Of all the motorcycle events I attend each year, the Motorcycle Sport Touring Association’s Mail Pouch Fly-By rally is perhaps the one I look forward to most.
As best I can recall, the Fly-By was the first MSTA regional rally I attended and — though I now don’t live too far from the rally’s host city of Marietta, Ohio — it gave me a chance to enjoy some of the best road riding the United States has to offer.
I missed a couple editions of the rally when the MotoAmerica round at Pittsburgh International Race Complex fell on the same weekend, but I lamented missing out on the great roads and great times each year I had to make that difficult decision.
The 2021 edition of the week-long rally takes place Aug. 23-29, and here are the top three things I am looking forward to at this year’s event:
- The Roads
The Fly-By Rally’s location Marietta, Ohio, offers rallygoers a central location from which to explore the twisty roads and scenic beauty southeast Ohio and northwest West Virginia.
Situated on the north bank of the Ohio River, the city’s location at a low point in the Appalachian Plateau from which riders can ride up and out of the river valley to some of Ohio’s best back roads — including State Route 26 and, a short ways away, the famous Triple Nickel (State Route 555).
If you want to try exploring northwest West Virginia, there are two bridges in Marietta that offer riders a way to cross the mighty Ohio River and explore that region’s lush green mountains and curvy roads.
If you don’t want to sit down with a map and plan a route yourself, there’s no need to. The rally’s organizers have a wide variety of routes already planned out in printable map and GPX file formats. Check out the rally’s official routes page at http://flybyweek.com/EZselector.html.
- The New Venue(s)
Perhaps the biggest change to the rally for 2021 is its new host hotels. Previously held at the Baymont by Wyndham (and its several previous brandings) on Pike Street, the rally’s new home is on the other side of the Interstate 77 right-of-way at the Hampton Inn and Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham (508 Pike St. and 506 Pike St., respectively).
The two-hotel arrangement allows rallygoers the option to choose the comfort and fine amenities of Hampton Inn or the affordable, good-value-for-money Microtel option.
Though the rally no longer includes a Friday and/or Saturday dinner in the price of registration, the new location offers attendees many dining options within walking distance. Without having to cross the very busy, four-lane Pike Street roadway, rallygoers will have Bob Evans, McDonald’s, Arby’s, Applebee’s Little Caesars and local Mexican, Chinese, hibachi, and pizza restaurants within a 10 minute walk.
- The People
I’m looking forward to seeing lots of familiar faces when I arrive at the rally next Friday, but this event is going to be a little more special for me than previous Fly-By rallies. With how close Marietta is to my former city of residence — Columbus, Ohio — I’m hoping I’ll get to see many of the Columbus MSTA breakfast meet crew that I haven’t seen in months.
My girlfriend and I moved to Cleveland during the pandemic, and the restrictions on gatherings in Ohio made it near impossible for me to attend one of the first-Sunday-of-the-month meetups in Columbus before we moved.
I learned an awful lot about motorcycling and about the MSTA at those breakfasts and hope to catch up with as many of those ladies and gentlemen as I can Friday and Saturday night.
For more information about the MSTA Mail Pouch Fly-By rally, visit the rally’s website at http://flybyweek.com.