Sunday, May 1, 2016

Keep the conversation going in the Gateway Ducati Facebook Group

Riding season is here, post up to the facebook group to get a group together. The latest in meeting info will be posted there first. Join here:

Monday, November 10, 2014

October and Early November 2014 Message

Hi Folks,

This is my last post as Chief Contact Person and President of the Gateway Ducati Owners Group (GDOG).

Starting the owners group over 5 years ago was a leap of faith for the 8 of us who met at a picnic table outside of my office one fall day.  From 8 people to an email list of over 60 people is great growth. Over the years, many people have stepped up and taken on many rolls to ensure we had bike nights and group rides.  Thanks to MotoEuropa, we now have a dealership in the Gateway region that is committed to putting as many Ducs on the road as possible.  The motorcycle landscape of the region has changed for the better.  I thank all of you who have been there over the years to make certain that GDOG thrived and that there was a vibrant and vital place for Ducatistas to meet in Eastern Missouri.  All of you should be proud of what we accomplished.

Going forward, I believe GDOG is in great hands.  At the October bike night, the following officers were elected:

President:  Craig McElroy
Vice President and Ride Coordinator: Frank Trau
Secretary: Joe Heyduck
Treasurer: Bob Oesch

The secret to having a great organization is to get a group of people together with different talents and personalities, and put them in positions that maximize their skill sets, and let them go to work.  The current crop of GDOG officers will continue to grow the organization because they possess the necessary skill sets.  I am looking forward to a bright future for the organization.

Going forward, Craig will be writing the monthly communication.  Frank will be coordinating the group rides.  

Keep the rubber side down!

Gary Kwawer

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Gateway Ducati Owners Group September 2014 Message

Hi Folks,

Before we get into the meet of the message, there are some very important housekeeping items to deal with.  First, our first ride of October will be held on 10/5, a Sunday.  Then on the 14th, we shall have our monthly bike night.  It will be at East Coast Pizza at 6:30PM.  This bike night is important in that after the bike night, I will no longer be sitting as president of the owners group.  Other officers are also willing to step down from their positions as well.  The second ride of the month will occur on Saturday, October 18.

Regarding the group's officer election.  Whomever is elected president should have good written and verbal communication skills.  Listen well, and have the group's best interests at heart rather than their own.  Moreover, that individual should be constant and regular presence at rides and bike nights, baring unforeseen circumstances and health issues (my problem this year).    The ride captain is someone who understands that we have riders of varying abilities and skill levels.  We also have different types of motorcycles with different capabilities.  Knowledge of different routes and the ability and willingness to pre-ride is essential.  Included in the ride captain's responsibility is the development of other members of the group to become ride leaders, when necessary.  The treasurer is responsible for collecting the dues and depositing the dues into our account, issuing membership cards, and paying the few bills we have.  The secretary's primary responsibility is to maintain a viable contact list so we can mail out the member kits when they arrive.   The Vice-president's job is to be there when the president is there, and when he isn't able to be around.  Ideally, the VP will handle various items when the president is not around, and when asked.  Also, the VP should attend as many of the group's events as possible.  Like the president, the VP should have good written and verbal communication skills.

So everyone understands how important this election is, I am going to be very direct in the following sentences.  Regardless of the attendance at the bike night or whether anyone at all is interested in stepping up to leadership positions in the owners group, some of the other officers and I will be stepping down.  We are tired.  If no one decides to step up and assume leadership roles, the club will be forced to shut down.  

The weather at the beginning of September was a bit warm for riding, but by the time the first group ride of the month arrived, the mercury was very comfortable.  10 riders set off from the QT in Eureka, MO for a ride to Bourbon, MO.  The ride out to Bourbon was uneventful.  Our brunch at the restaurant in Bourbon was great.  The restaurant did a great job handling all of the riders' orders and served us good food in big portions.

The ride back was via 185 north to YY towards Krakow.  On YY, 2 to 3 miles west of Krakow, Brian Goldberg, riding his MotoGuzzi LeMans, misjudged a turn and crashed.  He was behind the main group and ahead of me, who was riding sweep.  I stopped, stayed with him, made certain he stayed still, which was not easy, and waiting for the emergency personnel to arrive.  Communication was established with the lead part of the group.  Two riders, Andrew Hagen and Craig McElroy came back to check what was going on.  We waited with Brian until he was taken to Mercy Hospital in Washington, MO.  Craig, Andrew, and I rode back to the main group waiting at YY and A in Krakow.  At that time, Craig, Bob Oesch, Alex Kurashev (a new member), and I rode to the hospital to check on Brian.

We waited in the emergency room area for a bit.  Brian's wife, Julie, came out and spoke with us.  Bob Oesch and I then spoke with Brian for a couple of minutes and then headed home.  Other than Brian, all riders arrived home on their own motorcycles.  Brian is doing well as of the last FB posts and is anxious to begin riding again.

The September bike night was held on the 9th at East Coast Pizza and was well attended.  Brian's condition was discussed and everyone was happy that he was well.  A spirited discussion of motorcycles ensued, which was very entertaining.

The second ride of the month was held on Saturday, October 20. It was a perfect day to ride. Five riders met in Eureka, and we picked up Dan Weber in St. Charles County.  Craig McElroy led a well paced ride to Hermann via 94, and took lettered roads back to Eureka.  All riders arrived back at their houses safely.

I look forward to the future rides and bike nights.

Gary Kwawer
Chief Contact Person and President
Gateway Ducati Owners Group

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gateway Ducati Owners Group August 2008 Note

Hi Folks,

Before I get into the meat of the note, a couple of changes to our regular calendar need to be pointed out.  With the proliferation of bike nights in the metro area during the first week of every month, it was decided at the August meeting that we should change our bike night to the second Tuesday of every month.  So starting in September 2014, the Gateway Ducati Owners Group bike night will be held on the second Tuesday of the month.  So the dates through the end of the year are September 9, 2014 at 6:30PM; October 14, 2014 at 6:30PM; November 11, 2014 at 6:30PM; and December 9, 2014 at 6:30PM.

So everyone knows, as of the October 14, 2014 Bike Night, I will no longer serve as President of the Gateway Ducati Owners Group.  The owners group has grown quite a bit since 10 of us met outside of my office building several years ago.  The landscape has changed quite a bit since 2008 for Ducatistas in the St Louis area.  It has improved greatly.  The support we have received from MotoEuropa has been important, valuable, and I appreciate it.  I have enjoyed the club, enjoyed the people, and enjoyed the riding.  It is time for new leadership in the club.  New ideas that can lead the club to new places, new activities, and increased growth are needed at this time.  It has been a great privilege to serve the club and its members.  If you wish to assist the club and your fellow Ducatistas in the St. Louis area, please let the club members know.

The first ride of the month had Craig McElroy and several riders joining him on a trip to Sullivan and back.  All the riders who left with Craig completed the ride in one piece.   The second ride of the month was led by Joe Henderson and was a quick trip to Potosi and back and the back roads.  The mercury was already rising during the early hours.  All riders returned to their homes safely as well.

The August bike night was held on the 5th at East Coast Pizza.  The only member to arrive on 2 wheels  was Frank Trau.  He admonished the rest of us for  not riding, and rightly so.  A new member, Robert Upton, showed up at the meeting and was greeted warmly by all of us.

Gary Kwawer
Chief Contact Person and President
Gateway Ducati Owners Group

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Gateway Ducati Owners Group July 2014 Monthly Message

Hi Folks,

The weather in June improved enough for 2 rides.  The first ride was led by Vito and had several riders.  All riders returned safely.  Starting in June, we will have 2 rides per month.  The second June ride was led by me and was attended by one other rider, Ryan Hendricks.  We had a great ride to Bixby and back.

The 2nd monthly ride will be on the second Saturday of the month.  The first ride will be on the 1st Sunday of the month.  July will be the exception due to the 4th of July holiday.  In July, the first ride will be on the 13th and the second ride on the 26th.  At this time, Joe Henderson will lead the first ride. Craig McElroy will lead the 2nd ride.  The departure time will be set by the ride captain and posted on this website.  Departure times depend on temperature, threat of rain in the afternoon, and the length of the ride.

MotoGP in Indy is next month.  Steve McCaskie ( has asked that I broadcast to the group that he would like to go to the event with some of our members, as a group.  If you are interested, please email Steve directly.

For those of you who have not attended the recent bike nights and received your membership package, they will be mailed to your address of record by our treasurer, Craig McElroy.  Please be patient.

On the home page of our website I am trying something new.  In the section on the right side of the home page, in "The Next" section, I am moving the activities around so they appear in chronological order.    This will make it easier to look and see what activities are happening when.

Finally, leading rides and planning activities is open to any and all members.  If you want to ride on a weekend that is going to be nice, but no group ride is planned.  Shoot me an email with the particulars (where, when, how long) and I will post it on the site and send emails out.  All I ask is that you give all of us about 72 hours, if possible, before the starting time.

Please keep the rubber side down.

Gary Kwawer

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Gateway Ducati Owners Group May 2014 Message

Hi Folks,

April was a cruel month for us at it took some effort to get the monthly ride in.  Vito led the ride at a comfortable pace, and all riders returned in one piece.

Well the month of May has proved to be great riding weather in the Gateway region and GDOG members have been taking full advantage of the situation.

Before I get into the meat of the message, I would like to pass something on.  I received an email from a Ducati owner out of Baltimore.  The rider is working in Joplin until June and was experiencing some issues with his motorcycle.  He obtained my name from our website and asked me some questions regarding dealerships in Western and Central Missouri.  I gave him what guidance I could based on my contacts in the Ducati community.   I hope it was helpful to him and that he gets is problem sorted out.

Believe it or not, in my travels over the years, being affiliated with a local owners group that is recognized by DOC has helped me when I have visited the local dealer.  I have been introduced to the local DOC, been greeted warmly, and generally been guided well in unfamiliar areas.  This is a benefit that you cannot put a price on.

I have received emails from a couple of our members asking when the next photo scavenger hunt will occur.  This year we are separating the miles from the check list.  So a new list will be available by the end of June and the scavenger hunt will begin on July 1.  Keep an eye on your inbox.

If you want to participate in the most miles competition, go ahead and take a picture of your odometer and email it to our ride captain.  The good news for many is that Craig McElroy and I have very few miles under our belt for the year, so the competition can be fierce.

The May group ride was led by our secretary, Craig McElroy, on the scheduled date, Sunday, May 4.  The group left the QT on time with five riders and one passenger.  The weather conditions were perfect and all the riders returned safely.  The June group ride is scheduled for Sunday, June 1, 2014.

The May GDOG Bike Night was held at East Coast Pizza on May 6.  We had 14 people show up at the meeting.  New and old members grabbed food, talked about rides they had taken, and had a great time.  Going forward, all the bike nights through the riding season (October) will be held at East Coast Pizza in Chesterfield Valley.  While it is not the most convenient for everyone, they do a great job in making us feel welcome and allowing us to showcase our rides.  The June GDOG Bike Night is scheduled for Tuesday, June 3, 2014.  I will have the DOC member kits with me.

So everyone knows, the member kits from DOC have arrived.  Unlike earlier years, I will not be holding onto them throughout the calendar year.  June will be the last meeting that they will be coming with me.    For those of you who cannot make meetings, please contact me and we shall make alternate arrangements.  For those of you out of town, we will continue to mail them to you as we have in the past.  Thank you in advance for your help.

As the season is just beginning, a brief reminder on group ride protocol is in order.  The rides leave at 9:00AM sharp from the QT in Eureka.  We suggest that you arrive at the QT at 8:30AM so you can fill your tank, grab some food, coffee, etc.  Given that the rides going forward are going to be longer in length, it is also a good idea to leave the QT on the ride with a full tank of gas as most of our rides have limited range.  Also, please remember that while we have a route planned and ride together, you are responsible for yourself on the ride.  Please ride at your own pace and at your own level.  A ride is considered successful if all of us return home on the same motorcycles we started out on.  Finally, a postponement due to rain occurs only if it is raining on the day of the ride at the time of departure.  We will then ride on the next non-rainy weekend day.

Everyone, please ride safe, keep the rubber side down, and I will see you at the events.

Gary Kwawer
Chief Contact Person and President
Gateway Ducati Owners Group

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gateway Ducati Owners Group Message

Hi Folks,

March continued to be too cold for riding for most of the month.  The March Bike Night was held at Schlafly Tap Room.  We discussed the MSF Advanced Rider Course, and we began taking deposits of $69.00 for the course.   Make the checks payable to Gateway Ducati Owners Group.  We shall collect all of the checks and write one from the club account to pay for the course.  We will keep this open until May 1.  After that, if we do not get enough

Several things became apparent.  First, cold weather and an extreme eastern location reduces bike night attendance.  Second, we seem to like going places where pizza is the main entree (observed by our VP Vito Sicola).  Third, we need to ride lots more during this season.

Lets focus on the third point.  We are a motorcycle riding club, ergo, we should be riding our motorcycles.  Unfortunately, only 3 people tend to lead rides.  Joe Henderson, Vito Sicola, and me.  This puts lots of pressure on us.  We need help.  Diversification in ride leaders, ride directions, and routes can only make the owners group stronger.  Those people willing to lead rides, please advise.  I will also make certain we have at least one ride to eat ethnic food per month- a ride to eat lunch on a Saturday or Sunday.  We will use a combination of the emails and Facebook to promote rides and bike nights.  Also, you will have a 72 to 96 hour lead time for the ride.  If it rains at the time of the ride, and only at the time of the ride, then it is cancelled.

MotoGP season in the US is arriving soon.  Several members are trying to get groups together to go to Austin and Indy.  Most of these efforts begin at the bike nights, so try and attend the next one, April 1 at 6:30PM at Sugo's restaurant.  Sugo's is located west of Lindberg on Clayton Road.  The pizza is good and the location is central.  Also, our treasurer will be collected annual dues as well as checks for the MSF course.

The first GDOG group ride will be held on Sunday, April 6.  Meet at the QT on route 109 south of I-44 in Eureka at 8:30AM, leave at 9:00AM.  Joe Henderson promises a fun ride.

All of us are anxious to be back on two wheels.  Lets be safe and keep the rubber side down!

Gary Kwawer
Chief Contact Person
Gateway Ducati Owners Group