Posts Tagged ‘motorcycles’

Silver City New Mexico
Silver City, New Mexico

When I enlisted in the Marine Corps Infantry, I was surprised with the responses I received when others learned the news. Most, probably envisioning me marching away to war, expressed concern for my safety, a handful indicated they were proud of me, and the vast majority tried to relate: “hey, I have a cousin in the Army. He says he likes it, I guess.” A few, however, blurted that I was going to get myself killed. Thankfully, that reaction (a disconcerting one) was rare. But when I purchased a motorcycle, it was the norm.

 “So you just got a motorcycle, huh? Well, you’re gonna crash and die.”

 An incredible number also felt compelled to tell me about specific incidents where that had happened, too. It was always somebody distant to them, like the husband of a cousin’s neighbor’s niece. Invariably, something horrible had taken place. That, too, was disconcerting. It was always bad news…

  “You got a motorcycle? Yeah, I just had a patient who ground his entire lower body to a nub when he skidded off his bike doing 100mph on a back road. Have fun riding.”

 “You got a motorcycle? Our prayer requests in Bible study yesterday were for the surviving family of a man killed when he was riding his motorcycle on his farm.”

 “Motorcycle, huh…..you ever seen that video of Evil Knievel hitting the pavement after his jump? I think he broke every bone in his body – at least twice. It was heinous. He looked like a rag doll.”

 “Yeah, my cousin bought a bike, but he crashed it on his first ride and now he’s in a wheelchair.”

 “One of the neighbor’s kids used to ride, but then he wrapped himself around a tree and died. I think he was about 20.”

 “Well, bikes are neat, but I’m too afraid to ride. I’m terrified that somebody will open a car door and I’ll go flying off. Have you seen that movie where there’s this scene….the guy landed in an intersection and got run over. It was pretty cool. But I don’t want to ride a bike, though. Too risky.”

I even had one person offer to pay me NOT to purchase a motorcycle. Naturally, I declined.

 Yes, it may be dangerous, but so is life itself. Besides which, there are number of measures one can easily take to mitigate the risks – beginning with a motorcycle safety course, leathers, and a motorcycle helmet. Furthermore, most other risks can be drastically reduced if riders set aside their pride, ignore the compulsion to exceed the speed limit, and simply enjoy the road. That you have a bike – a sleek, powerful beast with lots of shiny parts – is showing off enough. Respect it, be hyper-vigilant, and you’ll be just fine. You have a greater risk of injury riding a horse (according to the Hughston Sports Medicine Foundation).

In looking back on the whole ordeal, I’ve reached the conclusion that the first thing that comes to mind with a non-rider is the dangers of motorcycling. Thus, that’s what comes out of their mouths. For a rider, however, is the freedom, the road, the roar of the pipes inside your helmet, and the known fact that people in their boring little cars are staring at you with envy. All their kids are waving, too, much to the horror of their mothers. Maybe everybody’s a killjoy because they’re jealous that I’m going to have a lot of fun and they’re not. 

And here’s the best part: Now only two years after purchasing my first motorcycle, nearly every person who said something negative about riding has since gone riding with me and thoroughly enjoyed it – to include the person who offered to pay me to not buy the bike. At least one has purchased a bike of his own, and several more have expressed interest in buying them in the future. I win, folks. Well, motorcycles win. (I will note that one passenger kept peering over my shoulder to monitor the speedometer, but I think she still had fun.)

 There’s something about a motorcycle that’s almost universally appealing. Something about the way it hugs the road in curves and bolts up the long inclines that cars struggle to climb. Or the deep rumble as you cut through tunnels and under overpasses. Maybe it’s the subtle statement that, “I can go fast if I want to, but I’m happy just relishing the ride.” All you naysayers, we’ll win you over yet. And then, we’ll see you out there on a bike of your own. You can’t help it; it’s just fun.
About Ben Shaw, the author

Motorcycle Trip Planning-To Plan or Not To

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A motorcycle trike is exactly what it sounds like: a three wheeled motorcycle. These new forms of motorcycles are really starting to gain in popularity, what used to be novelty is becoming common place. 

There are many reasons for the increased popularity of these machines. For many people the added size and stability gives them an increased feeling of safety. For others the bigger size provides a more comfortable ride and additional storage. For some people they simply want to be able to continue to enjoy the ‘wind in your hair’ feeling of a motorcycle but have some physical limitations that prevent them from riding a two wheeled motorcycle. 

Because of the added stability of having three wheels a trike is easier to learn how to ride. Many people can be intimidated learning on a two wheeled motorcycle. Riding a trike is different from a two wheeled motorcycle since you don’t lean in corners, you just steer, more like a car. 

Any motorcycle can be converted to a trike, Honda and Harley-Davidson are two of the most common conversion packages. The price to convert your motorcycle to a trike will vary depending on the type of bike you currently have as well as the particular conversion kit you choose. 

There are different finish levels available which will determine the final price. Just ask your favorite motorcycle dealer or accessories shop for a referral. 

For the 2010 model year, Harley-Davidson has two styles of 3 wheelers available. They are introducing these models because they are seeing an increased demand for the 3 wheelers. 

For licensing and insurance purposes trikes are classified as a motorcycle and all state and federal laws, such as helmet laws, still apply. You aren’t as exposed as you are on a motorcycle, but you still are exposed, that’s why you have to wear all the same safety apparel that you would wear when riding a motorcycle. 

So if you’ve thought about either getting your own trike or converting your existing motorcycle to a trike with a conversion kit, you’ll gain a lot of stability and storage without losing any of the joy of riding a motorcycle.

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The 5th annual 2009 AMA International Women and Motorcycling Conference 
was held in Keystone Colorado August 19 -22. This years theme: ‘Riding to New Heights’. 

There were 1,000 avid motorcyclists in attendance. The event was sponsored by Harley
Davidson and Buell. 

The beautiful Keystone Resort and Conference Center, with the Rocky Mountains in the background, provided the perfect location for four days of training sessions, riding, seminars, riding, speeches, and yes, more riding!

Celebrating the dramatic, and continuing, increase in the number of female riders and the role they will have on the future of riding, this conference was an testament of the AMA’s dedication to representing all riders no matter what, or how you ride. 

The keynote speech by Ashley Fiolek, the defending Motorcross Association National Champion and X Games gold
medalist, who was born deaf and was the first woman to compete on the Honda racing team. 

Fiolek told of her challenges in breaking into such a male dominated sport. She stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with those who believe in you and your dreams and will support you in the pursuit of those dreams. After Fiolek’s passionate speech the crowd, many of whom were moved to tears, gave her a standing ovation. 

Throughout the 4 day event, punctuated by social events such as the Rocky Mountain Barn Dance and the International Street Party, there were many inspirational speakers such as: AMA’s President and CEO Rob
Dingman, newest member of the AMA’s board of directors Maggie McNally, Leslie Prevish the great-granddaughter of Harley-Davidson co-founder William A. Davidson, Jan Plessner Public Relations Manager for Kawasaki, and Leslie Porterfield the land-speed record holder and 2008 AMA Female Athlete of the Year. 

AMA Marketing and Special Events Manager Tigra Tsujikawa summed up the event like this: “The AMA is appreciative of all the speakers, guests and sponsors who helped make the 2009 AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conference, presented by Harley-Davidson and
Buell, possible,” “We had an incredible time in Keystone, and I’m sure I speak for all the attendees when I say that I came home more optimistic about the future of
women and motorcycling than ever before.”

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I’m wearing my Pistol Pete premium leather jacket, 5-pocket leather pants and Milwaukee classic harness leather boots from Jafrum in the photo of me standing by the Lone Bald Overlook sign note: I didn’t even read the writing on the sign when the picture was taken…noticed later while reviewing the pictures of the day how ironic this particular photo was ;-) Both photos taken on the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville, NC on April 22, 2009. Temperature was sunny and in the low 30’s! I was toasty warm and very comfortable. (I’m 6’4” and 250 lbs) Bike is a 2003 Honda Valkyrie pulling an Escapade trailer. (That’s ice on the rocks! Bike picture was taken facing across the road from the Lone Bald Overlook picture) Jim R , Florida Bald Overlook riderMotorcycle

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It had to happen sooner or later: Harley-Davidson has always been the object of desire for many who for whatever reason didn’t take the plunge and buy one. Now the fantasy can be even more realistic with a help of a little technology. The story carried by Motorcyclebikes.org follows:

Activision gives gamers the chance to stop dreaming and start riding in Harley-Davidson: Race to the Rally available now for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system. Charge out on the highways and byways across America on fully upgradeable classic and late-model Harley-Davidson motorcycles while facing outrageous road challenges.

“Harley-Davidson: Race to the Rally” takes gamers from coast to coast across America exploring classic rides centric to “Harley-Davidson” and the biker lifestyle such as Big Sur, historic Route 66, and the Badlands. Each of the 20 authentic Harley-Davidson motorcycles including the Dyna, Softail, Touring, and Sportster are fully customizable and upgradeable with licensed parts and accessories, so there are thousands of possibilities on which to perform the gravity-defying jumps, and high-speed turbo boosts in this game. Plus, it features a soundtrack that captures the attitude of “Harley-Davidson” with tracks by George Thorogood, Heart, Poison, Great White and more.

Anyone who enjoys games and motorcycles will be in seventh heaven with this Playstation 2Race to the Rally. The rendering of the Harley-Davidson motorcycles is so realistic, after playing this game for a while the urge to own and ride a motorcycle may be too difficult to resist.

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The word is out for the millions of automobile drivers who are looking for a way to beat the skyrocketing gas prices. They are finding that for just a few thousand bucks they can get a motorcycle or scooter that will give them 50 miles to the gallon or better.

They are discovering what many bikers already know: you may not be able to ride it across country, but a scooter can sure be a cool cruise around town. Business is booming all over the country for motorcycle and scooter dealers which has a whole lot of people are smiling these days.

Nationwide, sales of scooters are up more than 23% just in the first quarter of this year. And Kymco, says its business has doubled in the Washington State region alone. In the motorcycle division, Q-link Legacy 250 has reported that the sales for their automatic motorcycle are up by 35%.

With gasoline at $4.00 a gallon and prices still rising, many drivers who are looking for a more economical way to navigate their daily commute are buying new scooters. Scooters start at a couple of thousand dollars new, and head north from there.

But scooter fans say you can quickly make that up in fuel savings, some owners report saving as much as $2500 over the last three years.

For those drivers who prefer to own a road hog, used motorcycle can be found in the $3000 price range and sales of bikes are also rising due to increased new rider safety awareness programs that are driving the point home to start with a low powered bike until they become experienced.

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Mark your calendars and get ready for a real treat at 8pm on Tuesday, June 24th. SpeedTV’s fascinating American Thunder motorcycle series has become hugely popular and this week’s episode puts the spotlight on Ridley Motorcycles.

Filmed during Myrtle Beach Bike Fest the show will feature an interview with Jay Ridley, son of Clay Ridley who started the company that has revolutionized motorcycles.

Clay Ridley has led a life full of innovation and the pursuit for excellence continues. Ridley Motorcycles is a privately held company founded in 1995 and has become synonymous with automatic motorcycles. Great care and precision in design goes into the production of these high quality machines which are tagged: “America’s Automatic Motorcycles.”

This program shows you the power and performance that many find hard to believe comes from a motorcycle that has automatic control. Motorcycle fans will get a close-up view of the “0eight Auto-Glide Chopper” pictured here, when the host of the show, Michelle Smith takes it for a spin. Ridley’s new “Auto-Glide Trike” will also be reviewed.

Michelle travels the country attending motorcycle events for SpeedTV, the number one channel for motorsports, so don’t miss this exciting episode. Check your local listings for channel and programming information.

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With the onset of warm weather bikers around the country are eager to be on the road again and part of the fun is attending biker rallies.

One of the first events that always have a huge turnout is Bikefest in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina which took place June 2nd.

The reports have been pouring in that because of bikers behaving badly, the City Council is going to review hosting the event.

The majority of bikers attend rallies to meet friends, listen to great music, relax and have fun.

But many people on both sides seem to be stuck in the 1950’s: when rock n’ roll music was supposedly the product of an evil force and bikers earned a reputation for striking fear in the hearts of the townsfolk.

Every time bikers gather, there seems to be a great burst of energy released by non-bikers due to fear of the biker stereotype, that a handful of bikers like to keep alive.

It should be noted that college students share the credit with bikers for creating the mischief that is causing the City Council to take a second look at Bikefest.

Behaving badly or biker rage: call it what you will, just like road rage displayed by drivers, it’s bad news.

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Believe it or not, with only 91 miles of road Juneau, Alaska has more motorcycles per capita than most places in the United States.

This is one of the reasons for the 91 Miles to Ride: Juneau’s Biker Culture exhibit at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum.

Four classic motorcycles will be on display; a 1924 Henderson Inline IV, a 1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead (shown in the photo on the right), a 1946 Indian Chief and a 9-foot-long 1975 customized chopper, all on loan from Juneau bikers.

In 2006, 1,025 motorcycles were registered in Juneau. According to Sarah Asper-Smith, guest curator of the exhibit which opened May 18th and will be on display until September 27th, the exhibit examines the reason why there are so many motorcycles in town, when it’s not possible to drive out of town and only 3 good months for riding a year.

The exhibit features memorabilia and photographs, which highlight the biker culture and groups of Juneau. There is a lot of history in these photographs: a 1930s photograph shows one of the earliest motorcycle clubs in town, when there were only one or two roads.

The motorcycle owners of Juneau are a passionate group and according to the Museum Director Jane Lindsey, the exhibit appeals to the community on different levels. Visitors will have an opportunity to learn more about the history of Juneau, their neighbors and get a chance to see  vintage motorcycles that combine art with machine beautifully.

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President Bush is now an honorary member of the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club complete with his own leather jacket. And you cannot help but wonder which motorcycle the President would ride: would it be a Harley-Davidson, Triumph or Honda?

Many of the Rolling Thunder bikers are veterans and reminded President Bush that there is a lot of room for improvement in terms of benefits veterans receive during active duty and after they leave the service.

This was a very appropriate way to mark the end of Motorcycle Safety Month. With Rolling Thunder’s visit to the White House on May 25th, it also underscored that what we really need are uniform motorcycle laws across the United States as well as increased driver education on how to share the road with bikers. Perhaps this event will encourage our lawmakers to turn a more careful eye to the legislature that is high the bikers lists of concerns.

Of course bikers need to do their part as well. It is a mystery to me why after countless motorcycle accidents, some of them fatal, that there are STILL bikers who ride without proper training, protective gear, license or insurance.

The more bikers respect their own safety, the easier it will be for drivers to do the same.

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Motorcycles and racing is a match that’s made in heaven as far as fans are concerned. Thousands of bikers and car drivers attend events that deliver a thrill that is hard to define. Several websites have broadcast events but there’s something new is on the horizon: The Moto Channel on MediaZone.com.

Media Zone brings comprehensive coverage of Motorcross, Freestyle, Mini and SuperMoto racing direct and live via Internet TV. Beside the live coverage, there are archives of past season events and Fantasy Leagues as well.

Join the community with a season pass annual subscription of $24.99 and you can upload your photos and videos, blog and participate in member forums. Plus when it comes to live events, you will not believe all of the action that is included:

  • Weekly highlights on MediaZoneMoto.com
  • 2008 Motocross of Nations
  • 2008 Supermoto of Nations
  • 2008 FIM Supermoto World Championship
  • 2008 FIM Motocross World Championship
  • 2005-2007 Motocross, Supermoto, Freestyle and 2006 Minimoto Archives

The Moto Channel lets you truly experience the feeling of “being there” from where ever you are in the world. With coverage of motorcycle events from around the world on Internet TV, you may never watch regular television again.

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Whether you are biking to work or across country, you can never have enough storage space butcargo storage you don’t want to weigh down your bike too much with extra luggage. Having all of your necessities at your fingertips just got easier with the Grab-it Pack. With a design that mimics the ever-ready gun holster, this nifty water-resistant storage gadget was invented by Louis Kiss, a Hollywood Stuntman and Special Effects Makeup Artist.

The Grab-it Pack is great for holding your wallet, cell phone, keys and coins: all the small stuff that you need on your ride. It’s designed to hug your hip, and straps secure it around your waist and your leg. It can be worn on either your right or left side or if you really need A LOT of storage room you can wear one on both sides. Velcro flaps hold all of your stuff securely in place making it easy to open and get to the things you need when on your motorcycle.

The Grab-it Pack is one of those items that can be used by every biker. It has a no-nonsense functional design gives you extra on-body cargo space that you can remove when you reach your destination. Way cool and reasonably priced to boot. Check it here.

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Braking is the one aspect of motorcycling that many bikers struggle to master, especially when making an emergency stop. There are a few new motorcycles that have anti-lock brakes, but this option calls for deep pockets; not every biker can afford them.

The problem most bikers face without anti-lock brakes is that if you are riding full out and your wheels lock the result in most cases will not be pretty. Thankfully now there is a reasonably priced motorcycle accessory that comes in second only to the helmet in providing you with safety and protection: Traction Control Brakes.

This accessory is a safety product that can save your life. The brakes on a motorcycle lock on the high and low areas of the rotor. The Traction Control Brake System plays the role of middleman, absorbing the shock to the brake so they float over these areas. It eliminates premature locking of your brakes and gives you an accurate way to gauge how much brake you’re using.

At $79 a wheel, this is one safety feature you cannot afford to do without; Traction Control Brakes can be fitted to 95% of the current bikes on the market. Protect yourself and be safer on the road: see the Traction Control Brake System up close and personal.

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It is Bike Security 101: lock it or lose it, but it’s not just for the street anymore. Many bikers feel that parking their bikes out of sight in their garage makes it unnecessary to go through this routine but the thieves among us have gotten very clever: motorcycle thefts from garages are on the increase.

There is a high demand for certain motorcycles just as is the case with cars, so bikers need to be wise and street smart: don’t advertise your bike by parking it on the lawn. Bike thieves rarely break into a garage at random: don’t give the opportunity to case your bike and steal it from your garage.

Taking measures to secure your bike in your garage like it was on the street is the first step: the second thing you have to do is deny a thief the opportunity to get into your garage. That means keeping your garage keys out of sight in a place where thieves cannot get to them easily. That may not stop every thief, but the harder you make it for them to gain access to your bike the more likely they are to give up on the heist.

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If you have ever dreamed of owning and riding a motorcycle, here’s another reason to make that move: the zero emissions Brammo “Enertia” electric motorcycle gives you a thrill while you go green.

Electric motorcycles have been around for quite a while—and they’re no wimps either. In fact, if you have 100 Grand sitting around gathering dust, the “KillaCycle” is ready to drop your jaw at 168mph over a quarter of a mile, making it the world’s fastest electric motorcycle.

For the first time bikers who want to go green and spend a little less “ka-ching,” the Brammo Enertia will be the fist legal motorcycle powered by electric batteries. The production announcement was made in July 2007 and the advance orders are pouring in for the first mass-produced electric motorcycle. Obviously, this bike is not meant for touring, the main focus is the urban commuter market.

With a price under $15,000 it’s easy to show Mother Nature respect without giving up on the performance you crave: the bike goes from zero to 30 mph in 3.8 seconds. And charging your bike batteries is easy too: at a speed of 50 mph the Enertia gives you up to 45 miles per charge, just get yourself to the nearest outlet and you’re good-to-go. Check the videos at http://www.enertiabike.com.

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While the mystique of riding a motorcycle causes many to yearn to shed their conventional mode of transport and don a leather jacket instead, for bikers around the world who enjoy the experience on a regular basis the goal is much bigger. Many bikers dream about it, but only a few ever have the ability to make the dream a reality, here are two of the few.

Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor are two bikers who started a mind-bending 15,000 mile trip on May 12, 2007 from John O’Groats, London to Cape Town, South Africa. The journey that took 85 days included a crew of photo and videographers who chronicled the adventure.

Of course there is much more to this story than charting a course for a motorbike run. Beyond the weeks of planning was hours of physical training for endurance; traveling through different types of weather conditions, climates and time zones can be grueling and disorientating to say the least.

The book “The Long Way Down” won the Play.com Popular Non-Fiction Award at the Galaxy British Book Awards, a fitting reward and a well-earned thumbs up for motorcyclists everywhere. The film will be released on the National Geographic channel in July 2008. Check out the videos at http://www.longwaydown.com/

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In case you haven’t heard, if you own a Honda VT750s VT600s, VLXs and VTX 1300s manufactured in 2006, 2007 or 2008 you may be in danger every time you start your engine.

Honda has issued a recall of these models which is now in progress as of April 10, 2008. The recall is due to the discovery of an improperly manufactured fuel control value diaphragm which could leak and poses a fire hazard in the fuel delivery system. Honda dealers will replace the fuel control valve diaphragm assembly free of charge. The recall will affect 39,000 VT600s, VLXs and VTX1300s and apparently all 750 V-twins designated ’07 or ’08 models.

A warning issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states: “the fuel control valve diaphragm and the fuel valve may drip fuel. In the presence of an ignition source, dripping fuel poses the risk of fire.” Follow this link for the official NHTSA document.

Consumers may contact Honda at 1-866-784-1870 Reference Recall No. Q75 or the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or view more info at http://safercar.gov or consumeraffairs.com

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Alfred P. Sloan was elected President of General Motors in 1923 and led the company to phenomenal success for 23 years. Flint, Michigan was famous for making carriages long before it became known for automobiles. The Alfred P. Sloan Museum located at 1221 E. Kearsley Street is part of the Flint Cultural Center dedicated to preserving automotive history.

Before World War II, the motorcycle was used because of its practicality as a form of transportation. The “Rides and Rebels,” exhibit runs until July 2008, is a tribute to the motorcyclist who has become the symbol of individual freedom and discovery.

This exhibit shows that there is more to the motorcycle lifestyle than the image presented by the film “Rebel Without a Cause.” Bikers are responsible and creative individuals who value the environment: motorcycles use far less gasoline and produce fewer pollutants than cars.

The display features 60 motorcycles on loan from Michigan riders, famous racers, including a section called “My First Bike” featuring a Tiger Triumph named “Tea Time” restored by local leather artist Bob “Leatherman” Katrinic, that’s adorned with silver spoons, teapots, teacups and crystals from chandeliers. There is also artwork, photographs and a lot of leather jackets.

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