In Search Of…The Backroad Express Riders

Want to travel in retirement? Check out the way these men are doing it!

If you stop by this little country store near Richland Center, Wisconsin on any given Tuesday, you’ll likely bump into some regulars. Most are seniors, all part of the same club that meet up for coffee and conversation before the before the real fun begins

“This is holy day for us,” says member Dick Dahlberg.

These men are all part of Wisconsin’s very own moped gang called the ‘Backroad Express Riders.’ They formed in the 90’s as a way for these typical retired seniors to buck the typical retired tendency’s. “I was a little bit leery about joining but after you retire you gotta have something to do. So I thought I would act foolish and get on a moped,” says Ray Schroeder. 

Their weekly travels are as varied as the men that take them. “They come from about every source of life there is. We have bankers, policemen, teachers, farmers,” says Bob Nachtigal. 

The destination is not nearly as important as how they get there.  “We like the back roads. As you probably today, we was on roads you didn’t know existed. And we find that sometimes too. Sometimes we get lost,” admits Dahlberg.

The back roads are the backbone of their travels, but it’s the bikes that turn heads.
“These are Urban Express Honda’s. They were made in 1982 and 83.”

The day trips range from 70 miles to 150 miles. “We used to go from bar to bar, says Dahlberg, “Now we go from restaurant to restaurant.”

They admit they have to stop more often than they used to. “You gotta stretch a little bit and move your arms. The biggest part is after about 80-90 miles, my seat gets really sore. AMEN!”

“There’s times when ladies aren’t present, there’s cornfields around that we’ll relieve ourselves.”

With their increasing age comes increasing challenges. “Getting on and getting off!”

“I never knew these people before we got together,” says rider Jim Husnik.  “And it was a whole new group of people and it got to be a lot of fun. We look forward to that ride every week.”

“I think it keeps you younger,” adds Dahlberg.  “We’ve got some guys 89-years-old still riding with us.”

After lunch, home comes a calling.  “Why do they want to head for home? Everybody needs a nap in the afternoon!”

They don’t take the straightest path or the shortest path – they don’t want to.  Because if there is one thing these men have learned over the years, it’s that life can be even sweeter on a ride down the roads less traveled.