Archive

Archive for August, 2009

In the Wind Bike Night

August 30th, 2009

 

Pooch!

Pooch!

Saturday August 29th 2009 I, and a few friends went to a bike night hosted by In the Wind Roadware in Covina California. This is a biker apparel shop with everything from helmets, to vest extenders, to leather accessories, to patches, to glasses and a whole bunch more. My favorites are the “Old Guys Rule” shirt line. Big Mike (The owner of the shop) explained that wearing these doesn’t suggest you are an “old guy.” Just like wearing a Lakers t-shirt doesn’t suggest you’re part of the team. It suggests that you support them. So wearing an “Old Guys Rule” shirt is just a way to show your love for us… er… those old guys. You may be wondering about that dog. She was there to enjoy the day with the rest of us of course! Read more…

Events, General

Elitist motorcyclists

August 26th, 2009

This post is certain to piss some people off.  So I’ll apologize in advance if I sound like I’m generalizing or stereotyping.

Sorry…

But, I’m becoming rather annoyed with those who believe there is only one bike to have, and all others are simply toys. I happen to be one of those guys who can and does appreciate pretty much all bikes. I don’t care if it’s a Harley, Victory, other V-Twin wannabe, BMW, Triumph, sport bike, cruiser, touring, or whatever. I like them all. The bike I chose for myself is the Triumph. And it doesn’t really matter why. Read more…

General, Rants

Downed Biker Rally – Anaheim, California

August 24th, 2009
Flyer, Downws Biker Rally

Flyer, Downed Biker Rally

The Third Annual Downed Biker Rally is being held this year in Anaheim on Saturday October 3, 2009. This event is hosted by the Orange County Bikers for Christ and is designed to raise funds that are used to provide some financial assistance to those who have been involved in a street motorcycle crash.

I, along with my friends and members of our riding club (Southern Cruisers Riding Club) will be there and I’d like to encourage those of you who can, and happen to be in the area to attend and show your support for this worthy cause.

About the Downed Biker Fund (Taken from their website):
The Bikers for Christ Motorcycle Ministry, in conjunction with other ministries and various individuals, announces the Downed Biker Fund, a special fund to benefit those bikers who have been involved in a street motorcycle accident and need financial assistance.

The goal is to present a $500.00 check to the downed biker to assist with the immediate needs associated with an accident. Counselors, ministers and other resources are also available to assist in this time of need. This assistance will be offered to any and all Southern California motorcycle riders, regardless of race, color, religion or club affiliation, who are involved in a motorcycle accident that results in hospitalization.

This assistance will be limited to a one time cash disbursement of $500.00 at the time of hospitalization, and as long as funds are available. The goal is to raise funds with volunteers and donated items. We do not utilize any paid employees. In this manner, the funds should go directly to the bikers in need and not for expenses.

There will be fundraising events announced annually to generate additional funds if needed. There is also a need for contributions throughout the year. Tax deductible donations can be made payable to “The Cornerstone” a non-profit 501C3 organization, with a note “For Downed Biker Fund” and a tax deductible donation receipt will be pro vided for the value of your contribution.

To learn more about the event visit the Downed Biker Fund website.

Events, General

California Senate Bill 435 (Smog check for motorcycles?)

August 23rd, 2009

California SB 435, introduced by Santa Monica’s own idiot Senator Fran Pavley (Democrat), would have made it so that any motorcycle from the model year of 2000 and on, with a displacement of more than 280 cc, be smog tested and certified every two years.

Because of the efforts of ABATE, and riders all over California, this bill has been stopped for now (see ABATE’s On Capitol Steps for the whole story). But while in debate on the Senate floor, the issue turned from smog concerns, to issues concerning loud pipes. With new standards being developed in testing loudness, we are likely to expect new legislature aimed at motorcycles.

Source: ABATE.

cornerlogoABATE of California, Inc. (ABATE) is a not-for-profit, social membership-driven, tax-exempt California corporation dedicated to preserving motorcyclists’ freedom of choice and freedom of the road. Their main goal is to promote motorcycling, advance motorcycle safety on the roads of California and protect the rights of motorcyclists everywhere.

Activism, News

Review: Tomtom GPS and Ram Mount

August 22nd, 2009

GPSMounted1I recently came upon a fairly good deal on a Tomtom GPS unit so being the guy who hates paying full retail for anything, I bought it. My first task was to acquaint myself with it and found that it has all sorts of cool features. I can save “favorites” of different addresses, it has points of interest like the nearest Starbucks (because life must be filled with good coffee), I can set different color schemes including those for daylight or night-time, it tracks my speed and will even display the highest speed reached on a single trip, all sorts of user preferences can be set to do things like avoid toll roads.

Very cool.

Downside; the built-in speaker is the only way you can get the audio. There is no headphone jack and no Bluetooth. But it was such a good deal I couldn’t pass it up.

Now, being the guy who loves cool new gadgets for my motorcycle, I immediately set about adapting this handy little unit to the bike. Of course I knew the audio would never be loud enough to effectively compete with wind-noise (or my stereo), so I had to first make sure the visual navigation would be adequate. Simple answer; Yes!

Okay so my considerations were:

  • Mounting to my handlebars such that I can easily see it and reach it when necessary (Remember, I’m blind in my right eye).
  • Easy detach for security reasons.
  • Delivering constant power to the unit without punching into the wiring harness.

Here’s what I did:

mount1Doing a search online for “handlebar mount for Tomtom” I found Lido . These guys have all sorts of handlebar (and other) mounts for several of the GPS units out there. Including mine. YAY! For me, I chose the RAM mount for my Tomtom. And I came across a power cable that will deliver a constant 5-volt supply to the unit.

mount2Okay, quick word about Lido. Since I didn’t know them well, I looked on Amazon.com for the same mount and found it. Having always had good experiences with Amazon, I ordered the mount from them. And the next day I ordered the power cable from Lido. The cable arrived several days sooner than the mount. So the lesson-learned here is, I should have just bought it all from Lido.

Okay, back to it. Having all the stuff necessary I set about putting it all together. The hardest part about the mount was deciding which side of the handlebars I’d put it on. The part itself came in two primary pieces that I put together with two screws to which I applied a bit of lock-tight (The duct tape of the motorcycle world). Then it was a simple mount to the bars.

switchThe power cable was a bit trickier. Remember, my goal was NOT to punch into the wiring harness. First test; will it work with a simple ground to the frame? No… had to be wired directly to the positive AND negative terminals of the battery. So, I did that but added a push-button switch so I can cut power whenever I want. Why? Because I’m like that. I have no other explanation. End result is a sturdy mount, good visibility, and constant 5-volt power.

Road test time! Again… YAY!

I geared up, told my wife I’d be back and pulled out of the garage. I set the unit to navigate me to a local Starbucks. I picked it from the “points of interest” listing and intentionally picked one that I hadn’t visited. It took me there flawlessly. Next (after enjoying a cup of coffee) I had it direct me home. But, part way through the rout I intentionally took a few wrong turns. It recalculated on the fly and still got me home without my having to make a single U-turn.

Over-all:

GPSMounted2What I like most about this unit is I can use it in both the car and on the bike. The RAM mount makes that easy because the unit pops securely in place and easily pops out (though I did almost drop it on my first try). Visually it’s easy to see and it’s position is such that I’m not distracted. I find it no different than looking at the speedo.

Bottom line; for less than $100.00 I managed to set up a GPS unit that will work in my car AND on my bike. I’ll be taking a ride from Los Angeles to the San Francisco Bay area on a couple weeks and intend to take a different rout home. The GPS will certainly come in handy and this, IMHO will make for an excellent test in a real-world scenario.

So stay tuned…

Product Reviews

Triumph Street Triple R Motorcycle of the Year

August 21st, 2009
Street Tripple

Street Tripple

Motorcycle.com has ranked the Triumph Street Triple R as their 2009 motorcycle of the year. The Street Tripple is a street-fighter version of the Triumph Datona 675. With its three-cylinder engine, re-tuned from the Daytona, it makes for an awesome machine for riders of all skill levels. Ergonomically comfortable and low seat height keep it within range for the beginner but boasts the power and handling for veteran riders as well.

You can read the full story here.

News

Motorcycle Safety Foundation to teach California motorcycle safety again!

August 21st, 2009

msf-logoOnce again, the California Highway Patrol has contracted with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) to teach motorcycle safety classes to California’s wouldbe riders as part of California’s Motorcyclist Safety Program. This is the third consecutive signing and gives rise to the importance and success of the program.

I’ve taken the basic class and my wife has too. And I highly recomend it for anyone who rides or wants to ride. If you read my post Handling an unexpected slide you’ll see one very good example of the success of these classes.

The MSF offers a basic riders course and advanced training as well. I highly recomend them and hope you will too.

News

Why do you ride?

August 20th, 2009

What is it about riding? 

Karl and his Rocket III

Karl and his Rocket III

I’m often asked, by those who have never ridden; why? Why do I choose so willingly to get onto a machine whose nature is one of risk and danger? I wonder if those same people try to figure out why a dog will stick his head out of the car-window. It’s been said that for those who ride, no explanation is necessary. But for those who don’t, no explanation is possible. Hmm, is that really true?

I’ve been riding off and on since I was a kid. Today I’m 48. It’s been in the last few years however that I have become somewhat immersed in the whole motorcycling culture. I ride with a club and will happily skip past one form of entertainment or another for a chance to get on my bike and hit the road. Much to my wife’s chagrin. Read more…

General

Paul Contreras and his 2007 Triumph Bonneville Black

August 18th, 2009

 

Paul Contreras and his '07

Paul Contreras and his '07

 

 

Paul is an old friend and fellow motorcycle enthusiast. In fact, it was Paul who introduced me to the Triumph Brand with his 2007 Bonneville Black. So when I decided to start featuring those who modify their bikes, I thought; who better to kick that off than Paul and his ride?

Paul rides his Bonnie everyday, “rain or shine.” And his work affords him plenty of opportunity to visit many parts of Southern California.

When I asked him why the Triumph? He said with a smile, “All my friends kept telling me to get a Harley. They’re nice to look at but I didn’t want to get sucked into that.” Read more…

Motorcycles

The 2010 Triumph Thunderbird

August 16th, 2009

TbirdFront
Thanks to my friends at Southern California Triumph, I had an opportunity to take Triumph’s new cruiser, the 2010 Thunderbird out for a little test run. And I have to say that I’m glad I did. Admitting freely that I happen to be a big fan of the Triumph brand, I promise to keep this write-up as unbiased as I possibly can. Read more…

Motorcycles