Barrel Bikes

You may have wondered while traveling the website, why there is a "winged wheel" in the lower left of the Barrel Crest?  The Barrel Brothers have been motorcyclist starting in the late 60's!  We were avid riders for most of the 70's and 80's, until we all started raising families and decided to put the sport aside for awhile.  In 2002 Brother Al had a vision, usually it's a cold Schlitz, but this time it was to rekindle his motorcycle fever laying dormant over the years.  He went and with a little persuasion talked Riko into joining his journey back on 2 wheels. It's hard to believe how time has passed, but the image below is of Al on his Kawasaki W650 and Riko on his Suzuki GS850G their re-entry rides back in 2002!  What started out as fun way to enjoy some nice weekend rides, turned into weeklong, 1,000+ mile tours of great roads & places all over the mid-west & the south.

The Saga continues: Longer Trips.... Larger Bikes

With our new desire to cover longer distances in comfort (no only for us but our wives too) more serious touring machines were needed to cover the longer distances.  Al's first move was to a 1982 Honda Silver Wing, which had better seating for his wife Bonnie and storage trunks for gear.  Oh, Al's Kawasaki 650 went to his son Aaron who himself is an avid motorcyclist and rides everywhere with his wife Sarah.  As time passed even the Silver Wing at 500cc seemed a little small on long travel days.  Al & Bonnie are both over 6 ft tall and need extra room to stretch out on those 300-400 mile days in the saddle.  So Al moved up to the "Gold" standard in motorcycle touring machines, a 1996 Honda Gold Wing.  Bonnie now relaxes in the very comfortable passenger throne, while Al listens to "classic rock" on the "Wing's" stereo system, melting away the miles in the lap of motorcycle luxury.

Riko and his wife Diane approached the equipment upgrade a little differently.  Diane was an accomplished motorcyclist herself back in the 70's riding her Honda 360 everywhere, even the Blue Ridge Mountains (check out the 78-79 Blue Ridge trip link in Past Barrel Bikes). So once the touring started in earnest, she wanted to return to piloting her own machine.  Her first mount was a 1982 Suzuki GS450T, which was great for letting her get used to riding again, allowed her to get her motorcycle license, and worked fine for shorter trips.  But once the "Return to the Blue Ridge" trip was planned, it was obvious she'd need a larger, more comfortable mount to cover the longer distances.  In the spring of 2004, Riko found a 2001 Triumph Legend TT for Diane.  This 900cc triple is unique for it's low seat height of 27.5 inches (Diane is only 5'4") and standard controls (not forward facing like most bikes with a low seat height), while not looking like every other cruiser on the road.  She loves her Triumph and it's a perfect choice for those who like the classic motorcycle look and are inseam challenged.  Riko used his Suzuki 850 for all trips until 2005 when he purchased a 1996 Triumph Adventurer (he still uses the 850 for commuting to work) for touring duties.  He had admired the Legend's handling, and great looks (Diane's bike always drew admirers at gas stops & alike), so when he found the Adventurer in mint condition with saddle bags and all the extra chrome bits added on, it was a done deal.

Below are "rollover" images.  Mouse over the pictures below to see them change from our initial rides to current mounts.

Remembering the past while riding into the new millennium...

Below there are two portals to the past & current history of Barrel Motorcycling. The below link, Past Barrel Bikes, commemorates in photos some of the wonderful motorcycles and memorable journeys we took before 1980.  It features memorable pictures of many friends: Kutsy (John), Ron Pisha, Ralph Petrek, Len Jankowski, Michael & Richard Peceniak and may more that rode along with us as part of the Barrel Brothers. A special link inside Past Barrel Bikes will take you to "Blue Ridge Mountain Magic" that has two pictorial collages from Riko & Diane's  consecutive year trips to the Blue Ridge in '78 & '79.  See these first before you visit "Return to the Blue Ridge" in the "2000 & Beyond" area, where Riko & Diane return 25 years later to travel many of the same roads and stay at the same rustic lodges they did back then.

The other portal takes you to "2000 and Beyond". This link will send you to our continuously evolving travelogues of current adventures we've taken since our return to motorcycling in 2002. Not only will you find a summary of each journey, but a photo slideshow of great images: beautiful scenery, twisty roads, good food and of course great times. Many travelogues (2003 and beyond) will include links in the text to hotels, restaurants, and things to see that we enjoyed while on our journeys and recommend.  When possible, maps of our traveled route will also be linked in the travelogue.  These routes used as reference, many excellent internet sites dedicated to finding and listing the best roads for motorcyclists to ride (curves & scenery) in the areas we traveled.  We hope that besides enjoy our travelogues, they can be a resource to other bikers who are looking for some trip ideas & related info in the mid-west.  Our departure point for these adventures is Channahon, IL. just off of US Route 6, about 45 miles southwest of Chicago.  So please, browse around and check out all the many adventures, past & present the Barrel gang have enjoyed on two wheels.