Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winterized

For most motorcyclists, this is the time of the year that we all dread...fall and winter. The end of the summer riding season. Depending on what part of the country you live in, your season could end in September or October, or maybe extend into November if you're in a warmer climate. For those lucky enough to be in Florida, Arizona or southern California, you don't have this problem, but for people who experience all four seasons, there will be a time when you have to garage your bike. When you get to December, that time is now. Some people in extreme cold climates may decide to winterize their motorcycles, meaning they drain the fluids and disconnect the battery, to keep their bike in good condition through the winter. In this case, you really are done for the season. For those in the Midwest or climates where the weather can be fickle, taking a chance against winterizing may mean you'll get a ride in every now and then if the weather cooperates. I have lived in Missouri for the past 32 years and can remember times when we saw temperatures in the 70's in January! So if you watch the weather trends and see a nice warm spell coming, get out the tender and charge that battery up...you might get a ride in! In the meantime, you may have to pass the time talking up past rides and rallies with your biker buddies at the shop or dealership, or diner. Heck, you could even check out an upgrade for next year. This is the time of the year for deals on new wheels!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Caught in the Rain?

TIPS FOR RIDING SAFELY ON WET ROADSTip #116 from the pages of The Total Motorcycling ManuelGuest Post By  of Cycle World
We’ve talked elsewhere about how to stay dry on a bike. Now we’re going to talk about how to ride more safely when the road is wet.
Your biggest issue is reduced traction. Painted lines, manhole covers, and metal bridge gratings are real danger zones. Puddles may seem benign, but they can hide deep, sharp-edged potholes. If you see standing water on the road, pay attention.
Gentle control inputs are the key. You needn’t ride significantly slower in the rain, but you won’t be able to lean as far, or as suddenly. Easy on and off the throttle; ditto for the brakes. Take conservative lines—this is no time to dive for the apex. Try to be smooth, like you’re giving your grandmother a nice ride on the back. Keep your brakes dry—this means you’ll have to drag them lightly every 3 or 4 miles (5–6 km), in order to heat them up and drive the water out.
It’s smart to short-shift the bike (shift earlier to keep the engine revs lower) on the street, but do just the opposite (let the bike rev higher) on the freeway. Short-shifting helps keep the wheel from spinning at low speeds and lessens the torque multiplication at the rear wheel so the bike doesn’t step out on paint stripes or manholes. Letting it rev higher on the freeway lets you use compression braking to gently slow the bike without depending on sudden brake inputs.
Finally, wear a full-face helmet. At speed, even small raindrops feel like bullets.
For more tips on motorcycle safety, check out Cycle World.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What happened to Thanksgiving?

Now that Veterans Day has past, the next big holiday of the year is Christmas. What, you ask? What about Thanksgiving? Oh sure, there will be a Thanksgiving holiday. Most Americans will take that Thursday and possibly the following Friday off to be with their family and eat turkey and watch the Detroit Lions lose to whoever they will be playing that day. Wait, the Lions aren't that bad of a team anymore.  Anyway, Thanksgiving is a holiday that is going by the wayside. I have already seen houses and businesses with Christmas decorations up. Bell ringers are already stationed at the local grocery stores to beg for your loose change. I even flipped through the radio dial last night and heard a station playing Christmas music already! Yes, I still listen to the radio...what's wrong with that?  Now I'm no Scrooge. I love Christmas and what it means to Christians around the world. I love seeing my kids get excited about what they hope Santa will bring them this year. But I think Thanksgiving deserves a little more recognition than just a day to get off work and eat some turkey and pie with your friends and family. We should reflect on what we as a nation are thankful for. Freedom of religion. Freedom of speech. Freedom to vote for whomever we choose to represent us in government. Let's wait until after Thanksgiving to hang the decorations and do our Christmas shopping. Now stores are even open for business on Thanksgiving day!  Christmas will be here before we know it anyway.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Autumn or Fall?

Summer is now officially over.  The season has changed to fall.  Or is it autumn?  Yes, the season with two names.  The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are getting cooler.  For most people, it's an enjoyable time of the year because the weather is not extreme.  Not too hot, not too cold.  You can give your A/C a break and open the windows for some fresh air.  Along with the cooler weather comes the changing colors of the leaves on the trees.  This is a great time of the year to hit the highways and byways on your motorcycle and see the colorful landscapes of the countryside.  While jackets and gloves might be necessary, it is not too uncomfortable to get out and enjoy the fresh air and smells of the season.  So get out and hit the road before the riding season enjoyment ends.  Enjoy the freedom of the road!  But again, what's the deal with fall or autumn?  As a motorcyclist, I guess I prefer autumn...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mixed Messages

Guest Post - Mixed messages by John Fischer  
bikesThere is a bar in Laguna Beach, CA that becomes a celebrated biker hangout everySunday afternoon. There is always a live band playing and rows of gleaming Harleys on either side of the street, with people inspecting them as if they were in a showroom.

The riders all leave their helmets out with their bikes, and I've found the helmets to be a study all their own. The most popular look like they are from World War I, with various kinds of rebel markings, and a few have little stickers that serve as a sort of biker bumper sticker. One I saw particularly caught my attention because it said, "JESUS LOVES YOU."

Now I am aware that there are various biker ministries out there where committed followers ride for Christ and seek to spread the word about his grace and forgiveness. I have always loved this - the Gospel in a rebel context - being aware that the message of Christ is in some ways better suited there than it is in more respectable circles. You can't read about Jesus without coming to the conclusion that he would be right at home with the biker crowd.

But as I got closer to the Jesus sticker, I noticed there was another message in much smaller print underneath the more visible "JESUS LOVES YOU." It read: "I think you're a jerk!" (That isn't exactly what it said, but it will work for our purposes.)

At first, I was somewhat repulsed. Where I thought I had a Jesus biker, I actually had a form of sacrilege. But the more I thought about it, I realized there probably was more than a kernel of truth in this version of a familiar Christian message.

I can think of times when I might as well have been sporting a "JESUS LOVES YOU; I think you're a jerk" sticker for all the thoughts I harbored toward the people to whom I was announcing His love. And, of a certainty, He does love them. The question is, do I?

"How can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?" wrote James (2:1), or in the words of John: "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar" (1 John 4:20).

It's not enough just to announce the love of Jesus without loving the same people he loves. If "Jesus loves you" is going to be our message, we need to make sure that we do too. 

Read more of John Fischer's thoughts on 
Fischtank.com 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Motorcycles vs Boats

I love boats.  I like big boats and small boats.  Fast boats and slow boats.  I like to ride in boats and I like to drive boats.  I recently had the pleasure of going out on a boat ride with one of my clients, who owns a 19 foot fishing boat.  We went out on the Missouri river and went to the confluence of the Mississippi river, up the Mississippi to Alton, IL then back to the Missouri to St. Charles, MO.  A very pleasurable afternoon.  Afterwards I reflected on the similarities of boating and motorcycling.  They are both fun activities that are best enjoyed in the warm summer weather.  Both allow you to take in the scenery, sights, sounds and smells of nature, in a way that cars and trucks cannot.  But then I realized a major difference between boating and motorcycling that is huge.  The reason that I own a motorcycle and not a boat.  You see, with boats, unless you live on the water (and most people don't), you have to tow your boat to the river, lake, or ocean, and put it in the water, in order to be able to enjoy your ride.  When I went with my friend, we drove for an hour and a half, before we were able to find a spot to launch his boat.  And getting the boat in and out of the water is a lot of work, too!  Backing the boat trailer down a steep ramp into the water.  Releasing it into the water.  Taking the truck and trailer back up the ramp to a parking lot, etc.  Only to repeat the entire process in reverse when you are done.  That's a lot of work!  With a motorcycle, you can simply back your bike out of the garage, start the engine and take off!  No time wasted in travelling to the desired destination first.  In fact, riding to your destination is one of the most enjoyable parts of the journey.  So for me, even though I love boats, I love motorcycles more because of the fact that there are more opportunities to ride a motorcycle, than a boat.  It's no big deal to decide on a moments notice to go out for a spin, even if it's only for a half hour!  So even though I dream of retiring in a place on the water.  It will be a place with a motorcycle in the garage!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pipes save lives!

If you've ever been at a stoplight in the summertime with your window down, sitting by a motorcycle in the next lane, you've probably wondered why they are so loud. Now there are some sports cars and old jalopies that are loud too, but in general motorcycles are louder than cars. Well for one thing, motorcycle engines are exposed, not under a hood. But another reason is safety. Motorcycles are harder to see than cars or trucks, they have a smaller profile, taking up far less room in the driving lane. So if you can't see the motorcycle, maybe you can hear it. One of the most quoted statements at an accident scene involving a motorcycle is, "I didn't see him officer!"  So while some motorcycles are louder than others depending on their size or style, the fact that motorcycles are louder than cars is a good thing. Now some local municipalities have ordinances against excessive noise, but most motorcycles, unless outfitted with after market pipes and accessories, will fall under these guidelines. I don't know about you, but I would rather pull up next to a motorcycle at a stoplight than a teenager with his stereo blasting any day! So look before you switch lanes. Check your rear-view and side mirrors and listen for a motorcycle. We're watching you too!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Blog Rewind...In the Shop

Most motorcycles owners will tell you that the worst season of the year is winter, because for most people living in an area that experiences all four seasons, winter riding is not an option. Well while that may be true, the worst time for a motorcycle owner is really when your bike is in the shop. This is because not too many people want to ride their motorcycle in the winter when the temperature is below 30 degrees, but when the temperature is perfect for riding and your bike is in the garage getting serviced or waiting for a part to come in, boy, that just makes you want to scream! I experienced this firsthand recently. About a month ago I went out to my garage to start up my bike to take it to work. It was a very nice warm day. The bike started, but when I gave the throttle some gas, I felt something snap. My throttle cable broke. Bummer! Luckily, my bike was in my garage, but I still had to call my local HD dealer and ask for them to send a trailer out to pick up my bike. After waiting over a week for the parts to come in, I got a call from the dealer. The parts came in and they were working on my bike, but they found a problem with my carburetor. Great, more bad news. Now I had to wait another week for more parts that they didn't have in stock! By the time I got my bike back, I had missed 3 weeks of spring riding and I was $800 lighter in my wallet! Now my bike is running like new and I'm happy to have my bike ready to take a spin when ever I want, but now I can tell you this, having your bike in the shop is way worse than suffering through the cold winter!

Best of Thoughts from Scott.  This post was originally written in June of 2012.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Soak City

After last night's storms and the weather forecast for more rain today, I will definitely not be riding my motorcycle today. While there are more experienced motorcyclists who will ride in the rain, it is not one of my favorite aspects of motorcycling. While riding a bicycle in a rain shower might be fun for children, riding a motorcycle takes on an entirely different element. Instead of a nice pitter patter of raindrops on the cheek, rain while riding, feels more like small needles hitting you in the face. Your vision is impaired by the raindrops and mist as well, so safety becomes a factor also. Like any vehicle, stopping distance is greater on wet pavement, so greater distance must be maintained between your bike and the cars ahead of you. Like any other motorcyclist, I keep rain gear in my saddlebags in case I get caught in an unexpected summer rainstorm, but I sure don't plan rides when I know I'm going to be heading into rain. Having been caught in a few showers before, the riding experience is not what one thinks of when contemplating a motorcycle ride on the highways and byways of America. No, I'll leave the rainy conditions to those hearty souls who are more comfortable with the challenge and are more experienced in bad weather conditions than I. So I'll drive my Mustang today and hope that better conditions will prevail in days ahead. We've certainly had a lot of rain lately and I know that's to be expected in the spring, but come on...let's have some sunshine already!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Is a Sportster really a girl's bike?

Today's piece is a guest post written by the good people at Gateway Harley Davidson in St. Louis, MO.  It challenges the idea that their entry level Sportster line is "just a girl's bike", by going through some facts you may not be aware of about this Harley Davidson model.



A Sportster® Is A Girl’s Bike

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Most people suggest a Sportster® to an unexperienced individual because it is currently the smallest Harley-Davidson® bike still in production. But let’s throw out some facts about the alleged “girl’s bike”, the Harley-Davidson® Sportster®.
  • The first Sportster® was introduced to the public in 1957 and within one year of its debut it because known as the first of the ”Superbikes”.  
  • It raced all through the 1970s helping to set land speed world records.
  • The 883cc and 1200cc engines were used in the design and manufacture of the American sport bike, Buell motorcycles.
  • The XR1200X currently has it’s own AMA road racing series.
So next time someone suggests that you get a Sportster® because it is a girl’s bike, don’t be offended. Just kindly inform them that you would be proud to ride a Sportster®. They have a classic style. They are agile and powerful. They are fantastic machines.
What else is impressive about the Sportster® motorcycle?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's spring...where's the warm weather?

We recently turned the page on winter and entered spring on the calendar...problem is, the weather didn't follow suit.  While thousands of motorcyclists around the country have anxiously been waiting for the new riding season to begin, Mother Nature didn't cooperate.  Here in Missouri, we also received a healthy dumping of snow to add to the frustration.  So most bikers who don't normally brave cold weather riding, continued to keep their battery tenders hooked up and their motorcycles garaged.  Now as we approach Easter weekend, warmer weather finally seems to be coming sooner rather than later.  So get out your leather jacket and dust off your helmets, motorcycle riding season approaches!  Sunshine, fresh air and the open road awaits!  See you soon!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Wait for it...

For most motorcyclists, winter time is the least favorite time of the year.  It's just too cold to get out and enjoy a nice ride on your favorite highway.  So motorcycles tend to get covered and stored in garages and shelters while we wait for the calendar to turn to spring.  Here in Missouri, we are considered to have a 4 season climate, but one with possibilities of extreme temperatures.  We just endured what many consider the hottest year on record in 2012.  It started out with unseasonably warm temperatures in January and February and turned into severe drought conditions by summer, complete with scores of days above 90 and even 100 degrees!  It is not unusual to have temperatures fall below zero in the winter either, although normal lows for January are in the 20's for central Missouri.  When it comes to weather in Missouri, the one thing that you can count on is change.  It is often said that the world renown author Mark Twain, a famous Missourian also known as Samuel Clemens, once quoted, "if you don't like the weather in Missouri, just wait 5 minutes".  And he was right.  Just this past week, the temperature here has ranged from highs in the 20's to a spring like 63 degrees this past weekend!  For this reason, many motorcyclists like myself, do not winterize our bikes while we suffer through the cold weather of winter.  Instead, we wait for that 63 degree day in January and start up our bikes and hit the open road.  What a thrill it is to get out and enjoy a taste of spring time during the off season.  While short lived, we will just wait for another day warm enough to put on our leather jackets again as we wait for spring to arrive.  So keep the battery tender hooked up and be ready to ride...it could be sooner than you think!