Gary Honnert loves to ride his scooters, putting around 10,000 miles a year on the three machines. So what better way to kick off the riding season than put another 1,000 miles on it, circumnavigating Ohio?
“I’ve wanted to ride around the perimeter of Ohio, on backs roads, for a while, so this year I started making the plans. I fully retired from Sinclair Community College two years ago so I have the time,” Honnert explained. “I mentioned it at our club meeting, The Gem City Rollers, hoping maybe a few would join me, and turns out there were seven others who wanted to go, too!”
The ride started on May 30 in Clayton and ended in Lebanon on June 2, which just happened to be Honnert’s 65th birthday. The eight rode clockwise around Ohio, primarily using Route 49 to the west; Routes 2, 6 and 20 along Lake Erie; Routes 7 and 26 through the Wayne National Forest to the east; and Routes 7 & 52 along the Ohio River to the south. They had overnight stops in Perrysburg, Geneva and Marietta.
“We rode about 250 miles each day, spending between seven to nine hours on the road,” Honnert said. “While I came up with the original route, Carl Frazee tweaked the route and was the ride leader and navigator. Carl is very detailed oriented; he had a GPS mounted on his scooter, plus he provided laminated, turn-by-turn directions for each rider everyday,” Honnert added. “Carl rode the lead and we also had a chase car with a trailer. The agreement was if there was a breakdown and we couldn’t fix it in 15 minutes, we’d load it on the trailer and fix it overnight.
“Luckily, the only breakdown was a loose muffler bracket and we fixed that in a parking lot.”
Honnert said that a couple of times, when riders got tired, they’d load their scooter on the trailer and ride in the chase car for a while. Jim Stoffregren of Scooter Source loaned the group the trailer.
Four riders were on scooters with engines from 200 to 330 cc’s, while four others rode maxi scooters ranging from 400-600 cc’s.
The definition of a scooter is a two-wheeled vehicle with a pass-through frame and the engine is mounted under the seat to the rear of the scooter.
The riders, who ranged in age from 39 to 78, were: David Bailey of Kettering, on a Honda Silverwing; Carl Frazee, ride leader and navigator, of Springboro, on a Vespa GTS 250; Gary Honnert, ride manager, of Dayton, on a Piaggio BV 350; Michael D. Johns of Apex, N.C. (formerly of Enon), on a Honda Silverwing; Bernie Lamers, the oldest rider, of Morrow, on a Honda Reflex; Mark Radlinski of Oxford, on a Vespa GT 200; Samantha Verner, the youngest rider, of Kettering, on a Suzuki Burgman 400; and Bill Whitten of Troy, on a Suzuki Burgman 400.
“We were prepared for everything: coolers in the chase car, rain gear, you name it, and it turned out we had four perfect days – cool in the morning and never really hot,” Honnert said. “Our only tense moments came when an aggressive motorist in Cleveland cut into our formation, and we encountered a couple of deer and one angry dog. It was a great ride!”
To learn more, go to Facebook and search Gem City Rollers Scooter Club.
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