Name: Dave Barber
Location: Sterling, VA
Hometown: Bloody Mingo, WV; more than a town, it's a state of mind!
Occupation: Communications, I'm a "people person". LOL!
Current motorcycle(s): Harley Davidson Road King '04, Suzuki VStrom 1000 '05
How did you hear about the SCRC and when did you join?
Around 1998/1999, a group of friends and I were riding around the Skyline Drive area. At a rest stop, Willie came up and told us about a chapter he was forming of the SCRC - which none of us ever heard of. He handed us an application and a card. A few of us filled it out and mailed it in later, but it was just a footnote at the time - as we had our own rides planned out for the full year. In 2003, I moved to Sterling, and seeing as how many of my friends had moved away or wondered off with other groups, I began looking for people to ride with. Doing a search, I found the Loudoun SCRC was close by - and was the very chapter I had originally signed up for. That’s a bit ironic actually. I sorta "rejoined" in 2003 by becoming and active member and participating in events. A nicer group of riders I never met.
How long have you been riding?
I rode dirt bikes off and on in my teens - purely light trail stuff. Due to financial constraints, I gave it up, and it wasn’t till 1997 that I got the bug to get back into motorcycles, but I wanted a proper road bike. I purchased a cruiser in 1998 and have been riding steady ever since.
Have you ever taken a motorcycle safety course?
Yes, in Arlington.
What was your first bike?
My first road bike was a 1998 Yamaha Vstar 650 Classic. I learned the rules of riding and the road on that bike, as well as developed skills to move up to bigger bikes.
How many bikes have you owned?
I've owned two dirt bikes and four road bikes.
Why do you ride?
I’m a bit of a horse person; I like the idea of exploring places while riding, not while sitting in a metal cocoon. I ride to feel the freedom and the rush of the road, and the wind on my face.
Have you ridden with an organized group before?
I use to ride with the Manassas Gold Wing club, and the ISRA. I’ve done a few parade rides here and there prior to SCRC - and of course with the SCRC.
What modifications have you done to your bike?
Both bikes are pretty well farkled up. I have all the necessary equipment to ride long distances on either bike. The Road King needed the most modifications. The seat and handlebars are the first things to replace, as well as a stage one upgrade on the stock 88ci engine. Last year, I had the engine bored out to 95ci, which made all of the difference in the world. Most of the modifications on the Road King were designed to slim down the bike, rather than beef it up.
What accessories do you want to add to your bike?
Maybe I might add a cup holder? I’ve got everything else I need already.
What is your dream bike?
The Road King and the Strom have been my dream bikes so far. I do have a strong desire to build (or design for a build) a stripped down bobber. I’d like it to be: a rigid with an Indian Larry air-bag seat; a reproduction knuckle-head engine; a tank shifter; spoke wheels with whitewalls; Springer or leaf-spring front end; trumpet exhaust. I have been looking at FlyRite Choppers and Sucker Punch Sally’s for inspiration. I just want to play with it, and tool around town on it!
What kind of riding do you like to do — straight-aways or twisties?
I definitely like to do the twisties most of all. I feel at home on mountain roads. Sometimes you have to get to good twisties with a long stretch of slab, so I require a bike that can do both equally well.
If you have a nickname, how did you get it? Tell the truth!
Drumbeater was a name I came into the SCRC with, it designated who I was mentally and spiritually. There was a time when I traveled the powwow circuit singing for Indian dancers. I don’t do too much of that anymore. I may get back into it later, when I have fewer commitments.
What is your favorite riding route?
Any route with a lot of good roads, scenery and good food makes me happy. I’m partial to the Smoke Hole region myself.
Do you ride your bike to work?
As often as I can, Yes!
What is the fastest you’ve ridden?
I’ve ridden to about 112 miles an hour, but for no more than a couple of minutes. Things sure get interesting at that speed. I’ve had my Harley up to about 100, but no more than that. I prefer to keep it under 90.
What is your favorite time of year to ride?
Fall, between September and October. I love the crispness of the air. The sun filtering through the reds/yellows of the turning leaves casts a completely different light during the day. The musty-sweet smell of decaying leaves brings back memories!
Have you ever been down? If so, how were you hurt and what did you learn from the incident?
I’ve only been down twice, once on a muddy road on my Vstar, and once last year in a gravel parking lot on my VStrom. Both times were a non-event, and there was no damage to the bike or me. It was one of those instances where you knew it was a bad spot to be in, and you picked the best line you could and tried to hold on, but it just didn’t work out. I have a healthy respect for the pain and suffering that going down causes, so I try to be extra careful. I’m certainly no role model though, as I don’t do All The Gear All The Time (ATGATT).
Have you ever done an "Iron Butt" ride?
I’ve never had the desire push myself to see how far I can go. Outside of racing, I don’t see motorcycles as some sort of sport like some others do. It’s not a contest of time, or miles, or speed with me. It’s about being where you are, and not just enjoying the ride, but enjoying all the other stuff along the way. I prefer to have no particular place to go, and all day to get there.
If not, what is the furthest you’ve ridden?
I’ve ridden about 470 miles in a day. On a 4 day weekend, I can easily rack up 1200 to 1600 miles.
What was the worst weather in which you’ve ridden?
Barring a few tropical storms, the worse was by far a simple, cold rain that lasted all day. My boots leaked, my gloves were soaked, and I was cold and shivering all over. This was about 1/3 of the way through a 6-hour ride. It was miserable. I did manage to make it home okay. I think it took nearly a month for me to warm up.
Do you know how to work on your bike?
I enjoy changing the fluids and doing minor adjustments on my bike. If I have something major go wrong, I’ll call a friend or two for troubleshooting advice - if it’s a problem that we can’t fix, I will definitely send it to a shop. I’ve seen minor repairs turn into major ones by inept attempts at fixing something that ought to not be done by amateurs.
What is your favorite road song?
I like Rockabilly or Psychobilly when I ride. If it’s got that roadhouse, bluesy sound, I’m into it on the road. The Reverend Horton Heat, Mojo Nixen, Jello Biaffra, Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, are a few of my favorites.
What was your most adventurous ride?
I don’t think I have one. I wouldn’t mind doing something down in South America - or maybe China sometime.
What rallies or events do you like to attend?
I’m not into rallies. I always liked the SCRC VA State Rally when it was in Danville and we could camp out. The venue has changed though, and I’m not sure I’ll be attending this year. Maybe someone will come up with another campground next year?
Off the cuff from...Drumbeater
Motorcycling is different for everybody. Some enjoy strictly going from point A to point B, while others add a few more letters to the alphabet along the way. It’s all good, and it’s all part of riding motorcycles. There are a wide variety of reasons for riding, and for not riding, just as there are a wide variety of bikes and styles out there; cruisers, standard, sport, touring, bar-hopping, American, Japanese, German, Italian. Whatever you choose to ride, carefully evaluate your style and pick the one that suits you best, and don’t let anyone tell you different.