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 Live.com.


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.

HindustanTimes.com 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.

Finally...

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 Boston.com. 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.

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