Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Hard Drive Crash; No Post Today

Friday, June 24th, 2016

I never miss a post. I have a schedule and I stick with it. But not today.

I’ve been dealing with a hard drive crash and what a mess that is.

Should be back on schedule on Monday. The weather is nice; go ride.

Demise Of The National Motorcycle Examiner

Monday, August 10th, 2015
National Motorcycle Examiner

No more National Motorcycle Examiner.

OK, Examiner finally did it. After eight years, first as the Denver Motorcycle Examiner and then as the National Motorcycle Examiner, I have written about riding motorcycles for Examiner.com but that association has ended. They’ve ticked me off for the last time.

Just so you’ll know, Examiner.com is a crowd-sourced website for news and features and whatever else you might want to write on just about any topic. Headquartered in Denver, in the very beginning they went looking for writers and they found me. I don’t even remember any more but I was approximately the 179th writer, or “Examiner,” they signed up. There have since been tens of thousands of Examiners that have come and gone, and “gone” applies to the vast majority of that number.

It was slow in the beginning, and the pay was chickenfeed, but things grew and the money started getting to be pretty darn good. Good enough that when I left a regular job at First Data Corporation I told Judy I was not going to look for another one, I was going to be the National Motorcycle Examiner full-time.

After awhile they started “adjusting” the pay scheme. Frequently. And every time they made an adjustment it meant exactly one thing: the writers were going to make less money. But I stuck with it. I developed other freelance markets and they became my primary income so the Examiner income was just supplemental to that, and every dollar was welcome.

Then they really made me angry. They wanted to improve the quality of the writing on their site, and I’ll be the first to say it needed improving. Far too many of the Examiners were people who had no clue about spelling, grammar, punctuation, or how to craft a sentence to make sense. So they set up reviewers to look at your work and grade you on how good you did. The problem was, the people they hired were not exactly English majors; they were just whatever low-paid people they could bring on who they gave a list of so-called grammatical rules to judge by. Many of the people who needed to improve resented getting low grades and they left. I would consider that a good thing. But they also used their rules to grade my writing and they were totally off base.

It is said that a beginner needs to learn the rules of whatever trade they’re engaging in. A master knows the rules but then deliberately breaks them for a very specific purpose. That’s what makes them a master. Pardon my immodesty but I consider myself a master. I have earned my living as a writer for more 40 years and I’ve done very nicely, thank you. To have some kid tell me my work was unacceptable because I violated some of these so-called rules was too much for me. I cut back to the absolute minimum they require for you to continue to get paid for the page-views your stuff gets. Like about once a month, versus the three times a week I had been putting up.

That little bout of quality control soon faded but now, more than two years later, they have brought it back with a vengeance, and this time your piece gets reviewed before it gets published. And sometimes even after. Having been around so long, the technology they used when the site was new has changed and my early stuff is in technology that is not compatible with what is currently used. So they recently unpublished the first six months or so of my stuff. I have been selectively going through and republishing articles that have continued relevance, and labeling them as such.

Imagine my surprise to find that one of these “redo” pieces I recently put up again has been unpublished. And while the note on why left matters totally unclear, it appears part of the reason was that “it had already been unpublished” so what scam are you trying to pull putting something back up that has been deemed unfit?

Last straw. There is no National Motorcycle Examiner any more. I’m through with those fools. But for those of you who are interested, I did put up one final “Only a biker knows” piece with one more batch of 20 biker quotes. They have all come from this blog but the one immediately below will never join the others on Examiner.

Meanwhile, I just checked and they have not allowed that last 20 quotes to be published because:

Newsworthy
This article is not newsworthy. (Duh! I never claimed it was.)
Note from the reviewer:
This article is too fragmented. Please refrain from using more than 3 one-sentence paragraphs whenever possible. (OK, it’s a bulleted list. What do you expect?)

Can you see why I’m through with Examiner?

Biker Quote for Today

Merely rolling a bike out in anticipation of a ride feels liberating. — Clement Salvadori

I Don’t Getz To Be Gang Member?

Thursday, March 26th, 2015
Pee-Wee Herman on motorcycle

I guess this means the FBI doesn't consider Pee-Wee Herman a gang member either. Too bad.

Boy, that one blew up and over in a hurry.

The word hit the street: FBI Admits All Registered Motorcycle Owners Are On Classified Gang List.

Holy smoke, there’s some serious idiocy going on here if that’s true. And for those not detail-oriented, it seemed to be true because the story seemed to have been published by the Washington Post. Presumably an FBI spokesman named Darrin Cornia told a reporter that, “the FBI has been collecting and compiling Department of Motor Vehicles and Drivers License Division records for the purpose of adding those that own motorcycles to a classified gang list since 1994.”

O-o-o-o-o-o K-k-k-k-k-k.

Here’s where we get to the attention to detail part. This supposed Washington Post story was actually published on a spoof website with the url of “washingtonpost.com.co.” Notice that little “.co” after the “.com”? That’s your giveaway. Totally fake.

And it hit Snopes.com right away. If you’re not familiar with Snopes.com you should be. It is the number one place to go to check out whether outrageous stories are true. Snopes very quickly reported that it was false and that “The National Report, where the story originated, is a ‘satire’ site whose disclaimer states that ‘all news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental.'”

That didn’t stop a lot of people from having fun with the whole thing. Jerry Pokorny passed this along: My affiliation is the “Sons of Arthritis.” What’s yours? Gang sign is bent fingers (age related).

So sorry to disappoint many of you. I guess you’ll have to go out and form your own OFMC. Not us, we’ve got the OFMC. We’re a bunch of stud bikers. You know we are, we’ve been telling people that for more than 25 years.

Yeah, we bad.

Biker Quote for Today

A bike is like sex: It’s better to have it.

Motorcycle Humor

Monday, February 9th, 2015
Bikes On The Highway

Ride we must.

I was diddling around on Sunday and googled “motorcycle humor.” Do you have any idea how many sites there are out there with biker jokes?

It seems the all-time champion in the most-told category is the one about the heart surgeon and the mechanic. You know (don’t you?), the one where the surgeon gets the last word in saying his work is like replacing the engine while working through the tailpipe with the engine running.

That one gets told everywhere.

So if case you’re interested, here are a few more, with links to the sites where I found them.

This is from BlackDogDualsport.com.
Stranded On An Island: A man is stranded on a desert island, all alone for ten years. One day, he sees a speck in the horizon. He thinks to himself, “It’s not a ship.” The speck gets a little closer and he thinks, “It’s not a boat.” The speck gets even closer and he thinks, “It’s not a raft.” Then, out of the surf comes this gorgeous blonde woman, wearing a wet suit and scuba gear.

She comes up to the guy and she says, “How long has it been since you’ve had a cigarette?”

“Ten years!” he says.

She reaches over, unzips a waterproof pocket on her left sleeve and pulls out a pack of fresh cigarettes.

He takes one, lights it, takes a long drag and says, “Man, oh man! Is that good!”

Then she asks, “How long has it been since you’ve had a drink of whiskey?”

He replies, “Ten years!”

She reaches over, unzips her waterproof pocket on the right, pulls out a flask and gives it to him.

He takes a long swig and says, “Wow, that’s fantastic!”

Then she starts unzipping this long zipper that runs down the front of her wet suit and she says to him, “And how long has it been since you’ve had some REAL fun?”

And the man replies, “My God! Don’t tell me you’ve got a motorcycle in there!”
_____________________________
Here’s one from motoroads.com
Once upon a time there was a frog who lived in a lake all by himself. He had been given special powers by a local witch. One day he finally ventured out of the lake to get his first glimpse of the world outside. The first thing he saw was a bear chasing a rabbit and so he called out to them and asked them to stop. Then he said to them: “I am a magical frog and since you are the first two animals I have ever seen, I am going to grant you both three wishes. You will each take turns using them and you have to use them now.” The bear (being greedy) went first. I would like for every bear in this forest to be female except for me.” A magical sound and it was done. Then the rabbit. “I would like a helmet.” This confused both the frog and the bear, but after a magical sound there was a helmet. It was the bear’s turn again. “I would like for every bear in the neighboring forest to be female.” A magical sound and it was done. The rabbit went again. “I would like a motorcycle.” Both the frog and the bear wondered why the rabbit didn’t just ask for a lot of money with which he could buy himself a motorcycle, but after a magical sound there was a motorcycle. The bear took his last wish. “I would like for all the bears in the world to be female except for me.” A magical sound and it was done. The rabbit then put on his helmet, started up the motorcycle, and said “I wish the bear was gay” and took off like a bat out of hell.
___________________________________________
Next there’s this one from jokebuddha.com
An engineering student is walking on campus one day, when another engineer student rides up on a shiny new motorcycle.
“Where did you get such a functional bike?” asked the first.
The second engineer replied: “Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes, spread her arms wide and said: “Take what you want.”
The second engineer nodded approvingly: “Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn’t have fit.”
____________________________________________
There are a lot more. Here are some more links.

From Vtwin.com

Even Pinterest gets into it.

Here’s Motorcycle Specifications.

It’s endless. Just search.

Biker Quote for Today

On a motorcycle no one ever asks “are we there yet?”

Odds And Ends

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
V-Strom in the snow

Not a day to go riding.

It’s snowing out so probably no one other than Dom Chang is going to be out on a motorcycle around the Denver area in the next few days. Check his blog and you’ll see he rode to work today.

For the rest of us, it’s a bit of down time and that makes it harder to come up with things to write about here. So it’s time for a few odds and ends that I’ve been hanging onto but that don’t have enough to them to make a full post.

Plug Pulled on Sugar Pine Ranch Rally
I never made it down there and now it’s too late–the Sugar Pine Ranch Rally is no more. This rally was down in the Mancos area, west of Durango, and every year I thought it might be a fun one to go to, but I never did. Maybe that’s the same for a lot of people, and that’s why they pulled the plug.

I had some email communication awhile back with a guy who is a volunteer working the rally and I’m sure he’s pretty disappointed. He told me that, “We have put in hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars to build a 1/2 mile of road and clear all the deadwood on this two hundred acre working cattle ranch.. it is all worth the effort.” I see from the email that that was way back in July of 2007. Well, at least they had a decent run. Here’s a full story in the Durango Herald.

Enterprise Will Now Rent Motorcycles
Do you remember when nobody rented motorcycles? A long, long time ago I was living with another guy, a roommate, and we decided we’d really like to do some motorcycle riding. So clueless us, we went to a nearby dealership figuring we would just rent a bike for a few months. They laughed us out of the store.

Times have changed, haven’t they? Now you’ve got the big guys like Eagle Rider and nearly every Harley dealership, plus all sorts of small-time guys like, here in Colorado, Colorado Mountain Moto, Sports Rent Colorado, and Western Dual Sport Motorcycle Adventures, and those are just three that advertise on this website.

Well, I guess it had to happen: Enterprise Rent-A-Car is now renting motorcycles. As the email I received with the announcement says, “This launch marks the first entry by a major car rental company into two-wheel rentals in the U.S.”

Initially, it’s just in Las Vegas where this is going on, and they’re only renting Harleys. It will be very interesting to see if the program rolls out across the country. Eagle Rider, you may have some competition.

Trying Out VikingCycle Warrior Motorcycle Jacket
I’ll have more about this later but just a mention here. I get contacted a lot by online motorcycle gear sellers wanting to send me stuff to try out and write about. Of course I’m happy to try out new gear and pass the word if I like it–or not. Although there have been a few times when the products I received were such crap that I decided not to waste my time or yours writing about how bad they were.

Well, most recently I’ve been in touch with some folks at MotorcycleHouse.com and they sent me a leather jacket. The brand and model (I guess) is VikingCycle Warrior. Having, as I said, received some real crap at times, I didn’t know what to expect. I have to tell you, when I opened the box and pulled this jacket out I was pretty impressed. At the very least, my first impression is that this is one heck of a nice jacket. As I say, I’ll tell you about it in detail once I have a chance to really try it out.
_________________________________

OK. Now we just need for this snow to stop and for the weather to warm up a bit. I want to go riding this weekend. I have a new jacket to try out, and I received my cord to use my electric vest on the V-Strom. I have some motorcycling to do, for pete’s sake!

Biker Quote for Today

Crap! I think I got non motion sickness.

Biker-type Extras Needed on Tuesday for Film

Monday, May 20th, 2013
Do you look like a biker?

Do you--or can you--look like a biker?

Just getting this out in a hurry because it just came to me and it’s happening tomorrow (today is Monday, May 20). Rather than explain I’ll just paste in the entire email.

Hi Ken,
I was hoping you could help me. I live in Colorado and we’re looking for extras that are either bikers or people who can dress up rock-n-roll. I don’t know if it’s possible but is there a way you can send a notice out to all your fans? Here’s the information. I would appreciate it so much! =)

A low budget feature film “A Remarkable Life” is shooting a scene in Golden Colorado with Hollywood talent!!

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2172402/
(Eric Roberts (Julia Robert’s brother), Helen Slater (City Slickers, SuperGirl), Mark Magolis (Breaking Bad TV Series), John O’Hurley (Seinfeld) and more!)

Date: 5/21/13
Location: Buffalo Rose
http://www.buffalorose.net/
1119 Washington Ave, Golden CO
Time: To be announced
Extras: 21 and over
Wardrobe: Dress biker or rock-n-roll
No logos, bright/loud colors, pure white, or crazy patterns
MUST EMAIL – Kasha Fauscett – kasha.f@comcast to be added to schedule
Pay: This is not a paid opportunity – Thank you for your support.

Thank you,
Kasha Fauscett
Extras Coordinator
www.actresskasha.com
720-290-8526

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Transportation choices in a narrow world

Biker Quote for Today

We are people like others, with two eyes, two arms, two legs………… two wheels!!!

Ups and Downs of Moto Journalism

Monday, March 4th, 2013
riders ahead on the road

Out with the OFMC.

Making a living as a freelance writer is tough. After scraping by for nearly four years writing about riding motorcycles I’ve taken a full-time job recently, as you may be aware.

Why was that necessary? Let me give you an example, fresh from reality.

I started out writing for Examiner.com in May of 2008. It took a while for the money to start coming in but it did start flowing, and it kept growing month over month. By the time my last full-time job ended, in March 2009, I was making enough doing that gig part-time that I decided I would not look for another job, I would become the National Motorcycle Examiner on a full-time basis. Along the way I had also picked up a gig writing for RumBum.com, so I figured all I needed to do was pick up a couple more gigs and I’d be fine.

And that’s exactly what happened. I found a few small online motorcycle publications who I could consistently sell articles to and I also picked up a gig off Elance.com where every two months I would deliver a batch of eight articles that were about anything I chose as long as they contained several specific key words. The idea there was to put stories up on this dealer’s website and have those key words be found in web searches and thereby bring people to the site. Things were going well. Oh, and of course, I was also occasionally selling articles to Rider magazine and to Kawasaki’s Accelerate publication.

Then RumBum went out of business, as did another of the smaller regional hard-copy publications. Then the Elance gig just went away. I had been receiving emails every couple months ordering up a new batch and then they stopped coming.

And then, in the latter part of 2010, Examiner started making changes to their payment arrangements that whittled away at my earnings. From making hundreds of dollars every month my earnings quickly dropped off to less than $100 a month and kept going down. Now, in the month that just ended, I’ve hit a new low: for the first time since October 2008 I did not earn enough to even get paid. They have a $25 threshold and if you don’t make at least that much in a month they don’t pay you that month; you get whatever you’re earned plus whatever else you make in the following month, once you do reach $25. So yeah, I didn’t even make $25 from Examiner last month.

Of course I have had something to do with this latest drop-off. For the most part I have stopped writing for Examiner because it’s just not worth it. I do put something up at least once a month, though, because I still get page views from the stuff I’ve written previously and you have to be writing currently to get paid. So it’s like an annuity and I write once a month or so in order to keep that annuity coming in.

And now, with a full-time job, it’s hard to even find the time to do the work I can still do. I promised another article to Mark Tuttle at Rider magazine some months ago but I still haven’t gotten it written. That’s not good. Once this contract gig I’m working ends I’m going to want to dive back into freelancing so I need to hang on to the clients I still have. But it’s so hard to get motivated when I have so many other things to try to squeeze into just two short days on the weekend.

Clearly I don’t know what the future holds. But you’ll hear about it here, of that I’m certain.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Only a biker knows . . .: Motorcycle wit and wisdom, #26

Biker Quote for Today

Must work to afford Bikethings.

An Email Hello From Someone I Quoted

Thursday, November 8th, 2012
dual-sport bike on gravel road

Gwen wouldn't think twice about taking this road.

If you’ve been reading this blog you know that I end each post with a “Biker Quote for Today.” I gather these quotes from a lot of places. Some I just run across; others I find by searching. One of my most fertile places to search is the discussions on Adventure Riders, or ADV for short.

More than most motorcycle forums, the ADV folks really get into putting cool, funny, interesting remarks in their signatures. Anytime I’m on the site I keep my eyes open to see what gems I can find.

One such gem was the quote I used on Oct. 22, at the end of my “Hoping For Warm Hands In Winter Riding” post. It read, “There’s no adventure in turning around. — Shoganai”

Well guess who I heard from: Gwen Phillips (aka Shoganai).

Gwen said she had been searching on Google “for an old thread I started on an old forum years ago” and lo and behold, “I was stunned to find something I said to Jim aka Drif10 this year when he came to visit our home.” So she was tickled and wrote that she was honored to be quoted.

And actually, I had heard first from Drif10. He noted in regard to Gwen’s quote that, “And she isn’t kidding about that quote, either. She’ll take a road bike places that make me think twice about taking my dirt bike into.”

Good for you Gwen.

This is actually the second time I’ve heard from someone I quoted. Believe me, I really enjoy getting these emails. And I really enjoy the quotes. Some day I’m going to put together a book with the quotes and pictures that match the quotes, more or less. Really, I am. I’ve already got part of it done. But at this rate it will be a few more years before I finish it. I guarantee that when it’s ready you’ll hear about it here.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Book review: How to Ride Off-Road Motorcycles

Biker Quote for Today

Bones heal, chicks dig scars, pain is temporary, glory is forever. — Evel Knievel

MotorcycleColorado.com sets new traffic record

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Permit me to boast a little bit here, there were some really good numbers on this website last month. For the first time ever, www.motorcyclecolorado.com had more than 15,000 unique visits in one month in May 2012.

Concours On Wolf Creek Pass

One reason why so many people are interested in riding motorcycles in Colorado: Wolf Creek Pass.

What is especially exciting about this (to me, at least) is that this is only the beginning of the season and customarily the numbers continue to rise each month through August, so that record is likely to be beaten, and soon. In fact, just a few days into June, if the entire month goes like these days have it would come out to 18,000 unique visits in June. I’m not going to count on that, but if it’s anything close that suggests it could hit 20,000 by August. Yow! That’s just incredible.

Before this the best month ever on the site was 14,860 visits in August 2011. The exact number in May this year was 15,247. That compares with 11,740 in May of 2011. It’s that kind of growth year after year that continues to blow me away.

So once again, as I have other times when I’ve announced big numbers, I want to thank you–all of you folks who have come to the website and found it useful–for making this possible. I built this site for you and nothing can be more gratifying than to see that you find my efforts valuable.

Note: On a totally different subject, in case you saw my recent post about the EagleRider photo contest in which I have a finalist entry: You may have clicked on that link to go and vote for my picture and had problems. It seems a lot of people are having problems. I learned first off that Facebook, where the contest is in operation, had a server failure and was offline for awhile. But even since they got their operation back up there continue to be problems getting in to vote. I wish I could explain it but I can’t. All I ask is that you try again and perhaps bookmark the URL so you can vote each day through June 29. Here’s that link again: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRider/app_124405271018078

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Call made to push Congress on motorcycle-only stops

Biker Quote for Today

A day without a wheelie is like a day without sunshine.

Skyline Drive Photo Makes EagleRider Finals — Please Vote

Thursday, May 31st, 2012
motorcycles on Skyline Drive in Colorado

The OFMC rides Skyline Drive.

I mentioned recently that I had entered the photo above in a contest EagleRider is having and now, of the 63 photos entered, they have selected 20 for the run-off. My photo is one of those 20 and I would appreciate your votes.

Here’s the scoop. EagleRider, the groundbreaking company that opened up the concept of motorcycle rentals, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. They ran this contest asking people to offer photos for their 20 Years on the Highway contest, with the winner to receive an all-expense-paid trip for two to Los Angeles for the celebration.

The winner will be decided by votes. The way I see it, at this point it becomes a matter of who can work their social network the best. Each person can vote once a day, every day from now until midnight on June 29. To see the finalist photos, go here and scroll through the entries. Whichever one you like the most, click the “Like” link. Of course, I’d be very pleased if you vote for my photo but if you like something else better you really should vote for it.

Then, bookmark the link and go back every day until June 29 and vote again. Please be advised that the page loads a bit slowly, so be patient. Thanks.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Call made to push Congress on motorcycle-only stops

Biker Quote for Today

You know you’re becoming addicted to riding when you almost crash your car in a turn because you were trying to counter-steer and lean rather than turn the wheel.