Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Cheap Harleys and free bikes

Cheap Harley, Only one previous DUMB owner
It seems some lucky soul is going to get a 2004 Harley Davidson Softtail pretty cheap at an upcoming auction in South Dakota.

The motorcycle was seized on Aug. 4 when Whitewood officer Bill Wainman pulled over Ricky Savallisch, 53 of Grand Rapids, Mich. According to court records, Savallisch was originally stopped for allegedly participating in exhibition driving, as he spun his tires on the Whitewood Service Road bridge. But upon searching the man, Wainman allegedly discovered 1.5 grams of methamphetamine and Savallisch was immediately arrested.

Under state law, the owner is given the option to purchase the bike back after the seizure. The 2004 Harley Davidson Softtail was completely paid for, worth approximately $20,000 and was being offered back for $9,000. But since he did not buy the bike back the motorcycle will now go into a statewide auction, with part of the proceeds likely to go back to the city of Whitewood to purchase a new patrol vehicle.

If the Softail isn't your style read the entire story for news about the other Harley they seized towards the end of the rally in the Black Pioneer Hills.

Speaking of not so clever people
If your city prosecutor invited you to come and explain your side of a noise complaint from riding your motorcycle through the neighborhood at 2 or 3 in the morning, would you ignore him? If you did, how many times?

Michael Brandt of Lake Township Ohio did, three times.

Canton City Prosecutor Frank Forchione said he tried to mediate the problem, but Brandt refused to meet with him, an action that resulted in the disorderly conduct charge last week.

"We gave him three chances, and he did not cooperate," he said. "I took the case to the judge. Judge (John A.) Poulos found probable cause for disorderly conduct. If (Brandt) had cooperated with the prosecutors office, we would not be (in this situation) today. We really did try to resolve this thing."

Read this strange story in the

Make room at the light
Apparently with gas prices hitting $3 a gallon, SUV and truck drivers who're tired of driving their money away are considering motorcycles.

"I left Emerald Isle this morning, drove to Tarboro and then came down here to Kinston," said Michael Russell, a prospective buyer. "I spent $60 in gas for my truck. If I'd been on my bike, it would be $8 and I'd still have a half a tank left."

Lets just hope they include the cost of a motorcycle safety course in their new purchase.

The scariest part of the news article?

Karl Rouse rides his Vespa to his job with Delta Airlines at the Kinston Regional Jetport.

"This costs me about $10 a week, no license, no insurance - it's the best investment I ever made," Rouse said.

That has statistic written all over it. You can read the full report, sans sarcasm, at The Kinston Free Press.

He didn't even have to pay for his
Robert "Doc" Bagrowski arrived at the Loudoun Summer Music Fest in Ahburn, Virginia on Sunday in a car and left on his new Suzuki S50 motorcycle.

As a fundraiser for several Loudoun charities, Loudoun MotorSports has been selling raffle tickets all summer long for the bike giveaway. Bagrowski's name was drawn by Greg and Elyzabeth Voell, the husband-and-wife owners of Loudoun MotorSports, on stage at the Loudoun Summer Music Fest just prior to the Eddie Money concert.

Read the story at Loundoun Times-Mirror.

Isn't that Eddie Money in the back row supiciously eyeing up the new bike?

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do......
Short story so here's the report in full.

The Goshen Village Police Department (New York State) now has a fully equipped motorcycle thanks to a $9,500 member item from Assemblywoman Ann Rabbitt. Officials unveiled the BMW GS-P police motorcycle yesterday.

Chief James Watt said the vehicle will come in handy when maneuvering in tight spots in the growing village.

"Goshen is getting more and more congested downtown and we think it will facilitate patrol and access in accidents and any other type of congestion," he said. "Also, community events, our parks, Heritage Trail and in an emergency situation, we think it will be a real benefit for that."

Goshen Mayor Scott Wohl said the motorcycle is a "tremendous asset to the community."

Check out the two cops in the back wearing helmets. Probably working out how to decide who'll ride it first. Indian thumb wrestling? Rock, paper, scissors?

While on the subject of the Police
Jersey City police yesterday released details of Monday's shooting in the Greenville section of Jersey City in which a man riding a motorcycle was sent crashing to the pavement when he was targeted by bullets.

A police officer working an off-duty security detail at a construction site nearby was the first to reach the wounded man, reports said. The officer asked if he had been shot and the victim replied: "Yeah, in the leg. Now get away cause I don't (expletive) with the police," reports said.

Strange stuff. Although the Jersey Journal has the full story, it doesn't mention if the rider was wearing a helmet, what kind of motorcycle it was or even if this was the first time he'd dropped his bike. Obviously the reporter isn't a biker.

Wrapping up on a somber note
Calaveras County in California isn't the place to be on a motorcycle. The Calaveras Enterprise reports that there's been an increase in the amount of motorcycle accidents involving fatalities this year and details six such accidents.

I'm sure one the main reasons this story doesn't turn into an anti-motorcycle, helmet-law debate is that the CHP Officer quoted for the story, Bryan Duquesnel is lifelong motorcycle rider who's quoted as saying, "You can't ride beyond your ability and no matter how good of a rider you are, you can't just go out and drive like you're the road warrior."

Thank you for keeping some things in perspective.

And England is mourning the loss of teenage motorcyclist Christopher Jones who died as a result of the injuries he sustained in a pile-up at the start of the British 125cc Championship race at Cadwell Park. reports that Jones had completed the warm-up lap and was on the starting grid when the incident occurred. It is understood that his engine stalled as the race kicked off and he was hit by two riders who came up behind him. Seven other competitors then collided with the stranded bikers, bringing the race to a standstill.

Read the entire report at

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

All over the world and still no chance to ride...

Before I write anything, understand that I'm very happy that South Florida had as little damage as we did from Hurricane Katrina. Also, my heart also goes out to all of those along the Gulf Coast and on up into the continental United States as the storm ravages it's way into history.

Now all that's said........

The roads have finally been cleaned up. Most of the traffic lights are are fixed. I can even hear some of our fellow riders zipping along Federal Highway past by window at work.

But can I get on my bike?

As of this Saturday I'm in England for two weeks and fly to Atlanta for business the day after I get back, so squeezing a ride in during the next fews days is becoming more tantalizing and further out of my reach as each day goes by.

It doesn't help that nature is toying with me. It looked like it was going to pour down with rain when I left work so no bike ride, and with having to see friends on Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday is going to be the golden time. Wish me luck.

Before I review all the motorcycle news to know, it was interesting to walk past someones new toy on Sunday. A gleeming red Triumph Rocket 3, brand new from the showroom floor. What an amazing bike. The color is officially called Cardinal Red and what impressed me most was the little finishing touches Triumph added to the bike and little embelishments placed all around the bodywork. Looks much more than the list price of $16,000 and according to the website, it comes with a 24 month unlimited mileage warranty.


The news.

Yes we CAN get along!
So you think you're going to an event to support your community with about 100 of your closest biker buddies and when you get there it's a Christian Rock concert. Or if we look at it the other way, you're excited about the christian rock concert you bought tickets to and when you turn up there are over a 100 bikers hanging around.

Either way it was a surprise to all parties involved and became apparent when owners of Lucy's Airbrush in Decatur found out that they did not have exclusive rights to the Clinton square for their fund-raiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

A scheduling snafu brought Christian rock music enthusiasts and motorcycle lovers together Saturday on Clinton's downtown square.

Motorcycle riders and festival participants mingled around the square for roasted pork and a look at the motorcycles on display. "It's a divine happening," said Mike Henderson, pastor of New Life Community Church.

Read about the interesting event in the Pantagraph.

You think Harley is saturating the market
Modenas, one of Malaysia's largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters with 870,000 assembled as of August 2005, aims to manufacture its one millionth two-wheeler next year.

"We are confident of reaching our one millionth production before the end of next year," said its group chairman Tan Sri Mohd Saleh Sulong.

Whether that's a lot of bikes or not, the Group Chairman wins the award for longest name plate for a desk.

Staying in that part of the world and on a sad note, it was reported that daredevil Javad Palizbanian died yesterday. Because the website that hosted the story is a little slow, here it is in it's entirety.

An Iranian daredevil died while attempting to break the world record for jumping over buses on a motorcycle, state television reported Saturday.

Javad Palizbanian, 44, was trying to leap over 22 buses parked side-by-side when his motorbike came down on the 13th bus, the report said. He died instantly.

State TV broadcast the start of Palizbanian's attempt in Azadi Sports stadium Friday, but then cut away when the accident occurred.

"The crash scene was too disturbing to show publicly," the newscaster said.

Minutes beforehand, Palizbanian had told an audience of hundreds: "I am going to break the world record and do something for my country to be proud of." Palizbanian was well known in Iran for his motorbike stunts. Last month, he roared his bike over a river more than 50 yards wide.

Being hassled by the man
The thought of having a motorcycle club moving into the neighborhood has rallied the local population in Jacksonville, Oregon.

A petition drive to block the proposed sale of watershed land to a local motorcycle club has garnered signatures from more than half of the towns registered voters.

The fate of the citys heavily forested 1,800-acre watershed has been under debate by two citizen advisory subcommittees for the past two years. One option calls for the city to maintain ownership of the land, turning it into a city forest and recreational park. Another proposes selling two-thirds of the property to the Motorcycle Riders Association. Funds from the estimated $750,000 to $1 million sale would be used to improve the remaining third of the watershed.

Read about the community fighting back against the big bad bikers in the Mail tribune.

Speaking of being hassled
Yesterday I wrote about a news story concerning a certain Mr. Coit who was upset with his nieghbors for running unlicensed businesses from their houses. It just so happens that the business he considers the most egregious involves a home that has a large Quonset-style hut and big garage in its spacious backyard. Parked near the buildings on a recent afternoon were two large trailers and a truck. Coit said the owner is running a motorcycle transport business from the yard. Recently, a number of motorcyclists dropped their bikes off at the house, upsetting Coit with the noise and traffic.

But Mack Barrero said he is not running a business. He said he does transport motorcycles, but only for a small group of friends in an informal motorcycle club. He takes their bikes to four rallies a year, most recently to Sturgis, S.D.

Read about the accusations, denials and involvement of the town's building inspectors in

But will he wear a helmet?
Most of us have to play with our grandfathers train sets or fiddle around with old transistor or even tube radios to have that quality time.

Brian James has grown closer to his grandfather by building one of the world's fastest motorcycle drag racers.

Since December, the 16-year-old Stamford High School student has spent nearly every day working under his grandfather's watchful eye. Vito Sabato, 59, of Darien, is helping Brian build a modified Harley-Davidson Iron Head Sportster motorcycle.

Two weeks ago, Brian completed his first official drag race at Cecil County Dragway in Rising Sun, Md. He put on the same leather pants and jacket his grandfather wore for a race and stepped on the track as the youngest rider there. Though Brian lost in the second round, he clocked an impressive first-round time of 10.3 seconds at 118 mph.

The Advocate has the entire story in all it's warm and fuzzy glow.

Real Life Insight
I've been following all the articles, reports and editorials that've appeared after the release of the NHTSA's study on the increase in motorcycle fatalities in Florida since the repeal of the helmet law.

In response to a recent report in the Herald Tribune, a reader wrote a heartfelt letter.

I am a health-care professional from "Harleyville" (Milwaukee) now living in Florida. Regarding the controversy over the helmet law for motorcycles: I'd like to say that helmets save lives.

What is not discussed very often is the quality of life a helmet saves.

Read this simple but poignant letter at the Herald tribune.

And on that note.

Be safe.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Still waiting for that chance to ride.....

Well the clean-up after Hurricane Katrina continues with debris still littering the roads and quite a few traffic lights out, certianly not the conditions to ride in. I should be happy that my baby made it through the storm with not even the dust cover disturbed, but I am hoping that the storm moves far enough out into the gulf to keep the bands of rain away from us during the upcoming week.

Is it really unfair for me to expect the karma Gods of biking to look down favorably on my last week in town?

A round up of the motorcycle related news starts on a sad note. The mysterious disappearance of biker Charles "Chuck" Mitchell covered in Runaway Bride on a Bike has been solved but not with the outcome everyone had hoped for.

KSDK reported that it appears Charles "Chuck" Mitchell went off the road on his motorcycle, landing in a creek just 5 miles from his home. The water level above him made it difficult for searchers to see his body. Police believe he was heading back home when the accident happened, along Highway 163 between Millstadt and Centreville.

Mitchell, 58, was a retired social worker and father of two.

How to make riding EVEN less expensive
Riding a motorcycle makes you the envy of your gas-guzzling car owners in these times of high fuel prices, but Terry Richards can thumb his nose even higher as he rides past a gas station. You see, Richards, a test specialist at Chrysler Corp. Proving Grounds in Sylvan Township, rides a 21-year-old racing motorcycle he converted into a fully electric-powered vehicle for about $2,000.

The 1984 Yamaha RZ350 racing bike was never known for gas mileage, he said, but now runs on 48 volts of electricity stored in four batteries. Richards calculates spending 4 cents per mile to operate it and averages about $15 worth of electricity per week if he drives it every day with the motorcycle cruising at 40-45 mph and can reach a top speed of 60 mph.

Read the entire report at Michigan

Custom ATVs with chrome and hi-gloss paint jobs on the horizon?
Patriot Motorcycle Corporation, exclusive worldwide distributor of the Yamoto line of Dirt Bike motorcycles and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), today announced it has acquired the assets of Steed Musclebike Motorcycle Company, headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Founded in 1989 by renowned motorcycle designer John Covington, Steed custom V-Twin Musclebikes are both revolutionary and widely recognized as representing the highest standards of quality and innovation in the alternative American motorcycle marketplace. Covington's famed "Cobra" concept bike was recently inducted into the Motorcycle Industry Hall of Fame in the "Most Famous Custom" class.

So how exactly do you put longer forks on an ATV?

The press release reports that Steed's founder and designer/builder will be retained in the new company 'in a leadership role'.

It was a Bike rally with benefits
There was more on proud bike owners than just showing off their gleaming rides at a recent bike rally in Battle Creek, Michigan. It was also to remember a hometown hero, Detective LaVern Brann, who was killed in the line of duty on May 9.

The benefit ride in Brann's honor got a late start, beacause of the rain, but an hour later, as the sun came out, more than 100 riders rolled out at noon. The riders went from Battle Creek to Athens, up to Marshall and back downtown to raise money for Brann's wife and two children.

More pictures and the full story at the Battle Creek Enquirer.

Bit of British for that next bike?
Royal Enfield, the makers of Bullet motorcycles, plans a series of launches in coming years, including a completely new bike by next fiscal-end to achieve an ambitious sales target of 60,000 vehicles per annum in the next five years. reports Royal Enfield, part of the Rs 1,500 crore Eicher Group, was working on a new product aimed at the "modern-day young adults" to be launched by 2007 fiscal end. The high-powered bike will retain the characteristics of Enfield, with better fuel efficiency and competitive prices.

Of course you'll have to go to India to buy one since thats where they're built.

Can you picture this as your new ride?

But will you wave at them as they ride past?
For $1 a year the Mason City Police Department in Iowa is leasing a Harley Davidson Road King Police Pursuit model. Under the program offered by the local dealership, the depratment is provided with the motorcycle and emergency package, which includes sirens and lights.The department has outfitted the Harley Davidson with additional lighting, radar, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher and other equipment found in squad cars.

Do they get automatically enrolled in H.O.G.?

More about this in the Globe Gazette.

Speaking of Cops on Bikes
It seems some retired Police Officers in Detroit have made enemies with the wrong clerk in city hall.

Township clerk Dan Delmerico is preparing to go toe-to-toe with a Detroit-based motorcycle club. Delmerico told township board members that a two-year variance for a milking shed at the corner of Iosco and Elliot roads has expired.

The problem, said Delmerico, is the Knights of the Road Motorcycle Club has been using the building as a clubhouse for two years, which is a nonconforming use. Delmerico said since club members sleep in the building on weekends, that makes it a dwelling.

The only compromise the clerk has made is that he won't make a compromise. To bring the building into compliance with the township code, Delmerico said the owners need to move it, remove all improvements that make it a dwelling or demolish it.

Read about it in the Detroit News.

The Helmet debate continues
In the last blog entry to Biker Diaries I summarized all the editorials and articles related to the recent release of the National Highway Safety Administration's Study 'Evaluation of the Repeal of the All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law in Florida'.

The report has brought up a lot of feelings in the states that have already repealed helmet laws and more so from those states where there are rumors or intentions to repeal existing helmet laws.

Foster's Online in Dover, New Hampshire a recent editorial spoke badly about New Hampshire repealing the Helmet law.

The right to individual freedoms is a right to be cherished and protected. But when that right infringes on, or costs to others, it needs to be tempered.

Riders should be free to feel the wind in their hair and hear the roar of the pipes. But they should also ride responsibly, with the means to pay for the damage they may do to themselves, not at the expense of others.

The editorial is very happy to throw out the more sensational statistics such as the reported 81% increase in deaths in Florida but fails to recognise the huge rise in motorcycle ownership (which isn't properly addressed in the NHTSA study either) or the longer riding periods from milder weather up and down the United States.

The Venice Gondolier based out of mid-west Florida has by far the fairest article I've seen on this debate. The reporter, Barry Millman brings both side of the arguement to the table giving equal time with quotes from a Harley Davidson sales representative from a local dealership, ABATE, polititians to the Florida Highway Patrol.

An interesting spin on the statistis is made, 'Some rider advocates point to statistics suggesting that head injuries comprise only 20 percent of routine motorcycle-riding injuries, but account for 80 percent of passengers in automobile accidents and suggest that helmets for automobile passengers and drivers might make more sense'.

I would encourage every rider to read this article.


Yes, I CAN mention Sturgis one more time!!!!!
Just when you thought it was safe to read Biker Diaries without a mention to the famed and renowned motorcycle rally a recent news article came up on my radar.

'Neighbor annoyed by motorcycle deliveries' is the very inocious title leading the story in the The report itself is about a gentleman who's fed up with all the local businesses being run out of the other houses in his neighborhood.

But what's the most annoying business?

The business he considers the most egregious involves a home that has a large Quonset-style hut and big garage in its spacious backyard. Parked near the buildings on a recent afternoon were two large trailers and a truck. Coit said the owner is running a motorcycle transport business from the yard. Recently, a number of motorcyclists dropped their bikes off at the house, upsetting Coit with the noise and traffic.

But Mack Barrero said he is not running a business. He said he does transport motorcycles, but only for a small group of friends in an informal motorcycle club. He takes their bikes to four rallies a year, most recently to Sturgis, S.D. The two trailers can carry 32 motorcycles, he said.

I really think this'll be the last time we can mention Sturgis for a while in these pages.

Famous last words.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Helmet debate in one blog

Amended August 28th

Ever Since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published their report 'Evaluation of the Repeal of the All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law in Florida' in early August the helmet debate saw a lot of new press. It seemed like everyday there was yet another editorial or news story either defending or attacking helmet laws, whether they were mandatory, repealed or there was a proposal in that particular state to repeal one.

Since even I've found it hard to work my way through all the fourteen or eighteen blog entries to read all of these articles or editorials I brought them all along with the relevant links into one handy dandy, one size fits all blog.

This is my warning to you however, move the computer screen back as far away as you can but still be able to read it. Some of the articles and especially the editorials can be a touch inflammatory, regardless of what side of the debate you fall on.

First the Study that started it all!
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Evaluation of the Repeal of the All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law in Florida

Robert G. Ulmer and Veronika Shabanova Northrup

Effective July 1, 2000, Florida eliminated the legal requirement that all motorcycle riders wear helmets. Instead, state law now requires helmet use only by riders under the age of 21. The Florida law change follows similar actions by Arkansas and Texas in 1997, by Kentucky in 1998, and by Louisiana in 1999. At the end of 2003, there were 19 States and the District of Columbia with laws requiring helmet use by all motorcycle riders, 28 States that require helmet use only by riders under a specified age, and 3 States with no law regarding helmet use.
The present report examines the highway safety effects of Florida's law change.

The (mostly) Unbiased Reports
These are publications that gave an unbiased report on the NHTSA's study.

Venice Gondolier (added August 28th)
August 28th
Motorcycle helmet law a no-brainer, to both sides
Based out of mid-west Florida, this publication has by far the fairest article I've seen on this debate. The reporter, Barry Millman brings both side of the arguement to the table giving equal time with quotes from a Harley Davidson sales representative from a local dealership, ABATE, polititians to the Florida Highway Patrol.

An interesting spin on the statistis is made, 'Some rider advocates point to statistics suggesting that head injuries comprise only 20 percent of routine motorcycle-riding injuries, but account for 80 percent of passengers in automobile accidents and suggest that helmets for automobile passengers and drivers might make more sense'.

That's not totally true
Since the reporter stays away from getting too wrapped up in statistically data, which is manipulated by either side for their own cause anyway, theres not much to pick at with this article. On the contrary, I was impressed by the balanced reporting making this the best report I've seen on the matter so far.

News Times Live
August 21st
Uneasy riders Motorcyclists seeks answers to rising fatalities
News Times Live brings a personal touch to the statistics with real life stories of some close calls experienced by local motorcyclists.

Wayne Mead was on his Harley heading south on Route 7 near Marcus Dairy in Danbury four years ago when the front tire of the car in front of him broke off its axle — thick metal rim and all. The tire bounced off the highway, launched into the air and made a beeline toward Mead and three other bikers.

"Nothing went through my mind," said Mead, 29, of Newtown. "It was so instant you couldn't react."

That's not totally true
The only real mis-statement would be 'Its April report on highway deaths said motorcycle fatalities were increasing at a faster rate than motorcycle registrations'.

There were some variations noted by the study such as age and the length of the riding season in each state with better weather states having more opportunity to ride and consequently a higher death rate. Also it's noted in the report that the most current data for motorcycle registrations in 2002.

San Bernardino County Sun
August 16th
Boomers dying more often on motorcycles
Baby Boomers not appreciating the power of modern bikes was the focus of The San Bernardino Sun's report.

Thousands of them, finished with their family obligations, are buying the two-wheelers and enjoying the freedom of the open road. But, according to traffic enforcement officials, deaths among riders 40 and older are driving up the total number of fatalities each year in the state and the nation.

That's not totally true
Although this is a great article, the figures from Florida aren't really addressed.

Lansing State Journal
August 18th
Recent motorcycle deaths highlight safety concerns
This newspaper is based in Michigan which still has a helmet law although the legislature is considering repealing it. The state has fairly steady numbers as far as motorcycle injury accidents are concerned but the article expresses concern about the lack of training for car drivers as well as bikers.

Unfortunately, there's still too many motorcyclists riding recklessly or at least illegally, said Lansing Police Sgt. Jim Kraus, who also teaches motorcycle safety courses.

"The use of alcohol and riders being untrained or not endorsed to ride motorcycles is a recurring theme across the state," he said.

From 1997 to 2002, about 44 percent of riders involved in a crash weren't licensed, according to a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

That's not totally true
The article only touches on the NHSTA report but most diturbing about this very fairly written story is that they quote different instances of specific people dying in motorcycle accidents but never refer to the actually cause. Unfortunately no amount of training or protective gear can save a rider from some accidents.

August 12th
Number Of Motorcycle Deaths Rising
A news report that focuses on Minnesota doesn't even mention helmets as a factor for the increase in motorcycle deaths so it seems that a repeal of the law there isn't even on the horizon.

Part of the increase in the increase in motorcycle deaths and injuries is a surge in the number of motorcycles. There are more than 161,000 motorcycles in Minnesota. That's 48,000 more than a decade ago.

That's not totally true
The article is short andstrictly about Minnesota but does make mention of the average age of motorcycle being 40 adding to the theory about the older bikes skewing the numbers.

USA Today
August 8th
Motorcycle deaths rise sharply
One of the first news reports to hit the press after the NHTSA released their study USA Today managed to give a fairly unbiased article with quotes from representatives of the American Motorcyclist Association, the highway administration, Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the Modified Motorcycle Association of California.

Motorcycle fatalities nationwide have surged to their highest levels since 1987, even as overall highway deaths continue to decline.

Possible causes: a sharp rise in motorcycle ownership, rollback of mandatory helmet laws and an increase in inexperienced bikers riding powerful machines.

That's not totally true
The NHTSA's magical '81%' figure was quoted 'A study released by the agency Monday showed an 81% rise in motorcycle deaths in Florida in a three-year period after the state repealed its law in 2000' but the article certainly had great quotes from pro-motorcycle groups.

It may not be the Helmets
These are opinions of writers who feel the data may be misinterpreted or is being downright manipulated by others. This may not necessarily mean they agree that riding without a helmet is safe or smart though!

LA Daily News
Editorial - John Paliwoda
August 19th
Helmet laws don't ensure safety
John Paliwoda puts the cause of any rise in motorcycle deaths not at the feet of helmet laws but at the lack of mandatory safety training.

California motorcyclist deaths and injuries dropped in 2004, not because of helmets but because the number of accidents decreased. No helmet law supporter has ever been silly enough to claim that mandated helmet use caused motorcycle accidents to drop.

Pennsylvania repealed its helmet law two years ago, and preliminary state statistics demonstrate that their motorcycle deaths have dropped 9 percent despite a similar percentage rise in registrations. They also have a very effective motorcyclist safety program.

That's not totally true
Although this is a great article, the figures from Florida aren't really addressed.

Concord Monitor
August 12th
State motorcycle deaths increase
The Concord Monitor quotes the State Highway Safety Coordinator who feels that the repeal of the helmet law in New Hampshire is not the reason for the increased motorcycle fatalities.

Peter Thomson, the state's highway safety coordinator, says motorcycle deaths likely are up because more people are riding, but not taking a rider safety course. The three-day course is not required to get a license.

That's not totally true
The report only quotes the NHTSA study with vague references 'Two studies released this week found that states that repeal mandatory helmet laws run the risk of increased deaths and mounting health care costs for injured bikers' and as mentioned throughout this blog the report tends to have some inconsistencies and assumptions.

It is interesting to note that the State Highway Coordinator feels the rising fatalities are 'influenced by Baby Boomers retiring and taking up riding'.

Helmets should always be worn

Times (added August 28th)
August 28th
State's motorcyclists ride accelerating accident rates
With talk of repealing Michigans Helmet law, the Times Herald puts its support behind keeping the legislation in place. It's story uses real life near-misses and tragedies of examples throughout.

Statewide, the number of serious injuries and fatalities on motorcycles is on the rise even while statistics for other vehicle fatalities are falling, according to Michigan State Police figures. The trend was personified locally when local motorcycle shop owner Mark Grace was killed when a car turned in front of his bike earlier this month.

The fatality increase comes as state legislatures in Michigan and elsewhere are looking to repeal mandatory helmet laws, which police say would cause more serious injuries and deaths.

That's not quite true
Even though most of instances given revolve around drivers causing the accidents, no mention is given to the alternative of enhanced drivers education or raising thier awareness to motorcycles.

Not even mandatory safety training for new riders is discussed even after 'Richmond state police post commander 1st Lt. Robert Yorke agreed that there are more riders on the road now than in the past. "A lot of people buying motorcycles now are the baby boomers, older people, and I don't think the experience is there," he said.'

Fosters Online (added August 28th)
August 28th
There should be no denying: motorcycle helmets save lives
Even though state officials deny any connection between the rising motorcycle fatalities and the repeal of the Helmet law, this editorial draws on the statistics from the NHTSA study for rising deaths as well as the increase in medical costs.

The right to individual freedoms is a right to be cherished and protected. But when that right infringes on, or costs others, it needs to be tempered.Riders should be free to feel the wind in their hair and hear the roar of the pipes. But they should also ride responsibly, with the means to pay for the damage they may do to themselves not at the expense of others.

That's not quite right
Alhtough Peter Thomson, the state's highway safety coordinator continously denies the connection between the repeal of the helmet law and rise in fatalities it doesn't stop the columnist to draw on the NHTSA study and connect the dots anyway.

He even speculates that the increase in the Granite State is due to aging baby-boomers taking to the roads without proper training. Rather than the editorial opening up the possiblitiy of saftey training, they use it to re-enforce why a helmet law is needed.

Pasadena Star-News
August 12th
Headgear drives drop in motorcycle deaths
By claiming that motorcycle fatalities are down the Pasadena Star-News is at odds with the San Bernardino Sun mentioned above in this blog. It uses these numbers to re-enforce why California should keep the helmet law.

A recent study by the federal Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 4,008 motorcycle fatalities nationwide last year, compared with 3,714 in 2003. California authorities reported 351 motorcycle deaths last year, compared with 368 in 2003.

That's not totally true
Aside from the California newspapers disagreeing statistically this is a good article which does give a nod to the rising enrollement in motorcycle safety courses.
August 9th
Motorcycle fatalities soar
The subtitle of this news article is 'After helmet law repeal, deaths up 81%' and even though it discusses some causes other than helmets for the increase, the reader is left with the firm impression that 'its about the helmets, stupid'.

A federal study has found motorcycle fatalities in Florida increased more than 81 percent and the number of deaths for riders younger than 21 nearly tripled in three years after state lawmakers repealed a law requiring riders to wear a helmet.

Thats not totally true
Although the increased number of bikes was mentioned 'James Reichenbach, president of American Bikers Aimed Toward Education in Florida, said....the increase in fatalities can be largely attributed to motorcycles' increasing popularity' it wasn't explored further. In one of the reports over 700,000 new motorcycles were purchased in 2004 and the NHTSA study acknowledges their data doesn't include motorcycle registrations beyond 2002.

Thunder Bays Source
Editorial - Rick Smith
August 17th
One Man's Opinion - Motorcycle Helmets
This Canadian columnist puts himself firmly in the mandatory helmet law corner.

Our neighbours in Michigan are debating the issue. The AAA estimates that repealing that states law will result in 22 additional deaths in the state every year along with 132 added incapacitating injuries and 140 million dollars in added expenses.

That's not totally true
'(The) Florida study showed that in the 30 months after their law was withdrawn hospital costs in the state from motorcyclists with head, brain, or skull injuries more than doubled to 50 million dollars and the average cost of each case rose by 10 thousand dollars'.

The figures quoted from the study are 'The average head injury treatment cost increased by almost $10,000, to $45,602. In 1998 and 1999, the acute care hospital charges for head-brain-skull principal injury cases per 10,000 registered motorcycles were $311,549 and $428,347 respectively. The comparable figures for 2001 and 2002 were $605,854 and $610,386, adjusted for inflation', however even this doesn't take into account the huge increases in the cost of overall healthcare since 1998 for everything from pregnancy to the most basic medical operations.

Added sensationalism (low blow)
Dorothy Rushton lobbied hard for the right not to wear a helmet in Florida. One month after the law was dropped she was killed while riding her Harley, without a helmet.

The Sentinel
August 11th
Let's get those helmets back on
This editorial is firmly of the pro-helmet law position and isn't afraid to show it!

Even serious bicyclistst, those pedaling fanatics who perch for hours at a time on idiotically small seats in the searing heat, know to wear helmets.

Thats not totally true
The numbers are once again vaguely referred too with not much qualification. The arguement against the numbers are made throughout this blog about the magical 81% and raising helathcare costs.

Added Sensationalism
And who do you think pays those medical costs? The public, that's who, the same folks who squeal about property taxes rising so relentlessly that soon they'll be reduced to living in cardboard boxes and diving into Dumpsters for stale doughnuts.

The Final Word
You can obviously make up your own mind and decide whether or not you want to wear a helmet (law permitting of course) but since it's my blog I do get the last word.

Should riders wear helmets? I think so.

Should laws be repealed? I personally think it's near impossible and expensive (with lobbyists making all the money) to repeal something like this. It shouldn't be done with figures that aren't completely accurate and especially when there are more important things that could be done to lower the statistics.

The study isn't purposefully wrong but misses essential data such as motorcycle registration numbers after 2002 when the huge surge in motorcycle sales seems to have taken place. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the story about waiting months for the delivery of your Harley because they were so back-ordered.

The other things that should be done to help the statistics? Mandatory safety training instead of the DMV tests. The ego's of older men who think they can hop on a motorcycle with no consequences after being away from riding for for ten or fifteen years need some polite direction to a refresher course on the newer crowded roads with more powerful machines.

If people are so gung-ho for new legislation lets look at car drivers awareness education, laws against the many distractions going into automobiles such as elaborate stereos, sound systems and TVs.

This is just my opinion of course

Friday, August 26, 2005

Post Hurricane Katrina

Some might say it's the fourth time that's the charm rather than the third. After all, are you really trying if you've only attempted something three times? If you're wondering what sort of lead in or beginning this is for a bike blog, it's perfectly relevant when it just happens to be the number of times I've started this entry.

Being the optimistic type and with some spare time on my hands, tried to add an entry to this blog three previous times during the recent hurricane Katrina that decided to visit the South Florida coast. Each attempt was ended by flickering electricity, a dead computer and many lost thoughts.

Katrina has decided she wants to see Naples leaving behind four dead and 1.5 million people without electricity. Fortunately I'm in neither of those catagories so I'm finally able to get this entry done!

Since I would think it would be near impossible to keep a bike upright in seventy mile per hour winds I obviously can't write about any rides I've taken recently, but that doesn't mean there aren't any really interesting things happening in the world of motorcycles.

Runaway Bride on a bike?
Whats more disturbing than hearing about a fellow rider taking a nasty spill on his ride? What about one who just disappears?

'Charles "Chuck" Mitchell, was last seen by his family Sunday night at 9 o'clock when he went for a regular evening ride on his 2002 Triumph Motorcycle he bought about a month ago.

The St. Clair County Sheriff's Office stress they do not suspect foul play in the disappearance of Chuck Mitchell. They also say the retired social worker and father of two had no reason to run off, but they say they have no idea what could have happened to the 58-year-old man. Family members say this was the third motorcycle Mitchell has owned.'

Read more and see some pictures in the report at KSDK Newschannel 5.

But it only felt like 55!
Since we're asking questions, what's worst than being caught by a fellow officer of the law doing 162 mph and asking for him to look the other way? Not having a license to ride that bike!!! I kid you not, this is the story coming out NewZealand.

Caleb Taiuru Grant, on unpaid leave at the time of the incident, was stopped at 3pm on March 14 by Te Puke Highway Patrol Senior Constable Peter Redman. On the roadside, Grant did his best to talk his way out of the ticket, indicating Mr Redman did not have to issue him with an infringement notice because "we both did the same job".

"He told me I was making him feel like a criminal and questioned me about reducing the speed, so he would only have to pay an instant fine," Mr Redman told the court.

Instant fines are applied to motorists caught travelling at less than 50kmh above the speed limit. Grant, who has since resigned from the police, also used the excuse he had been "hassled by another motorcyclist since the Kawerau turn-off".

The story is being reported again because of his court appearance where the judge gave him a $850 fine and a suspended drivers license for a month.

You should really read the full story in the Bay of Plenty Times.

Loud Pipes and even louder complaints
And finally a small report out of The University of Florida has brought up the Loud Pipes debate. Some of the following information has been republished in full and normally I don't like to do that since it doesn't feel ethical to take all of someone else's work and publish it on my blog. By giving you a summary and linking to the original story you have the opportunity to read it in it's entirity along with all the ads that makes that particular publication their money. Hopefully everyone's happy!

Unfortunately this story doesn't allow direct links, instead it redirects you to the front page where you have to look through the contents and click on the headline. So for this instance I did republish the story in full in the previous entry of Biker Diaries.

First, the report that stirred the complaining story.

In an informal survey of 33 motorcycles, UF audiologists at the College of Public Health and Health Professions have found nearly half produced sounds above 100 decibels when throttled up -- equivalent in intensity to a loud rock concert or a chainsaw.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health cautions that exposure to noise at 100 decibels is safe for only 15 minutes. Permanent hearing loss can occur with prolonged exposure to any noise measuring 85 decibels or above. Although noise-induced hearing loss is permanent, it is preventable.

Motorcyclists should limit the amount of exposure they have to high-decibel levels.
Although motorcycle helmets don't provide any significant protection against noise, inexpensive foam earplugs, available at drug stores, can reduce sound levels by 20 decibels to 25 decibels.

Riders should pay attention to the warning signs of noise-induced hearing loss: a ringing sound in the ears immediately after exposure, and hearing voices and other sounds as muffled.
-- Courtesy University of Florida

Whats wrong with this report. Well it doesn't appear to be a proper study. Why? Lets start with the third word in the beginning of the report, 'informal'. For that to appear, and as early on as it did pretty much disclaims any scientific accuracy and should be treated more as a 'isn't this interesting'.

They only survey 33 bikes. Not a large number for any kind of study and how did they choose those bikes? Were they the University of Florida's dirt riding team? Did a lost Hells Angel gang stop in the parking lot outside the labs and while they were politely asking for directions a white coated scientist thought 'You know we've wondered about those darned loud motorbikes, well lets do a study!'

They don't even specify what make or type of bikes they are, and this will become more important later.

Besides the report misses the biggest threat to a bikers hearing which is wind noise. I can't remember the exact number but the decibel levels of wind noise when you ride at 55 mph is amazingly high and those riders that only wear half-helmets or no helmet at all are exposed to it completely.

Regardless, somehow this study got into the hands of Bud Wilkinson at the Republican-American who decided there was a story to be told here. How do I know? This is a guess that he read it since it's not mentioned in his article, but a link to the University of Florida report is right next to the link to his story. If this wasn't the reason for the story, the link may have been put there to give credibility to the Republic-American Story.

I'm assuming that you've read the story and will offer what I think is wrong with this report.

The story's author sort of tips his hand by the second paragraph when he writes 'The obnoxious din may not shatter windowpanes but noisy pipes can serve as an unwelcome alarm early on a weekend morning or disturb the serenity of an entire neighborhood at any time of the day or night.' This is not going to be a pro-loud pipe article.

The article does have a voice of reason though, "There are loud pipes and there are loud pipes," said state police spokesman Sgt. J. Paul Vance, but that difference isn't noted or acknowledged anywhere else in the article.

Some figures used can interpreted in other ways too. The article mentions a column by Harley-Davidson president and chief operating officer Jim McCaslin in the January/February 2005 issue of "Hog Tales" magazine noted, "Negative news stories regarding motorcycle noise have increased 400 percent over the past 10 years." Well maybe the news stories have increased, but so have the number of riders as well as the urbanization of America. More neighborhoods, more people, more complaints and consequently more stories.

The final paragraph of the article is the most confusing;
One irony to the loud pipes debate, easily visible out on the highways every day, is that many of those riders who offend while stridently making safety claims forgo wearing full-face helmets and armored riding gear that would ultimately be more beneficial to their well-being than their noisy exhausts.

Okay. Loud pipes are to keep a biker out of trouble so a car won't pull into their lane and knock them off the bike so they need all that gear to survive. This article confuses the issue by bringing up apples while talking about oranges.

Sure there are some pipes that are too loud and maybe some riders have them on their bikes for reasons other than safety, but why isn't this reporter writing about the drivers that play their music so loud it rattles the windows of the other cars around it. How entire industries are created around putting bigger and louder speakers and sub-woofers in automobiles. These same cars usually have tv screens everywhere. No distraction to the driver there.

This person annoys far more people and when they are busy watching one of the many tv's in their car can end up hurting a lot more people than a biker ever could.

Republished 'Loud Pipes' Article

This is a republished article and is here for discussion purposes only, it doesn't represent the opinion of the author of this blog on this matter!!!

Ready to rumble ... and that's the problem

Friday, August 26, 2005

By Bud Wilkinson

Copyright © 2005 Republican-American

The melodious, throaty rumble of motorcycle exhaust pipes heard in the distance can provide a siren call to other riders on a sunny summer day, romantically beckoning them to quit whatever they're doing, pull on boots, gloves and other sartorial necessities, and head out in search of a twisting road.

At a more intimate distance, though, that rumble can morph into a roar. The obnoxious din may not shatter windowpanes but noisy pipes can serve as an unwelcome alarm early on a weekend morning or disturb the serenity of an entire neighborhood at any time of the day or night.

The issue of loud pipes divides not only riders and non-riders, but is divisive within the motorcycling community itself. Proponents of loud pipes inevitably recite the axiom that "Loud pipes save lives," insisting that there's a safety benefit in being heard before every being seen. As one Harwinton biker put it, "If it's not setting off car alarms, it's not safe."

"Guaranteed," affirmed Pat Mone of Bristol, chatting outside the Rider's Café in Waterbury, his pristine, red 2001 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide parked nearby."If you can't hear me coming, how do you know I'm going to be there?"

Earlier this month, e-mails circulated among some riders in Connecticut suggesting that state police were engaging in an orchestrated crackdown on loud pipes in Litchfield. The complaints were copied to Rich Paukner, who lobbies state legislators on issues affecting motorcyclists on behalf of the Connecticut Motorcycle Riders Association.

"This is probably the single most problematic issue we have in maintaining good relations," said Paukner of the motorcycle noise that often generates public complaints. "We create an environment in which we can't win." While motorcycle owners have long accessorized their rides, with higher-decibel, unbaffled "straight pipes" being a favorite option, especially among Harley owners, area residents also have a reasonable expectation of peace and quiet.

"This isn't 1960 anymore. We live in denser, more congested areas," said Paukner, suggesting that all riders have a civic responsibility not to offend. Paukner dismisses the "Loud pipes save lives" mantra. "It's a false argument. If that's the case, let's have all vehicles made louder," he said. Cliff La Motta, owner of Cliff's BMW-Aprilia-Ducati motorcycle dealership in Danbury, agrees. He compares having loud pipes to lighting up a cigarette in a crowded room of non-smokers.

"When I owned a couple of Harleys -- with loud pipes -- it had no noticeable additional effect in bringing my presence to the attention of other drivers, especially those in front," La Motta reported in an e-mail.

"It did, however, tire me out on long rides; annoy everyone around me, including guys I was riding with; (and left) a negative mark in any place where excessive noise (was) bothersome, which, coincidentally, was where the prime riding spots were."

Current state law requires that exhaust noise not exceed 84 decibels when traveling more than 35 miles per hour on a paved street or highway. That's noisier than the maximum allowed for cars but lower than the permissible level for buses and large trucks.

"There are loud pipes and there are loud pipes," said state police spokesman Sgt. J. Paul Vance, who reported that between April 1 and mid-August state troopers issued 198 tickets and 146 warnings to motorcyclists statewide for excessive noise. That translates into 10 tickets per week, which Vance said is "not really a lot."

In addition to increasing the decibel level of bikes, upgraded or after-market pipes, which can cost $400 to $800, can enhance a motorcycle cosmetically, but there's a sentiment among a portion of the riding community that it has simply become trendy to be annoying.

"It's a personal thing. It's a sound," said Don Kauffman, general manager of Yankee Harley-Davidson in Bristol, when asked why loud pipes seemingly proliferate. "They want a certain sound. They (also) can buy it for performance." Kauffman warned, however, that improper, non-Harley pipes added to the company's motorcycles may actually reduce performance and potentially negate an owner's warranty.

Harley-Davidson's position on loud pipes is firmly anti-noise. A column by Harley-Davidson president and chief operating officer Jim McCaslin in the January/February 2005 issue of "Hog Tales" magazine noted, "Negative news stories regarding motorcycle noise have increased 400 percent over the past 10 years."

McCaslin urged Harley owners to tone down the volume, even if that means yanking their straight pipes, before legislation mandates that they do so. "We need to think about the consequences our actions have on others. As tempting as it is, maybe we resist cranking up the revs at the next stop signal," he wrote.

The American Motorcycle Association also opposes loud pipes, noting on its web site "that few other factors contribute more to misunderstanding and prejudice against the motorcycling community than excessively noisy motorcycles."

The threat of being ticketed doesn't deter riders who favor loud pipes. "Loud pipes never killed anyone," said Mone.

One irony to the loud pipes debate, easily visible out on the highways every day, is that many of those riders who offend while stridently making safety claims forgo wearing full-face helmets and armored riding gear that would ultimately be more beneficial to their well-being than their noisy exhausts.

"Ride-CT" is a regular feature devoted to motorcycling. Have a story suggestion? Let Bud Wilkinson know by e-mailing him at

Republished from The Republican-American

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Museum motorcycles, bike shows and an American Chopper

It seems that I'm not the only one unveiling something new. According to the Middletown Journal the City of Memphis is putting on The Art of the Motorcycle exhibit at the Pyramid area in downtown Memphis.

'Inside the multi-partitioned "The Art of the Motorcycle," two large screens overhead flash moving images involving "Lawrence of Arabia" (the kind of bike T.E. Lawrence rode to his death in 1935, a racy Brough Superior SS100 is on display), Brando's "The Wild One," canyon-jumper Evel Knievel, Elvis Presley's "Roustabout," Steve McQueen's "The Great Escape," Meat Loaf's motorized entrance in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and the then-futuristic "1984."

There is no doubt, however, about the exhibit's main attraction. While the line of motorcycles twists and turns, presenting a kind of unified snake, one bike gets its own centerpiece status, supremely encased in a large semicircle curtain of chain mesh dangling from the ceiling.'

The show will be open until October 30th and you can read more of the story here......

It was good to break the rules
A red white and blue chopper that was commissioned by Americas 9/11 Ride Foundation of Leesburg, Va., built by Midwest Choppers of Galesburg, Ill., and painted by Jeremy Imming of Jeremys Airbrush Designs, rural Blue Grass, Iowa only took twelve minutes to sell....even though it was originally intended as a raffle item!

Ed Cook of Port Royal, Va. was so insistent the foundation board decided to sell it to him for $160,000, or $10,000 more than the total of $150,000 in raffle tickets they had expected to sell.

Read the entire story in the Quad City Times.

Now this guy can really be called Captain America!!!

Bainbridge BikeFest 2005
If you live anywhere near Georgia you might consider a roadtrip to the Peach State!

The roar of the crowd will be heard once again in Decatur County as Bainbridge BikeFest 2005 opens Sept. 14. This eighth annual event will continue through the 18th, attracting cyclists, vendors and spectators from near and far to the venue at Commodore Industrial Park.

Event sponsor will be Budweiser, and other major sponsors are Coca-Cola, RiverBend Ford, Capital City Harley-Davidson, Jameson Inn and Wal-Mart.

And what a beautiful state to ride through! You can get more details from the Post Searchlight.

And at the other end of the country
Although I've never really mentioned AMA Pro Racing an event called the Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance caught my eye.

Held in Sedalia, Missouri's State Fair Speedway and they'll host round 12 of the 16-race AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship this Saturday, Aug. 27. This years Sedalia half-mile will be a showdown between five past winners of the race. Chris Carr, Ken Coolbeth, Jr., Rich King, Joe Kopp and defending race winner Johnny Murphree are all expected on the grid for the start of Saturday nights race.

You can read the press release from AMA Pro Racing here.....

Something new, Something borrowed and something blue!

You might think from the headline on this blog I'm getting married or something like it, but no. Caught your attention though, huh!

Something New
You don't have to look any further than the revamped appearance for Bikers Diaries.

Because Blogger has a limited choice of blog templates when you initially sign up (what the blog will look like on the computer screen) Biker Diaries looked like a lot of other blogs out there. Between stumbling across's blog with a free template that caught my eye, wanting this blog to appear more like a handwritten diary and Harley Davidson retro'ing their bikes back to powder blacks, it all seemed to fall into place.

Now understand I've never written one line of code thats required to make a blog template and you'll appreciate the time it took me to take francey's original template to what you see on the screen now.

Actually the template counts as something borrowed as well!

Something Blue
You may or may not've noticed but Florida has a hurricane bearing down on us. Obviously everyone's hoping for the best which would be just a lot of rain and hopefully winds that aren't too high.

The very small and of course personal drawback to this impeding force of nature is that there will be no riding for a good couple of days. This in itself isn't much in the whole scheme of things, but as of the beginning of September I'm heading out of the country for two weeks. No sooner do I get back than I head out of state on business. No bike and no riding for over three weeks.

Theres the blue!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Can we mention Sturgis just ONE more time?

Dare I mention it? Sturgis......
Its not like I scour the internet or look in the real world for all things Sturgis, they just seem to pop up...I swear!!!!

Take tonight for instance. Going through the cable guide of whats on TV for a Tuesday evening and what do I see but something called 'Sturgis'. It was on the Travel channel, the special was filmed in 2000 and featured the range of bikers that go to the event including Peter Fonda, Paul Mitchell and Robbie Kneviel. It was good, more PG than I expected but this was the Travel Channel! If you haven't been to Sturgis or seen the special you should try and catch it. If you do though it'll have to be in the wee hours as the only other listing for it was at 1am in the morning of August 24th.

If you miss this, don't worry you can always catch The Great American Motorcycle: More than a brand, Harley-Davidson is a way of life for millions. Meet rebels, Hell's Angels, and easy riders at the Sturgis Rally in South Dakota, then drop in on a couple exchanging wedding vows straddling the fuel tank of a Road King Classic. It's airing September 21st at 6pm.

You think you've had some bad rides
A Pagosa Springs man was recovering at a hospital Monday after spending nearly 24 hours lying in a ravine along a rural roadway after injuries from a motorcycle accident left him unable to flag down motorists the Associated Press reported today.

The accident happened at the remote intersection of Archuleta County roads 500 and 700, an area called Pagosa Junction. Larry Joseph Fox, 66, of Pagosa Springs, fractured his hip, neck and collar bone, and injured his liver in the 7 p.m. Saturday accident, his wife Evelyn said. He wasn't discovered until about 5 p.m. Sunday. Read more............

But will falling foam damage it?
The Houston Chronicle reported that with a thunderous rumble, the sleek motorcycle, a two-wheeled replica of NASA's space shuttle, roared to life Monday, and American Chopper 's mustached patriarch Paul Teutul Sr. gingerly wheeled his latest theme bike through a tight circle of surging fans.

The rallying point was Space Center Houston, the official visitors complex for NASA's Johnson Space Center and possibly one of the last places someone might expect to go for the unveiling of a one-of-a-kind motorcycle.

The Discovery Channel will be airing a special on the bike and it's presentation to NASA on October 3rd and again on the 10th. The bike which was presented by Orange County Choppers even has it's own website with pictures!!

But will HD insist on chroming the mallet?

Harley Davidson's new CEO Jim Ziemer will ring The Closing Bell(TM) at the New York Stock Exchange today, TuesdayAugust 23 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time!

The event marks Ziemer's new role as CEO since April 2005 and Harley-Davidson's 2006 new product launch, one of the company's largest product introductions in a number of years. Ziemer, a 36-year veteran of the Company, will be joined on the podium by Harley-Davidson dealers, employees and riders. Several of the Company's new 2006 motorcycles will be on display outside the Exchange, where they will be joined by other Harley-Davidson motorcycles owned and ridden to work that dayby NYSE members.

Noted Ziemer, "Harley-Davidson has been a proud member of the New YorkStock Exchange for more than 18 years. We are delighted to bring our world-famous motorcycles to this world-famous organization."

So this is what it takes to get motorcycle only parking in downtown New York.......

Who'll turn up on Harleys new Dyna Street Bob

Monday, August 22, 2005

Weenie Bites, Sportster Giveaways and Vespa's...

I'm in Rhode Island so riding a bike must be a good thing!
It seems, depending on what part of the country you’re in is going to decide if motorcycles are the absolute evil, or just a harmless hobby.

It’s the police in Westerly, Rhode Island defending the trends in a recent spate of accidents there. As of last weekend, 10 people had died in 2005 in Rhode Island motorcycle accidents. ‘That number is the highest ever for the state, officials say.

Other sources fear there is a dangerous trend, starting with hi-tech bikes that lend themselves to speed, and more drivers switching to two wheels for the thrills or to save on gas. And all hope public safety officials recognize that motorcyclists may be adopting new patterns of behavior or taking on more risks than they can handle, and therefore need appropriate safeguards.’

But Westerly Police Sgt. Shawn Lacey believes the high number of recent motorcycle deaths are just circumstance.

"Things happen to come in spurts like that," he said.

Read the article in The Westerly Sun.

Who needs Sturgis?
What does it take to toss and catch a water balloon over a wire, strung one story-high, while riding on the back of a Harley Davidson?

How much hot dog can be bitten in the Weenie Bite?

These were answered in the competitions held to benefit the Porterville Museum at the third annual "Hot August Bikes" held in Porterville, CA. With over 350 participants and 120 bikes it was a cross between What a wonderful life and Easy Rider with even grandma and grandpa want to strap on biker gear and partake in biker games.

Read about it here in the Porterville Reporter.

But wait!! Theres more!!
Before you think they're having all the fun in Porterville you need to know about Harrodsburg, KY.

'Chiles Street is the place to be Saturday August 27th as motorcycle owners from all over central Kentucky converge here for Harrodsburg First's 11th Annual Motorcycle Meet. ' as reported in the Advocate Messenger today.

A Poker Run and a 2005 Harley Davidson 883 Sportster giveaway, it's all happenning in Kentucky!

Forget about Harley/Ninja Rivalery...what about those damned Vespa's!
It had to happen, the rest of the world realizing one of the upsides to riding is how much more financially easy it is filling the tank on a motorcycle.

So get ready for it, everyone and their grandmother on two wheels, and the Associated press isn't helping with their latest news story!

'As gasoline prices soar, the popularity of peppy, fuel-sipping motor scooters _ most easily get 50 miles per gallon and some of the smaller ones get up to 80 mpg _ is soaring. Sales, estimated at 86,000 last year in the U.S., have doubled from 2000, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council.

(AP Photo/Joe Kafka) (Joe Kafka - AP)

Something tells me she's not digging out her Motorcycle Club

emblazened leather.

"I put about 20 miles a day on mine, and I only have to fill it up twice a month," said Jessica Meuchel, 23, who uses a scooter to deliver daily newspapers in Pierre, S.D. She bought the two-wheeler this spring because it was costing her $200 a month to fuel her truck.'

Read more about the latest edition into the two-wheeled world in the Washington Post.

When a Deuce isn't a Deuce

One of the highlights of my Sunday ride (right here in case you missed it) was stumbling across this work of art.

It was an '05 Deuce when he started but boy did he put a lot of love and of course money into it.

A picture can't capture the vibrant blue and detail that went into the custom paint job. Some of the other more notable things he changed, and all I could see without drooling too much over the bike. It was a public place after all:

- Lowered the bike by a couple of inches. This makes the Deuce look like a drag racer.
- Pipes
- Removed the standard tail light and put two sidelights for the brake and indicators.
- Seat.
- Rims, handlebars, mirrors, pegs and something very cool....
- Headlight longer and more streamlined giving the bike an appearance of moving while it was parked there in the lot.

Heres a better look at the paintwork and you can just see the headlight.

Sweet ride!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

New news, new links and (gasp) new rides

So I found some interesting news, came across a funny motorcycle blog and managed to get out on the bike twice this weekend. Nope thats not the heat of the South Florida sun getting to me, it really happened, I didn't dream it.

The rides will come tomorrow since I'm working from her house and the internet connection here is just a little too slow to upload the photos I took during the trip.

To business!

The Blog?
Gymi's Place is a blog that focuses on motorcycles and muscle cars with just a touch of painting thrown in. He has a great sense of humor and some funny pictures. Check it out! I've also put a link in the sidebar in case you ever just want to stop by.

New news
Another side to bikers
I previously mentioned a group of Christian bikers who used some of their time at Sturgis to visit hospitals and spread 'the word'. The Daily has an entire article about a similar group in California.

"The Lord has blessed us to ride the machines we ride. That is a ministry tool," said Duane Dade, president of the Pomona Valley chapter of Black Sheep, a group of 32 Harley-Davidson riders who meet monthly to pray, study the Bible and ride their bikes with fellow Christians.

Read more about it here....

Sturgis? Did someone mention Sturgis?
Reporter Gordon Weixel and his biker buddy Scooter Pursley attended Sturgis and their adventures (or at least the ones they want us to know about) have made it into the Bismark Tribune.

The story covers everything from the television stations would providing a daily "Rally Tally" of such numbers as rally-related deaths, accidents and arrests to one of the strangest incidents in which a guy was killed near Custer when a portable toilet fell from the truck transporting it, hitting the biker who was following behind. Read it here it it's entirety...

Speaking of stories that have a life of their own
If you think Sturgis is the only story that has taken on a life of it's own, lets not forget the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's study released recently which reported that although traffic deaths declined and fewer people were killed in alcohol-related crashes on U.S. highways for a second straight year, motorcycle fatalities grew nearly 8 percent last year to 4,008. puts a face to the statistics with some real life stories such as the incident that happened to Wayne Mead. Wayne Mead was on his Harley heading south on Route 7 near Marcus Dairy in Danbury four years ago when the front tire of the car in front of him broke off its axle — thick metal rim and all. The tire bounced off the highway, launched into the air and made a beeline toward Mead and three other bikers.

"Nothing went through my mind," said Mead, 29, of Newtown. "It was so instant you couldn't react."

The tire flew between Mead and another rider, missing them by a few feet.

This article should be read by all bikers, if not to take us out of our comfort zones.

Dragonflies, wonder-cleaners and thunderstorms.

It had been twenty-three days since I'd last rode my bike.

Thats right, twenty-three days of staring longingly at other riders fortunate enough to be out on their bikes.

Twenty-three days my girlfriend had to put up with me pointing out every type of motorcycle I saw or heard, quickly followed by, "It's perfect riding weather. Everyone's out on their bike!" A slight pout would fill the silence, only ended by "Man! We should be out on my bike!"

Well my penance was obviously over this weekend as not only did I get to ride my baby, but I got to take her out twice! I'm talking about the motorcycle here.

Saturday Night
LA Shades, a store that sells everything from t-shirts to leathers and of course very affordable sunglasses designed specifically for riding, held a customer appreciation night at Mario The Bakers on Commercial Blvd and Bayview in Fort Lauderdale. With all the owners of both businesses being bikers the night was done right with inexpensive beer, free jello shots and the most amazing pizza and pasta.....and I'm not saying that because it was free.

Personally I limited myself to a one and a bit beers and absolutely no Jello shots, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

So the good news is that I got to go. Bad news is it was a short trip taking no more than fifteen minutes to get there, but what a beautiful fifteen minutes it was. I took the beach route and managed to catch the last few rays of the dusk sun. It was a busy night with at least a hundred bikes by the time I got there at 8pm. Colors were in full force worn by the Outlaws, State and All Saints Motorcycle Clubs. Had a good time and bumped into a few bikers I knew.

The night left me with these impressions though;
- You can wear any color as long as it's black. I didn't know this beforehand and wore a blue Harley T-shirt.
- It's never too hot to wear your colors.
- Tattoos are so sexy on a woman.
- Obviously pony-tails for male bikers are still in.

Had to cut the evening short at 9pm since I promised to take my girlfriend to see the 10 pm showing of 'Wedding Crashers', but just to get out was amazing.

Sunday Morning
Total Mileage (Round Trip)
126 mi

Average Speed
70 mph

Views n Sites
Good to great (see pics)

My biking buddy threw out the carrot of possibly going for a ride early sunday morning ride and sure enough when I called on the ride over at 7am in the morning he was up and ready. Maybe I'd guilted him into finally going out on his bike, but regardless of the reason we were out and we were riding!

Stopped at one of his favorite places for breakfast, Denises Kitchen on Copans and Dixie.

A couple of eggs benedict and probably too much coffee later we headed south on I-95 to I-595 out to 27 south. Highway 27 is divided with two lanes either side and a favorite ride for the local bikers with the start of Tamiami Trail at one end (sort of) and Lake Okeechobee at the other with about fifty miles in between making for a nice long and mostly quiet run.

We made it to Everglades Holiday Park by 8.30 am and there were already a nice collection of bikes taking their own break from the morning ride.

I had the chance to write earlier about the customized deuce I saw there and you have to check out the pictures! The nice thing about this stop is the whole range of sports bike and cruisers that stop by, giving you plenty of different bikes to check out.

Back on the road we went south on 27 to Krome (997) for a short 14 mile trip to the start of Tamiami Trail. Couple of things about this route to note.

- If you miss the turn off to 997 you're in dirt filled truck hell, I meant the kind of heavy trucks that make the entire ground shake when they hit a pothole. The dirt their hauling is that fine grit that feels like a million needles stabbing you in the face if you ride into it.

- While riding down 997 be prepared for occasional wall of dead marine animal (but I dont want to know what it is) smell.

Apart from that it's a nice ride with an okay view. Another break at Dade Corners Travel Plaza and the increasing heat as the day was kicking into gear had us enjoying our drinks inside in the cool a/c!

Back on the road heading north along the same route I noticed some clouds getting darker around us. Surely life wouldn't do this to me again and not in the same place!

Yes it would.

Just a sprinkle this time but right at the exact same point as when I rode from Naples last time. Couldn't believe it.

What little rain dried up really quick though with the day heating up. Even with the wind whistling past at 65 -70 miles per hour I was still getting hot.

The ride was broken up by an old lady deciding my buddy's lane was much better than hers and a trip up the Sawgrass Expressway that had us trying to pay tolls while riding on a bike. Thats always fun.

We stopped one more time for a break before we'd get back to my buddies place, during which a young kid wanted to demonstrate a new revolutionary cleaner for cars and motorcycles and offered to clean my buddies windshield. When he got permission he sprayed this stuff on my friends bikes paintwork, chrome and windshield all the while telling us what a great product it was.

"Is it petrolium-based?" my friend asked.

"No. It's oil based!" the young kid enthusiastically replied rubbing at the windhshield and continuing his sales pitch.

My buddy looked at me, turned to the kid, "Oil is petrolium."

"Is it?" The kid started frantically rubbing the cleaner off the different parts of my friends bike and then walked away a little embarrassed.

He didn't try to sell us anything, anymore.

It was midday by the time we got back to his place and the south Florida summer sun had hit it's rhythm and we were happy to get off the bikes, in the house and just cool down. We both agreed the day had gotten too hot to ride anymore and we'd made it back just in time.

Thirty minutes later I was heading home in my car, the top down and tunes on when some bikes came roaring by.

'Lucky guys' I thought, 'I should still be out on my bike'.