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Archive for the ‘Motorcycle Events’ Category

Eicma-2014

Next week, 6th of November, world’s biggest motorcycle exhibition in terms of exhibition space, visitors and stands opens its doors to the general public in Milan, Italy. This gigantic exhibition area is located just outside Milan, and consists of 16 enormous halls (although only half are in use for the expo). This year, they are celebrating 100 years of exhibitions in Milan’s Eicma.

Eicma-Floorplan-2014

As usual, this annual event has become the mecca for motorcycle riders, owners, manufacturers and lovers. It’s the annual pilgrimage for anyone working or associated with the motorcycle industry.

And as usual, there will be a plethora of new motorcycles and scooters presented, as if the new ones presented only a month ago at the German Intermot exhibition weren’t enough. We know that there will be a lot of new bikes (BMW, Honda, Triumph, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, Energica, Piaggio, Matchless, Kymco, Husqvarna, Bimota, Harley-Davidson and Sym all have scheduled press conferences), but we also know that there will be a lot of accessories launched; helmets, jackets, gloves, boots, safety equipment…. the list is very long.

Since we will be there to cover the two press days (4 and 5 November), instead of just telling you some of the new stuff, let’s try something new:

How about you tell us which of our stocked brands you want us to look at closer? Just put in a comment of the brand, and we’ll hike on up to their booth and find out what’s new. How about that?

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Often people think what can they do to extend their motorcycle riding fun. Just going for senseless rides is not the way to go. Group rides are fine, but what about volunteering for one of the many local sports events.

Many sports events, like bicycles, marathon, triathlon and other road races require escorts (the motorcycle kind – wink wink), often by motorcycles. The escort duty can be marshaling, in other words having an “official” as pillion who has to ensure that no one cheats and that all rules are respected, or to ride around with a press photographer as pillion, or just as safety motorcycle, making sure that all participants can race in safety.

It’s great fun, and you are actually in the middle of the sports event. A bit like being able to run around the football field during the Superbowl.

But riding your motorcycle in a sports event does require a certain ability and experience. You’ll need to be able to ride real slowly, since often the race participants will be slow (like running), or even when it’s a bicycle race, imagine riding up a steep mountain following a cyclist. You’ll be doing only several miles per hour with a pillion sitting behind you moving around to take photos.

And when you’re not going very slow, you’re going very fast, for example, when following cyclist going down a mountain. Bicycles can go around those corners often faster than motorcycles, so you’ll need all your wits and abilities to do the same, but in this case having a 6.4” 300 pounds gorilla sitting behind you shifting around.

You also need to keep in control of your motorcycle, since often you’ll be inches away from the race participants who are jockeying to get into a better position.

But despite the challenges, it’s fun to ride as an escort service for race events. It gives a feeling of accomplishment; 1) from helping people compete in a sports event and 2) for riding your motorcycle for a good reason.

To find out where you can volunteer for escort duty, check your local bicycle race or running organizations. They usually subcontract to a local group that escorts their races. Or you can check with the Purple Wing organization in the USA who organize many race escorts. There’s a calendar of events on their site, so you can quickly see which races are of interest to you.

tour_de_france_crashes_18

Do make sure that the organization you select will evaluate you, or even train you for the event, and always ask what the insurance issues are. Usually the organization is insured in case of an accident. If not, check your insurer if you are insured. Imagine the financial consequences of crashing into participants, with a TV camera operator with full $100,000 equipment sitting behind you.

Make sure that the organization will give you the appropriate clothing, like safety-vests.

Also make sure your bike is appropriate for escorting events. For example, they’ll never accept a motorcycle with loud pipes (for obvious reasons).

Who knows, maybe you’ll become a professional, escorting races like the Tour de France bicycle race?

Click here to access the Purple Wing web site.

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Most people when they go for a motorcycle ride end up doing 100 miles or so. Usually they commute or do day trips, traveling to a destination within a day’s reach and back. Some bikers can’t get enough saddle time, while adventure riders can go hours and many miles, often visiting foreign places.

The group of fanatics who love extreme long distances have been well documented, the Iron Butt Riders. They can go for some 1000 to 1500 miles in one day, which if you think about it, is phenomenal. Talk about saddle sore.

But these are not the records. The current Guinness World Record for the longest distance travelled in 24 hours is held by Texan L. Russell “Rusty” Vaughn. Rusty rode his Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide motorcycle during 24 hours for 2,0194 miles (that’s 3,249 kilometers)!

Rusty Vaugh   © Guinness World Records

Rusty Vaugh © Guinness World Records

2,000 miles is enormous, but almost impossible to do on the road (due to speed limitations). That’s why the attempt was performed on the Continental Tire Test Track in Texas.

Source: Guinness World Records

The longest distance on the public roads was not set in North America or Europe, but somewhere you would not expect it, namely in Oman (Middle East). There, Omar Al Mamri and 36 year old biker drove his Honda CBR 1100 from the capital of Oman, Muscat to Salalah, a distance of 640 miles (1031 kilometers) AND BACK. And this road that would not qualify a good rating since it was full of potholes.

This totalized to a trip of 2,062 kilometers (1,281 miles), averaging 94.1 kph. What makes this record even more impressive was that the temperature in the desert was between 42 and 48°C (107 – 118°F).

Source: World Record Academy

And if you are interested in knowing about all those folks who have traveled long distances on their motorcycles, how about the record holder of the longest distance traveled in one trip?

That record is held by Argentinian Emillio Scotto who in one trip took his motorcycle 457,000 miles (735,000 kilometers), traveling around the world, visiting 279 countries. It took him 10 years to do the record breaking trip, and he did it in luxury & style, riding a Honda 1100 Gold Wing.

I have to presume that Emillio didn’t set out one morning to go and buy a packet of cigarettes, returning 10 years later. During the trip (he left with only $300 in his pocket), he went through 13 big sized (64 page) passports, used up 12,500 gallons of fuel and 86 tires.

Source: Guinness World Records

So next time you go out on your motorcycle and think that the 300 miles you have traveled was much, think again.

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We’re right in the middle of world’s biggest and greatest race, one of the toughest rallies known to mankind. We’re talking about the famous, or should I same notorious, Dakar rally.

Back in 1978, Frenchman Thierry Sabine (already know for organizing the wacky Le Touquet beach race) got lost in the Libyan desert on his motorcycle while racing in the Abidjan-Nice rally. He spent many days & nights digging himself out of the sand, and thought this could be a great idea for a motorcycle race. So next year he organized a race for his friends, all amateurs, to race from Paris to Senegal’s capital, Dakar.

Trucks were required to give assistance to the weary riders, and cars also entered the rally. A legend was born, the Paris-Dakar rally.

Although even today the majority of races have finished in Dakar, it wasn’t always the route Paris to Dakar. The last time Paris was used as departure was in 2001, and even before that, 3 times Paris was avoided. The reason for that was simple; weather. The Dakar rally starts in January, and often it snows at that time in France.

The routes were different each year, and eventually Dakar was left out of the destination. With more and more terrorist activities taking place in the Northern part of Africa, eventually in 2009 the organizers, ASO (organizers a.o. of the famous bicycle race the Tour de France), decided to move the race to South America, where it is still being held today.

Cyril Depres in the 2012 Dakar

Cyril Depres in the 2012 Dakar

The motorcycle portion of the race (the rally is divided into cars, quad, trucks and motorcycles) generates the most interest from the public. And there’s a good reason for it; the efforts required to ride a motorcycle through deep sand, dunes, mountains, plaines and the feared fesh-fesh (a thin ash), often for hours on end, are practically inhuman. Riders at times don’t get to see their beds (which are small pup-tents) for days, requiring major physical efforts to dig out their bikes from the sand, repair & maintain and provide their own assistance. And all that while high speed cars and trucks blast past them, often missing them by a hair (and sometimes they do crash with deadly results – 62 people have died in the Dakar, but not all in the race, sometimes in “normal” traffic accidents).

The dream of most is just to finish the race and arrive at the final destination in one piece. Forget about winning the race, that’s left to super professionals like Cyril Despres, Marc Coma and a few others. Usually more than 50% of the entered bikes don’t arrive at their destination, some even ending their dreams in the first day.

The professionals, all riding for manufacturers’ teams, require big budgets to win. Millions are spent on the race, since it’s a showcase for the motorcycle manufacturer if they win world’s toughest race.

Dakar-1980-Vespa

Dakar-1980-Vespa

Since 2001, Austrian manufacturer KTM has won every single race. Before that, the bikes that won most races were BMW, Honda and Yamaha. But all sorts of bikes have entered the race, Moto Guzzi, Cagiva and even a Vespa scooter.

Entering the race, even as an amateur costs a lot of money, so much that some have even mortgaged their homes to be able to race. ASO figure that you need a budget of €75,000 to race as amateur.

Alpinestars Tech 8   Gaerne Balance   Tourmaster synergy

Stephane Peterhansel is by far the racer with the most victories. He won the race on a Yamaha motorcycle 6 times, and then went racing in a car, winning the Dakar 4 times. It shows how tough the race is for motorcycles, since several motorcycle winners have gone to race cars in the Dakar.

Thierry Sabine had a slogan for his race, a slogan is means something to competitors and spectators alike: “A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind.”.

Unfortunately, Thierry Sabine died in a helicopter crash during the 1986 rally. Today, the legend still lives, and millions (according to ASO statistics, 1 billion people will have seen images of the race each year) enjoy and dream of this race.

Will you be one of the next competitors?

Alpinestars Tech 8

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Winter time means that it’s going to be Christmas soon, and Christmas means that Santa Claus will be coming to visit us, hopefully. But it also means that in many parts of the world, large motorcycle parades will be held with bikers dressed as Santa Claus, or at the very least have a Santa hat on.

Santa-on-a-Harley

Usually these parades are done for charity, especially considering the fact that it’s often freezing cold, so people are more inclined to contribute money for a good cause. Most often the causes are toys for children, like the famous Toys for Tots motorcycle runs.

Korea-Santa-Claus-Scooter-Parade-2011

South Korea Santa-Claus Scooter Parade 2011

Santa parades are not only held in North America, you’ll even find them in countries were you would not think Christmas has a traditional meaning. Countries like South Korea will see large parades of motorcycle-riding-Santa. The same in Japan and other Asian countries. But of course you will also find them in Europe and South America.

But lets face it, it’s nice for Santa to go out in his sledge pulled by reindeer, but using cute animals for heavy labor can be seen as cruel to animals, while riding a motorcycle is not only cool, it is also convenient for Santa.

So if you’re able to ride in the winter, and there’s a gathering near to you, why not dress up as Santa, start up your bike, and join the parade. It’s fun, and for a good cause.

If you want to find out what is being done in your area, head on over to the Toys for Tots site. You’ll be able to search by state and then county. Not everything is motorcycle parades, but you’ll be able to help kids in need. And that is what Christmas is all about, right?

Click here to go to the Toys for Tots web site.

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Polar-Bear-Grand-Tour logoJust because it’s winter doesn’t mean it’s the end of your motorcycle riding fun. Yes, agreed, it’s not easy in snowy conditions, and it will mean you need to wrap yourself up in loads of layers of clothing, but riding in the winter can be much fun. Especially when you join a group of likeminded bikers.

One of these groups constitute the Polar Bear Grand Tour. Some 550 motorcycle riders brave the icy conditions and set out for rideouts. Often the rides have a purpose, like a children’s charity; brining toys to kids.

(c) Polar Bear Grand Tour

The rides are centered around New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut. Riders met up at a general starting point on Sundays, and from there they head on out in the cold.

Riding in the winter earns you points, as do special awards like giving blood at the blood banks. The accumulated points earn you patches you can wear with pride.

(c) Polar Bear Grand Tour

So not only do you get to ride your motorcycle in the winter, you do some good as well.

Click here to access the Polar Bear Grand Tour web site.

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This week sees one of world’s biggest and largest motorcycle exhibitions take place in Cologne, Germany. Called Intermot, this once-every-two-years event alternates with the French motorcycle expo.

The show, since that is what it really is, starts for the public on October the 3rd. Specialists recon it’s second to the Italian expo Eicma in size and visitors.

In 2010, Intermot saw some 195,000 visitors visiting the 110,000 square meters (some 131,558 square yards) of space, divided into 6 different halls. The exhibition is not a “German” event, it’s truly international. 1,106 exhibitors from 40 countries are present in this event, with large representation from Asia (particularly China), Europe and North America.

Intermot Halls Layout

2010 Exhibitor Countries

This year should be a bumper year, since most main motorcycle manufacturers will be launching many new and updated motorcycles for 2013. BMW on their home turf will be showing their best-selling and new all-round motorcycle, the GS. But in contrast with previous year’s models, this boxer engine will have liquid cooling, an enormous step for the Bavarian manufacturer.

Ducati should be splitting their new models between Intermot and Eicma (their home turf), but the internet has already leaked information on their new dual-purpose 1200 Multistrada, so it’s not going to be a surprise.

The same will apply to Kawasaki with their 300 Ninja and the ZX-6R. Information has been circulating on the web about their much expected new models. Many other manufacturers are known to have new models ready for launch; Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and even harley-Davidson.

But it’s not only motorcycles that are shown here. Accessories, helmets and clothing are everywhere. From traditional manufacturers, to even the smallest shops in India can be seen here. Often you’ll find the latest gadgets meant for riders anywhere being exhibited.

Intermot (and their Italian counterpart, Eicma) are two exhibitions that any true motorcycle lover should visit at least once in their lifetime. A bit like a pilgrimage to Mecca, it shows what is being done in the world of motorcycles globally. A must!

Source: Intermot

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