|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
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).
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.
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
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
|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.