pr8hed and I belong to HSTA now. Its generally geared more around riding and less around socializing. While a day ride destination is still usually a restaurant, its usually a 200-250 mile roundtrip. Here in FL, HSTA organizes 2-3 rides a month. Once a month or so, HSTA ride organizers lead rides from different parts of the state to a single rendevous point, and you end up with anywhere between 10-20 or more bikes gathering for lunch. The riding is open to anyone, not just Hondas. Also, the riding is less structured, but still safe. Pre-ride briefings are held, and in the case of the HSTA group we ride with, the riders are organized according to riding style. The faster riders tend to be placed at the front of the group, so they can enjoy a quick turn down the back roads, while the more laid back cruisers lag a little and enjoy a relaxed ride. Fits our riding style now, as we tend to run our VFRs a little harder than we did our Wings. Anyway, they are a good group to ride with. Gold Wings, Trikes, cruisers, sport-tourers and sport bikes all show up for the rides. We really like HSTA better than GWRRA. This organization is about the riding, not promoting a GWRRA-centered agenda. If you're looking for a group where riding is the center of activity, not socializing, then check into HSTA. If you're in central FL, PM us and we'll give you the local scoop.
I was a part of this group when it first got started back in the 80s. It was originally the Honda V-4 Sport Touring Assn, but due to Honda downsizing the number of V-4 models, the name was changed and the rest is history. I was the North FLorida Rep for a while.
They are definitely ride oriented, and have regional and national ralleys each year. When I was in, I went to rallys in Aspen CO, Galena Ill, Cruso NC, and Fairfield PA.
Great bunch of folks. Honda used to bring out bikes for us to demo at the national rally. Not sure if they still do that or not.
They were more sport touring oriented, but allow all kinds of bikes. Heck, I might even join back up!
Here is a list of their Local chapters. When I was in they had a huge membership from Calif and Colorado.
I've been a member for several years and agree with what's been said above, tommyboy. I think it's definitely a sport-touring rider's kind of group. Just to add to the above, the age range among members is fairly great, but I think the concentration is in the upper years -- like, the 50s and even above.
The HSTA is an extremely welcoming crowd, very outgoing and inclusive.
The inclusivity applies to the bikes as well as the people: you're welcome to take part regardless of what brand or style of bike you ride. In fact there have been periodic debates within the membership about changing the name to get rid of its reference to Honda because riders of so many other marques are members. But, for various reasons the name has been retained. It may be that Honda is still the most prevalent brand, but part of the attraction of HSTA group events is the exposure you get to a wide diversity of bikes.
The official and unofficial orientation puts a great deal of stress on safety and responsible riding. Nick Ienatch's old article on "The Pace" (about each rider in a group riding at his or her own pace rather than getting sucked into a group dynamic) is a kind of unoffical Bible for the HSTA.
You won't see many "biker" types -- beany helmets and tank tops -- however. The ATGATT (All The Gear ALL The Time) philosophy is also fairly prevasive in this crowd. The safety consciousnes is so pronounced that the group has an accident analysis team that conducts post-accident dissections of what went wrong whenever there is any significant mishap at a large event.
This year's national rally will be at the Crowne Plaza in Asheville, NC immediately after the Hoot, so anyone who plans to take in the Hoot at Knoxville, which ends on Saturday night, can easily mosey over to Asheville in a couple of hours on Sunday to join us for the "STAR" (Sport Touring Association Rendezvous) event. The HSTA website will direct you to the STAR site.
I'd strongly recommend it. My wife and I will be attending, on the Wing, and I know there'll be more than a few other Wings there as well.
My wife and I joined in 1995. We've been to w/e trips to Ohio, Ark, Ky, Ga, Pa and CO. We've usually been on our ST1100 but last summer took our new GL1800 to CO for the national rally known as STAR Sport Touring Assn Rally.
There are probable 25% Sport bikes 60% Sport tourers, dual sport and tourers make up the rest. A Harley or 2 at times. Not many rules. No large group rides. ATGATT strongly encouraged. If you like to RIDE and are a responsible rider that wants to go to a new area and ride the best roads and meet friend after the ride trhe HSTA may be for you.
Check out at ridehsta.com.