Archive for July, 2008

Helmethairblog Is Worth Checking Out

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

If you’re interested in some terrific old motorcycle videos I strongly recommend you visit helmethairblog.com. Not all of this blog is videos but the author, Jesper Bram, of Denmark, is good at finding really fun and interesting stuff and posting it.

Here’s one of the recent videos he posted. See for yourself.

Biker Quote for Today

Life may begin at 30, but it doesn’t get real interesting until about 110.

The Biker’s Credo, by Author Unknown — Offering It For Your Comment

Monday, July 28th, 2008

I ran across this thing, the Biker’s Credo, on the VTX Range Riders site, but then I found that it is posted in many places. It’s interesting, at times thought-provoking, at times perhaps corny. Have a read. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Biker’s Credo

I ride purely, and only, because it is fun and offers me the opportunity to meet others of like mind.

I ride because I enjoy the freedom I feel from being exposed to the elements, and the vulnerability to the danger that is intrinsic to riding.

I do not ride because it is fashionable to do so.

I ride my machine, not wear it. My machine is not a symbol of status. It exists simply for me, and me alone. My machine is not a toy. It is an extension of my being, and I will treat it accordingly, with the same respect as I have for myself.

I strive to understand the inner workings of my machine, from the most basic to the most complex. I will learn everything I can about my machine, so that I am reliant upon no one but myself for its health and well-being.

I strive to constantly better my skill of control over my machine. I will learn its limits, and use my skill to become one with my machine so that we may keep each other alive. I am the master, it is the servant. Working together in harmony, we will become an invincible team.

I do not fear death. I will, however, do all possible to avoid death prematurely. Fear is the enemy, not death. Fear on the highway leads to death, therefore I will not let fear be my master. I will master it.

My machines will outlive me. Therefore, they are my legacy. I will care for them for future bikers to cherish as I have cherished them, whoever they may be.

I do not ride to gain attention, respect, or fear from those who do not ride, nor do I wish to intimidate or annoy them. For those who do not know me, all I wish from them is to ignore me. For those who desire to know me, I will share with them the truth of myself, so that they might understand me and not fear others like me.

I will never be the aggressor on the highway. However, should others be the aggressor towards me, their aggression will be dealt with in as severe a manner as I can cast upon them.

I will show respect to other bikers more experienced or knowledgeable than I am. I will learn from them all I can.

I will not show disrespect to other bikers less experienced or knowledgeable than I am. I will teach them what I can.

It will be my task to mentor new riders, who so desire, into the lifestyle of the biker, so that the breed shall continue. I shall instruct them, as I have been instructed by those before me.

I shall preserve and honor traditions of bikers before me, and I will pass them on unaltered. I will not judge other bikers on their choice of machine, their appearance, or their profession. I will judge them only on their conduct as bikers and as a human being.

I am proud of my accomplishments as a biker, though I will not flaunt them to others. If they ask, I will share them.

I will stand ready to help any other biker who truly needs my help. I will never ask another biker to do for me what I can do for myself.

I am not a part-time biker. I am a biker when, and wherever I go. I am proud to be a biker, and I hide my chosen lifestyle from no one.

I ride because I love freedom, independence, and the movement of the ground beneath me. But most of all, I ride to better understand myself, my machine, the lands in which I ride, and to seek out and know other bikers like myself. –

–Author Unknown

Biker Quote for Today

Respect the person who has seen the dark side of motorcycling and lived.

We All Need to Support the HIPAA Recreational Injury Technical Correction Act

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Are you aware that your insurance company may be excluding you from coverage on accidents where you are on a motorcycle? It’s a crock of bull but it’s a reality. Some insurance companies refuse to cover injuries incurred while doing totally legal things, like riding motorcycles, even if you are in no way at fault.

How would you feel if you were sitting stopped on your bike at a stop light and some drunk who has already lost his license for driving drunk hits you. You were completely legal and he was completely illegal, and yet your injuries are not covered while his, if he has any, are. It can happen!

This is an issue raised more than 10 years ago by the American Motorcyclist Association, and it was presumably resolved by legislation passed by Congress in 1996. But a funny thing happened on the way to implementation: the federal agency charged with formulating the rules around the legislation wrote rules that directly contradicted the intent, making it absolutely legal for insurance companies to do this.

Well, Congress is trying again. The HIPAA Recreational Injury Technical Correction Act, Senate Bill 616, is now under consideration, and we all need to let our Congressional representatives know we want them to pass it.

The AMA makes it easy for you to tell your senator what you want. This page on their website lets you click to bring up a form letter addressed to your senators. We all need to press to make sure this legislation gets passed. Do it now! This is really important.

OFMC Route Was Big Boon for Passes and Canyons Site

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Man, have I got a lot of work ahead of me. If you have gone through the Passes and Canyons, Motorcycle Touring in Colorado website thoroughly you know that even three years in it is still weak in information on some roads. The simple fact is that although I’ve been all over this state numerous times, there were some places I had not been back to since I started the website. Therefore, although I could show a map and talk a little about the route, I did not have the photos and other information I routinely collect and post.

Well, that’s about to change. The OFMC trip last week could not have been better tailored to meet my needs if I had planned the route myself with that in mind–which I did not do. I had made a list some time ago of 27 places I needed to get to. On this trip I hit 15 of those spots. It’s going to take time to work through it all but in the next few weeks you can expect to see improvements on a lot of pages, including:

And more. Here’s a map showing our route. What a great ride we had.

OFMC 2008 route

Biker Quote for Today

The ride IS the destination.

There’s Something About Those Harleys

Monday, July 21st, 2008

The OFMC went on our summer trip last week and it was a great week of riding. We stayed primarily in Colorado and many people (not me) were surprised that we could see so much of interest and make so many nice rides without going far. I knew this. That’s what this website is all about. I know that people come from all over the world to ride in Colorado. So we live and learn.

Anyway, this isn’t about our trip except for a couple things that happened along the way.

One of our guys, Jason, was riding his very new Harley-Davidson Road King. It’s less than two months old. So guess whose bike was the only one that had problems. We were close to Durango when Jason decided he needed to visit a dealer so he checked and found that Durango Harley-Davidson opened at 9 a.m. He planned to be there at 9 a.m. so they could work on it right away and he could get back on the road.

Well, it turned out that they opened at 8 a.m., and when Jason got there at 9 a.m. he was told they couldn’t get to his bike until about 1 p.m. because six other traveling Harley riders had gotten there before him and they also needed priority service in order to get back on the road.

Now, in our group this year we had five Hondas and three Harleys, and as I said, Jason’s Harley was the only one to have problems. And six other traveling Harley riders also had problems that day? I’m sorry but we couldn’t help but conclude that does not reflect very favorably on the Milwaukee folks.

And then there was Dennis’s issue. Dennis has owned a lot of bikes in his day, including Harleys, but recently he has been riding Hondas. Part of the reason for that has to do with Harley salesmen. It would appear that with their product in such high demand, many of them have never had to learn to actually sell. They do a great job of handing you the papers to sign when you’ve made up your own mind, and they’re happy to sell you the extras, but working to close a deal is apparently a different matter.

Let’s back up a few years. Dennis was riding a Big Dog but decided to replace it with a Harley. He went to a dealership knowing they wouldn’t take the Big Dog as a trade-in but figuring he could arrange some consignment deal. The salesman was brief: “Get rid of your clone and come back and I’ll sell you a real motorcycle.”

More than a little annoyed, Dennis headed straight for a Honda shop and bought a Honda.

Dennis was equally put out in Durango. He and several others went with Jason to the dealership and, as he puts it, the four of them were a captive audience for half a day. Bill, Brett, and Jason all ended up spending money there but the thing that really caught Dennis’s eye was one particular bike. A salesman noticed this and approached him. Dennis explained that he rode in on a Gold Wing and would need to get the right amount out of it in order for a deal to work. And the salesman dropped the ball. All he could offer was that Dennis could buy this Harley now and fly back to pick it up, and what he did with the Honda was his issue.

For hours afterward Dennis went over again and again how it could have been handled. “All he had to do was say ‘toss me your key and I’ll go over to the local Honda dealer and see what they think you can get on consignment.’ Or he could have just picked up the phone and called the Honda dealer and asked what they thought they could get for the bike. But he didn’t do a thing! I’m not going to buy it and fly back here to pick it up!”

Dennis had been extremely close to spending quite a few thousands of dollars but once again the Harley salesman blew it. So what if your dealership doesn’t take trade-ins. If you want to make a sale, and the sale is contingent on unloading the current bike, doesn’t it make sense for you to go an extra mile to try to grease those wheels?

Biker Quote for Today

When you look down the road, it seems to never end – but you better believe it does.

Go to Europe and See the Future

Friday, July 18th, 2008

High heels and scooter in ParisThe middle-aged woman, wearing three-inch heels and a black cocktail dress, paused next to the little scooter. Popping open the storage box, she stashed the black shawl she was wearing and put on the denim jacket she took from the compartment. Pulling on a helmet, she shut the compartment, and rocked the scooter off its center stand, a little shakily thanks to the high heels. Finally, she unfurled the scooter’s protective skirt and draped it over her in order to keep the dirt and water off and to maintain her modesty. Then she drove away.

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas any more. Heck we’re not even in the U.S. My wife and I witnessed this vignette last week in Paris. Clearly they do things differently over there.

Welcome to the land of $11 gasoline. While we moan about $4 gas, the Europeans paid that much and more for years. Now we pay $4 and they pay $11. Scooters are king on the Continent and you really know that’s true when you see this sort of scene.

Of course, it’s not as if I didn’t know about this, but our recent two weeks in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands brought home a number of points I didn’t realize.

For one, you really see the most bikes of all sorts in Paris, at least of the places we spent time. In Toulouse there are many, many scooters, too, but a really phenomenal number of bicycles. In Bruges, Belgium, bicycles constitute an even greater majority. At the train station in Bruges they had racks and racks and racks of bicycles, thousands of them, apparently parked there by their owners who were taking the train in to Brussels or Ghent to work.

In Rotterdam, where the city center was destroyed during World War II, it has been rebuilt with wide streets. Consequently, there were a lot more cars and nowhere near as many bikes, motorcycles, or scooters. Still, rather than sharing the streets with cars and trucks, bikes and scooters have a separate lane of their own on both sides of the street.

The key in all these cities, however, is public transportation and two-wheeled transportation. The Europeans saw the need for fuel-efficient transportation long ago. Now that we’re feeling the bite in gas costs we’re finally seeing the light, too. I have seen the future and it appears to work just fine.

Today Is Ride Your Motorcycle To Work Day

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Ride Your Motorcycle to Work Day has arrived again and once again I’m not riding my bike to work. That’s not to say I’m not riding, I am. However, since I don’t have a job at the moment I would not have one to ride to. Last year I had a job but I worked at home two days a week and one of those was Wednesday, the day this event is always held. The year before that I was also out of work. And I think the year before that I had a job but I was on vacation, off on the OFMC summer trip. Some day I will ride my bike to work on this day, but who knows when that will be.

Nevertheless, as I said, that doesn’t mean I’m not riding. In fact, once again it is the week of the OFMC trip and on this particular day you’ll find me scooting around Taos. Yesterday we cruised on down from South Fork, the little town on the east side of Wolf Creek Pass, and tomorrow we head off for Ignacio. There are eight in the group this year. After I get home I’ll tell you more about the trip and include some pictures.

Meanwhile, I hope you ride (or rode, depending on the time of day you read this) to work today. Let’s amaze people with how numerous we are.

Biker Quote for Today

Work to ride and ride to work.

(Hot) Summer of Cycles Shows Off Cool Bikes

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Have you ever seen a 1957 Aermacchi Chimera? How about a 1953 Moto Guzzi Galleto? Or a 1956 Moto Rumi Formichino Little Ant? Have you ever heard of those bikes?

If you want to see some cool motorcycles and get out of the heat of summer, I strongly recommend hitting the Arvada Center for their Summer of Cycles exhibit.

Rather than talk about them I’ll just show you some pictures. The exhibit runs through September 7, it’s free, and the Arvada Center is open 9-6 M-F, 9-5 Saturday, and 1-5 Sunday.

Summer of Cycles

This next one is the 1956 Moto Rumi I mentioned above.

1956 Moto Rumi Formichino Little Ant

Here’s the 1957 Aermacchi Chimera (Dream)

1957 Aermacchi Chimera

This one is a 1958 Cushman Eagle.

1958 Cushman Eagle

There are a lot of others, too, including a 1998 Boss Hoss with a 350 cubic inch Chevrolet engine, 1999 Harley-Davidson MT500 built for the British military, and a 2006 Harley-Davidson VRXSE Screamin’ Eagel Destroyer, which is set up for drag-racing.

All in all, a pretty good show. Definitely worth more than the admission!

Biker Quote for Today

Park the latest Ducati, Harley, Honda, or BMW on a street corner in any city or town in the world and a crowd will gather. — Thomas Krens

Bike Paths and Parking: Two Wheels is Two Wheels

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Continuing with the theme I kicked off two days ago, today I’m going to discuss a couple more differences between the European way of doing things and our way. In this case the topics are bike paths and parking.

We all know bike paths, they’re for use by bicycles and pedestrians. Don’t dare try to ride your motorcycle or even your scooter on them because if you do you risk being cited and you’ll definitely have the bicyclists and walkers screaming at you. I’m not saying that’s wrong but, just to give you a basis of comparison, let me tell you how they do it in Europe.

The biggest difference between bike paths here and there is that in Europe, anything on two wheels can use them, and they are not for pedestrians. What are the ramifications of this? Well, for starters, the bike path becomes a real transportation corridor. Pedestrians stick to their own walkways and traffic on the bike path can really move. With far more people on two wheels over there, this large segment of the traffic is removed from the dangers of the four-wheelers and those four-wheelers don’t get honked off that someone on a bicycle is slowing them down. Of course, the two-wheelers still can and do use the streets when necessary.

Of course, bicycles, scooters, and motorcycles are all allowed to park wherever they can find space. That means sidewalks, medians, bike racks, whatever. I don’t know about you but I got a ticket for parking my CB750 on the sidewalk in Lodo a few years ago. Now you do see scooters parking on the sidewalks a lot but I’m still not sure if motorcycles can get away with it.

My intent here is not to advocate for changing the way we use bike paths in this country, but I do want to point out possible alternatives. If the price of gas keeps soaring it seems very likely that more and more people will be taking to two wheels and if that happens we may need to reconsider the way we do some things. And it never hurts to look at the choices made by others who had to face these issues sooner than we have had to. We can learn from their experience.

Biker Quote for Today

Ride till you can’t.

Time to Loosen Up U.S. Motorcycle Restrictions?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Of course you assume that people do some things differently in other countries but it can surprise you when you see just what it is they do differently, and how it’s different. We experienced that a number of times in our recent two-week trip to France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

The one theme that seemed to run along with each of these realizations was the thought that “Gosh that makes a lot of sense. Too bad they would never allow that in the U.S.”

Take lane-splitting, for instance. Lane-splitting is where scooters and motorcycles slip past slow-moving or stopped cars, running down the dividers between the lanes of traffic. While it has been officially endorsed and declared legal in California, most other states forbid it or are silent on the subject.

Lane-splitting in Paris

But have you ever seen it in action? Our best chance to observe it was in Paris, where two-wheelers, primarily scooters, abound by the thousands. First the light would turn red and vehicles would begin to stop. Then a scooter would come up and pull right down the middle to the front. The longer the red the more scooters would line up between lanes, and at the turn of the green they would sprint forward leaving the cars behind and racing in a pack on down the street.

Of course there are several reasons why lane-splitting might not work as well in this country as it does in Europe. For one thing, it puts more of a burden on the drivers of all vehicles to pay attention and look out for other vehicles. It would also require a recognition by the drivers of the big behemoths that smaller vehicles have their right to a place on the road as well. Pretty unthinkable, both of those.

But it’s working in California and if it can work in that car-crazed state you would think it could work anywhere. All it would take is some open-mindedness in our legislatures. I mean, think of the benefits: Commuters on two wheels burn less gas, cause less pollution, cause less congestion, and get to work faster. The more these benefits grow, the more people will want to enjoy them, so the more will ride rather than drive. It becomes a virtuous circle, the opposite of a vicious circle.

With gas at $4 now and likely to keep going higher the time to try to change some laws is now. Write your legislator. Let’s get a movement started across the country!

Biker Quote for Today

There are two types of people in this world, people who ride motorcycles and people who wish they could ride motorcycles.