Saturday, February 11, 2006

Making motorcycle noises........

Sometimes I really don't think I deserve to own such a good looking motorcycle.

You have people like Gymi, celebrating his 45th birthday doing motorcycle stuff like checking out different kinds of bikes and playing the MotoGP racing game. KT is off taking trips and rides left, right and center.

They deserve their bikes.

Your's truly is sitting at home plowing through the never-ending project, only occassionally taking quick cyber-detours to check out motorcycle accessories. Somehow these find themselves being added to the quickly growing list of stuff to include in 'The Anniversary Makeover', an idea thats firmly taken hold in anticipation of my Deuces 1st birthday. yep, a lot of attention and affection for something I've never even named.

The thought of heading up to Daytona for the Bike Week keeps the yearning and self-pity in check, for the most part. But what's annoying is knowing if the motorcycle wasn't stored in my buddys garage I would probably be out on it every night, if only for a quick ride. Keeping it there is the right thing to do since it would be sitting outside in a busy parking lot at my place. This hasn't stopped me from toying with the idea of renting a storage place close to home and keep it there. Still an awkward conversation to have with my buddy though.

It's for your own good
All these trials and tribulations are really nothing in the whole scheme of things, especially compared to the problems some people are facing.

A coal company in Illinois has informed their employees that the corporate healthcare won't cover motorcycle related accidents. Hard to believe, but true.

The American Coal Company, in Galatia, Illinois announced in an internal memo that the company health insurance will no longer cover motorcycle-related injuries. The memo went on to say that employee life insurance benefits wouldn't be paid either if the employee was killed in a motorcycle accident. The company did this in order to protect the benefits of "responsible" employees, and the policy even extends to dependants as well. So if a spouse or covered child is injured on a motorcycle, even if it isn't the fault of the rider, there is no coverage. The company memo also states that anyone missing work due to a motorcycle-related accident would be charged with unexcused absence for the duration of his affliction.

This is an ongoing concern of the AMA and calls from the motorcycle rights organization to the mining company haven't been returned. Surprise. In an AMA story covering this blantant discriminatory act they point out 'You'd still be covered if you did almost anything else: bungee jumping, skydiving, scuba diving, skiing. Just not on your motorcycle. '

Whats even more shocking is this isn't the first company to try and do this. It's such a concern the AMA is working with members of the government to pass a bill prohibiting the practice. You can lend your support by going to the AMA's Rapid Response Center and emailing your representative.

I actually looked for a website or email address for the company itself, but it's not surprising with such prehistoric, judgemental thinking to find that the company doesn't appear to have entered the cyber-age.

A dead horse thats interesting on so many levels
You know how it is, a study is released and one news organization after the other regurgitates the facts in various forms. I can't be too demeaning about the practice since I'm talking about the recent release of the growing number of women riders and some of my fellow bloggers and I bounced the subject back and forth over the course of a week. Of course ours was far more interestingly done and came from the truest prospective of 'being there'. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

The San Jose Mercury News has a refreshing look at a few of the women behind the numbers focusing on women like the CPA who wears lipstick to match her Harley, a mom who's cooler than other mom's because she rides, a woman enjoying admiring looks from young girls in cars on the freeway and an older lady who's in the sport after a break-up with her 'boy-toy'. Although all riding cruisers, their stories are as diverse as the pastime of riding itself.

In a roundabout way, the story promotes the Motorcycle Safety Foundation when writing about one woman's frustration from accidents after being taught by her husband, only to have a 'scrape free' track record since graduating the safety course.

It would be too easy to assume that the story was treated with sensitivity because it was an article about women by a woman, and that would be taking away from the effort the reporter Linda Goldston obviously put into it. Read it in it's entirety here.

With due consideration and respect given
Understanding there's a large population of riders who either lived through the era or actually served in the Vietnam War itself, one can see why that country doesn't jump immediately to mind when thinking of riding trips in other countries.

On a personally note, my father served to two tours during the war and I experienced first hand some of the more milder after effects from that conflict. So it was mixed feelings that I found my imagination racing when I read about the recent motorcycle adventures reported from Vietnam on

Mark Gilbert's report addresses the emotional topic from the very first line;

'It's been three decades since Ho Chi Minh's communist followers defeated the U.S. in Vietnam. Today, their path to victory still snakes through the mountains and rain forests near the border with Laos. Locals call it Duong Truong Son, the Truong Son Road. To the rest of the world, it will forever be the Ho Chi Minh Trail'

It's done as if to both acknowledge the location as well confront it, letting the story get to the real subject matter, the riding experience. And although theres the distinct feeling that the writer falls on the anti-war side of the conflict, great tips are given for taking a motorcycle tour in Vietnam.

Hiring an Easy Rider costs $60 a day per person, which covers all of your food and accommodation. These guides carry numbered blue badges; if yours doesn't, make sure his English is up to snuff and that he's riding a proper motorbike, not a moped.

Helmets are now obligatory. The Easy Riders, as well as speaking fluent English, are safe drivers. Binh says he has covered 400,000 kilometers (248,500 miles) in eight years without a single accident, as evidenced by his dent-free motorbike. More Mild Bunch than Wild Bunch.

The real richness of the article comes from the variety of people the writer and his wife meet, giving great insight to the colorful characters to be found on what would be the trip of a lifetime.

Close to home.
If you're like me and of the mature end of the riding spectrum, you'll enjoy Gymi's blog entry about his 45th birthday. He cleverly writes about his special day, with all it's unexpected drama and highlights. Fun read!


KT Did said...

You shouldn't think twice about not getting to your was only a few weeks ago that I brought my Sporty home from a friend's garage because of my driveway from hell....I was determined to accomplish it with the Deluxe...I still get freaked out about it but, my bike is home now. At least you ride it!!--I saw your pics on 101... one of my next destinations come Springtime. Have you been to other countries to ride? I would love to ride Europe...starting with the English countryside...Viet Nam might be interesting too if the passporting can be accomplished...I know sometimes that is hard...have had friends book flights just to be turned back...Interesting article on women riders, fact is we are riding and surprisingly so new riders at an older age like boomer syndrome?? Who knows...its fun and hope more role models come out of it for young one...too many years missed not riding. In any case, have fun & be safe at Bike Week...get pictures!!!

Gymi said...

Shoot man,
There are times in the summer I am so busy with work and painting other people's bikes that I barely get a chance to ride mine either. It seems all my B-Days turn out like that. I guess thats' why I really don't look forward to them. Thanks for the B-day wishes.

Later Gymi