May 2, 2010, provided me with one of the most exciting moments in my life... The parking lot at Montgomeryville Cycle Center (in Hatfield, Pennsylvania) was jammed with BMW motorcycles trying to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the greatest number of German bikes ever assembled to ride in one continuous parade. BMW motorcycles spanning more than 50 years of production — with virtually every model recognized — rolled in to participate. They trickled in at first, and then arrived in waves from a five-state area. Some of the guys had been on the road longer than 5 hours just to ride in and be counted.
The deadline was high noon. The tide of arriving bikes had slowed to a trickle. Then simply stopped. With twenty minutes to spare, we were one bike short of breaking the record. The silence was palpable and the atmosphere was positively electric. And then there was that sound... The distinctive nuclear growl of a BMW super bike coming up Route 309. Hundreds of people held their collective breath as a rider wearing full racing leathers, on a brand new BMW S1000RR, barreled into the assembly, putting the whole effort over the record-breaking top.
The rider was Edward A. Stimmler, Jr., an unassuming guy, who was just out for a spring ride on his new BMW predator, pulled in because he saw the crowd, the bikes, and the cops all in one huge gathering. He hadn’t heard about the event, yet was the keystone in its success. He had no idea why hundreds of people were applauding him, and slapping him on the back. That day, Stimmler was a vision of the BMW rider of the future: a thin, young guy, wearing form-fitting marque racing leathers, riding the hottest new motorcycle introduced by Beemer in years... A bike that would soon raise the bar for every racing motorcycle in its class.
Two other machines would follow Stimmler, but none would draw that response from the crowd. Members of the Mac-Pac (southeastern Pennsylvania’s chartered BMW riding club) would meet Stimmler up close and personal three-weeks later, when he rode in for their monthly breakfast.
On October 21, 2010, Edward Stimmler, Jr., 37, was fatally injured Thursday after the BMW motorcycle he was riding collided with a vehicle in the 1200 block of Penllyn-Blue Bell Pike, according to Whitpain police. Allegedly, the driver of a Ford Fusion pulled out of a driveway and sideswiped the motorcycle, causing it to veer off into a fence. Despite being treated at the scene and being flown by helicopter to a local hospital, Ed Stimmler, Jr. died as a result of his injuries. He wore a helmet and full gear.
I only knew this man for the five minutes it took him to register for the Guinness Book event. I did not make the Mac-Pac breakfast that month. I remember Stimmler as a nice guy who laughed at the reaction of the crowd when he rode in. It is my intention to ask the Mac-Pac to make this gentleman an honorary member and to conduct some annual event, with proceeds collected to be donated to some local charity in his name. There is no evidence at this time that the driver of the Ford Fusion was guilty of anything other than “not seeing the motorcycle,” though I do not have any details of the subsequent investigation.
I am tired of cage drivers not seeing motorcycles... And it is always sad to read of a fellow biker who went down “minding his own business.”
Tomorrow night, at 9pm Eastern Time, I am going to raise my glass to Ed Stimmler, a fellow biker and a BMW rider who sure knew how to make an entrance. Please join me in this simple gesture to this “unassuming nice guy,” and thousands of others like him, who went down doing something they loved.
©Copyright Jack Riepe 2010
AKA The Lindbergh Baby (Mac-Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain — PS (With A Shrug)