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Vintage Motorcycle Enthusiasts

Where Old is Beautiful!

Drive down 65th Avenue past Teddy's tavern any first Wednesday night of the month and you will be treated to an awesome display of motorcycles, usually more than 300. Park and learn more about one of the largest clubs in the Seattle area, The Vintage Motorcycle Enthusiasts.

The Vintage Motorcycle Enthusiasts has been operating Seattle since 1982 to encourage the restoration, preservation and usage of Vintage, Classic and Antique motorcycles . Membership is only $25 per year which will get you the semi-monthly periodical the club publishes that includes some great stories, tips and of course their schedule. You don't have to be a member to attend a meeting so do it and see if it doesn't strike your fancy. If it does we suggest you join since the club runs off memberships almost exclusively and there are some benefits to being a member that make it worthwhile..  

VME Ride Coordinator Dave FriebothRide Coordinator Dave Freiboth who took his post in 1998 has picked up the torch and been leading the riders all over the state. There are a variety of rides available from March to October. "VME's membership has a sport/cafe racer slant so the pace is usually quick. We're not squids but we like to get the most out or our mounts. We recognize, however, that everyone has different capabilities so we usually provide participants with a map and a route description so that everyone can ride at their own pace. The Pre 70s Ride and the Isle of Vashon TT are shorter rides that are more suited to older machinery where as the Hurricane Ridge, Mt Rainier and Cascades Loop ride are longer and more suited to reliable machinery. The Tacoma Ducks/VME campout is a chance to get the dirt bike out and the TT is, well, the greatest motorcycle event ever" says Freiboth.

The Cascades loop ride, occurring the first of October this year is the grand daddy ride of all. Riders spend the day heading east from Monroe to Winthrop and spending Saturday night at Winthrop inn. VME usually books out the whole place. Freiboth recommends electric clothing and raingear for the ride. Although the club has a vintage slant, it's recommended you take the more dependable bike in your collection due to the length of the ride.

A classic 47 BMW at a VME meetingBecause many riders live outside of the Seattle area, most rides have two pickup points, one in the city and later a second in an outlying town along the route. This way it's simpler for out -of- towners to meet up with the gang without backtracking.

VME is made up of all types of enthusiasts. From the GenXer on a Honda 550, to the professional on a Bimota, to the hobbit with the grange full of Nortons.

As for Freiboth's own collection, here his run down: "I got my first bike in 1973, a Yamaha 305 Scrambler that didn't last long. Went on to a cafe'd '72 Honda CB350K4 that I rode the stuffing out of. Bought my CBX new in 1978 and kept it due to the low resale value of those bike. Now, of course, their considered classics but I remember when Honda practically gave them away. Bought a CB500T rat bike in '89 and a '81 Yamaha IT175 dirt bike in '91. Picked up a cafe'd '79 Suzuki GS1000R in '96 and took the plunge into British bikes in '97 acquiring a restored '65 Matchless G15CSR. Currently the CBX is down awaiting some work, the Matchless is the show bike and the Suzuki is my daily rider. As I said, the CB500T is my rat bike. The Yamaha is a great play bike for the dirt. I recently picked up a Honda XR350 with the intention of passing on the IT to my 15 year old but I like the IT so much I passed the XR on instead."

Former PR guy Bill Farley once said to me "You don't have to have an old bike to be a member, just be an enthusiast about them." For those of you who aren't into the maintenance factor associated with an older bike, but enjoying being around them, this is a point well taken. Visit the VME website . 

TM/Aug99


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