May 3 marked the centennial of Erwin “Cannon Ball” Baker’s transcontinental motorcycle ride on a 1914 Indian V-twin. Baker took only 11½ days, nine days quicker than previous attempts, to make the ride in spite of adverse conditions, such as much off-road riding where none existed. And to commemorate the historic occasion, Motorcycle Hall of Famer Don Emde and longtime motorcycle industry mainstay Joe Colombero planned a cross-country ride retracing the route that Baker took. The Cannonball Centennial Ride was three years in the making and about 25 riders, led by Baker and Colombero, left San Diego the morning of May 3. They followed Baker’s route to the extent possible—in some places Baker actually had to ride railroad tracks because there were no roads! To pay homage to Baker, Robert Pandya of Indian Motorcycle rode along on an Indian Chief Vintage, a R&D model specially engineered for the off-road riding that comprised part of the route. The route took riders through Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. The ride ended successfully 11 days later, as planned, in New York City… The Iron Knights MC, in conjunction with the Down Neck Community Group, is holding a Christmas in July event on July 19 at the IKMC clubhouse, 63 Euclid Ave., Newark, NJ, starting at 7:00 p.m. Admission is $10 or a gift of equal value, and there will be music and food. The clubhouse is in Down Neck, a.k.a. the Ironbound section of Newark, and our club has supported the community since its inception in 1999, starting with our sponsorship of the Ironbound Little League. I hope to see you there!… Laconia Motorcycle Week has been given a quite prestigious award, Recreation Road Riding Organizer of the Year—by the American Motorcycle Association. Bill Cumbow, the AMA director of racing, said, “Laconia’s organizers always do a good job of advancing the core values of the AMA. Laconia Motorcycle Week promotes the motorcycle lifestyle in a safe, fun and responsible way.” This year will be the 91st Laconia Motorcycle Week, making it the oldest motorcycle event in the country… Many of us know about the high school chopper classes that have been formed across the country, but here’s one with a twist. Inmate students attending the Community High School of Vermont at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in Swanton, Vermont, have built a motorcycle as part of the state’s Department of Corrections’ motorcycle program. Andy Pallito, corrections commissioner, says that this program has helped students master skills necessary to provide jobs as they transition back into the community. Better yet, the custom Sportster bobber, dubbed “Freedom Isn’t Free,” has been donated to the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association VT 26-2, who in turn is raffling it off and donating the proceeds to the Vermont Veterans Place, a support shelter for homeless vets in Northfield. Tickets for the bike can be purchased until September 7 at Green Mountain H-D in Essex Junction… On June 2, Shawn Behrman and his wife Roxy opened the doors of their new business; North Jersey Tattoo. Shawn does some awesome work, and I’ve been watching the store take shape for several months. Stop by and visit the shop located in Franklin Plaza, right next to the UPS store at 179 Route 46, Unit 16, in Rockaway, New Jersey. No word yet on when the grand opening will take place, but check facebook.com/njtattoo13 for the date., or call 973.453.6178 for information or to make an appointment… Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Dean Bartone on their marriage! On May 17, Tracey Bartone nee Bennett, owner of Big John’s Pub in Newfoundland, New Jersey, and Dean Bartone, who I know as the bass player in various local bands, tied the knot. Because of their respective vocations, the couple knows so many people and they couldn’t figure out who to invite so they had an open wedding reception at Big John’s after they exchanged their vows. I couldn’t make the reception, but two weeks later was Big John’s annual Memorial Day Customer Appreciation BBQ. What did I get them for their wedding present? A set of his-and-hers handcuff necklaces! (Thanks, Diva Dawn, for the wonderful suggestion and for supplying the goods!) Dawn and I rode up to the barbecue and it was the first time in years that it didn’t rain on Memorial Day. In fact, it was in the high 80’s—so un-Jersey-like for May. The Joe Taino band played inside and there was complimentary barbecue and homemade fixin’s. May Tracey and Dean have many more happy years together… The Reading Motorcycle Club is celebrating 100 years since its incorporation with a big bash July 24–26 on their property at 208 Jefferson St., Oley, Pennsylvania. The party of the century will feature drag races on Saturday, bands each of the three days and nights, helicopter rides, the Wall of Death and games, a bike show, tattoo competition, vendors and much more. Admission is $45 for the weekend, and NO ONE under 21 will be admitted. Repeat: This is adults only, folks! For more information (including info about the July 19 rope-off day for campers wishing to reserve sites), go to www.readingmc.com. And congratulations, guys, on a century of camaraderie and adventure!