Name: Steve Backof
Marital Status: Married
Location: Leesburg, VA
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Children: None. All three of my kids are now adults.
Age: Fast approaching a hundred.
Occupation: Program Manger
Current motorcycle(s): I currently own a 2001 Road King and a 2011 Electra Glide Limited.
How did you hear about the SCRC and when did you join?
I joined the Loudoun SCRC in the summer of 2001. I found the club by searching the internet and found they met at Johnson's Steak House in Leesburg. So my wife, Sharon, and I took a ride to meet everyone. The group was small in those days, maybe a dozen or so members. Willi was the First Officer and warmly welcomed us into the chapter. Riff (Jim Steel) was second officer. Mrs. Willi (Michele) was an active member of the club as well. That year was also the first year that we hosted the Holiday Party (it used to be the week before Christmas). We were saddened this year to not be hosting the Holiday Party.
Most of our meetings in those days were at Mighty Mikes in Sterling. Club officers were picked by Willi - he would give you a high-five to let you know you were now part of the leadership. No formalities in those days. And no new member orientation.
Willi was the one that started the Annual Rolling Thunder activities that has now become a Loudoun SCRC tradition. He showed up with his "milk wagon" - a trailer that he pulled behind his bike that had a keg of beer in it. It was called a milk wagon because of the figurine of a topless girl on the keg handle. Oh, and he had a few partially clad gals painted on his bike as well. The kids in our neighborhood liked that when we started hosting the annual Wash and Shine.
In those days, we blocked all intersections on all rides. None of this fancy CB radio stuff, but the folks that rode regularly with us knew the drill: the front road captains would block, everyone would pass and immediately fall into single line so the blockers could return to the front. This would repeat intersection after intersection and it was quite amazing to witness, much less be part of. Pre-rides would consist of planning the intersection blocks. On rides to DC, Willi would even stop transit buses and 18-wheelers. I'm glad we're all around to talk about this.
How long have you been riding?
40 years or so. I did take a hiatus for about 20 years in the middle.
Have you ever taken a motorcycle safety course?
Yes, I took the MSF Advanced in 2004. That reminds me, I can get a gift card from Harley if I send them a copy of the MSF certificate. I wonder if it's too late.
What was your first bike?
Probably a trike of some sort. The first one I remember was a Western Flyer from Western Auto. A few years later I upgraded to a Schwinn. Nice bike and my friends were envious. But it was still missing something. The baseball card flickering on the front spokes just wasn't doing it for me any more. So in the early 1970s My friend, Don Lewis and I picked up a pair of Honda CB360s. In those days no one took riding classes so Don and I taught ourselves.
After a couple of months riding we thought it was time to take the test and get "legal". There was a rule in Maryland, you had to ride along with a licensed rider. So when it came time to take my test the instructor asked who I rode down with and I pointed over to my friend, Don, who was sitting on his bike with helmet in hand. Don waved back at us (he didn't really know why we were waving to him), so the instructor said "let's go" and I proceeded to take the test.
After passing the test I went inside to get my license. By this time, it was my friend's turn to take the test. As luck would have it, Don got the same instructor that I had. Don and the instructor looked at me and as I waved back, the instructor quickly realized that he had been hoodwinked. But now I was a licensed rider so there wasn't much he could do.
My friend Don passed away a few years ago, but every time I saw him we would laugh about that special day.
How many bikes have you owned?
Three, not counting the Western Flyer and Schwinn.
Why do you ride?
I find it to be great relaxation, a way to make great friends, and enjoy the time with my wife (she enjoys riding as much as I do). Besides, itís the most fun you can have with your pants on.
Have you ridden with an organized group before?
SCRC was my first exposure to group riding.
What modifications have you done to your bike?
All bling, no internal or performance mods.
What accessories do you want to add to your bike?
Only thing I can think of is a lot more miles.
What is your dream bike?
I think my Electra Glide is about as close to a dream bike as I could ever hope to have.
What kind of riding do you like to do — straight-aways or twisties?
It's all good. I prefer to mix it up with a little of each.
If you have a nickname, how did you get it? Tell the truth!
When I first joined the group, the ride leaders were not as timely as me. I am very anal about time. Kickstands up at 10:00 means kickstands up at 10:00. Not put your kickstand back in your pants so you can light a cigarette and decide when a good departure time is. So at KSU time, I would hop on my bike and start it up, prompting everyone else to do the same. I think the atomic clock folks were resetting their time based on me starting the bike at KSU time.
My wife, over the years has tempered my "timeliness", she's usually a minute or two late, thus her moniker is "Ish". Ten-ish, or 5:30-ish.
What is your favorite riding route?
Don't know that I have a single favorite route. I've ridden a ton of great rides during the dozen years that I've been with the club, plus a lot of self-guided tours that Ish and I had done.
Do you ride your bike to work?
Sometimes, not often.
What is the fastest you’ve ridden?
Over a hundred, but not very often.
What is your favorite time of year to ride?
Whenever it's warm. Cold weather riding no longer interests me. I especially like the spring and fall.
Have you ever been down? If so, how were you hurt and what did you learn from the incident?
A couple of times. Once on route 7 from skidding across a diesel fuel slick. And one time I bounced on I-95 in Delaware (my wife was in front of me, pulling a camper, and witnessed the entire thing). What it has taught me: It can happen to anyone at anytime. On the I-95 bounce, my biggest fear were the idiots that we screaming past me in the adjacent lanes. I scraped my arms up pretty bad and my legs were spread 180 degrees when I landed so I walked around like a 2-dollar hooker for about a week. I was able to get back on the bike, straighten the handlebars out and proceed to our vacation in New Jersey. The sun was killing my road rash, so I reached in my saddle bag and pulled out a can of spray-on sun block. A word of advice, never spray that crap on road rash - it burns. For a long time. Fortunately, I healed, I was able to push my legs back together, and the rest of the vacation was a lot of fun.
Have you ever done an "Iron Butt" ride?
No officially, But I've probably done enough miles in a day to qualify.
If not, what is the furthest you’ve ridden?
2200 miles: all over Florida including Key West and then back to Virginia.
What was the worst weather in which you’ve ridden?
Hurricane Isabel, September 2003 leading a ride to Ocean City, MD across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, my wife on the back, 50 MPH gusts, lots of rain, quite scary. Ask Tweaker, he survived with us.
Do you know how to work on your bike?
I can do most of the maintenance stuff, could probably do just about anything but choose not to. Even oil changes are a pain to do yourself, you can't dump that stuff down the drain any more.
What is your favorite road song?
What was your most adventurous ride?
Mountain Madness to Elkins WV about 2006 or 2007. It was adventurous because we were traveling twisty roads across the mountains of WV - and it rained the entire time. Most of the time my glasses and/or windshield were fogged and I just hoped the guy I was following in front of me wasn't leading us over an edge somewhere.
What rallies or events do you like to attend?
Been to Rolling Thunder, Daytona, Myrtle Beach, Thunder in the Valley, Ocean City Bike week. My fav is Thunder in the Valley (Johnstown PA).
Is there someone who rides "two-up" with you?
My dear little wife, Ish; she has put virtually every mile on my bike with me. Right now that's pushing about 80K miles.
Off the cuff from...OnTime
While riding, Iíve met some great friends and have had some great times with my wife. In addition, hooking up with the Loudoun chapter of the SCRC has been great and has expanded my circle of friends and tremendously enhanced my riding experience. As we travel to Florida, I've met some great SCRC friends there as well. Bottom line, being a member of the Loudoun SCRC has been a rewarding experience and will is part of many cherished memories.