Friday, October 14, 2005

A Friday of not knowing if its up or down

So all of sudden it's Friday and I've come to the sad realization that although I was able to spend all of Monday cruising around on my bike, the week has gone by I've not so much as looked at it. Understanding that I store my motorcycle in a friends garage some fifteen minutes away, it's still a little depressing to think of all the time thats passed without another ride.

Next week, regardless of my schedule, work or projects I'm promising to get out and hit a few bike nights.

It's an English thing
Producers announced today that the new James Bond will be played by Daniel Craig in the next installment 'Casino Royale'. I know this isn't exactly bike related, unless you count that chase scene from1995's Tomorrow never dies on the BMW R1200 cruisers, but this is a huge announcement in the world of British entertainment if not the world (and if this were a Bond movie, I would laugh loudly with a sinister slant while I threw open my arms).

Pierce Brosnan became one of the most popular Bonds in the history of the franchise and right now the producers have to be wondering if they have a winner or just another George Lazenby on thier hands. If you're asking George who, I think I've made my point. This is saying nothing against Daniel Craig's acting ability, but one has to appreciate that the role of Bond is such a precise and selective affair. And how will the fans react to having a blonde Bond?

Raises so many questions, doesn't one agree?

Back to Bikes!
As much as I'm interested to see a new slant on the helmet discussions (sticking with the English theme we'll refrain from calling it a debate since thats so aggressive and uncivilized) there's nothing more frustrating than things being thrown into the arena using unproven facts or badly conducted studies.

One such example was published in a press release which although named the doctors conducting the study, didn't name any institutions or sponsors of the research. As we all know, that can make a difference

In Autopsy Study of Motorcyclist Fatalities: The Effect of the 1992 Maryland Motorcycle Helmet Use Law, a study aimed to determine the impact of Maryland's all-rider motorcycle helmet law on preventing deaths and traumatic brain injuries among motorcyclists was conducted by Kimberly M. Auman, MS, Joseph A. Kufera, MA, Michael F. Ballesteros, MS, John E. Smialek, MD and Patricia C. Dischinger, PhD. It was found out that the motorcyclist fatality rate dropped from 10.3 per 10,000 registered motorcycles prelaw to 4.5 postlaw despite almost identical numbers of registered motorcycles. Another finding established was that the motorcyclists wearing helmets had a lower risk of traumatic brain injury than those not wearing helmets.

The aforementioned physicians have compared the 33-month periods immediately preceding the enactment of the Motorcycle Helmet Law to determine whether said Law's intent is effective. To their satisfaction, the controversial law appears to be an effectual public health policy that saves many lives.

Nothing to say how it was conducted, where the data came from or as I mentioned earlier, who financially backed it.

Do we call this irony?
In a week filled with news stories of motorcycle accidents from hitting black bears in America to cattle in Malaysia, it was an interesting time for a press release about technology that could distract riders while on the road.

Motorola and MOMODESIGN have designed a motorcycle helmet with built in bluetooth, a noise reducing microphone that minimizes traffic and wind noise, along with a battery which can last for up to five hours talktime and 100 hours standby time.

With all the distractions on the road as it is and extra care needed to ride safely, do bikers really need the ability to talk on the cellphone as well? I know how annoying it is finding someplace safe to stop, dig out the phone and make a call, but is this really the answer.

It is what we say it is
It wasn't just the absurdity of the fatality 'research' or the silliness of a wireless helmet that has me shaking my head. You may've read the recent downgrade to Harley Davidson's stock rating by analysts last week in the October 5th edition of Biker Diaries (Case #3 of being hassled by the man) because the experts felt the market was softening and HD was building up too much inventory, which is a sad way the describe a beautifully designed and built motorcycle but thats okay.

It seems the famed motorcycle maker blew past analysts' expectations by posting a 96-cents-per-share profit during the September quarter, a 25% hike from a year ago, sending shares up almost 4% on Wednesday. Would this be enough to have the earlier analysts admit a mistake?

Obviously not.

Forbes reported yesterday that one of those analysts, Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Scott Barry wrote to his clients that "We maintain our thesis suggesting Harley-Davidson is entering relative maturity," adding that expected fourth-quarter softness and a retail "wall of worry" driven by gas prices are reasons for caution.

It's odd that he should use a "wall of worry" as a reason of caution since there have been numerous news stories all around the country about people flocking to motorcycle dealerships hoping to avoid rising gas prices by buying a bike! I've mentioned them a few times in this blog as they've hit the press and they usually read like the most recent story published by News Channel 14 in North Carolina.

The ability to get more miles per gallon has fueled sales at many dealerships. Purchases are up and haven't tapered off the way they normally do.

Dealerships said they've seen an increase in one particular population hoping to see savings on gas, women riders.

"Every day, more women are riding," Newman said. "Instead of being the one behind, they're doing the driving."

I guess I'm just missing the bigger picture that Scott Barry apparently see's. At least I've gotten one good thing from this event, I can now use the term "wall of worry" when someone asks how I'm feeling.

"Laurence, how are you today?"

"I have to be honest, just lately I've been having this wall of worry. Not sure what it is, but I've felt a little peculiar the last few days!"

Jesse James and Orange County watch out! There's a new kid in town.
The time has finally come for all those people who like to do it in metric.

The "Metric Revolution" a new television series premiering in 2006, is launching the first ever all metric motorcycle build-off at Biketoberfest 2005. The newly renovated Shores Resort and Spa has been chosen as the location to film the first episode of this 13 week series.

The 1st episode of the series will feature the top 25 custom motorcycle builders receiving a stock motorcycle in which they will have 4 months to totally customize. Shooting will begin on Friday, October 21 with the Metric Revolution crew filming highlights and events throughout the Daytona Beach area.

The program's being created by an independent production company and although there's no mention on which channel will carry the show, the producers are promising an "'American Idol' of biker build-offs!"

Who knew bikers could sing?

Ending on a warm and fuzzy note
The Paynesville Press reported earlier in the week 'This summer, Mike and Rita Garding accomplished a long-term goal by riding their motorcycle into Needles, Calif. In reaching this dusty city on Interstate 40, located on the border of California and Arizona, the Gardings traveled in their 48th state on motorcycle.'

Although the reporter refers to riding as cycling and driving, it's still a nice article on how a couple who've ridden for over thirty years decided to make it their goal to visit all 48 states, They do talk about the possiblilty of Alaska, but for some reason Hawaii just isn't mentioned.

Read the article in its entirety at the Paynesville Press.

No comments: