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Joy Riding

It’s never too late to discover the fun of cycling



Kawasaki Vulcan

The motorcycle itch—almost every red-blooded human has had it. You see a couple of buddies leaning their sport bikes through the twisties on a bright summer day, or a couple out on that big old cruiser. Or maybe you just catch Easy Rider on Netflix. And you think, “yeah, but—”

But nothing. We’re here to tell you from experience that itch is worth scratching—and with today’s friendlier-than-ever bikes, it’s easy to do. With a little training and vigilant riding, it’s pretty safe, too.

We went bike shopping for you this past December at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show, at New York’s Javits Center. We were looking for bikes suited for grownups who were either first-timers or what the industry calls “Chapter Two riders”—midlife empty-nesters who hung up their wheels years ago to raise a family. If that describes you, manufacturers have you in their sights. After years of jockeying to build the biggest, baddest, tire-shreddingest beasts, they realized their future belongs to people like us, who just want to have fun.

So we set out to find bikes you could feel confident riding, even as a newbie. Our three criteria: Under 1,000cc. Comfortable riding position. Available anti-lock brakes (ABS) or traction control. The good news—there are almost too many bikes to choose from, and most of them are reasonably priced.

Let’s start with a toe-dipper: The Honda Rebel (pictured left) Older riders may scowl, recalling the underpowered, underloved 250cc Rebel of the ’80s. But the new 2017 model is a real motorcycle. Bypass the 300cc model for the 500cc—a half-liter bike with real attitude. With its responsive parallel twin engine, upright riding position, light weight (408 pounds wet, i.e., with a full tank) for easy handling, classic styling and available ABS—not to mention low seat height—it is the ideal starter bike. In fact, even for experienced riders, it might be all the bike you need.

Want to dip just your pinky toe? Check out the funky Suzuki Van Van (pictured right.) With its modest 200cc single cylinder, it’s not for the highway. The balloon rear tire and wide, plush seat promise stability and comfort, even on gravel roads or fire trails. They call this lightweight runabout (282 pounds) an “urban commuter,” but it’s also a suburban commuter. It lacks ABS, but are you going to go fast enough for that to matter?

Admittedly, you’re not going to make much of an impression parking your Van Van among the Harleys outside the coffee shop on Sunday. Here are two bikes that are both image- and rider-friendly:

The 1,000cc Indian Scout 60 (pictured left) is a detuned (by 22 HP) version of the acclaimed Indian Scout cruiser. The iconic Indian brand was resuscitated in 2011 by Polaris. Made in Spirit Lake, Iowa, the Scout is real American Iron for those who can’t buy into the whole Harley gestalt. It’s big and moderately heavy (555 pounds wet) and not cheap ($9,999 with ABS)—but think how great you’ll look.

If you’re more Tom Cruise than George Clooney, you’ll want a sport bike (aka “crotch-rocket”). The Kawasaki Z650 ABS (pictured right) has sport-bike attitude (it’s based on Kawasaki’s best-selling Ninja 650), but with a low seat height and more upright riding position. At 410 pounds wet, it’s a nimble carver of country curves.

But who needs roads? The BMW G 310 GS (pictured below) is a great entry-level adventure bike. Its  313cc single provides all the power you need for the single-track. With its higher seat height and ground clearance, you can go anywhere. And standard ABS helps stop anywhere, too.

Which bike is for you?

Ultimately, one that fits, and manufacturers are increasingly adding options that adjust seat height and reach. As Kawasaki spokesman Kevin Allen points out, “Comfort is the shortest route to confidence—which is the key to having fun.” Kawasaki’s innovative Ergo-Fit system lets you build a Vulcan S 650cc cruiser practically to measure.

Today’s rider-friendly bikes are a blast, and there’s no reason to hold back. Get your motorcycle license (see sidebar), find your dream bike, and meet us at Starbucks this Sunday at 9. The road beckons. 


Take it easy, rider

When you announce your intention to gear up, everyone will have a second- or third-hand horror story to tell you. But riding can be a lot safer than many other recreational pursuits, if you:

  • Get anti-lock brakes. ABS reduces fatalities by 37 percent.
  • Wear a helmet. In 2014, helmets saved 1,669 lives.
  • Ride sober. Nearly 30 percent of riders who lost their lives in 2014 were over the 0.08 limit.
  • Slow down. A third of riders involved in fatal crashes in 2014 were speeding.
  • Get a motorcycle endorsement on your license. In 2014, 28 percent of those involved in fatal crashes had no valid motorcycle license.
  • Take a class. You’ll learn not only the rules but everyday bike-handling and safety skills. Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey all offer multiday state training programs that conclude with an evaluation, and ultimately an endorsement, waiving your road test.
  • To put it simply: How safe is motorcycle riding? That’s up to you. 

—RG & DG

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June 2017

Dads will get a sweet treat of their very own with FREE admission on Father’s Day, June 18th to the Stepping Stones Museum for Children.  The museum recognizes that...

Cost: cost varies

Where:
Stepping Stones Museum
303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT  06850
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Sponsor: Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Telephone: 203-899-0606
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From vows taken in magnificent settings, to cutting edge images that will redefine rituals and boundaries, this exhibition will feature six up-and-coming as well as award-winning photographers that...

Cost: Prices Vary

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Come enjoy one of Fairfield County's longest running Fairs with amusement rides, Touch-A-Boat, New Canaan Psychic, Face Painting, Sand Art, Suzuki School of Music Performance, Westport Urgent...

Cost: Free admission. Pay-one-price unlimited rides wristbands available every day.

Where:
Westport Woman's Club
44 Imperial Avenue
Westport, CT
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Red Bee Apiary’s “Talk, Tour, and Honey Tastings" are  opportunities for you to visit a working apiary and experience honey at...

Cost: $35 per person

Where:
Red Bee Honey Apiary & Gardens
Weston, CT  06829


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Come enjoy one of Fairfield County's longest running Fairs with amusement rides, International Food Court, Face Painting, Sand Art, Take-A-Chance Drawing, Bake Sale, Raffle and Curio Cottage...

Cost: Free

Where:
Westport Woman's Club
44 Imperial Avenue
Westport, CT
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Director Donna McLaughlin Wyant, an award-winning TV writer and producer, brings her production expertise to The 39 Steps once again – reprising her successful Darien Arts Center production...

Cost: $25 per person; senior citizens, 65 years of age or older, and students $23

Where:
Westport Community Theatre
110 Myrtle Avenue
Westport, CT
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Students preparing for finals in the area are welcome to study at Grace Farms, which has quiet tables in the Library, communal space in the Commons, cornhole for study breaks, and basketball in the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grace Farms
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
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The 39 Steps, a comedy, takes the stage at Westport Community Theatre with performances from June 9 through 25. Donna McLaughlin Wyant directs the WCT production, with an outstanding local...

Cost: Tickets are $25, $23 for seniors and students,

Where:
Westport Community Theatre
110 Myrtle Avenue
Westport, CT  06880
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From vows taken in magnificent settings, to cutting edge images that will redefine rituals and boundaries, this exhibition will feature six up-and-coming as well as award-winning photographers that...

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
, LA


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Director Donna McLaughlin Wyant, an award-winning TV writer and producer, brings her production expertise to The 39 Steps once again – reprising her successful Darien Arts Center production...

Cost: $25 per person; senior citizens, 65 years of age or older, and students $23

Where:
Westport Community Theatre
110 Myrtle Avenue
Westport, CT
View map »


Website »

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The 39 Steps, a comedy, takes the stage at Westport Community Theatre with performances from June 9 through 25. Donna McLaughlin Wyant directs the WCT production, with an outstanding local...

Cost: Tickets are $25, $23 for seniors and students,

Where:
Westport Community Theatre
110 Myrtle Avenue
Westport, CT  06880
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Website »

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“From A Student Perspective” presents selected art from about 20 students from NCC’s Studio Arts, Graphic Design and Architecture Department. The work is in a variety of media...

Cost: free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
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WHAT: Hospice of Westchester (HOW) invites members of the community to participate in their 15th Annual Golf Invitational at Westchester Hills Golf Club in White Plains. Proceeds from the event...

Cost: $425.00

Where:
Westchester Hills Golf Club
401 Ridgeway
White Plains, NY  10605
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Sponsor: Hospice of Westchester
Telephone: 914-682-1484
Contact Name: Holly Benedict
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From vows taken in magnificent settings, to cutting edge images that will redefine rituals and boundaries, this exhibition will feature six up-and-coming as well as award-winning photographers that...

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
, LA


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More information

Director Donna McLaughlin Wyant, an award-winning TV writer and producer, brings her production expertise to The 39 Steps once again – reprising her successful Darien Arts Center production...

Cost: $25 per person; senior citizens, 65 years of age or older, and students $23

Where:
Westport Community Theatre
110 Myrtle Avenue
Westport, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The 39 Steps, a comedy, takes the stage at Westport Community Theatre with performances from June 9 through 25. Donna McLaughlin Wyant directs the WCT production, with an outstanding local...

Cost: Tickets are $25, $23 for seniors and students,

Where:
Westport Community Theatre
110 Myrtle Avenue
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Website »

More information

“From A Student Perspective” presents selected art from about 20 students from NCC’s Studio Arts, Graphic Design and Architecture Department. The work is in a variety of media...

Cost: free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

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From vows taken in magnificent settings, to cutting edge images that will redefine rituals and boundaries, this exhibition will feature six up-and-coming as well as award-winning photographers that...

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
, LA


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More information

Director Donna McLaughlin Wyant, an award-winning TV writer and producer, brings her production expertise to The 39 Steps once again – reprising her successful Darien Arts Center production...

Cost: $25 per person; senior citizens, 65 years of age or older, and students $23

Where:
Westport Community Theatre
110 Myrtle Avenue
Westport, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The 39 Steps, a comedy, takes the stage at Westport Community Theatre with performances from June 9 through 25. Donna McLaughlin Wyant directs the WCT production, with an outstanding local...

Cost: Tickets are $25, $23 for seniors and students,

Where:
Westport Community Theatre
110 Myrtle Avenue
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Website »

More information

“From A Student Perspective” presents selected art from about 20 students from NCC’s Studio Arts, Graphic Design and Architecture Department. The work is in a variety of media...

Cost: free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Show More...
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From vows taken in magnificent settings, to cutting edge images that will redefine rituals and boundaries, this exhibition will feature six up-and-coming as well as award-winning photographers that...

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
, LA


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Held on the beautiful grounds of the Wilton Historical Society, members will gather on Thursday, June 22 at 6:00 for the Annual Meeting and an Old-fashioned Potluck Dinner. President of the Board,...

Cost: Free for members

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road/Route 7
Wilton, CT
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Join us for a fun adults-only evening to enjoy the food and drink of SoNo's best restaurants. This upbeat celebration for adults 21+ also allows guests to enjoy the Aquarium's newest...

Cost: $50.00 ($45.00 for Aquarium members)

Where:
Maritime Aquarium
10 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT
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Winner of the 2008 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, Israeli pianist Roman Rabinovich brings a “warm and generous tone and supple touch” (The Cleveland Plain...

Cost: $15, $24, $32, $40

Where:
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Road
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Website »

More information

Director Donna McLaughlin Wyant, an award-winning TV writer and producer, brings her production expertise to The 39 Steps once again – reprising her successful Darien Arts Center production...

Cost: $25 per person; senior citizens, 65 years of age or older, and students $23

Where:
Westport Community Theatre
110 Myrtle Avenue
Westport, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The 39 Steps, a comedy, takes the stage at Westport Community Theatre with performances from June 9 through 25. Donna McLaughlin Wyant directs the WCT production, with an outstanding local...

Cost: Tickets are $25, $23 for seniors and students,

Where:
Westport Community Theatre
110 Myrtle Avenue
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Website »

More information

“From A Student Perspective” presents selected art from about 20 students from NCC’s Studio Arts, Graphic Design and Architecture Department. The work is in a variety of media...

Cost: free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Experience the joy of setting sail and shutting off the engine as we sail through Long Island Sound. Sit back and relax or take a turn at the helm, the choice is yours. Sails depart from...

Cost: $40/adults, $20 for children ages 5-12

Where:
Cove Island Park
1281 Cove Rd
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Website »

More information

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From vows taken in magnificent settings, to cutting edge images that will redefine rituals and boundaries, this exhibition will feature six up-and-coming as well as award-winning photographers that...

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
, LA


Website »

More information

If variety is the spice of life, then this evening’s program promises to be particularly piquante. Cellist Edward Arron offers another of his popular chamber music concerts joined by his...

Cost: $15, $24, $32, $40 / Free tickets for students 18 and under!

Where:
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Road
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Website »

More information

Director Donna McLaughlin Wyant, an award-winning TV writer and producer, brings her production expertise to The 39 Steps once again – reprising her successful Darien Arts Center production...

Cost: $25 per person; senior citizens, 65 years of age or older, and students $23

Where:
Westport Community Theatre
110 Myrtle Avenue
Westport, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The 39 Steps, a comedy, takes the stage at Westport Community Theatre with performances from June 9 through 25. Donna McLaughlin Wyant directs the WCT production, with an outstanding local...

Cost: Tickets are $25, $23 for seniors and students,

Where:
Westport Community Theatre
110 Myrtle Avenue
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Website »

More information

“From A Student Perspective” presents selected art from about 20 students from NCC’s Studio Arts, Graphic Design and Architecture Department. The work is in a variety of media...

Cost: free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Experience the joy of setting sail and shutting off the engine as we sail through Long Island Sound. Sit back and relax or take a turn at the helm, the choice is yours. Sails depart from...

Cost: $40/adults, $20 for children ages 5-12

Where:
Cove Island Park
1281 Cove Rd
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

  Registration is open for the 11th annual Swim Across America Greenwich-Stamford Swim, taking place Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Long Island Sound on the border of Greenwich and Stamford at...

Cost: Fundraiser

Where:
ACGT
96 Cummings Point Road
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Sponsor: Swim Across America
Telephone: 203-570-9195
Contact Name: Michele Graham
Website »

More information

Hosted with the support of The Center for Contemporary Printmaking, Stepping Stones Museum, Mathews Mansion Museum and The Norwalk Parks Department, this Art Festival will be a premier cultural...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mathews Park
295 West Ave,
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The annual American Roots Music Festival offers a day full of folk, country, bluegrass, gospel, blues, singer/songwriter, string band, old time, and everything in between. Multiple award winning...

Cost: $30, $40, $50, $60, $70, $80, $90 / Day Only $25

Where:
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Road
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Website »

More information

Grace Farms invites you to spend the day learning how to practice sustainability through education and hands on interaction with local businesses and not-for-profits in the community. The program...

Cost: $10.00 – $25.00

Where:
Grace Farms
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

Grace Farms Foundation invites you to learn about local food sourcing and how individuals can make an impact on the environment through three workshops focused on edible and medicinal plants,...

Cost: $10-15

Where:
Grace Farms
365 Luke Wood Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Grace Farms Foundation
Telephone: (203) 920-1702
Website »

More information

Grace Farms Foundation invites you to learn about local food sourcing and how individuals can make an impact on the environment through three workshops focused on edible and medicinal plants,...

Cost: $10.00 - $15.00

Where:
Grace Farms
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn how to turn leaves, grass clippings and kitchen waste into rich, crumbly soil that you can use to grow healthy vegetables and flowers. Your backyard compost pile will help you: Send less...

Cost: Free. Registration is required at danburylibrary.org under Events

Where:
Danbury Library
170 Main Street
Danbury, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

From vows taken in magnificent settings, to cutting edge images that will redefine rituals and boundaries, this exhibition will feature six up-and-coming as well as award-winning photographers that...

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
, LA


Website »

More information

Join us for a wine tasting featuring a selection of Vivanco wines. Including Vivanco Rioja Blanco, Vivianco Rosato, Vivianco Rioja Crianza and Vivianco Rioja Reserva. At LQR MKT in Norwalk.

Cost: Free

Where:
Norwalk
360 Connecticut Avenue
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrating the first annual gala event to support new cultural programs and inspiring performances at the Darien Arts Center.  Cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and live entertainment. The...

Cost: $75 per ticket

Where:
DAC Weatherstone Studio & Garden
2 Renshaw Road
Darien, CT  06820
View map »


Website »

More information

Director Donna McLaughlin Wyant, an award-winning TV writer and producer, brings her production expertise to The 39 Steps once again – reprising her successful Darien Arts Center production...

Cost: $25 per person; senior citizens, 65 years of age or older, and students $23

Where:
Westport Community Theatre
110 Myrtle Avenue
Westport, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The 39 Steps, a comedy, takes the stage at Westport Community Theatre with performances from June 9 through 25. Donna McLaughlin Wyant directs the WCT production, with an outstanding local...

Cost: Tickets are $25, $23 for seniors and students,

Where:
Westport Community Theatre
110 Myrtle Avenue
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Website »

More information

A rainbow of colors dart and dash in our new 3,000-gallon Coral Reef exhibit, open now just past the Sea Turtles exhibit. Meet more than 40 species of reef fish native to the Indo-Pacific,...

Where:
Maritime Aquarium
10 Water St.
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Experience the joy of setting sail and shutting off the engine as we sail through Long Island Sound. Sit back and relax or take a turn at the helm, the choice is yours. Sails depart from...

Cost: $40/adults, $20 for children ages 5-12

Where:
Cove Island Park
1281 Cove Rd
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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