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Discussion Starter #1
I'll be moving to the Amherst area in July/August, my girlfriend's going to UMass for her doctorate, and I'm coming along with her, so I figured I'd just ask around a bit.
So I've already heard a lot of good things about the riding in the western Mass area, but how long is the actual season? I'm comfortable riding down to about 30 degrees, and we're coming from North Carolina, so I'm pretty much used to riding in late February.
Also, do yall have any particular tips or anything about riding up there or dealing with the law or anything in general? Thanks!
 

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Hey there.

First of all, props for uprooting yourself to support your girlfriend! Thats great to hear! I wish her the best of luck.

I went to school out in Western Mass for a couple of years. It's a nice area if you're into the simple, rural life. I would recommend visiting Northampton, which is about 15 minutes away from Umass Amherst. It's a pretty liberal town with all kinds of events going on. If you want a city atmosphere, you can visit Springfield. However, be careful there. There are some parts that can be very ghetto and you don't want to be in certain areas at night.

Riding season is usually April - November. It starts warming up in April but there's still a lot of salt/sand on the roads so you'll need to becareful. By the time you guys move up here, the roads should be fine.

Massachusetts requires you to wear a helmet. New Hampshire does not. I don't think Rhode Island has a helmet law either. It is recommended that you wear a DOT helmet but as long as you're not riding like an idiot, the cops won't give you a hard time about your helmet.

I can go on and on but I'll stop here! If you have any other questions, let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! I have no doubt she'll do spectacularly.
We're coming from Charlotte, NC. She lives outside the city in a rural-ish area, but I grew up in the city (in the ghetto, actually, so that doesn't worry me too much, lol), so I'm very much a city boy, so I'll probably make a push for us to get an apartment closer to springfield (if possible anyway). But we're both fairly liberal (well, I'm pretty much left-leaning moderate. She's a socialist, lol. So we'll probably fit in well).
April-November doesn't sound too bad, I've been hearing all kinds of things from people saying I'll be able to ride for like 5 months out of the year and stuff, so I was a little concerned there, but that sounds good.
The helmet thing, I'm an ATGATT kind of guy, so that doesn't particularly concern me. I just always seem to have issues with cops regardless of whether or not I'm actually doing anything illegal, lol.
So given the transit system and everything in the area, do you think it would be doable to have a bike as my only transportation? I have a feeling my cars on it's last legs (you know its bad when your mechanic recommends a place to get financing, lol), and my girlfriend's got a car we can use for going to get groceries and stuff like that, but as far as for daily commuting and whatnot.
 

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Issues with cops? Yeah, me too. lol. I know the feeling. Like I said, as long as you're bike doesn't look like it's about to shatter into pieces or you're not dipping through traffic, the cops won't bother you too much. Although, you'll be in a much more suburban/rural part of Mass; cops in those areas tend to have nothing better to do... you'll be fine tho! lol.

If you like the city, I would HIGHLY recommend visiting EASTERN Mass. Thats is where like 70% of the population lives. Particularly in the Boston area. Lots of things to do here. Lots of history, bars, clubs, restaurants, etc. I think you and your girl would love it here. I'm sure you can tell that I'm not a huge fan of Western Mass. It's nice to visit tho..

Also, if you guys are willing to do the ride, definitely go up to New Hampshire and get lost in the back roads. There is a HUGE 'biker' culture in NH. And everything is a bit cheaper up there too.

To answer your question about transportation, unfortunately there isn't much public transportation in the area you'll be living in. During the late fall and winter time, you two will need to share the car or you'll eventually have to get your own. Because there's more land then people in Western Mass, there isn't many buses/trains in that area. Everyone owns a Jeep for whatever reason.

Umass Amherst is a beautiful school! I have many stories there (it's a huge party school). It's honestly a town on it's own. The campus is friggen HUGE. I guarantee your girl will be lost at some point! Also, if you guys are hungry, check out Antonio's pizza in downtown Amherst.

What does ATGATT mean? Don't make fun of me! I just started riding last year (I've only been a passenger for many years), so I am still learning the lingo and such..
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Lol, yeah, thats true. I rarely have any problem with the cops here in Charlotte, but when I go to my girlfriend's house, that's when they all jump on me.
Oh yeah, I'll definitely be going to eastern Mass a good bit, I'm sure. I'm a Sox fan, so I am excited about being so close to Boston, lol.
And I love taking long rides every so often, I've been going at least an hour away once a week or so for the past month, and if there's enough reason (which it sounds like there is for NH) I'll ride just about anywhere, lol.
That's pretty much what I was thinking, that my main concern would be the winter, but I figure if I can manage with just my bike during summer and fall, that'll at least give me some extra time to scrounge up the money to get a truck or something. I know the transit in Amherst itself is not supposed to be bad (and it's free, lol), but I wasn't sure about the surrounding areas.
I'll definitely check out Antonio's, I'm always looking for a good pizza/Italian place, so thanks for the tip, lol.
Honestly, I only learned about a week or so ago, lol. No worries, I haven't been riding too long myself. It's All The Gear, All The Time. So even if I'm just running to the store, I make sure I'm wearing my jacket and gloves and helmet and all that
 

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I have only been riding for a couple years, but I haven't had any trouble with the law. I won't from now on, because I am part of it. As long as you have your inspection sticker, and aren't weaving as yardOsaur said, you won't encounter much of an issue. I mean, I've gotten the pull over because my helmet doesn't have the DOT sticker, but I always the full face on the sissy bar, and they never really said anything. I will say, if your pipes are obnoxious, troopers will mess with you on their bad days.

I like to ride as late as possible too. I rode into december when i first got my bike, only because we really didn't get snow until January, so if you don't mind the chill, you can definitely get several months of riding.

As far as your main form of transport, I wouldn't go too far with that. I mean, its nice and all, but 3 years ago, it rained for almost a month straight.
 

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Every winter in Massachusetts is different. This winter, Worcester was named the snowiest city in the US! The winter before, I rode every month because we really didn't have much snow.

Every bike inspection is due at the end of May, every year.
 

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The buses in Amherst/North Hampton aren't too bad. I had a friend that went to UMass and lived in NoHo. She was a bit annoyed that she had to plan, but was able to commute with a bicycle and public transit being her only transportation options.

The roads out here are awesome. I often head out into the Amherst area.

Enjoy!

Sent from Motorcycle.com Free App
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yeah, we went up a few weeks ago to check it all out and get the apartment nailed down and everything, and it all looked pretty good, it's gonna be very weird living in a rural-ish area like that after living in Charlotte my whole life, but I'm sure it'll be fine. The weirdest thing I noticed while we were up there was that I only saw maybe 2 or 3 grocery stores the whole week we were there. Plenty of farm stands and whatnot, but I'm used to there being a Food Lion or Bi-Lo or Harris Teeter or something on almost every corner, so that'll be a huge adjustment, but it does excite me a bit to know that most of our food will probably be coming from the farm stands and stuff, and I bet the meat especially is great. But the bus doesn't worry me as much as I was, the apartment complex we're in actually has a bus stop right there in the parking lot, and I'll be taking some classes as well, so it'll be free, so that'll be nice.


I had another question for yall though, what insurance do you have in MA and what do you think is the best one? I'm looking around and getting quotes right now (we move August 9), but I can only check the companies I know are nationwide, I don't know about any of the MA-specific companies.
 

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You may not have as many grocery stores but you have much better riding LOL Not so much crazy Masshole drivers to worry about (YES I'm a Masshole LOL) For the Ins there are a LOT of options, Your best bet is to do a web search for Mass motorcycle ins. and get the quotes. I have Met and it does pay with no issues thus far and have gotten claims with no hassles on my truck and cars in the past but not the cheapest out there,I just got into a group rate and have 6% knocked off the total and a few other bennies so I stay with them. We just got Gieco in Mass not too long ago also.

Dauntae
 
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