led Sled Customs at the Casino in Anderson, Indiana, and went to one of the strangest motel bars with them, and I finished up my final day of the tour by almost getting food poisoning from eating White Castle at a gas station in Illinois. Along the way I formed a very strong kinship with the Longriders and have talked to many of them weekly since the trip was over. Sure we bonded over bikes, but it was sharing our other life experiences and personal differences that made the connection so strong. When we all rolled up in Racine for the final day into a crowd of people, vendors, and a group of riders who now have something very special in common, it confirmed within my heart that we had made the right decision to have this tour and to ride the course we’d worked so hard to put together. For more info on 2014’s bigger and better Hot Bike Power Tour, check out hotbikeweb.com where we will be spilling the beans on what part of the country we will be hitting next! Hope to see y’all there.
The Ultimate Tow Rig Ford was kind enough to lend us a 2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Supercrew pickup to tow our support trailer around. We weren’t too sure that this mighty off-road truck would be the best towing vehicle, but boy were we wrong. The 5,600-mile trip was spent in the lap of luxury with the SVT Raptor’s climate-controlled heated and air-conditioned seats, MyFord Touch Sync-controlled GPS-enabled “infotainment” system that kept us on the right course as well as on all of our pod, pads, and phones, happily synced, charged, and kicking out our favorite jams the whole trip. All of the state-of-the-art creature comforts aside, the biggest deal about this truck was the SVT Raptor’s beefy 411 hp 6.2-liter engine and smooth-shifting six-speed tranny that made pulling our 8 x 18-foot trailer completely effortless. The truck’s amazing suspension with rebound damping kept the trailer sway at bay even over some serious Prius-sized potholes and freeway expansion joints at speeds well above the speed limit. Other standouts were the insanely bright HID headlights that cut through some of the loneliest of highways at night, the standard-equipment intuitive trailer brake, and front and rear cameras that show up on the 4.2-inch dash screen. Jeff G. says there is no other vehicle he would rather own. I am sure he’s at the local Ford dealer at this very moment trying to figure out how to trade his Dyna and Road Glide for one.