Chapter Director Message – Jim Kopchok – Final Signoff

As I sit here watching the snow fall I’m reminded that the Groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter. While not a great thought, we still know that Spring is inching closer.

Next week is the International Motorcycle Show in Rosemont. Another real sign spring is around the corner. And this year we should be able to see the new Honda Goldwing up close and personal. It will be interesting to see everyone’s reaction.

This year we have planned our annual visit to Al’s Charhouse in LaGrange for March 18th @ 4:30pm. Please make sure to see the flyer and Event Calendar on our web site for all the details. At $38 per person it is a great deal for the special menu of either Strip Steak, King Filet, Ribs and Chicken Combo or fish along with soft drinks, coffee, tea, tax and gratuity. Make sure to sign up either at this month’s meeting on Feb 11 or at our March meeting.

I expect that this will be my final meeting as Chapter Director. Our paperwork has been submitted to District and I think the NSA, FBI, CIA and Interpol background checks on Butch Thielenhouse have all come back clean! I’m grateful to Butch and Mary for taking on the Chapter Director responsibilities and especially happy that the Chicagoland Wings can continue on our mission. Of course, another thank you goes out to Bob and Arlene Graeff for accepting the Ride Coordinator job. Looking forward to exciting rides this season.

By now you have seen some of the recent press on Harley-Davidson’s layoffs and plant consolidation. We have talked about some of the challenges for those of us on bigger bikes especially as new riders for this genre or not being added as quickly as in the past. However, there has been some light at the end of the tunnel as we  have seen some actual sales growth for many of the bikes, from Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki. These bikes are smaller, lighter and cheaper than our big touring bikes. In fact, HD is looking at coming out with an all-electric bike line next year. Can’t wait to see the Outlaws pull up to their local hangout on these quiet bikes humming underneath their seats. Come on, it’s an image you got to think about! 😊

But seriously, we probably need to think what this means to us in the future as a group and as an organization. GWRRA has opened up membership to all bikes and tried to change with the times. But is it enough, and how do we include this new type of rider that isn’t looking for long haul touring as much as we have in the past?

So as I sign off for the final time, thank you to you all for being the reason I accepted this role in the first place. Thank you to all of our current staff for the work and effort you put forward to make our Chapter Z2 a fun, welcoming, safe riding group that can look back on many fond memories of roads well traveled!

After all, in the words of Robert Frost in his poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (how ironic), we have “many miles before we sleep”! He must have ridden a motorcycle.

Ride Safe!

Jim & Barb Kopchok

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