A First-Timer Rides To Sturgis

September 11th, 2017

I don’t often accept guest posts but when Chris Ward approached me I decided to give him a shot. Here’s Chris’s story.

Chris Ward on his Harley

Chris Ward

The Best Things About Sturgis

As an avid rider who decided to take off from my office parking lot in Aptos, California, and head to Sturgis for the first time ever this summer, I can tell you quite a bit about the ride north, the people I met along the way and the exciting things I saw once I arrived at the biggest motorcycle rally in the United States. You can read an itinerary on any biking site to see a list of things to do from one day to the next while at Sturgis, but those lists don’t tell you anything about the raw experience you’ll have and the memories you’ll hold for years to come.

First, I was determined to take the 1500+ miles ride alone and I mapped out a ride going through California as well as parts of Nevada and parts of Utah and Wyoming as I rode into South Dakota. I know there are some who will have their motorcycle shipped to get to Sturgis fast and not have the excess wear and tear on the bike, but for me, the ride was half of the fun and this was one trip I needed to take to relax, enjoy the scenery and feel like I was living life fully.

My Ride
The ride to Sturgis was long, dusty at times and extremely hot most of the way. I love to experience rides on the best roads in the U.S. I stopped at almost every roadside café, junk shop and convenience store along the way so I could grab a cold water, stretch my legs and see parts of the country I had never seen before. Oddly enough, I’ve travelled the world but have yet to see some of very heartland of America in person.

In Utah, just outside of St. George, I met up with a small group of bikers who were headed to Sturgis as well and as luck would have it, I was able to spend the rest of my road time riding alongside them. This gave me people to sit and chat with when we stopped to eat and fuel up along the way. It turned out, they were all students from Cabrillo College, a small community college right in Aptos where I live. Apparently, the world truly is small. These college kids were a hoot and I had some great laughs during the times we stopped.

We spent the night at a Marriott Hotel in Provo, Utah, and had dinner at a local steak restaurant before retiring for the night. After some much-needed rest, we headed out before dawn to continue the last leg of the ride through Wyoming and into South Dakota to get to Sturgis by nightfall.

Entering Sturgis and Plans Gone Awry
Entering the actual grounds of Sturgis Motorcycle Festival was intriguing to me. Since this was my first year, I planned to go by a schedule of events I found online and I wanted to stick with the plan so I wouldn’t miss anything. As most things in life however, plans go awry and nothing goes as a person plans. Well, when it comes to sticking to a set itinerary, I blew it. When it comes to having the time of my life, it was incredible!

First, since I rode in with the guys I met on the highway, I decided to forego the first music show and I ended up hitting the campgrounds with them to check out the scenery and meet up with some of their friends who were already at Sturgis. From there, we decided to go bar hopping the first night. Word to the wise on bar hopping: Pace yourself if you indulge in a few drinks during the time spent at bars. This is a huge event and you won’t want to miss it by drinking too much and blurring your time at the rally.

A great thing about bar hopping is that every bar had a different band playing and each had great food. Whether you like traditional bar food including chips, burgers or fries or you like a good steak or a chicken dish, the bars have it all. They also have the coolest people from all over the U.S. and Canada and I even met a couple from France who came over just for Sturgis. I spent many hours my first day listening to bands playing everything from hillbilly Vegas style music to country, rock n’ roll, bluegrass, alternative and more. One of my personal favorites was seeing David Allen Coe and Bush play at the Iron Horse Saloon.

Road Trips Galore
When you decide to toss your itinerary, and go with the flow, you’ll find so much to do at Sturgis both inside the event and even down the road a little way. Every day after I arrived, some of the Cabrilo gang (that’s what I started calling them) and I would head down the road to see the sights near Sturgis. Did you know you can get to Mt. Rushmore and take a scenic cruise through the Badlands? I found some of the most amazing scenery in the country and it was all within 50 miles of Sturgis.

Advice to Heed
If you have never been to Sturgis, I urge you to start making plans now to attend the 78th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August 2018. This event is one for the record books and it’s one that I wish I had taken time to check out years ago. After the fun that I had and the new friends I met on the way to Sturgis as well as at the rally itself, it would take a lot to cause me to miss another one in the coming years. I have a few short tips for anyone who is thinking about going to Sturgis this coming year.

  1. Go. Don’t delay and don’t second guess! Pack a small bag, book a campsite or a hotel room and ride like the wind to get there. (Or drive your car or truck and have your bike hauled so you can ride it when you’re in Sturgis)
  2. Forget planning a schedule. The best way to enjoy Sturgis (in my opinion) is to just wander around, meet new people and try new things. If you want to see a musician that you love or specific show, stick to a schedule so you won’t miss your favs!
  3. Leave the rally and check out the roads beyond the event.

There’s so much to do at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and when it comes around next year, be sure to have plans to attend so you won’t miss out on all the fun. This is the one rally where no matter what kind of motorcycle you own, or even if you don’t have one at all, you’ll meet exciting people and will absolutely have the time of your life.

Biker Quote for Today

Five things I like almost as much as riding my motorcycle:
1. Looking at my motorcycle
2. Talking about my motorcycle
3. Watching TV programs that have people riding motorcycles
4. Websites about motorcycles
5. Beer

Riding The Smokies–In Colorado

September 7th, 2017
smoke in Colorado mountains

No, this is not the Smoky Mountains, these are smoky Colorado mountains.

Forest fires in Routt County, up around Steamboat Springs, have cast a haze over the Front Range and Denver. I decided on Wednesday to take a ride up into the hills to see what it’s like up there. As you can see from the photo above, taken along the Squaw Pass road, the Colorado Rockies at this point look very much like the Smoky Mountains out in Virginia. Which just goes to show how well-named the Smokies are.

I headed west out on Hampden, through Morrison, up the canyon to Evergreen, Evergreen Parkway to Bergen Park to the turn-off to Squaw Pass. Yes, it was hazy but what a beautiful day to be riding in the mountains.

Heading up the Squaw Pass road I found that the apparent theme for the day was large vehicles coming the other way encroaching into my lane coming around curves. I rode very defensively. At first I was looking for just a place to get a photo where instead of mountains in the background, as per normal, there was only haze. Then I came on the overlook with the view back toward Evergreen. That’s where I got this shot. I was not the only one stopped there to get pictures.

I continued on past Echo Lake and was headed toward Idaho Springs, when, not having been watching my rearview mirror, I was startled when a couple guys on big adventure bikes and another on a big BMW touring bike suddenly blasted past me. Wow, what are you guys in such a big hurry about? It’s a day to just cruise in the hills.

So I got to Idaho Springs, jumped on the interstate just long enough to reach the exit for the Central City Parkway, and headed to Central City. Stopped for lunch and then down through Black Hawk, over to US 6, and down through Clear Creek Canyon to Golden. Then home. What a nice day’s ride.

Biker Quote for Today

There are seven days in the week and “someday” isn’t one of them.

Ride To Eat, Eat To Ride

September 4th, 2017
bikers and food

Thanks especially to Dennis, the OFMC never passes an ice cream shop without stopping.

Because, on a motorcycle, the journey is the destination, it’s common practice to look for whatever excuse you can find to ride. Happily, food can be that excuse. There aren’t many things better than an eatery with terrific food that also happens to entail a terrific ride getting to it. For many bikers, eating fast food on the bike is a blasphemy; excellent food is as important an element of the ride as the bike. (Not for me–I eat just about anything.)

Admittedly, the OFMC is not hard core on this the way a lot of riders are. When we’re out on our summer trips we can generally expect to eat at McDonald’s at least once, despite the protests of a minority. On the other hand, we’ve had some extraordinary meals as well.

In the early days of the OFMC we rolled into Laughlin, NV, for a two-day stay. Not wishing to pay the price for the casino hotels, we crossed the river to the Arizona side and found an inexpensive motel. But of course the action was on the Nevada side, so we rode back and forth on the river taxis that shuttle people up and down the shoreline and across the Colorado River.

Come time for dinner that first night and we hit the restaurant in whatever casino we were in, and being a casino, the prices were outrageously cheap. We ordered the $3 prime rib and were absolutely blown away by the best prime rib any of us has ever eaten. That was such a high point it has officially become an OFMC legend. (Yeah, but now the casinos don’t offer those great deals on food. So sad.)

The Local Specialty
On another trip we were in Utah cruising up past Bear Lake, which straddles the border between Utah and Idaho. The primary town in the area is Garden City, where a couple highways come together. It turns out that this place is renowned for its blackberry milkshakes. When in Rome . . .

It seemed pretty low-key that first time, no huge crowds or anything, but we’ve been back several times. What a change. Garden City is packed with tourists of all kinds but especially the two-wheeled variety. Whole groups of bikers run up from Salt Lake City or Logan or Ogden, with the objective being to have a great ride with a special treat at the end. Standing in line at one of the numerous spots selling the shakes you can watch a constant parade of motorcycles rumbling up and down the strip, like a mini-Daytona.

Then there’s Jerome, AZ, which we discovered on one trip and came back to for a visit years later. This old mining town, built perilously clinging to the steep side of a mountain, was practically a ghost town when we first passed through but has since become an artist’s colony and gone very upscale. And it was here that we found a stunningly good French restaurant.

We had broken into groups to find dinner, but found there wasn’t much open, so we all ended up in the one place that was. I can’t remember details but I do recall raviolis with cheese sauces, pizzas like you’ve never seen before, and all of it out of this world. Some of the guys swore they had never had a better meal in their lives. A couple of the guys have since taken their wives back there; it was that good. Sadly, when Judy and I were there this early spring that great Italian place was no longer there.

Sometimes it’s the Setting
Fancy food aside, under the right conditions, and prepared in the right way, even the most mundane meal can be a stand-out. This was the case one year at Lake Powell.

We had headed out of Blanding, UT, for the south shore of the lake, where we would take the ferry over to Bullfrog. The plan was to camp for the night and cross in the morning so we wisely decided to buy food in Blanding. Nothing special, just hot dogs and buns and maybe a can of beans.

What we hadn’t counted on was the total lack of fuel for a fire. This is desert country and it’s not like you can gather fallen limbs to burn. And we don’t exactly carry Coleman stoves on the bikes. We could eat the beans cold but we really wanted to cook the dogs. Scrounging around, we gathered some dried grasses and bits of sagebrush and managed to build the world’s smallest campfire. One by one, holding the hotdogs in our fingers and passing them patiently back and forth across the tiny flame we did cook them.

Now, any food tastes better when you’re hungry, but I’m guessing that in this case the bits of sage we burned played a role, too. One way or another, they were without question the best-tasting hot dogs we had ever eaten. And another OFMC legend was born.

“It’s all about the stories” is a common phrase among motorcyclists. Sometimes the stories are about the food, not the bikes.

Biker Quote for Today

Bikers only wear black because they haven’t invented anything darker.

Thoughts From A Ride

August 31st, 2017
Motorcyclist with helmet

Helmet protection is seriously reduced when you don’t connect the strap–but you knew that.

I never go for a ride without encountering something that sticks in my memory, at least for a while. Some are more memorable than others.

I was headed to my ABATE District 10 meeting on Sunday and the first thing that hit me was that, oh my gosh, I forgot to attach the strap on my helmet. I had just gotten onto I-225 so it wasn’t like I could just do the strap at a stop light or something. Helmets don’t really work very well if they’re not attached so I figured I’d better take things pretty cautiously. And in the meantime I was strategizing about grabbing for my head in case something bad happened.

Of course nothing did, nothing ever does (knock wood), but you bet it had my attention.

Then as I proceeded up I-225 I was in the center lane and two guys on bikes came up on my left. One was on a sportbike of some kind and the other was on a Harley Sportster. Just ahead of us there were cars in both lanes. We were going 70. What did these guys do? They just blasted right up between the two cars and shot on out of sight. OK, I’ve done some lane-splitting, even on rare occasions in Colorado, but never when traffic was going 70. I don’t think I want to go for a ride with those guys.

Then in the stretch between 6th Avenue and Colfax, where I get off when going to ABATE, I encountered–as I always do–what I consider a true hazard on the road. For most of that stretch there is a gap in the pavement about two inches wide separating the lane of continuing traffic with the lane of exiting traffic. Two inches is a big gap!

I always very deliberately cross it at as sharp an angle as I can and it’s never an issue because I do this. But what would happen to a bike if the rider wasn’t paying attention–or maybe it’s dark at night–and you let your front tire drop into this groove? It would have to be scary at the very least and could very easily be a lot worse than scary.

I really don’t understand how CDOT can allow this sort of thing. The fact that it is unsafe goes without saying. But they do, and this is not the only place I’ve seen this sort of thing. A two-inch gap in the pavement when traffic is going across it at a right angle is one thing. Running parallel with traffic is something else entirely. Just be forewarned if you’re riding this stretch of road.

Biker Quote for Today

“Sometimes this place is like watching a truck left turn in front of someone you’re riding with.” — JonnyLotto

Scooter Or Moped: South Carolina Is Confused

August 28th, 2017

My mother is not well so I’ve been spending a lot of time in South Carolina where she lives. On my most recent visit I noticed that there were quite a lot of scooters zipping around. She lives in Clemson, which is a college town, so it made sense that the college kids would be using scooters. I know parking on campus is always an issue, but not for a scooter.

scooter with "moped" plate

No, I’m sorry, this is not a moped, no matter what South Carolina says.

Then I noticed a billboard with a (I presume) public service announcement telling people to “Be Aware of Mopeds: They’re Everywhere.” And the text was accompanied by an image of a scooter. OK, do you people not know the difference?

Just on the off chance that anyone reading this does not know the difference, I’ll explain.

The word “moped” merges two concepts: motor and peddle. A moped is essentially a power-assisted bicycle that you can get around on just by peddling if you choose. To be a moped it MUST have peddles. Anything without peddles and powered entirely by the motor is a scooter.

But then I noticed something even more interesting. As you see in this photo, all these scooters running around Clemson had this tag on the back that read “South Carolina Moped.” This official sort-of license plate proclaims to everyone that this vehicle is something it in fact is not. South Carolina is very confused.

I think I do get it, however. These “mopeds” are of the 49cc variety that do not require “M” designation on your driver’s license and do not require actual license plates. There are scooters that do have more power than 49cc. These do require proper licensing. By simply playing the Alice in Wonderland game of making a word mean exactly what they want it to mean, South Carolina has sidestepped any stickiness in identifying the scooters that do not have legal requirements.

Plus, I’d be willing to bet that the legislators who proposed whatever law this is based on are clueless about the difference between mopeds and scooters anyway. It still strikes me as pretty idiotic.

Biker Quote for Today

Motorcycle + full gas tank + no red lights = happiness

Staying Awake On The Motorcycle

August 24th, 2017
motorcyclist with passenger

OK, she better not fall asleep because if she does she’s falling off.

When I first started riding I found after awhile that unlike driving a car, there was no way I could conceivably get drowsy and be in danger of falling asleep. There was so much demanding my attention, my focus was constantly being called to steering, to braking, to potential traffic issues, and to so much else. No way would I have to slap my face or shake my head vigorously to keep my eyes open, as I sometimes do in a car.

That was then. This is a long time later. Although I still maintain constant alertness, these things have become much more second nature now and are not so demanding on my focus. Do I sometimes find myself wanting to close my eyes and sleep while riding? Oh yeah.

Of course, sleeping on a bike in motion is not such a strange concept. I know various guys whose lady friends have fallen asleep while on the back of the bike. Usually their heads fall forward and their helmets crack together and she wakes up. Sometimes the rider seat is a lounge chair with back and arms and they just safely drift off. Once Johnathon had to catch Felicia as she started to fall off the side. These things happen.

So what do I do when I start struggling to keep my eyes open? It’s easy if I’m riding alone–I pull over and take a break. And if I’m riding with just one or two other people I’ll probably do the same, telling them I just need to stop for a few minutes.

It’s a more complex situation when you’re with a larger group. Any time a big group stops you just know it is going to be a more lengthy stop because there is inevitably at least one person who is constitutionally incapable of getting going again without going through an extended rigamarole. Friggs is that guy with us. Everything has to be adjusted and made just right and he takes his time. The rest of us hardly start getting ready until he’s putting his helmet on.

So making the decision to stop the group just because only I am drowsy is a hard call to make at times. Especially if I know there is a stop planned not that far ahead, I just do my best to keep going, and wish the miles would pass more quickly. And then yes, I shift my body position, shake my head vigorously to try to rattle my brains, and do anything else that seems like it might work to keep me going until the drowsiness passes.

But sometimes you just have to stop. I tend to ride at the back of the group so pulling out in front to indicate a stop is generally a problematic proposition. So I just pull off and trust the guy in front of me to notice and pull off, too, starting a chain reaction. But with the guys I ride with this is not guaranteed. So sometimes I just take my break and catch up to them as I’m able. I’m OK with that. The only thing is, I wish these guys were more observant because maybe I’m back behind them with a flat tire. That happened once and they never did come back for me.

I don’t care, though. If you can’t keep your eyes open you should not be on the road. I have no desire to crash, and I’ll take whatever results from a safe decision over being totally foolish.

Biker Quote for Today

You’re a biker wannabe if all your leathers match.

Examiner Resurrection: Bikers And Their Love Affair With Chrome

August 21st, 2017

A love affair with chrome.

Screamin' Eagle with lots of chrome

Chrome on a Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle

What else can you call it? There is not another material that is used as much by bikers to make their bikes their own. And particularly if you are of the Harley-Davidson persuasion, there are chrome parts to be had for pretty much every bit of your bike.

The ultimate has to have been the bike I saw quite some years ago up in Lyons, CO. This custom Harley didn’t have one square inch that I could see that was not done in chrome. I’m sorry I didn’t have a camera with me.

Just to see how far this can go, I stopped in to a Harley dealer and made a partial list of the chrome parts they were hoping you’d like to buy. Fortunately, they all had names on their packages; otherwise I wouldn’t even know what to call some of these things.

  • Switch caps
  • Fuel cap and gauge trim ring
  • Headlamp trim ring
  • Tail light visor
  • Speaker trim
  • Fuel tank mounting hardware
  • Cylinder cover
  • Air baffle cover
  • Voltage regulator cover
  • Radio trim bezel
  • Instrument gauge bezel
  • Fork slide covers
  • Windshield trim
  • Air cleaner insert kit

You get the picture. I quit taking names at that point.

Biker Quote for Today

I don’t always sit and listen to my Harley, but when I do, so does the neighborhood.

Examiner Resurrection: Basket Case Motorcycle To World Record Holder–Not A Problem

August 17th, 2017

Gas tank of James Comet

Working at Bonneville Speedway last year was a real kick for James Moore, of Manningtree, Essex, UK, but he was only able to watch, not participate. This year was going to be different.

Before heading for the States again this year James looked around for a motorcycle to take to Bonneville. He found it in pieces, a 1952 James Comet. It was a basket case. No problem.

James and his James CometHe sand-blasted the frame and then nickel-plated it. A friend spray-painted the tank. He found copies of the original decals and put them on. Then he shipped it in pieces to Bonneville, where he was again hired as staff. In his off time he put it all together.

When the time came for time-trials the Comet was ready, sort of. James entered it in the 100cc Vintage Modified Gasoline class and went out and set a world record. His speed: 35.926 miles per hour, give or take a few thousandths. And he never could get the bike into second gear.

OK, 36 mph is not exactly scorching, although the bike’s top speed at sea level is supposed to be 40 mph. But this was in first gear. James says he would put it in second and it would pop out so he just jammed it back in first and ran the mile. James plans to run the bike in November he’ll run it at the raceway at El Mirage dry lake bed, and, with second gear working, hopes to break that early record.

Following the time trials, James had his Comet on display at Saturday’s Concours d’Elegance at the Bonneville Vintage GP and Concours, at Miller Motorsports Park.

Obviously, the 100cc Vintage Modified Gasoline class is not a high-powered–or high-speed–racing class, or the most hotly contested. But when was the last time you took a basket-case motorcycle and turned it into a world-record holder?

Biker Quote for Today

Why bikes are better than women: Your motorcycle doesn’t get upset when you forget its birthday.

Examiner Resurrection: Alpine Loop Scenic Byway: Another Sweet Utah Motorcycle Road

August 14th, 2017

Alpine Loop Scenic Byway

I go out of my way for terrific motorcycle roads and coming home from Tooele, UT, last week was no exception. I wanted to revisit American Fork Canyon and the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway, which provide a great alternative route to Heber City and U.S. 40, which was my road back to Denver.

I’ve been this way before more than once. The OFMC discovered this road years ago thanks to a tip from a local and we ride it whenever we can. If you’re out in the Salt Lake City area you should make a point of riding it, too.

Fortunately, in the farflung reaches of the Salt Lake City metro area, the American Fork Canyon is easy to find, provided you know it exists. From I-15, exit east onto Utah 92 just south of Point of the Mountain and follow this road arrow straight to the cleft in the rock that is the mouth of the canyon. Then kiss the city good-bye, there’s none of that ahead.

You’ll quickly reach an entrance station for Timpanogos Cave National Monument but if you’re only passing through there is no fee. Should you pay the $6 fee and visit the monument? I have to admit we never have, but here’s what the official website says about the place.

Timpanogos Cave National Monument sits high in the Wasatch Mountains. The cave system consists of three spectacularly decorated caverns. Helictites and anthodites are just a few of the many dazzling formations to be found in the many chambers. As visitors climb to the cave entrance, on a hike gaining over 1,000 ft in elevation, they are offered incredible views of American Fork Canyon.

Make your way through the canyon, which is pretty spectacular in its own right, and then bear right to head on up the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway. This is a winding, twisting, amazingly narrow strip of asphalt that loops up to Alpine Summit and then on down past Sundance Ski Resort. It hits U.S. 189 running through Provo Canyon and a left will take you up to Heber City and U.S. 40, or a right takes you down into Provo.

Biker Quote for Today

God makes the lightning, bikers make the thunder.

Ride Your Own Ride (And Other Advice)

August 10th, 2017
motorcycles and riders

Riding with friends doesn’t mean riding just like your friends.

Motorcycle riding, like so much else in life, is a matter of learning by doing. The following are a dozen lessons learned through more than 25 years and 100,000 miles on two wheels.

1. Get yourself some friends
If you’re not carrying a passenger, riding is a solitary activity at its core. You can be with other people but when you’re running down the road you’re all alone on that bike. That makes it all the more enjoyable to have friends with you when you stop. “Wow, did you see that bald eagle on top of that tree?” “Did that jerk come as close to running you off the road as it looked like from my view?” “Which direction do you think we ought to head now?”

Plus, if you go down it’s awfully nice to have friends to come to the rescue. Riding buddies are a good thing.

2. Signal your intentions
Cagers (people in cars) are generally the biggest threat to bikers but sometimes your buddies can be a threat, too. Does that pull-out on the left have a great view? Fine, pull off, but don’t assume the guys following you know why you’re slowing down. Signal your intent. For all you know, the guy behind you is impatient with your slow speed and is just about to pull around you to pick up the pace. If you make a left just as he twists the throttle your trip could come to an unpleasant end. Don’t let that happen.

3. Ride your own ride
Next to brain-dead cagers, the majority of motorcycle accidents are of the single-vehicle variety. That frequently means the rider pushed beyond their ability. This is the kind of thing that can happen when you’re riding with others and the leader is setting an aggressive pace. You may not be comfortable taking these tight turns at this speed but you want to keep up.

Bad idea. You can always catch up later. Don’t put yourself at risk when safety is at stake. Ride your own ride.

4. Don’t hesitate to go it alone
As enjoyable as it is to ride with friends, sometimes they’ve all got other plans. If you take off on your own you may find the freedom to stop when you want, go where you want, and do whatever your heart desires to be downright addictive. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have a cell phone with you in case you have trouble, but don’t pass up a great riding day just because you can’t find someone to join you.

5. Make like a Boy Scout and always “be prepared”
Sure, the sun is shining and it’s warm now, but don’t let that persuade you that you don’t need rain gear or warm clothes. It’s guaranteed to be very unpleasant if you find yourself out miles from anywhere and the skies open up. Particularly if you have saddle bags, there’s really no excuse for not carrying the gear you might need at all times.

6. Know your bike
Modern motorcycles are extremely reliable but user error can thwart the best technological design. Here’s a real-life example. Most bikes have petcocks that switch between the regular fuel supply and the reserve. On most bikes, the three positions for that lever are “Open,” “Shut,” and “Reserve.”

On some Kawasakis, however, the positions are “Open,” Reserve,” and “Prime.” Perhaps you don’t pay attention to this difference, and, after filling up, switch from Reserve to Open–you think. But in fact you have switched from Reserve to Prime. The next time you start up the bike it barely runs. Why? Because with that petcock in the Prime position it has been dribbling fuel into the cylinders continually, and that fuel has been seeping past your rings into the oil pan. Bikes don’t run well with their oil pans full of gasoline. (Hint: I did this twice before I figured it out.)

Get thoroughly acquainted with your motorcycle and everyone will be much happier.

7. Get schooled
Numerous studies show that the majority of motorcyclists who get killed on the road have not taken any sort of rider training. What more do you need to know?

8. Assume you’re invisible
The most common phrase spoken by a cager who just hit a motorcyclist is “I didn’t see him.” It doesn’t matter why this is, it matters that you take it to heart. If you pretend to yourself that you are invisible, and ride as if that were true, you’ll make decisions that will usually negate that driver’s inattention.

9. Take your time
Sometimes the best part of the trip is the unplanned, unscheduled stop or sidetrip. If you’re in too big a hurry to stop and enjoy the trip you might as well go by car.

10. Lean into adventure
This goes hand in hand with taking your time. The best motorcycle roads are the ones less traveled by cars, trucks, RVs, and the like. Don’t look for the shortest distance between two points, those roads are straight. Find the roads that curve.

11. Be opportunistic
“If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” Numerous parts of the country claim this line, and it’s something to take in consideration. If you want to go for a ride today and it’s gorgeous right now, go right now. You just don’t know what the sky will look like two hours from now.

12. Pick it up!
Amazing as it may seem, even petite women can pick up huge, heavy motorcycles laying on the ground. It’s all a matter of technique. Use the wrong technique and at best you will fail, and if it gets worse you may get a hernia. Learn how to pick up your machine and you won’t end up looking like a fool – or worse, in the hospital.

Biker Quote for Today

Why motorcycles are better than men: Motorcycles don’t insult you if you are a bad rider.