Sunday, November 27, 2005

Everyday's a Holiday on a Harley

Between being able to ride my Deuce to work and the Thanksgiving day ride, life's feeling pretty good. Where as I normally store my bike in a riding buddy's garage, over the last four or five days I've hung onto it and as much as it pains me to let it stand in the elements, it's a warm feeling having my motorcycle only a few steps away ready to go whenever the feeling comes up.

I took it out on Saturday morning and visited some familiar places as well as some new routes. Even took along the camera, so I'll put that entry on Biker Diaries tonight or tomorrow when theres more time. After all, how do you keep an idiot in suspense?

I'll tell you later.

Genuine news or just a slow news day.
Maybe the stories about Black Friday weren't interesting enough, or there just wasn't any scandalous news, and it could even be that the people normally in charge were out of town for Thanksgiving and the motorcycle enthusiast in the bullpen was picking all the stories. Either way, an awful lot of press was given to everyones favorite two wheeled pastime from repeating stories to some nice in depth looks at what makes bikers tick.

It was deja vu all over again when the Miami Herald ran an old story under a new headline. 'States study regulations for aging bikers' was posted on their website as of November 26th, but the Associated Press story appeared at least a month ago (I looked but I guess there are too many entries in Biker Diaries now to it track down...shame). The article starts with a biker's childhood memories of climbing on his dad's Harley only to finally have his own years later at age 55 and moves onto discussing the study that the State of Washington is conducting about the effectiveness of introducing mandatory motorcycle safety courses for new riders.

The effort is in its infancy, but officials from the Washington State Patrol and the Department of Licensing are already discussing refresher training courses for experienced riders and a requirements to show a motorcycle license before buying a bike.

"What we think is happening with this older group is that they rode a motorcycle when they were 18-20 years old, then they hit their 40s and realized, 'Hey, I can afford a bigger, better bike,'" said Gigi Zenk, a licensing spokeswoman.

Statistics show state motorcycle fatalities on the rise, with most involving riders 40 and older on bikes with the largest engines.

This thought of rising accident data stemming from older 'born-again' riders climbing onto motorcycles with more power when they last rode many years ago and the roads are certainly being more crowded is becoming more popular among officials as well as the riding community in general.

Maybe the Associated Press is recirculating the story, it also appeared today on ABC's news site and Winston Salem's Journal Its not a bad topic and definitely less heated thatn the helmet debate.

Any prizes for the more observant readers of internet news catching this recycling?

One of our own
Whether or not he decided the story should be run, reporter Skip Hess wrote his article Course helps keep motorcyclists alive with the understanding of what it's like to be in the saddle. Even with the way he writes the piece with the thrilling insight into what a biker in Indiana has to go through to appreciate the pleasures and thrills of riding is laced with first hand knowledge.

The temperature was 26 degrees, wind blew a steady 22 mph from the northwest, and there he was at 2:22 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, sitting erect on his BMW motorcycle, riding on Southport Road near an I-65 ramp.

This guy was not out for a brief around-the-block ride, for his bike was loaded, from the bulging saddle bags on either side of his rear wheel to neatly packed rolls of gear strapped to a chrome carrier behind his back.

What is it that will lure a man to leave the comfort of his home when the wind-chill factor is 2 degrees above zero?

If you have to ask, then you're not a motorcycle rider. They will tell you that it's the challenge, the experience, the journey.

Unlike many stories, whats written is given that much more validity when the reader finds out that Skip Hess took the Motorcycle Safety course himself some seven months ago and attributes it to saving him from a few close calls.

What is confusing though is in a state where your govenor and one of the county's prosecuters are avid bikers, how can there be 200,000 registered licensed motorcycle riders but only 100,000 registered motorcycles? Are there that many bikers denying themselves the pleasures of riding, or are they out on unregistered motorcycles.

Curious point.

Legends of Past and Present
Its funny how two stories over different days can bookend a beginning and ending quite unknowingly.

I read about a past classic finding a new owner when Steve Mcqueen's 1933 Matchstick Silver Hawk raced past its pre-sale estimate selling for $47,000, or 47% above the high-end of the estimate at an Bonhams & Butterfields auction held on November 12th.

McQueen who was the star of films such as The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Thomas Crown Affair and Papillon was an avid collector of classic motorcycles and a fan of anything fast.

I'm sure ditch and pursuing World War 2 German soldiers weren't included in the price!

Then something hit the news about classics in the making with a person who's name invokes the images of amazing looking motorcycles, Mr. Arlene Ness who'd like to make it easier for riders to own one of his creations. Inside Bay Area reports that the design legend wants to bring his vision to the public with mass production and consequently, affordability.

But it'll be mass numbers, Ness-style. Customers can chose between two types of grips, five different wheels and six colors of paint, with variations of each color. Also, if the customers want, Arlen, Cory or both will personally sign each bike.

"These bikes are similar to the types of designs we've done in the past, but we've refined it," Arlen's son Cory said. "We are not cutting any corners because we want to keep the high level of quality here to build a really nice bike."

With Arlen Ness only planning to turn out just 20 motorcycles a month to retain the company's image of having noteworthy motorcycles, and an average price of $45,000 there won't be one sitting in every garage for sure but at least it's less than the usual price of $60,000 or more you could pay for a custom bike.

And it just so happens
Different article, same information. That's pretty much how you feel when reading More baby boomers are buying bikes in the New San Bern Sun Journal. Although the well published growing number of registered motorcycles are discussed with the obvious conclusion of baby-boomers enjoying an empty nest as the reason, it was nice to see the feeling of freedom that comes with riding was mentioned as well.

The funniest quote had to come from Bill Murray (no not the Bill Murray) when he said, "BMW riders are among the most safety-conscious out there. We're all very experienced and we tend to be good about wearing protective clothing."

I guess it wasn't surprising then that he's a member of Coastal Carolina BMW Motorcycle Club! I admire a person who's humble enough to toot their own horn.

Now to be fair, and certainly before I get any emails from BMW riders, it's rare to see anyone on these fine machines without a helmet or protective clothing.

The news we knew would happen
Up and down the country, toy runs and charity events are showing bikers at their best.

Last Rebels Motorcycle Club in Huntington OH and Charity Runs in Glendale CA all made the news.

Toy Runs in Kansas , Galveston, Gold Hill OR, Akron OH, Fayetville LA, Goldsboro NC, Springfield MO, St Louis MO, Sevierville County TN , Willits CA, Bay City TX, Garden City GA, Asgard MS, Rocky Mount NC, Lake Wildwood NV, Hutchinson NV, Charleston SC, Texas/Oklahoma, Delaware County PA, Henderson County TX, Oceanside CA, Sacramento CA, Eureka CA, TwentyNine Palms CA, Bakersfield CA, Fort Lauderdale FL also got coverage up and down the US.

Some of these have already happened while others are scheduled over the next two weeks.

Even internationally, Central Western Australia, Narooma Australia and Johannesburg Africa!

Although not all Toy Runs went by without a little controversy, it was nice to see so many bikers give up time and open their hearts for the more needy during this holiday season.

And what a great note to leave this small slither of Biker Diaries.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Empty roads and bulging waistlines

Two days of riding under the belt, turkey roasting away in the oven, freshly opened Corona and the first of two football games on the TV. Can life get any better than this?

I guess it could, but the odds of Angela Jolie knocking on my front door wearing not much more than a lustful smile are pretty small.

Since my office was going to be closed for Thanksgiving and the days either side of it are some of the slowest in my industry, I took advantage of the casual dress code and rode my Deuce to work on Wednesday. It was just a short ride and on a heavily commuted city road, but just being on the bike made the other traffic and lights fade into the background.

What couldn't be ignored was the cold weather. We had a cold front come into South Florida and the temperature was 59 degrees at just after nine in the morning. The leather jacket was a given and thankfully I didn't follow the urge to take off the windshield (I figured it would only be local riding and not much wind, besides the bike looks so much cooler without it). Even with the windshield, the slight wind that swirled around my face was certainly chilly enough to make me realize it was staying firmly attached to the Deuce for the duration of winter.

My leather gloves are full finger, but perforated for cooler riding in the southern sun so although my fingers weren't freezing they could definitely feel the chill.

All this may sound a bit wimpy to the riders in any state more north of say Georgia, but not only will this be the first winter I'm riding but us Floridians have blood thin enough to live on the sparce atmosphere of some distant planet. That is if we could stand the cold planet surface.

He was a purple Deuce rider
One of the more interesting social aspects of riding on city streets is the conversation between bikers from light to light. When you start a conversation at an inital light neither of sure if you'll meet at the next one so whatever you're talking about has to be short, sweet and wrapped up at a moments notice. You say goodbye, but sort of don't especially since the odds are you'll be at the same place but one light further along.

This happened on the way home with our topic of conversation around both of us riding a Deuce, his a 2003 sharply painted purple with customized handle bars and excessive (but beautiful) amounts on chrome. He liked my windshield and I commented now good his sissy bar holding a solo saddlebag looked. We both agreed how ridiculous Harley has made it, not to mention complicated and expensive, to add proper saddlebags to the bike.

Of course we finished and started the conversation over three lights. The whole thing did prove once again that the most hardened looking, bandana wearing biker is really just the nicest and eloquent person you could meet.

Turkey Time
I had set aside whatever time I woke up until noon to get out on the bike Thanksgiving day, but with no-one to ride with and no particular place to go there wasn't much of a hurry to get out too early. By 9.15am I was heading south on Federal towards I-595 with the idea of heading west but nothing further in mind than the road I could see in front of me.

Roads normally congested with commuters were empty and the temperature slightly warmer than yesterday with hardly a breeze. Everything was perfect for a comfortable cruise somewhere, but where?

The thought of stopping at some diner for breakfast came and went. Why spend valuable riding time stuck at a table when you could be on a bike in this near perfect riding weather?

The Florida Highway Patrol had a nice little speed trap set up just west of the Turnpike overpass on I-595 and boy did they come prepared to give some unsuspecting drivers a lasting memento of Thanksgiving 2005. One Trooper stood with his radar gun and obviously radio'd descriptions of speeding cars to the pool of seven patrol cars waiting either side in the medians. Fortunately, I'd settled into the middle lane among some cars doing just over seventy miles per hour which wasn't enough to get official attention.

It was about this time I 'd decided to head south on Knob Hill Road through Davie and Cooper City, at some point turnning west to make my way to Holiday Park out in the Everglades. Knob Hill Road is a two lane road through a rural residential area giving a nice view of manicured developments, open fields and parks with traffic lights only appearing occassionally. The road is a series of slight curves allowing comfortable speeds of anywhere around fifty to sixty miles per hour.

It was on this road I started a conversation with the rider of a Kawasaki Cruiser. It may've been a 2003 but between the chrome, customizations and red paint job, it could've come straight off the showroom floor. One of the additions he'd made was a charger for his air intake increasing his horsepower from 88 to 105!

Not long after he took his left turn and left me on the road without any other riders around, I realized that I wasn't sure which road lead directly west into Holiday Park and even though I had a strong feeling it was either Sterling or Griffin Road, I went right past both of them until Pines Blvd. It was at this point I knew I had to head west until Hwy 27 and then go north until I saw Holiday Park. Highway 27 is the furthest most western road which separates Man and the Everglades, so on one side are industrial parks and the occasionally housing development and on the other scraggy looking trees and swamps.

Holiday Park had more riders than I would've thought and consistently kept twenty to thirty bikes in the parking lot. The Harley/Kawasaki/Suzuki Cruisers rumbled, BMW/Goldwings glided and the Sportbikes revved, all of them making a circle around the one way parking lot until they found a spot to park.

Photo's from my last visit to Holiday Park

A cup of coffee and few bike-related conversations later and I headed back out onto the highway so I could get the turkey in the oven in time for a dinnertime thanksgiving meal.

Is different good?
It was interesting watching the riders on the road as well as at Holiday Park. There are two points to this observation. Why is there a huge difference between not only what riders wear, but also why is it accepted?

From no helmets, to skull caps all the way to full face helmets.

Cowboy boots, tennis shoes and boots designed for both cruisers and sportbikes.

T-shirts, long sleeve shirts, leather vests, leather jackets and padded scientifically designed fiber racing jackets.

We're all on the same basic vehicle, an engine mounted on a frame with two wheels. The roads we travel are the same ones, made of asphalt or concrete. Taking into account speed, the effects on our bodies will be similar so why do we have differing levels of protection and why is it considered okay to have those various standards.

The final answer has to be as with anything we do in life, everyone has their own level of acceptable risk. It would be interesting however to ask someone who's permanently scarred from an accident if they could turn back time, would they wear that bulky jacket? Would a accident victim who finds themselves in a wheelchair change history and wear a helmet?

This leads me to my final thought. We should all take a moment on this day of days we set aside for retrospective and thank whatever we believe in for the many safe rides we've had. Be thankful for the ones that although they left us with a scratch or scare, at least they were'nt as bad as they could've been.

And we should certainly have thanks that we were shown maybe we could've ridden or dressed a little more safely.

Maybe even giving thanks we're wise enough to learn our lesson from those mishaps and take that extra step on our next ride.


Happy Thanksgiving to you and all of yours. Ride safe.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Rants, raves and the chill of reality

It's not often that I'll use my lunch hour to type up an entry for this blog. First of all, it is my break during a hectic day to mentally relax. Also, although it may not show with various typo's and missing words, I do like to take my time on the additions to Biker Diaries.

Today is different and I'll move appointments if it's needed to get this to look like it should and have all the thoughts needed.

And we can thank the arrogance and stupidity of Daniel Rodriguez Mendoza for this compelling drive to have this up and as soon as possible.

You see he's a young, illegal immigrant with no driving license that inflicted serious injuries on two bikers and killed a rider. This is all incredibly tragic on it's own but made so much worse when you find out this was his fifth traffic violation.

And he doesn't even have a license!

According to the Sun-Sentinel he pulled a U-turn on Sept. 25 and stopped his Chevrolet Blazer in the middle of Military Trail west of Lantana, Florida to look for his cell phone on the road causing two motorcycles to slam into the back of his vehicle, leaving one person dead and two others seriously injured.

Pierre Nadeau's right foot was nearly severed in the crash, Steve Dahmer suffered a broken pelvis, femur and other injuries and Kimberly Jo Dahmer was thrown from the back of her husband's Harley-Davidson motorcycle after it rear-ended Rodriguez Mendoza's 1988 Blazer.

The driver, Rodriguez Mendoza, 21, began his saga in May 2003, when court records show Lantana police cited him for driving 61 mph in a 35 mph zone and not having a license. By his fifth citation for driving without a license, he had given police three names, including Daniel Rodriguez and Roberto Rodriguez, court and arrest records show. The undocumented immigrant pleaded guilty to a crash that caused $2,000 in damage, was cited in another case for driving the wrong way on Lantana Road and was cited for improperly backing up in another crash that caused $600 damage and minor injuries to another person, court records show. In that case, Rodriguez Mendoza failed to appear for his arraignment and a judge issued an arrest warrant.

The scariest notion in this case is no matter how many times he would've been caught driving without a license in the State of Florida it's only a misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail.

"You can get 50 of those charges and it's never anything more than at second-degree misdemeanor," local County Judge Cory Ciklin said. "With no license, it's pretty much a blank check. You can do it as often as you want and there are no repercussions."

Although Dahmer and Nadeau were both charged last week with driving under the influence during the crash, witnesses told investigators there was no way the impact could have been avoided, a prosecution spokesman said. It's not known if any of the riders were wearing helmets.

There are so many things wrong with this story and unfortunately it's from all parties involved.

Rodriguez Mendoza has the arrogance to think that he has the right to live and work here illegally, drive without a license and then effectively thumb his nose at the system when caught. His stupidity is not only with his lack of experience in operating a vehicle, but if you were on such shaky legal ground wouldn't you make sure you drove carefully and according to the law?

The riders shouldn't have been drinking and riding. Crashing into the back of a vehicle is never a good indication of your situational awareness, although witnesses did say there was no way they could've avoided the accident.

The article doesn't say which country Mr. Mendoza is from, nor does it say if the bikers were wearing helmets. I have heard from talking about this story at work that the accident occurred on Steve Dahmer's birthday and he didn't know until he awoke in the hospital that his wife had died.

It doesn't look like Rodriguez Mendoza will be able to get out of this mess very easily. He's held without bail and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

At the end of the day
What can the law take away from this?
- There has to be a way to catch illegal immigrants during traffic stops.
- No drivers license equals jail time. Pure and simple.

Every rider who reads this story needs to take away the following lessons.
-Don't drink and ride.
-Always watch everything around and have some idea of where you can go if a vehicle does something stupid around you.
- Be careful!

This happened in sunny South Florida where people come to play on South Beach and others migrate from the northern states to enjoy our gentle winter weather. As much as it feels like paradise, it also feels like the remenants of the old west with laws lacking and the ones we do have not enforced. It also stems from the attitude. On the same webpage as the above story there was report about a Federal search warrant that uncovered automatic weapons, including some with the serial numbers erased, an improperly registered silencer and a false passport.

All the attorney of the arrested man could say was, "(My client) has not violated the laws of this country!"

Alrighty then.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Toy Runs and TV stars

As much as things change, they really don't.

Had a chance to go out with my biking buddy last night. He and I used to go out two or three times a week and get into whatever trouble we could find with some of my funniest, eyebrow raising stories happened with him there. So it was nice when we finally managed to get out and fall back into the routine of drinking hard and partying harder. Of course we ended up with a story to tell and although not the wackiest, certainly lends itself to 'it's a small world'.

While in conversation with some people, motorcycles inevitably came up when someone pointed to a hot looking girl the other side of the group. "She dates _____ from that motorcycle TV show _____!"

I looked in disbelief. "She dates _____, the old guy?" We were three quarters into the night and my diplomacy wasn't what it could've been.

They laughed, said yes and as far as I know, didn't throw me under the bus for my comment.

Small world and that TV personality is one lucky guy.

You think I was born when?
One of the more interesting conversations of the night occurred just between my buddy and I. You may remember that my buddy wasn't too keen on participating in the local Toy Run, so I was surprised when he asked if we were going to do it. Then I was shocked when he started talking about getting us a deal for only $300!

Okay, two questions; Three hundred dollars to participate in the Toy Run and you consider this a deal? Evidently it was a gold level of the charity event that would put you at some parties and in the front of the line for the ride.

Knowing how my buddy is, I graciously declined the three hundred dollar opportunity did emphasize I wanted to do the run and then made him promise he wouldn't go off and do something stupid like pay the three hundred dollars on my behalf. I'd rather not feel indebted to someone like that.

Excited though that he'll be coming along. We started talking about the bundling up you have to do to not only for the run but more so for riding in general as winter hits sunny Florida. On the back of a motorcycle is probably the only time you mention sweater and leather jacket in the same sentence in our neck of the woods.

It's nice to be talking about riding since forecasts of rain and another tropical storm expected to hit us Monday pretty much knocks out any notion of getting in the saddle this weekend. The bigger worry is that the tropical depression they're talking about is taking the same path as Wilma with all the same surrounding weather conditions that turned that system from a storm to a catagory three hurricane. Hopefully this one won't be as enthusiastic!

Too funny!
Here's a video to make you smile......

His girlfriend is a real dog....

Sorry...had to say it:):)!!

Be safe this weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Welcome basket for the new neighbor

It seems to me that you can divide bikers into two groups. Those that are gung-ho about the type or brand of motorcycle they ride and the others who appreciate all bikes, regardless of what they themselves own and prefer. Actually last time I was in the same Harley dealership where I bought my deuce the salesperson (a woman) was telling my friend and I about the sports bike she was buying. Although she was keeping her Harley, the sports bike would be there for those times she just wanted to get out on the road and feel the acceleration.

Whereas the avid rider can't see beyond the brand or style of his or her preference, the open-minded biker is just glad there are people out there enjoying the thrill of riding.

Now the downside to being this appreciative of anything on two wheels is the rich chick shoe syndrome. You want to own one of everything.

If you told yourself that you should be patriotic and only buy American built (and I'm not going to go into that whole discussion here) then you could limit your envy-list simply because there weren't that many.

Yep, being an American built motorcycle (mass manufactured) was unique and a sparsely filled category. Some would even say this was one of the main reasons Harley Davidson has been as successful as it has.

But the neighborhood is getting a little more crowded. It feels like every time you turn around these days there's another American manufacturer bringing out a good looking line of motorcycles.

Indian Motorcycle has re-invented itself and promising models in the second half of 2006. Victory Motorcycles lays claim to Arlen Ness himself designing a model in their line-up, which is already nicely filled with six other models.

It's time for everyone to move over and make room for the new kid in town. Viper Motorcycles recently announced their 2006 advertising campaign and more importantly, information on what you and I can buy. Although they initially intended to have some assembly completed by Performance Assembly Solutions in Livonia, Michigan, the final decision was to keep it all under the roof of their Minnesota Headquarters.

So what do they have in store for the American public? The main model is the Diablo Power Cruiser with the Diablo PC being a low version of its big brother. Both the Diablo and the Diablo PC will be available with an optional 115, 128 or 152 all billet Viper engine. These engines are proprietary to Viper and offer innovative proprietary technology, short stroke big bore motors that develop more power while producing less heat.

The weight of the bike is light at a 'balanced' 600 lbs to offer excellent handling and also featuring a 6-speed transmission aswell as the Viper adjustable air-ride suspension.

There's no mention of how much the motorcycles will cost but Terry Nesbitt, President of Viper Motorcycle Company has promised to "introduce competitive prices and innovative dealer programs that we believe will set new industry standards."

They'll need those dealer programs since the only one mentioned on their website at the time of this blog entry is located in Arkansas.

However, it is a good looking motorcycle with options for some power between your legs and certainly has the qualities to start off as a classic. By that I partly mean you can only buy it in red, silver or black.

Here are the specs:
2005 Viper Diablo

Proprietary Billet Aluminum

2093cc/128 Cubic Inches

Air Cooled 45 degree V-Twin

Bore x Stroke:
4.25 x 4.50

Max Torque:
141 Foot Pounds

Max Horsepower:
128 HP

Mikuni HSR 45 Flat Slide

Tuned 2 into 1

Oil Capacity:
4.5 Quart Capacity Dry Sump

32 AMP Alternator with Interstate Battery

Primary Drive:
Proprietary Hydraulic Chain

Hydraulic High Performance Rivera

Final Drive:
Patented VHD System with Right-Hand Drive and High Performance Belt

Front Brake:
Single Disc with 4 Piston Billet Caliper and Stainless Steel Rotor

Rear Brake:
Single Disc with 4 Piston Billet Caliper and Stainless Steel Rotor

96 Inches

68 Inches

Seat Height:
24 Inches

34 Degrees

Dry Weight:

Front Suspension:
Marzocchi Inverted Adjustable Cartridge Forks

Rear Suspension:
Proprietary Billet Aluminum Swing Arm with Oil Dampened Adjustable Air Ride

Front Tire:
130 / 70-18 Metzler Radial

Rear Tire:
240 / 40-18 Metzler Radial

Viper Red / Viper Black / Viper Blue/Silver

So now now the important questions are, how much will they cost, what can you get for a kidney and where would I store it?

Monday, November 14, 2005

All about Harley...Davidson that is..

Monday night and couldn't get out over the entire weekend to hit the roads, which is a real shame especially as I read about the more northern of our biking brothers making plans to house their bikes for the winter.

Maybe it's time to do some more bike nights.

There used to an amazing bike night at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino on Tuesday night. Everyone would turn up, from the Goldwings to Sports Bikes and the Cruisers, leaving one-percenters rubbing shoulders with Grandpa and Grandma tourer at the Hooters bar. There would be hundreds of motorcycles in the exclusive parking lot and dozens of custom choppers displayed around the walkways of the restaurants and stores, wrapping around the majestic fountain in the center of the complex.

With so many bikers the wait for a table was at least an hour and we're talking about a plcae that serves wings for heavens sake. It was a fun night, not just for the bikes but to hang out with riders you wouldn't normally get to have a beer with.

Like all edens, someone had to take a bite of the poisoned apple. Legends, a venue that features sound-a-likes of Elvis, Prince, Bruce Springsteen and whichever star happens to be hot wasn't too keen to have these 'bikers' roaming around the complex scaring visiting tourists who obviously never seen a motorcycle before.

Every week the complaints were made but one of the other Seminoles Hard Rock's tenants, Hooters was quite happy with the bike night (and all the of money was rolling in from it) and an unofficial stalemate kept the bike night alive and well.

That is until one of the choppers accidently hit one of the tourists as he rode away from displaying his bike at the fountain during the event. It wasn't really his fault since you had to ride along the sidewalks to get out of the complex, and who's to say the tourist wasn't pushed. Either way it was all the Hard Rock needed to stop the bike nights.

Legends never really did take off and the Hard Rock heard from other vendors that Tuesday nights weren't as good as they used to be when the bikers came and hung out. They tried to bring it back but it seems these bikers can be fickle sorts. The last one I went too my Deuce was the second motorcycle parked and there were only six total when I decided to leave not even two hours later.

I'm sure theres a lesson here somewhere and maybe even a snappy, funny line to be thrown out, but for the life of my, I can't see it!

Still it might be worth a ride tomorrow night, just to check it out.

Don't mock the great HD
So I dared to type tongue in cheek last week about an award Harley Davidson won from the National Investors Relations Institute for how well prepared their annual reports were.

Well, it's Harley that'll be smiling at the 2005 Florence Biennale, a celebration of contemporary art, design and culture, where they'll be awarded with the "Lorenzo il Magnifico". In particular, the award highlights the contribution of Willie G. Davidson and his styling team who have created many of the company's most iconic machines with their unique approach to styling and design.

The event will be taking place between December 3rd and 11th with Harley-Davidson's latest motorcycles will be on display in Florence and a range of riding events across the city are being planned to coincide with the Florence Biennale.

I will never jest again.

I think.

Who needs the bikes anyway?
Bruce Rossmeyer who owns 10 Harley-Davidson dealerships (one of which includes the world's largest dealership in Daytona Beach) has decided that the motorcycles just get in the way of what really matters. The clothes.

The boutique, in Boca Raton, Florida (my neck of the woods) recently opened its doors as a boutique offering a variety of "Motorclothes," footwear and collectibles inspired by the famed motorcycle company.

Besides the merchandise on display, a unique element of the store is the addition of two Internet stations, attached to 42-foot screens mounted on the wall. The monitors enable customers to view the motorcycle inventory found at all dealership locations.

There's a grand opening party on the 17th of November and another boutique planned in Sunrise, a city about fifteen miles away.

Read the story in the Boca Raton News.

What the heck! Let's make it an all Harley Blog!
Can you imagine the Chinese leader, Chinese Chairman Hu Jingtao on a Fatboy?

It might just happen if Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has his way. He's urging George Bush try to help the american legend break into that market.

Harley's inability to crack through China's tangle of motorcycle license restrictions and urban rider bans, which have prevented the Milwaukee motorcycle maker from opening a single dealership in the world's most populous nation, has elevated Harley into a high-profile test case in the combustible politics of China-U.S. trade.

This isn't going to be an easy sell by the American President either.

The U.S. Commerce Department's trade diplomats in Beijing and Shanghai have been working on Harley's behalf for nearly two years, but Barrett wants to push the issue to the highest level. Bush will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao during his visit to Beijing Nov. 19-21 as part of a four-nation trip to Asia.

China is one of only a few international markets that stymies Harley, which exports to more than 60 nations and outsells its Japanese rivals on their own turf.

Maybe Harley could help balance the trade deficit. If they did, the arguments between rival bike type riders would never be the same!

Check out all the details at MPH Magazine.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Does Santa really ride?

One of the coolest parts of riding has to be the comradery among bikers that turns total strangers into to instant friends. From talking to someone who's newer to riding than you are, to meeting up with the crusty old biker wearing a leather with a sea of patches and was seemingly born on a motorcycle.

You know the sort, his stories sound something like 'I had a panhead that spit out oil quicker than you could put it in!'

Since we're quickly approaching the time of year of toy runs or other similar motorcycle runs for some kind of charity where bikers open their hearts as well as their throttle to help those less fortunate, I decided to look to the experiences and pick the brains of the more seasoned among us.

Actually this kind of event was part of the salesmans patter when I walked around my local Harley dealership oh so long ago trying to decide which bike would become my ride. My buddy who's had his bike about eighteen months longer than me has gone out on two of these runs years prior and didn't give the idea of going this year the warmest response when I mentioned it a couple of months ago.

I guess every biker has to do it just to say they did and after all, you do get a pin for the leather ! Regardless whether my buddy comes along or not it looks like I'm going to do it and it's only fair to share some of the advice I got from fellow riders at TMW Motorcycle Forum.

I got the advice 'equivilant' of the look my buddy gave me from a few of the forum responses, obviously typed with a smile.

'send them a donation then find out their route and go in the opposite direction.'

For someone intent on going, some good points were made:
Check engine coolant levels and oil before you start.... You bike isn't very good at getting rid of heat at those speeds (25mph can be optomistic), and your clutch is going to be used a lot (unless you're on a small bike)

Keep your distance from other riders, and make sure you know where they are at all times (don't rely on just mirrors). If it's your first time, maybe get a couple of more experienced guys to flank you till you gain more confidence.

Watch out for things that'll make other people swerve; Pot Holes, Furry dead critters, Dog poo Oil slicks, Drain covers (some people would rather kill themselves than ride over theses, even when it's nice and dry).

Let people know this is your first time. If the rideout is half decent someone will keep an eye on you.

Ask in advance for feedback and advice.

Drink some, but don't drink too much. There's nothing more agonising than riding in a bunch of guys with your bladder fit to burst!

Make sure your gear is up to the weather conditions.

It's dead easy to get mesmerised by and fixated on the bike in front. Make sure you keep looking well ahead.

There is a lot of unconscious peer pressure in a riding pack. Keep reminding yourself that this is your ride.

Check out the habits and riding styles of the riders you are riding close to. You get the occasional dork who swerves across the road or likes to brake hard. if you need to, move away from anyone who is riding inconsiderately.

Go and enjoy the event without having anything to prove to anyone.

Position yourself for good vision as much as you can.

It's easy to get stressed on a long run. Do whatever you can to remain relaxed. Keep checking out that you are not clenching your abdomen, or tightening your arms and legs.

Make sure you know what rules are laid down by the ride, before you start.

You want to improve your slow riding skills? Ride in a slow moving group. Nothing better. It's a challenge. It's fun! (To which someone typed - gee...improving my slow riding skills. i would rather give somebody a kidney)

And the funnier tidbits?
Don't follow a sportsbike, as there's always the odd twat who'll do a burnout at the traffic lights.

Plus, you get to laugh at the people who've lowered their harley's idle revs, so they vibrate like a washing machine.

A great read about group riding at Canyon Chasers was suggested.

Thanks to Nibblet99, Ions001, sv-wolf, 9000white, flynrider, Wizzard, sapaul and of course the always fun and ever informative TMW Motorcycle Forum.

Now where's that application form.

Winter will start as originally scheduled.
My fellow blogger Gymi commented on the last entry of Biker Diaries in which I wrote about an upcoming game to help with those 'can't-ride-my- bike-because-it's-too-damned-cold blues'. The drawback comes from the fact that the game won't be released until spring 2006, long after the bike withdrawals had set in on those long winter nights.

Trying to ever so helpful.....other options!

MotoGP: Ultimate Racing Technology 3
Available on PC, X-Box

Isle of Man TT Superbikes
Available on PS2

Monster Garage
Available on PC, X-Box
Didn't get a good review though

3D Motor Racing Game Pack featuring 3D Mini-Sportsbike
Window's based PDA's

Being a PC gamer myself I was surprised by the lack of games and have to think that there are a lot more released in England and Europe where motorcycle racing is more popular than here in the US. It's sad to admit that I downloaded a demo for MotoGP weeks ago and haven't gotten around to playing it yet.

Speaking of racing, congrats to Spencer Balentine (51) who's the new American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association Cross-Country National champion after winning both the vintage ('74 and older motorcycles) and post-vintage ('75 and newer motorcycles) titles in Kentucky this week.

Doing the right thing
Although I missed the chance to post an entry on Veterans day, it can't go by without a salute and thanks to all our brave men and women in uniform who unselfishly give whatever they have to, for our country.

These thoughts were going to be shared and gratitude expressed regardless of any convenient news story to bring up the topic, however it was nice to accidently find a report in Layfeyette's Journal and Courier about the strong ties between not only motorcycles and the military, but Harley Davidson and the Armed Forces.

The bond between Harley-Davidson motorcycles and America's military stretches back to World War I when the Milwaukee-based manufacturer allocated 50 percent of its production for the U.S. armed services.

"Harley-Davidson has supported the military for years and years. The American-made motorcycle went right along with the military," said Lafayette resident Dave Zufall, who served 10 years in the U.S. Marines and Army and has owned Harley-Davidson motorcycles since 1977.

Harley-Davidson estimates that 30 percent of its customers have served in the military and 14 percent of the company's U.S. work force are veterans.

And it was great to read that one Harley Davidson dealer takes the connection seriously and honors what our uniformed personnel serving in Afghanistan and Iraq are doing in a very real world way.

"If their motorcycle is under warranty, Harley-Davidson will provide an extension equal to the number of days they're deployed," Dan Bell, who owns Eagle Harley-Davidson in Lafayette said. "Since these brave young men and women have been unable to ride during their deployment, we think it's only fair to extend their factory warranty."

We should all be as grateful. What a great thought to leave this blog on.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Everybody's riding!

As this blog is written, I'm a little tired, slightly sunburnt and at the end of a day where not a lot of things were seemingly done.

But it's also with the biggest grin on my face and just a general glow about my demeanor. Yep, I got to ride the Deuce today! It wasn't a momentous ride, no long distances (140 miles actually) and really with no rhyme or reason. Sometimes those are the best rides of all.

It'd been a while since I took a picture of my bike so took a couple of those before I headed out to meet a friend/customer for lunch and show off the ride.

As you can see by the photos, I kept the windshield on for the ride. When I put it on back in October the idea was to remove it for local rides where the speeds are slower, but have it for the longer trips to help with fatigue and wind noise. Not knowing where the day would take me and also wanting to get more used to having it there, I kept it on.

This decision would come into play later on in the day.

My friend/customer is one of those people that really seems to want a motorcycle but between his reservations, and more importantly his wife's, he's never bought one. It's always interesting to see the intrepidation and excitement when a non-rider sits on a nice bike and you can imagine all of the thoughts as well as fantasies that's going through their minds.

Since I'd taken the day off to work through the City of Fort Lauderdale's necessary paperwork needed for an overnight parking permit, I headed over there having to do the precarious dance of riding through weekday city traffic, watching out for business men driving while on cellphones and find an address all at the same time. Never the safest thing to do.

The paperwork wasn't that complicated, the government employee actually quite nice and helpful and I left with an appointment to pick up the special hologram permit on Monday. A major chore out of the way and a good part of the day to ride. I was one very happy biker!

But as I was riding north on Federal Highway trying to figure out where to go next, I could hear a rattling coming from the front of my motorcycle. A nut and bolt holding the windshield to the mounting bracket had fallen off. This had come pre-assembled and in no way could be contributed to the incompetence of the installer of the windshield (which would, since I had time it was over to Harley Davidson of Fort Lauderdale where the thing was bought.

When the parts guy and I tried to remove the windshield we noticed that one of the mounting pins and fallen out as well. This could be attributed to yours truly. Oops. He was amazingly helpful, not only charging me just for the screw that fell out because of my assembly but had one of the service techs tighten all the other hardware (including the prea-ssembled bits) to do with the removable windshield free of charge.

I can only imagine the pain it would've been if this had all happened out in the middle of nowhere, or at a less convenient time when I couldn't just hang out until it was done. Of course, the whole thing ended up taking about an hour and a half and traffic was so heavy I decided to take my baby back to the garage and coming home.

But what a fun day on the Deuce.

It's amazing who'll you see on a motorcycle
But I'm not only one getting their rides in. From the stately Mayor of Galveston to Nuns on the back of bikes in a motorcycle club, it's been a week of unusual riders.

To be fair Lydia Ann Thomas, the Mayor of Galveston admitted in The Daily News that her do-rag, leather vest and chaps appearance as she sits astride a motorcycle with the city seal on the front which was featured on a huge billboard along the Gulf Freeway south of the Texas City Wye was just an act. The organizers of the 2005 Lone Star Motorcycle Rally asked her to pose for the billboard, which welcomed bikers to town for the recent event. In reality, the honorable mayor doesn't even know 'how to turn the key' on a motorcycle.

Nice of her to play along though.

The Nuns on the other hand know what they're doing and looking forward to doing it!

But it's all for a good cause. The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and the Retreads Motorcycle Club have teamed up to sponsor The Nun Run, a motorcycle ride from Houston to Galveston this coming weekend. The fund-raiser will help buy Christmas presents for 500 children as well as gift certificates for food for their families.

Rosanne Popp, a nun who is a physician and the medical director at Christus Southwest Community Health Center said, "The sisters have really gotten behind the event and in fact, there may be some riding along with the bikers."

You can read the story in The Daily News, again in southwest Texas.

It's one thing to have your name in the paper about getting on a motorcycle and quite another for getting press because you fell off of one. Take poor Mr. Lufto E. Dlamini, a government minister in Swaziland, a country located in Africa. He was invited to attend an event at the Maguga Dam campsite by 200 HOG members and given the opportunity to ride someones motorcycle for ceremonial purposes. Unfortunately he didn't make it into second gear and not far before he crashed the bike.

As much as I want to give you a link to the story it seems the The Swazi Observer has moved onto different news and I can't seem to find the story anywhere on the website.

Finally....something for those rainy days!
How about these pictures for racing action.

If you like the look of them, you may've just found your answer to those cold, miserable days you just can't take the bike out.

Sony Computer Entertainment (SOE) announced the Spring 2006 North American release of TouristTrophy, available exclusively for the PlayStation 2. The game features more than 80 licensed motorcycles including BMW Motorrad, Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki, Triumph to be raced on more than 35 international courses.

You'll even be able to take snapshots of your favorite bike, race gear and your favorite location, as well as freezing frames of an actual race from a replay. If you have a memory card, the pictures can be saved and shared with friends.

I think the wives and girlfriends of bikers are going to be seeing a lot less of their men next spring!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Counting down those biking days....

A weatherfront is heading towards South Florida and I find myself wishing away the days, trying to will Thursday or Friday to get here quicker and before the storms. Since this isn't a tanning, boating or even volleyball blog, it's obvious I want to get a ride in before the weather turns, or at the very least teases with beautiful sunshine during the week and rain on the weekend.

Sometimes wearing a suit to work is such a pain! Actually it's always a pain, but thats for another time. My non-riding friends will occassionally ask why I don't use my bike during the week. Hmmmmm. Smell on clothes, helmet-hair, scuffed shoes. Let me count the reasons.

I'm sure I miss out on many oh-my-god moments, just like the one Gymi wrote about yesterday on Gymi's Place. I mean how many weaving eighty year old men do you have steering their truck with his knees just so he can continously give you the bird?

Actually Gymi's had some great posts even one about motorcycle blogging, so do yourself a favor, visit his blog and scroll down a few entries and see if you can guess what he'll write about next.

Dearly beloved
I was greeted with some sad, heartbreaking news at work yesterday. A sweet lady I work with stopped me in the hall with the question, "You ride a motorcycle don't you?"

I'm never quite sure how to answer this question, probably because I'm never sure if it is indeed a question or more an accusation. I found out that her son wants to sell his brand new Shadow because he already has a one child and another on the way and he wants to do the smart thing by his family. The woman I worked with asked if I knew anyone who wanted to buy it.

I can only imagine what a difficult decision that had to be.

An interesting work story here. We had the head of our bank's Human Resources department visiting on Monday. As one of those get to know you exercises we had to go around the room, introduce ourselves, how long we'd worked at the bank and what we'd like for christmas.

Hoping my birthday luck of getting something really expensive for my Deuce would spill over to the holidays, I added saddlebags and the fixtures to the room's ongoing list of world peace, jewelery, a boyfriend (true) and a good nights sleep (his wife is about to have a baby). All of a sudden the room erupted into what were saddlebags, yes he does ride a motorcycle, no not to work, they cost how much?

Why didn't I just ask for socks?

How fast?
Looks like BMW got their birthday present early in the form of a landspeed record. There'll be no more arguements who has the fastest bike at the mixed bike night anymore as a 2006 production model BMW K 1200 S set a world land speed record in the 1000 - 1350 cc stock, motorcycle class at Utah's famed Bonneville Salt Flats.

The motorcycle, piloted by 56-year-old Andy Sills, of San Francisco, CA, reached an average speed of 173.57 mph and top speed of 176.789 mph after two runs on the vast, white plains, where hundreds of land speed records have been set and broken since the early 1900s in a variety of automobile and motorcycle classes.

The run was actually made on September 8th but had to be ratified to rules set forth by the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), the century-old, Swiss-based governing body for five motorcycling disciplines (road racing, motocross, trial, enduro and track racing).

You can read the full story at MPH magazine.

Finally....funny stuff
Do you remember when I wrote about the Mexican Police pulling over a motorcyclist whose passenger was deceased?

If it were at all possible, the story has gotten stranger. The authorities have charged the rider, Francisco Javier Salas Guerrero (36), with in fact killing the dead passenger, putting a put a helmet on him and strapped him to his back to make him look like a passenger. Salas then rode the motorcycle through the city and looked for a place to leave the body.

When Salas saw police patrols, however, he got nervous and lost control of the motorcycle, according to authorities. They said Salas ran off and hid in a parking lot, but returned and pretended to be a witness.

I wonder if Salas tried to use the 'pining for fjords' defense?

The entire story can be found at San

It's funny what you can find when you use motorcycle to search a site. For example;

Takes a while to get there, but watch it.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Motorcycles everywhere!

And the winner for most patient girlfriend is.....Wendy (mine).......the crowd goes wild as the commentator remarks on the designer dress as she walks to the stage to collect her prize.

Why would I start a biker blog with this?

Well, the sun is out, roads are being cleared and traffic seems to be settling down, bringing out the bikers one by one. Ask Wendy, I've pointed out everyone with the comment of 'They got to take their bike out', 'Wow look at that someone else enjoying a ride' and 'Look at that lucky (.....) riding his bike!'

Not once did she react, complain or get fed-up with the remarks, pouting or sighs. Okay she did ask me to stop sighing as I watched a Sportster sit to the right of me at a light, but she did it with a giggle. Maybe because it was a Sportster.

But this is good. Since I resigned myself that I wouldn't be seeing the saddle this weekend, this can all be viewed as a build-up for the next one where weather permitting, the open road is mine! I've already mentioned to my riding buddy I might take off Thursday for a quick 250 mile ride and it looks like he might go. Can you see the stars aligning.

Those who can, do...those that can't, read
Like many riders out there, if I can't be on a bike it's great to read about them and this week was as a good time as any to be away from the bike with new models from known names like Harley Davidson and Suzuki as well as a new bike manufacturer, Hyosung.

Harley Davidson
Where as all the other companies are bringing out bigger models to compete in the cruiser segment Harley seems to be playing at the other end of the field. The Street Bob was brought out earlier this year and beckoned back to the stripped down bikes of yesteryear. They've followed suit with a new version of the much loved and certainly teased Sportster.

I'm sure that the Low-Seat 2006 Sportster 1200L having a seat height of 26.25 inches tailored towards shorter riders has abolutely nothing to do with the growing number of women entering the world of riding. A quick look at the full specs on the bike and you can see that the handlebar bend moves the grips and inch closer to the seat, the suspension has been lowered and the Low has mid-mount footpegs, so shorter legs won't have to stretch to reach them as they do on the Custom. The pricing isn't customized or shorter, coming in around the same price point as Sportsters before it, $9400 to just uner $11,000.

Here are the pictures!

I first mentioned Suzuki's M109 model in Bikers Diaires on October 11th, and I knew something was up by the numerous people that came to the original post from internet search engines as they were obviously trying to get more info on this motorcycle.

The 'M' in the model number designates it as a musclebike, but it's an amazing looking machine combining sleek lines of a Sports Bike with the look of a cruiser. From the tubular handlebar mounts on risers with a chrome instrument housing (which includes a clock, fuel gauge, and digital tachometer) mounted on the handlebar above the small headlight fairing to the analog speedometer sitting on the wide, curving 5.0 gallon fuel tank. It's low for a cruiser with the saddle height at 27.6 inches off the road, and there is a cowl to cover the passenger saddle section.

Here's the pic's and the spec's;

Because there have been so many people brought here looking for information on this puppy, here are the specs:

Black, blue, or silver

Liquid-cooled 54-degree V-twinValve train
Two intake, two exhaust valves per cylinder

Displacement, bore x stroke
1783cc, 112.0 x 90.5mm

Compression Ratio

EFI, two 56mm throttle bodies

5 speeds

Final drive

Seat height
27.6 in.

Dry weight
694 lb.

Fuel capacity
5.0 gallons

67.5 in.

Overall Length
96.8 in.

Front tire
130/70R18 Dunlop tubeless radial

Rear tire
240/40R18 Dunlop tubeless radial

Front brake
2, four-piston calipers, 12.2-in. discs

Rear brake
two-piston caliper, 10.8-in. disc

Front suspension
Inverted, 46mm stanchions, 5.1 in. travel

Rear suspension
Single damper, 4.7 in. travel, preload adjustable

How much????????? Only a Suggested base price of $12,339.

And who is this Hyosung?
Hyosung Motors and Machinery, Inc. is Korea's largest motorcycle manufacturer, building 200,000 motorcycles a year. The company has been building small motorcycles since 1979, when it started producing 80s and 125s under license from Suzuki. It introduced a 50cc moped of its own design in 1987, and started building bigger bikes (100cc) of its own design in 1996. It's first 650, the Comet, was announced in 2003. It also supplies components to Korea's burgeoning automobile industry.

If you happened to be shopping for motorcycles under 250cc you might've come across this brand under the name of AlphaSports GV250 cruiser. Now the Korean manufacturer has set-up an American affiliate under their own name and are planning on making an entry into the cruiser market with 647cc v-twin bike seemingly inspired by Harley's V-Rod.

The motorcycle, named GV650 Avitar has many interesting features such as a two-into-one exhaust, inverted fork, adjustable forward footpeg location, pullback handlebar, long 66.9-inch wheelbase, and drawn-out 95.6-inch overall length making it definitely sound like a cruiser. A LCD instrument panel includes a digital speedometer and the taillight is a LED type.

Most interesting is what the company has to say on their website promoting the bike, ' Hyosung GV650's V-Twin DOHC 8 valve engine produces extreme power for you. It breaks through the hardest tasks smoothly and easy. GV650's supreme suspension and wide tires make the roughest road flat for you. Strong and generous enough to embrace the merciless world and harsh pavement, named GV650!'

Here are some pictures for you.

The Specs








465 LBS

How much? A suggested retail price of $6199.....


What does all this mean?
With Harley Davidson taking their bikes back to basics, Kawasaki, Suzuki and more so Victory streamlining their models with the windswept teardrop look, what is the future for the cruiser?

This isn't taking into account the very vintage look of the ever emerging from the flames Indian motorcycle since who knows how successful they'll be. And when they do have production, how'll the bikes compare to Kawasaki's Drifter series which looks very similar?

This brings us to cost. Since we mentioned them last, Kawasaki starts at around $7000 and moves on into the $13,000 range, with Suzuki being similarly priced. Yamaha has a broader range both in price and styling with the least inexpensive cruiser starting off at $3500 and their larger cruiser not only stretching to $16,000 but also in styling with one toe in the curved teardrop look, but the other firmly in the feel of the classic cruiser.

Harley Davidsons V-Rod still has mixed opinions, mostly among Harley riders themselves. The price has only ever had one opinion which is damned expensive, leading to the joke that HD actually stands for High Dollar! But it seems people will pay anything from just under $10,000 for the Sportster model to prices in the mid twenties for the larger cruising bikes. Victory follows suit with their prices not starting quite as low as Harley, but certainly matching pricing at the upper end.

Obviously, these are all MSRP listed prices and don't include any frills or add-ons that can quickly add up, but still there seems to be an awful lot of style coming our way at a very affordable price.

Between the emerging motorcycles coming onto the market and the growing number of people that are making up that same market, our riding family is going to get bigger, louder and lot prettier with something for everyone.

We only have to work out how to own one of all of them!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

One hell of a bike...a few times over!

I heard a statistic today that Broward County (the one just north of the county Miami's located in...for those geographically challenged) has a total of 1350 intersections normally serviced by traffic lights. Guess how many of those are actually working?

How about 350?

It's numbers like that which keep the Deuce firmly in the garage and my body in one piece. But it doesn't stop me from thinking about it, trying to put together some sort of route that would be semi-safe. It always comes back to waiting until everything's a little bit calmer on the South Florida roads.

I'm not the only one thinking that! With more stations opening up and consequently no lines for the gas, there are a lot less motorcycles on the road than normal. I guess everyone has the same faith in the average Floridian car driver that I do.

Give the right of way or else!

A bike that would most certainly get the right of way at any intersection is being featured first and foremost as the publicity machine is starting to come into play for the latest comic book to movie project Ghost Rider starring Nicholas Cage.

For those who've never read the comic, the original hero was a motorcycle stuntman who makes a deal with the devil and in return gets to ride a blazing bike and his head becomes a flaming skull. I say original because as with all superheroes his origin has been revamped and changed over the years.

But who cares when you get to ride a chopper as cool as the one pictured?

Speaking of choppers, Captain America himself, Easy Rider's Peter Fonda has a role in the movie. Here's an excerpt from a recent TV Guide interview where the Ghost Rider movie came up. Will there be any homages to Easy Rider in Ghost Rider [in which Fonda mentors Cage's supernatural vigilante motorcyclist]?

Fonda: Well, the chopper in the film is a lot like the design of my Easy Rider chopper, but not the same paint job. The shape, the rake, the high bars and the sissy bar in the back.... It's not a replica, but it's pretty close. It's called Grace and from that I create the Hell-Cycle.

The movie is scheduled to be released in August 2006.

Speaking of nice things to look at...

I bring you the photo only because it directly impacts and enhances a story from the International Motorcycle and Scooter Show.

It was something to do with motorcycles I'm sure....but with a picture like this, does the bike really matter?

I do have to question who would organize a show call the International Motorcycle and Scooter Show, and more importantly, who would be seen going to it:)

Can we mention Harley?
I know there are a lot of people out there that love to hate Harley and as much as I'd like to know why, I really don't.

Either way it would tick off those who do that Harley Davidson won the title of best annual report from...wait for it...15th Annual Triad Annual Report Competition!

I'm not quite sure where that award would go on the wall of fame, or even what it would look like for that matter, but it wasn't a competition that was taken lightly.

All reports submitted (by the contestants) for this year's Triad Awards competition were judged by members of the Chicago chapters of The National Investor Relations Institute, the American Institute of Graphic Arts and professors at DePaul University's Department of Finance. These three leading organizations represent professionals in the fields of investor relations, graphic design and financial analysis, and judges use criteria important to each field in determining the winning annual reports.

And it's not the first time they've done well in this contest, 'Harley-Davidsons dedication to shareholder communication is evidenced by its status as a repeat winner, having won the Triad Award in 2004, 2002 and placed in the Top 10 in 2003'.

Forget the CC's, motorcycle innovation, or even the styling. I think we all know who the big dog on the porch is!

If you really do have a thing against the almight HD, you have unthought of bedfellows. The Domincan Today reports that many in the Dominican Republic are upset at the recent announcement by it's Interior and Police Ministry that they were acquiring seven more Harleys to be used in patrolling twelve barrios of the National District.

Maybe its not too late to mention to the powers that be the advantages of BMW?

Sobering thoughts for ALL riders.
Occassionally you come across articles that really make you look at something from a totally different perspective.

The story in the Daily Bulletin about not only the dangers motorcycle police face, but their eventually consequences.

The freedom of riding and the camaraderie among the two-wheeled camp has an allure that keeps officers on their bikes despite the higher risk involved.

But some officers who experience the downside of riding, losing partners to fatal crashes or getting in too many accidents themselves, reach a point where the risks outweigh the benefits.

The article details accident after accident that puts the police officer in hospital and possibly off the motorcycle. For good.

Some officers and deputies go back into squad cars in the aftermath of serious motorcycle accidents. Others can't recover from their injuries and are forced into early retirement.
It can even affect motor officers who have never been seriously injured. Reggie Autrey left the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department on Dec. 31, in part because he was traumatized by a partners death.

A must read.

The line for this job starts where?
Wanting to leave on a light note, as someone who enjoys the thrill and freedom of riding, what would your dream job be?

How about being paid to put a minimum of fifty miles on every bike sold or serviced at a Harley Davidson dealership? Well stand in line and wait for Walt Lowe to retire. That might be a wait, since he's retired once already!

Retired at age 52, after 30 years in vegetation management, Lowe has spent the last two years on the back of everything from a Sportster to a Road King to a Buell sport bike. He typically works four days a week and puts in seven-hour days. That amount of work accumulates to around 100 hours a month of test-riding time.

During the height of riding season, Lowe may face a row of as many as 15 to 18 motorcycles waiting to be tested as he arrives to work. Labor done on customers' motorcycles has priority over brand new bikes screaming to be broken in.

Lowe climbs on the back of every bike serviced, from general work done to motorcycles requiring a test ride following a major engine overhaul. He works closely with the technicians, who are paid by the job, not the hour. It is typical for Lowe to test ride a motorcycle up to 50 miles in order to ensure all working parts mesh together.

When that's done, he turns to breaking in the new motorcycles and making deliveries to eager customers.

Read the entire story at the Auburn Journal.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Looking beyond Wilma and into the real world

The roads are still a little hazardous between street and traffic lights not completely restored and the South Florida drivers that seem to grow more impatient each day. The latter is actually more like getting back to normal. Funny and sad, but true.

Besides the next week is bringing a lot of rain and with it comes 'urban flood watches'. Just as with FEMA coldly calling ice and water 'product' when talking about the the PODs (Points of Distribution) the the needy hurricane victims, this was a new phrase in my vocabulary. The local weatherman describes it as rainfall that wouldn't normally have an effect on the streets except for all the debris clogging up the drains, causing urban flooding. I'd be impress by the weather guru if I wasn't still getting over the fact that he predicted Wilma to be a tropical storm.

How badly do you want to ride?
With the roads, weather and lack of traffic lights it looks like there'll be no riding on my Deuce for at least a week. In the eyes of Adam Musbach and his girlfriend Valerie Jean Swope I must appear to be a bit of a wimp. They left in February for a 23,000-mile motorcycle ride from Santiago Chile, to their home in Soquel California.

Riding through 6 to 8 inches of water at a huge salt flat in Bolivia as well as through the lonely deserts of Patagonia with only vultures to keep them company and even arguing with border guards they rode as few as three miles somedays to staying on the bike for fifteen hours on others.

I guess theres no rest for the wicked as they've only been home a few weeks and already eyeing up a European trip. You can read about the journey on their blog Road Trip 2005 - North and South America by Motorcycle, or the story as it appeared in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

From the Good to the Bad
Motorcycles, or those who ride them, really rode the full range of stories in the press so far this week.

At the more notorious end of the scale Michael "Two Dawgs" Towner was the fourth member of the Devil's Disciples Motorcycle Club out of Tucson Arizona to be sentenced in the case concerning a brutal attack on a mother of three. KOLD Newschannel 13 in Arizona reported that the attack was in retaliation for the woman failing to pay a drug debt, and for leaving a friend's house messy.

Obviously using a completely different set of standards, during a trip to Somolia in 1988 the sight of motorcycles intended for use by the Ministry of Health standing idley by, useless because they lacked simple maintenance got British reporter Barry Coleman thinking. He and his wife, Andrea, a former professional motorcycle racer helped create Riders for Health, an organization devoted to providing motorcycles and mechanical training programs for African health care workers. The organization trains exisitng health workers on basic motorcycle maintenance and repair so they can utilize the bikes to make needed visits to remote villages.

The proof of Riders for Health's success came recently when the group provided motorcycles for every health care worker in an impoverished district of Zimbabwe. Workers distributed mosquito netting and trained village volunteers in other simple prevention measures like insecticide spraying.

Read the full story at ABC News.

And then boys will just be boys
There are other reasons for doing things that'll make the news and I'm not talking about all the police in San Bernardino County rushing to volunteer for motorcycle duty as reported in the Daily Bulletin, after all we all know why there'd be a line for that.

No, it's the riders who are trying to prove something, like Ryan Capes (25), known to friends as "The One" (not sure how to take that) who jumped his bike 310 feet beating the previous Washington State record by 30 feet.

And then there are the riders who need to prove something. It's sad to think that you'd find yourself considered over the hill at only 26 years old, but thats exactly what Valentino Rossi is facing from the press in the MotoGP Championship as he feels the pressure from the younger riders in the upcoming race this weekend in Valencia.

Ken "Teddy Bear" Miller, a public relations officer of ABATE of Florida Inc. Southwest Chapter had an editorial run in the New Press about the helmet debate.

He did a good job of showing how the numbers were used and compared made the study un-usable for an idea of the effect of the pro-choice helmet law in Florida. You can read how others who either support having a choice or just feel that the numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Evaluation of the repeal of the all rider motorcycle helmet law in Florida Report shouldn't be used as a test for the recent repeal of mandatory helmets in Florida point out the same data collection and use in the Helmet Debate in one blog entry.

The only paragraph in his editorial I have concerns about was when he wrote 'Helmets are heavy and restrictive, limiting the ability of the rider to fully survey their surroundings. Hearing and peripheral vision is diminished. Helmets are hot and cumbersome, especially in Florida's heat. Sufficient testing of helmets in crashes over 13 miles per hour has not been documented.'

But it's his editorial and he does have a right to his opinion!