Reproduced with permission of Greg McQuide, the author, from 
The Robb Report
, May 1998

Note From NMT Owner Sean Reid: This article was written in late 1997 by a young Greg McQuide right at the start of a brilliant career in which he became a key moto-journalist for Motorcyclist.

In order to impress The Robb Report with an exciting article (his first feature for a national magazine), Greg embellished a bit about the riding pace on tour. He wanted an exciting opening and so he started this story out almost as if our tour was filled with would-be roadracers. The reality is that we were mostly middle aged singles and couples riding at a much more restrained pace than Greg imagines here (though Dan Gambini - whom Greg described below - was indeed an amateur road racer). I mention this lest the reader wonder if our tours are a New England version of the "Isle of Man". <G> They aren't. Greg and I had a bit of a running joke on tour because he himself would often take off at high speed to get ahead of the group so he could make pictures of us for his story. I was always encouraging him to get back to us safely with the rubber side of his bike still on the pavement.

In the 14 years that have passed since this article was written about our fall mountains tour, we've gained an even deeper knowledge of this region and its roads. But the overall quality of the tours (hotels, food, riding, etc.) has never changed.

When Greg first approached us about writing a story we were an almost unknown one-year old company and Greg was a virtually unknown writer. He wrote two feature articles about this tour and they, in essence, launched his career and brought international attention to Northeastern Motorcycle Tours. With this Robb Report feature in hand, Greg approached Mitch Boehm, long-time senior editor of Motorcyclist and the rest was history. Greg went on to quickly become a driving force at the magazine - injecting it with an energy that, Boehm later told me, infused everyone on the staff (himself very much included).

Greg was a wonderful, funny, modest, generous and ambitious human being. We all deeply enjoyed him. Greg died tragically in June of 2000 in a motorcycle accident near Asheville, North Carolina.  We miss him and will always appreciate the way his interest in our then young company helped to bring it out in front of the eyes of the world.

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The text of the original article:

The two-year-old company provides access to the best scenery in New England. All the routes, restaurants, and accommodations are carefully researched to ensure that riders can have unforgettable excursions. The pictures shown here were taken during the Fall Foliage No. 6 trip, which travels through Vermont and the Adirondacks in New York.

Sean Reid, the owner and operator of Northeastern Motorcycle Tours, looks a bit concerned as he puts on his helmet.  He's just let the tour group know about two of Vermont's great motorcycling secrets: Route 100, a road that twists up the spine of the Green Mountain National Forest, and Vermont's Burden of Caution Law, which states in part that it is not illegal to pass on a solid double yellow line if traffic and visibility allow. He knows that this particular combination will most likely send his clients into a riding frenzy. "Be careful," he warns us as we scatter to mount our bikes. 

He keeps talking, but to be honest, it's hard to hear him over the symphony of a dozen motorcycles igniting at once. My BMW twin follows three new Harley Road Kings out of the country store-cum-gas station parking lot, and I flash Reid a thumbs-up as I slam my visor shut and whack the throttle. As I blow by the massive hogs to set up for yet another stretch of perfect 90-mph sweepers, I glimpse the perma-grins etched onto the riders' faces, and I doubt that things could get much better. But then I remember that it's only day two of our weeklong tour, and that the best riding and luxury lodging lies in the miles beyond the next hairpin turn. Cops be damned. We're on vacation, bubba. Full speed ahead.

Reckless? Perhaps. Touring nirvana? Absolutely. One of NMT's mottoes is "Gourmet food, gourmet lodging, gourmet riding," and Reid and his company deliver on all three. At just under 2 years old, Northeastern Motorcycle Tours is a relatively young player in the organized motorcycle tour business, but Reid has upped the ante on any competition by providing a combination of luxury New England accommodations and painstakingly researched tour routes. Throw a high level of organization into the mix, and you've got a bike tour that will meet the needs of virtually any clientele, from grizzled touring veterans to husband-and-wife weekend cruiser teams. 

My tour, Fall Foliage No. 6, which took us into Vermont and the Adirondack Mountains of New York, is only one of a half-dozen trips that Northeastern Motorcycle Tours offers: Riders can experience everything from a five-day Maine Maritime Tour to a 14-day Best of New England Tour. If it's between Nova Scotia and the Adirondacks, NMT has got it covered.

NMT offers some of the finest motorcycling in the country because New England's terrain is so varied. "I saw an opportunity to utilize an area of the United States that seems to have been created specifically for motorcycle touring," says Reid. "New England and the Adirondacks have it all--high mountain passes, rugged coastline, rolling farmland--all within a day's ride of each other."

He's not kidding. Within a 24-hour span I pilot my Beemer through covered bridges in dense forest, navigate hairpins up the back side of Whiteface Mountain, and white-knuckle my handlebars on a rolling ferry ride across Lake Champlain. In five days of riding, my bike racks up almost 1,000 miles, and I discover parts of New England that I didn't know existed. Incredible. But if you'd rather stray from the well-marked routes on the supplied maps, don't worry: Exploring on your own is also encouraged. Just be sure to show up for dinner at night or else Reid gets very nervous.

Because Reid claims that he's "in the touring business, not the motorcycle rental business," the cost of a Northeastern Motorcycle Tour includes everything but a bike. You either show up on your own ride or contact one of the three "fly-and-ride" companies that Reid works with and rent a cycle for the duration of the trip. If you choose the latter, Reid will help you with all the arrangements. All that's left to do is to fly into one of the three cities that are less than a day's ride from the Northeastern Motorcycle Tours home base in Vermont, pick up your bike, and motor away. Reid has made sure that the available rides do justice to his gourmet philosophy: Bikes range from Harley-Davidson Road Kings to BMW R850Rs to Honda Gold Wings. My advice? Leave your normal ride at home and get on something new and different.

During my trip, John and Barbara McFadyen, who ride a standard-style Kawasaki Zephyr at home in the United Kingdom's Shetland Islands, finally fulfilled their dream of riding a Harley on American roads. And Californian engineering technician/motorcycle road racer Dan Gambini had a blast stuffing his rented 6-cylinder, 1,000-pound touring behemoth Gold Wing into turns at velocities that made my Beemer look like an old Schwinn 10-speed. "Always wondered what one of these was like," Gambini yelled to me over the blast of the Wing's stereo. "Not bad." Not bad, indeed.

After such shenanigans, it's comforting to know that the accommodations that await you are as perfect as the roads and places you've explored throughout the day. NMT's clients stay in a different luxury inn or hotel each night of the tour. Thanks to the chase van that carries everyone's luggage, moving in at the end of the day is a snap. I got off my bike each evening to find that my bags had already been carried up to my room.

Reid does his best to select lodgings that capture the feel of traditional New England, and our rooms and meals were of first-rate, five-star quality; most amenities (excluding liquor) are included in the cost of the tour. I especially enjoyed our inn Lake Placid, N.Y., with its extensive dinner menu and wine list, spa, lakeside rooms, and a staff who, had I let them, would have valet-parked my bike.

Since the tours are small in size--Reid caps each group at 15--there's plenty of time to get to know everyone. Our group--with origins ranging from Baltimore to Vienna--became fast friends, often lingering around the dinner table or sitting room well into the evening, sipping coffee and port and anticipating the next day's ride. Motorcycling is, indeed, a universal language.

Gourmet food, gourmet lodging, gourmet riding. Reid has scored a hit with Northeastern Motorcycle Tours. Judging from the way his tours are already booking for the upcoming season, it looks as if plenty of other riders will experience the best that New England has to offer. 

Reid claims that over 80 percent of his clients plan to return for another tour within the next year. And me? Hey, I had the time of my life, and I didn't see a cop the entire trip. You bet I'll be back. Besides, Gambini's still got to teach me how to wheelie the Road King. 

Article copyright 1997-1998 Robb Report Inc.

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