In the spring of 2011 a thread was created on the stromtrooper.com forum asking V-Strom riders in the Northeast region if they wanted to join a camp and ride event. Veteran Connecticut rider Richard Weir, the organizer of the event, noticed that there were no events in this quite large portion of the country and set about to change that.
Thirteen enthusiasts, yours truly included, and all mostly strangers, met on a weekend in August of 2011 in the White River Valley Campground in Vermont (sadly the campground was later totally destroyed during 2012’s hurricane Irene and hasn’t recovered since). The event was a blast, combining an ADV blend of some of Vermont’s finest dirt trails and backcountry roads all in the Green Mountains. Camping together as a group led to fascinating talks deep into the night and eating and drinking around the bonfire, all while listening to the soothing sound of the nearby White River.
The group decided to repeat the event on an annual basis. All of us felt it was the highlight of the year.
Indeed, the 2012 NEVA (Northeast V-Strom Rally) took place on campgrounds in New Hampshire’s gorgeous White Mountains and included a ride up to Mt. Washington. The event had grown to 30 people. The 2013 NEVA was in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of New York, and drew 55 people. Riders from the entire Northeast region showed up – from Canada, down to Pennsylvania, and all the way to Maine. It had become a real club with returning members!
Yet, the whole event has kept its original attitude as a very friendly, community event. The rally is 100-percent free and with no commercialization, accepting anyone that has an adventurous mindset. We have had along the way riders on Beemers, Super Ténérés, and even Urals.
Every club needs a good name to describe it, and the name chosen was “Sons of Practicality” (pun intended, referencing the Sons of Anarchy TV show). After all, even though Suzuki V-Strom is a cheap and super reliable bike, let’s admit that it isn’t the most beautiful motorcycle made (an understatement for sure). If you have one, you most likely follow the practical ‘function-over-form’ principle. We even got shirts printed for everyone, though I’d think twice before I’d ride into Sturgis wearing one…
On the first weekend of August 2014, the same week as in previous years, the 2014 NEVA, and forth in a row, took place in North Adams, MA, in the Berkshires region. This time, the group decided to expand the rally to two days. There was a high chance of rainstorms, but this did not deter the hard-core campers arriving late Thursday night and setting up camp. Luckily, the weathermen’s models turned out to be completely wrong.
Day One, Friday, the group takes a clockwise 200-mile loop south, starting and ending in North Adams, MA, along Berkshire’s B–Roads with some occasional well graded dirt tracks. The endless winding roads were a perfect match for the V-Strom’s well-known cornering abilities. We finished the day in a pre-organized group dinner enjoying good food and each other’s companion.
Day Two, Saturday, was the actual rally day. The whole group rode together to the summit of nearby Mt. Greylock with a spectacular view of the valley below from 4,500 feet. It was a bit chilly and foggy, but that just added to the atmosphere.
The 45 riders then split into smaller groups, I was fortunate to lead the faster riders, but there were groups for those seeking to go slower. The first half of the day started by heading down the mountain and later entered some adventurous dirt trails followed by good quality backcountry roads. The route then followed a long dirt road along the Green River entering southern Vermont. After lunch in a local diner, the route took us back “home” to camp, on Vermont’s twisty and empty roads.
We ended the long day with a big BBQ party and bonfire at camp, with BYO meat and beer. What happens in camp stays in camp, but I will say that the party was very fun.
For 2015, the group has decided to expand the activities and have not one event, but three formal events: spring, summer, and fall (“Leaf Peep Show”). If you ride a V-Strom, you’re welcome, but other motorcycles are also fine. Just bring that ADV attitude with you!