Join Us On May 2013 Kickstart Classic Motorcycle Ride & Riding Into History

First off, we’d like to thank Spectro Oils and GEICO for sponsoring the Kickstart Classic May 2013 event, which is now in its third year. This ride is from Charleston, SC to St. Augustine, FL. Secondly, we’d like to remind everyone that this event is open to all make, models and years of motorcycle. Stock or custom, classic or chopper. Motorcycles with kickers ride up front and electric start only motorcycles ride in the back to pick up any parts that fall off the old ones up front.

All riders and passengers need to register for the is ride ($100 per rider or passenger gets an event t-shirt, event stickers, free meals, special hotel discounts and event support), and we are limited attendance to the first 100 to register. Registration is free to all Motorcycle Cannonball riders (but they still need to register) who ride his or her actual Cannonball bike (2010 or 2012).

Click here for the registration form.

If you’d like to meet up with our group but can’t join us for the entire ride, here is a listing of our planned stops:

Tuesday, May 14. Welcome Reception and Open House at Low Country Harley-Davidson in Charleston, SC.

Wednesday, May 15. Leave from Charleston and ride to Savannah Harley-Davidson in Savannah, GA for lunch and an Open House. Then ride to Golden Isles Harley-Davidson in Brusnwick, GA for a dinner reception and Open House.

Thursday, May 16. Leave from Brunswick, GA and ride to Adamec Harley-Davidson @ Regency in Jacksonville, FL for lunch and an Open House. Then ride to St. Augustine, FL in time to enjoy the Riding Into History events over the next couple of days.

The Kickstart Classic will be lead by Buzz Kanter of American Iron Magazine, and Dale Walksler of Wheels Through Time. Dale and Buzz are also the Grand Marshals of this year’s Riding Into History.

Kickstart Classic Motorcycle Ride Adds Spectro Oils and GEICO Insurance As Sponsors

This is the first year Spectro Oils signed up as title sponsor of the Kickstart Classic, this two-day event, and GEICO Insurance is the presenting sponsor. Other support comes from American Iron Magazine, RoadBike, and Wrench, Ride, Repeat is the official supplier of event apparel.

Kickstart Classic Ride 2011

The Kickstart Classic two-day motorcycle ride is open to riders of all makes and models of motorcycles. $100 registration per person is limited to 100 motorcycles and includes event T-shirt, stickers, discount hotel rooms, free food and planned festivities. Motorcycle Cannonball riders are invited to join us free if they are riding an actual Cannonball bike (2010 or 2012) on the Kickstart Classic.

Dale Walksler will ride the Kickstart Classic on his 1915 Motorcycle Cannonball Harley

This ride will be lead by Dale Walksler of Wheels Through Time and Buzz Kanter of American Iron Magazine. Both men are planning on riding their Motorcycle Cannonball motorcycles on this ride. Dale on his 1915 Harley and Buzz on his 1929 Harley.

Everyone has fun on the Kickstart Classic

The next Kickstart Classic is scheduled to depart from Charleston, SC on May 15, 2013 and roll through Georgia and into Florida to end at St. Augustine, FL on May 16.

Planned stops (we welcome you to meet us if you can) are as follows:

Reception & Dinner May 14, 2013: Low Country Harley-Davidson in Charleston, SC.

Depart 9:30 am May 15: Low Country Harley-Davidson, Charleston, SC.

Reception & Lunch 12:30 pm May 15: Savannah Harley-Davidson, Savannah, GA.

Reception & Dinner 4:00 pm May 15: Golden Isle Harley-Davidson, Brunswick, GA.

Depart 9:30 am May 16: Golden Isles Harley-Davidson, Brunswick, GA.

Reception & Lunch 12:30 pm May 16: Adamec Harley-Davidson @ Regency in Jacksonville, FL.

End of Ride, 3:00 pm May 16:  in St. Augustine, FL – the Riding Into History event starts the next day and all Kickstart Classic riders are invited to attend and display our motorcycles. Especially all Motorcycle Cannonball riders in a special display area.

To register please call Rosemary at 203.425.8777 x 114 or email her at

Event T-shirts from previous Kickstart Classic rides are available in limited supplies at

2012 Motorcycle Kickstart Classic and Denton AMCA Meet

2012-Kickstart-Classic-92012-Kickstart-Classic-15The weather forecasts were pretty dire, especially as I was planning on riding my 1949 Harley bobber with no front fender in the predicted heavy rains. Just before the start of our 2012 Motorcycle Kickstart Classic ride, most of North Carolina had been thoroughly saturated with six consecutive days of heavy rain and occasional thunder and hail, not exactly what a motorcycle ride planner looks forward to.

This would be only our second Motorcycle Kickstart Classic. The first, in October 2011, was a two-day, 350-mile ride from Wheels Through Time (WTT) in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, to the Barber museum outside Birmingham, Alabama. We overnighted at Panhead City in Rome, Georgia, which was a great experience for everybody. We had a great turnout of classic bikes and talented riders. Everyone seemed to like the two-day format, so we did something similar for 2012. Again, we started at WTT, but this time we overnighted at Crossroads Harley-Davidson in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, and ended at the Denton, North Carolina, AMCA swap meet the next day. We rode over some of the most amazing, motorcycle-friendly roads through stunning countryside the entire way. We even had a police escort (planned in advance) to Crossroads Harley after a full day of riding up the Blue Ridge Parkway.

One of the riders, having followed my exploits on the Motorcycle Cannonball cross-country ride, described the Motorcycle Kickstart Classic as “a working man’s Motorcycle Cannonball.” After riding with all these great old bikes and hanging out with the riders on this two-day ride, I have to agree with him.

2012-Kickstart-Classic-172012-Kickstart-Classic-11We had some pretty interesting people and machines along for this ride. Pete Hill, a world-class drag racer, rode his dual-carb Knucklehead bobber. At 80 years old, he was the oldest rider, but was on what was probably the fastest bike. When chatting with Pete at the opening ceremony, I asked him what the fastest he’d ever ridden a Knucklehead was. He replied that it was 190 mph. One of the guys in the crowd asked if he did that at Bonneville. Pete smiled and replied, “No, I did this in the standing quarter mile at the drag strip.” His best quarter mile was 190 mph in a hair over seven seconds on a top-fuel Knucklehead.

Other interesting riders and bikes include Dale Walksler and his son Matt, both on hot-rod Harley flathead 80″ bobbers. Mike “Kiwi” Tomas rode his US Coast Guard-themed Indian Chief all the way from outside Los Angeles for our ride — and then went on to Washington DC for the Rolling Thunder event. I rode my 1949 dual-carb Panhead bobber that I built more than a decade ago, but seldom ride. And, of course, no one will likely ever forget Bert Baker, his wild antics, or his beautiful custom Panhead. You’ll have to ask someone who was there for details — mention a hot dog. There was a great assortment of machines — classic and custom, Harley Panheads and Knuckleheads, a few flatheads and Shovels, a handful of Indian Chiefs, and six or seven old import motorcycles, too.

Many spent the day before the ride fine-tuning bikes, as well as exploring the amazing WTT museum and great riding roads in the Maggie Valley/Cherokee area. I wanted to check the clutch and brakes on my Panhead so, along with Paul Ousey on his hot-rod Knucklehead bobber, “Boston” Larry on his 1949 Panhead, and “Doc” McCormick on an old BMW, we rode up and over the mountain to have lunch at a local barbeque joint in Cherokee. Back at the museum, we watched as bikes continuously pulled in all afternoon. Our buddy Steve from the Holiday Diner manned the grill and ensured that all the hungry bikers were well-fed.

2012-Kickstart-Classic-82012-Kickstart-Classic-7Thursday morning, we gathered for a group photo, then at 10 am sharp, about 60 motor­cycles, mostly older ones with kickstarters, rolled out of the WTT parking lot with Matt and Dale Walksler in the lead on their bobbers. We rode out of Maggie Valley and onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, which we followed for about 200 miles up and into the mountains of western North Carolina. If you have not ridden this route, I highly recommend it. But you need to keep your wits about you and stay focused; the roads are not only twisty, but built into the side of a mountain range with a steep drop off on the outside.

All in all, I have to compliment the riders, who obviously have some pretty impressive riding skills to carry so much speed through such twisty roads on these old drum-brake bikes. An hour or so out from Wilkesboro, we met up with a welcome party from the Wilkesboro HOG chapter who were pretty blown away by our machines. Within a half hour of Crossroads Harley-Davidson in Wilkesboro, we were met by a preplanned police escort. It was fun riding behind the police car with flashing lights, but we had to ride hard to keep up to his pace well over the speed limit.

With our bikes parked for the night, the party moved to the hotel parking lot where we kicked tires, swapped stories, drank some beer, and did some fine-tuning on the bikes for the next day.

Leaving from Crossroads Harley-Davidson Friday morning, we had a shorter 150-mile ride to the Denton AMCA National meet. About 10 miles out, we met up with one of the Denton show managers who led us in to the wonderful fairground through the back door. Apparently, they had announced we were coming over the PA system, so by the time our group rolled in for a lap of the fairgrounds, there were hundreds of people lined up with still and video cameras as we rolled by, having covered more than 350 miles in the last two days to get there.

2012-Kickstart-Classic-142012-Kickstart-Classic-4My hat is off to the people who put on the Denton show — first class facilities, lots of room, and genuine Southern hospitality everywhere. On Saturday, the show puts on a rolling show of as many classic motorcycles as possible. Dale was handed the microphone (always a fun thing to do) and lined up as many as a hundred old bikes. Each one in turn fired up and rolled to the announcer stand where Dale shared some info on the particular bike, and let the thousands of people there see and hear these wonderful old bikes run.

After the parade, the AMCA offered field events, where I was surprised only a handful of people entered. I figured why not, and gave it a shot myself on an old Harley flathead. I wasn’t last in all the events, but pretty close to it. I had lots of fun making public my lack of talent, and was blown away by some of the skills out there. Matt and Dale, on the other hand, were so good I am convinced they practice these skills frequently. That night, I had the honor of being the guest speaker at the banquet. We handed out free copies of American Iron Magazine and I invited fellow Motorcycle Cannonball riders Paul Ousey and Jim Petty to share some of their experiences and answer questions about what it was like to ride pre-1916 motorcycles across the US two years ago.

2012-Kickstart-Classic-16Thanks to BAKER Drivetrain for sponsoring this event, as well as to the people at Wheels Through Time, Crossroads Harley-Davidson, and the AMCA members at the Denton Southern National. This ride would not have been as great as it was without all of you!

In response to those who ask what’s next, we haven’t yet made plans, but there will be at least one Motorcycle Kickstart Classic in 2013. You can stay updated on the American Iron Magazine web site at and/or our Classic American Iron site at AIM


CLICK HERE to register for the 2013 Kickstart Classic, May 15 – 16
The Spring 2013 Motorcycle Kickstart Classic is a 2-day event on public roads open to riders
of all makes and years of motorcycles. It starts in Charleston, SC May 15, and ends in
St. Augustine, FL May 16.

For official Kickstart Classic t-shirts visit

So Many Rides, So Little Time

The winter of 2010-11 was too much for any rider to deal with considering all that snow we had. This winter was quite the opposite in most parts of the US and Canada.  If you have not yet done your first ride safety check, I hope you can soon. At the very least, check the condition of your tires, set the proper air pressure, and inspect your brakes and lights. You should check or change the oil in your engine and transmission. A bit of preventative maintenance goes a long way toward a fun and safe riding season.

We here at the magazine have a few rides planned in the next couple of months and hope you can join us. The first is our Motorcycle Kickstart Classic on May 17 and 18. This is open to the first 100 riders to register and might be sold out by the time you read this. Call Rosemary at 203/425-8777, ext. 114 for details. If you don’t have a kicker or just want to meet up with us, we leave from Wheels Through Time in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, the morning of May 17 and arrive at Cross Roads Harley-Davidson of Wilkesboro, North Carolina, late that afternoon. It will have an open house and bike show for the general public. The next day, we ride to the AMCA Southern Meet in Denton, North Carolina, and will be there for a few days.
A week later, we move north to join thousands of other Harley riders near Washington, DC, for the annual Rolling Thunder event on May 27. Details are still being worked out, but several motorcycle magazines, including American Iron Magazine, will be involved in a special salute to our military services.

The following month, we’ll hit the road for America’s heartland and the annual J&P Cycles Open House in Anamosa, Iowa. This is one of the biggest and best motorcycle events in the heartland states with tens of thousands of motorcyclists joining the fun. On Saturday, June 23, our three magazines (American Iron Magazine, Motorcycle Bagger, and RoadBike) are sponsoring the three custom bike shows (American, bagger, and import), and we will have photo­graphers on hand to shoot bikes for features in our magazines. On Sunday, American Iron Magazine is sponsoring the classic motorcycle show. Our photographers will still be on hand there, too. While in Anamosa, be sure to check out the amazing National Motorcycle Museum just down the road from J&P Cycles. It is a world-class
museum well worth a visit.

American Iron Magazine
As I travel around, I meet a lot of our readers and try to ask as many of them  as possible how we can improve this magazine. No matter what we do here, there is always room for improvement. And who would know better how to improve a magazine than our readers? So please consider this me asking you for ideas on how to make American Iron Magazine better. We really do want to hear from you.

One way to freshen up the magazine is this new design for our editorial columns. I felt the old look was getting a bit stale, so our art directors created a new look and feel. Not a big deal, but we hope you agree it’s an improvement.

Another change, starting with this issue, is a new feature called Object of My Desire. Every issue, we will share something motorcycle-related that a staffer or freelancer desires and why. Because of what we do for a living, we get to see and try a lot of products and services most enthusiasts might not be aware of. This new section allows us to tell you what we like for our own use and why. I’m starting it off with a wonderful seat from Heather’s Leathers, a small American manufacturer you might not have heard about.

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.

Buzz Kanter
American Iron Magazine

The 2011 Motorcycle Kickstart Classic

Join American Iron Magazine and our colleagues at RoadBike for the inaugural Kickstart Classic, a two-day, 293-mile tour from the Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina to the Barber Vintage Festival at the Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Alabama. Sound simple enough? Well, here’s the kicker: all the lead motorcycles must have a functioning kickstarter, and that’s the only starter to be used for the duration of the tour. All makes, models, and years of bikes are welcome — but those that use electric starters will be relegated (not regulated) to the back of the pack.

The party starts with an all-day open house at Wheels Through Time on Wednesday, October 5. At 10 am the next day we ride to Rome, Georgia for a visit to Panhead City, the famous vintage Harley emporium. We’ll get to Barber Motorsports Park by lunchtime on Friday October 7 — just in time for the start of the 7th Annual Barber Vintage Festival. Word has it we may also get to do a lap on the track!

Stay tuned to for more details!

Kickstart Classic Harley Motorcycle Magazine Ride

We at American Iron Harley Magazine are teaming up with RoadBike motorcycle cruising magazine and the folks at Wheels Through Time, Panhead City and Barber Motorsports to put on the 1st Kickstart Classic motorcycle ride in October and you are invited.

The event is free and open to all riders of motorcycles (American and import) with a kickstarter. If your bike does not have a kickstarter you have to ride in the back.

Gathering at Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC Wednesday, Oct 6. Then we leave at 10 am on Thursday Oct 6 and ride over the mountains to Rome, GA where we will be hosted by the guys at Panhead City that afternoon and evening. We leave Rome, GA Friday morning around 10 am and ride to Barber Motorsports outside Birmingham, AL. Barber is hosting their annual Vintage Fesitval that weekend and we have been offered special parking an possibly an honorary lap of the famed racetrack. Should be fun.

There is no charge for this event and we suggest you make your plans and hotel reservations soon as they rooms might sell out.

Not sure what I will be riding, but whatever I end up on will be something fun. Hope to see you there.

Buzz Kanter