Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Fall Fun for All Ages

The first day of Autumn is very near. I was about to write about the fact that Autumn is probably my favorite season until I looked back at my blog posts in the past. For three years straight I posted a blog about my love for the season and how I need to get some extra riding time before Winter.
While these posts weren’t exactly the same, they were similar enough. After reading these, I guess I was reassured that the fall is my favorite time of year. However, I don’t want to repeat these past posts, so I’ll try to put a little different spin on this one.
If I think back to when I was 11 or 12, all I had was a dirt bike. This time in my life is where I think I got my love of riding in the fall. I can remember riding through the woods seeing all of the Autumn colors and smelling the cool crisp air. The great thing about back then was that time didn’t seem to go by so quickly. The Autumn season didn’t seem short at all.
In that spirit, I think I’m going to try to spend some extra time riding trails with my kids. I just bought a truck (I know I said I was going to wait a while to get a new vehicle, but I found a good deal), so I can hall their dirt bike to trails that they’ve never been on. This, hopefully, will make a memorable season for me and them.
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” - Albert Camus

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Cyber Apocalypse

It’s here! BMW Motorrad has created a motorcycle that rides itself. Oh, you don’t believe me? Check this video out. All I have to say is, leave it to BMW to bring on the start of the cyber apocalypse! Cue the terminator music.

All kidding aside, while this is awesome and has huge implications for rider safety, seeing a riderless bike is kinda creepy. I doubt many of you have seen them, but a long time ago some freestyle moto guys would make videos “ghost riding” an old street bike. This meant jumping off of a moving motorcycle and letting it coast by itself. This looks a lot like that, without the crash at the end. It just has an eerie feel.

Even with the creepy factor, the engineers at BMW deserve tons of credit for advancing this technology. This has some serious implications for the future of motorcycles. I’ve stated before that an uptick in safety regulations could derail the industry, but advancements like this could definitely help us continue to ride far into the future.

“Listen and understand. That terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear, and it absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until you are dead.” - Kyle Reese in The Terminator

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Self Inflicted Wet Ass

Earlier this year I mentioned that, even though I made myself ride to work everyday, I had not needed to use my rain gear. Fast forward to this week. I sold my car over the Labor Day weekend, so I am literally forced to use my motorcycle for the commute. It has rained every morning since then. Let’s just say that I’m sick of using my rain gear!

On top of this, my gear, especially the pants, is starting to lose its waterproofing. My bike tends to shoot a giant rooster tail of water behind it on wet roads and doesn’t have the largest of rear fenders, so I’ve arrived at work with a wet ass. This is the fourth year of using this rain gear and I use it fairly often, so I think I got my money’s worth.

I know I shouldn’t be bitching, since I put myself in this situation. The only reason I am is because it’s been multiple days in a row that I’ve had a wet butt and I’m growing tired of it. I just needed a bit of a venting session. With that being said, I think I’m going to delay buying a new car so I can continue this forced riding situation. 😉

“Self-inflicted pain has a calming effect; it clears the head, diminishes one's fascination with the ego, and most important, gives one the sense of having taken some real action against the everyday foolishness of the body and of the vagrant, willful, heedless imagination.” - Valerie Martin

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Not Harley Enough

*Disclaimer - This is my opinion, I’m no expert in business or the motorcycle market, but I just wanted to share my thoughts.*

Harley Davidson recently advertised new concept models. They are an adventure tourer, a streetfighter, and a custom cruiser. While the custom cruiser still basically fits with Harley’s standard fleet, the others are a big change in direction. As it’s been noted that sales have been declining for a while, it makes sense to try to diversify the lineup. My fear is that these new concepts won’t ever have any kind of impact on the motorcycle market.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the looks of all of these concepts. I ride a Ducati Monster, which is basically the original factory streetfighter, so the Harley streetfighter model definitely intrigues me. However, I don’t think it has much, if anything, that would make me trade my Monster for one. I think adventure touring riders may say the same thing, “It looks cool but I don’t want to trade my Honda Africa Twin or Triumph Tiger for one.”

Also, I can’t see any current Harley customers trading up for one of these models. Think to the recently dropped V-Rod. It was a cool bike that had way more power than any other Harley, but it just wasn’t “Harley enough”. The streetfighter and adventure tourer are definitely not Harley enough.

I know it’s bad to present problems without solutions, so here is my suggestion. I think Harley Davidson should stick to what they’re known for, air cooled, push rod V-twin cruisers and touring motorcycles. They should also continue to push their electric motorcycle, the Live Wire. I think that bringing an electric bike that had great styling along with long range and the ability to charge quickly would put them in the lead for the industry, which could bring them a huge increase in customer base. That, in my opinion, would keep them in business for decades to come.

“We all learn lessons in life. Some stick, some don't. I have always learned more from rejection and failure than from acceptance and success.” - Henry Rollins

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Dry Commute

Just like years past, this year I’ve decided to commute to work on my motorcycle every day this summer. No exceptions! Actually, I plan on selling my car in the near future, so I really won’t have much of a choice. This does force me to have some rain gear always packed and can cause some extra planning when I need to carry things that are difficult on a motorcycle (i.e. tools, extra work clothes, donuts), but for the most part this is an extremely easy way to always enjoy my commute.
The strange thing about this year is I haven’t had to wear my rain suit yet. It has rained while I was home and at work, but never on my ride. The funny thing is that in the past I’d always check the forecast before my commute and if there was rain, I’d take my car. At least half the time I would’ve stayed dry if I had ridden. A wasted opportunity!
I don’t even think you need to be as extreme as me to enjoy more rides to work. I think having a rule that you’ll ride as long as it’s not raining when you leave your home is good. You will need to have rain gear, unless you don’t mind getting wet on the way home, but you’ll definitely get more quality riding for your commutes than you would paying attention to the forecast.
“No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.” - Winston Churchill

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Family Fun

If you’re intelligent about it, spending time with your kids doesn’t need to be a zero sum experience, meaning that you both can have a lot of fun. Now, I know that you’re supposed to cherish all time with your kids, but let’s face it, watching Disney movies gets old! I find that my son and I both have a great time when we ride on his XR 70. He is still too small to ride it on his own, but he is still small enough that we can ride it together fairly comfortably. I have a blast because, even though it’s small, I’m riding a motorcycle. I know he’s having a great time because he talks for the entire time we’re riding.
We ride on the trail we have on our property. I discussed making this trail in a previous post. A great thing about riding with him in the woods is that he is beginning to become less anxious about it. At first, he’d repeatedly ask about bears, deer, or other animals in a very nervous tone. Now he almost seems to look forward to seeing an animal if it may cross our path. I’m not trying to say that he should be wanting to run through the forest by himself, but having just a healthy respect for the possible danger is much better than all out fear.
Another awesome effect of us riding is that he spends much less time playing video games. My wife and I enforce daily time limits on gaming and it ends up being a battle every time we say it’s time to stop playing. I’m happy to say that just mentioning the dirt bike will get him to shut off the video game and run to grab his helmet. So, if you’re a parent who loves motorcycles, get your kids involved. I promise it’ll be great for your entire family.
“You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.” - Desmond Tutu

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Moto Maturity

In the past, I’d ride aggressively right away in the spring. I’d be so anxious to ride after a long winter that I’d ignore the fact that I was out of practice and that I was unsure of road conditions. You’d catch me trying to drag my knee on every corner. Although I never crashed because of this, I did have some close calls. I’ve slid on loose gravel and sand, swerved around dirt piles, and braked in the middle of a turn to avoid obstructions.
This year seems different. I recently rode my favorite route that is full of beautiful twists and turns. I found myself taking it easy instead of going all out. It wasn’t something that I consciously decided to do, but as I approached corners I’d tell myself to hold back in case of any danger that may lie ahead. I still had a blast and probably enjoyed myself just as much as I would’ve riding aggressively. I’m absolutely going to ride this route plenty of times this year and now I know which corners still have dirt or gravel on them.
I guess it’s a sign of maturity which I’m bound to get with age. However, on the last corner of the ride, I decided to say, “The hell with it.” I approached this corner with some extra speed and leaned very hard through it. I didn’t drag my knee, but I leaned far enough that the toe of my boot dragged. This startled me, but I still rode through. My wife, who was on the back, berated me a little for this. Oh well, I’m not all THAT mature yet.
“Maturity is a high price to pay for growing up.” Tom Stoppard