As April is “Motorcycle Helmet Awareness Month” I thought I would pull this post from 2018 back to the top. Sarah’s words still are valid.

Whether you’re just replacing one helmet due to age or degradation, or if you’ve found a stack of old helmets in your Dad’s garage, figuring out what to do with them after they’ve outlived their usefulness can be tricky. Motorcycle helmets can’t be resold or given away for future use as their safety can’t be guaranteed. So what can you do? Here are a few possibilities for dealing with old helmets.

Donate to Emergency Services

Perhaps the best way to dispose of an old motorcycle helmet is to find an emergency services department that might be interested in using intact helmets for training. They can use them to teach first responders how to safely remove a helmet from an accident victim who may be injured. Removing a helmet from a patient who might have a head, neck, or back injury can be difficult, as helmets are heavy and unwieldy. Emergency personnel responding to an accident need to learn to remove helmets without risking further injury to patients. However, there may be more helmets available than they need, and if you can’t find a department in need, there are still several other options.

If you aren’t donating the helmets to such a group, you should immediately cut the chin strap off completely to prevent someone from fishing it out of the trash and attempting to use it. Used helmets can be dangerous to use.

Upcycle as Decorations

Some creative types have found creative ways to use helmets as decorations. You can set up a decorative display of your old helmets on a wall, especially if they were custom painted. Others have taken motorcycle helmets and turned them into flower pots and planters for the garden. You can also buy a lamp kit and turn your old helmet into an interesting desk lamp or outdoor lantern

Check with Local Recycling Center

You can call your local recycling center to see if they accept motorcycle helmets for recycling. Don’t be surprised if the answer is “no.” Due to the different chemicals and materials used in manufacturing safe and sturdy helmets, many recycling centers are not equipped to process them. Those that are may request that you disassemble the helmet before recycling, so be prepared to pull out the padding and foam before you drop if off.

Dispose in Regular Trash

It’s not ideal, but if you have no other options, you can dispose of the helmet in your regular trash. Just make sure that you bag it appropriately, and that you have destroyed it before you do. In addition to cutting off the chin strap, you can also cut it in half with a saw or have some fun with your friends and try to beat it up with an axe or sledgehammer. Just be warned that trying to break a helmet with sheer force is sometimes impossible. After all, they are designed to withstand traumatic impacts at highway speeds.

Haul Away Service

It’s probably not cost effective if you have just one or two helmets to get rid of, but if you have a collection, you could call a rubbish removal service to come and pick them up. This is especially useful if you’ve discovered the helmets while cleaning out an old garage or barn; there’s probably a mess of other stuff you need to get rid of as well, and these services will pick everything up, and then they will do the work of sorting the items for recycling and proper disposal.

Perhaps someday there will be an accepted standard for what to do with used motorcycle helmets, but we’re not there yet. In the meantime, any one of the above methods is an acceptable way to dispose of an old helmet that is no longer safe to wear.  

Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb and Population of an online resources with information about businesses and demographic statistics of world population. She loves cooking, reading history books and writing about green living. Her dad was a motorcyclist and he passed that passion on to her. Sarah loves to travel the world on her motorcycle and she hopes that one of her daughters will become her partner in the near future.

April is Motorcycle Helmet Safety month and the supposed start of the riding season in the Northern Hemisphere. So, if your riding season is just beginning or coming to an end you should check your helmet for any issues that could risk your safety.

What do you look for when performing a safety check on your motorcycle helmet? Different manufactures state similar and different things to check, please referrer to your helmets makers directions for the best information.

However, there are some generic checks you can do that will cover many areas to make sure your helmet is still safe. Here are the a few things you need to look for:

1) Is the shell all in one piece? No cracks or splits?

2) Are the straps and connectors in good shape, no adverse wear or tear?

3) The internal padding is connected and stays in place?

4) Remove the padding and check the foam.  Is it dented or have cracks?

5) While looking at the foam, most companies place a sticker printed with the helmet’s birthday. Is it over 5 years old?

6) Does the rest of the internals look in good operating condition?

7) Check the visor for damage that might obscure your vision, can you see clearly?

8) Are the screws or other visor attachments tight?

9) Make sure that insects/creatures are not living in your helmet, see the photos below! (that is a Black Widow Spider)

Checklist item 5 is the 5-year rule.  Most manufactures recommend that after 5 years you replace your helmet.  While the cynical among us will cite the “more money” theory of why they want it replaced there is evidence that the foam lining (the part that does most of the work in a crash) does deteriorate over time. It is your head, so it is your decision to replace or not if everything looks good.

By now most, if not all, motorcycle enthusiasts know about the new Harley Davidson Pan American adventure bike.  I am not going to go over specs or stuff like that. 

Most of the “big time” motorcycle sites have stated that this Harley is going to give the BMW GS a run for the money.  That maybe true as on paper it seems the Pan American has a slight edge, according to those “big time” sites. 

If you want to see for yourself then now is the time.  Harley is taking the Pan American for an on/off road demo tour across the United States. Here is the link for you to SIGN UP for the demo if you interested.

Here are all the sites that the demo tour will stop.

4/16/21 – 4/18/21 – Dallas TX

The Bartonville Store, 96 McMakin Rd., Bartonville, TX, 76226

4/23/21 – 4/25/21 – Albuquerque, NM

Thunderbird Harley-Davidson, 5000 Alameda Blvd NE, 5000 Alameda Blvd NE, NM, 87113

4/30/21 – 5/2/21 – Phoenix, AZ

Westgate Entertainment District, Lot 9, next to Aloft Hotel, 6751 N. Sunset Blvd., Glendale, AZ, 85305

5/14/21 – 5/16/21 San Jose, CA

Metcalf Motorcycle County Park, 300 Metcalf Rd. , San Jose, CA, 95138

5/21/21 – 5/23/21 – Lake Elsinore, CA

Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park, 20700 Cereal St., Lake Elsinore, CA, 92530

5/28/21 – 5/30/21 – Sacramento, CA

Harley-Davidson of Sacramento, 1000 Arden Way, Sacramento, CA, 95815

5/7/21 – 5/9/21 – Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas Harley-Davidson, 5191 S Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV, 89119

7/30/21 – 8/1/21 – Madison, IL

World Wide Technology Raceway, 700 Raceway Blvd, Madison, IL, 62060

7/9/21 – 7/11/21 – Idaho Falls, ID

Grand Teton Harley-Davidson, 848 Houston St , Idaho Falls, ID, 83402

8/13/21 – 8/15/21 – Pittsfield, MA

Ioka Valley Farm, 3475 MA-43, Hancock, MA, 01237

8/6 – 8/8 – Coal Township, PA

Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area, 4100 PA-125, Coal Township, PA, 17866

9/10/21 – 9/12/21 – Brighton, UT

Brighton Ski Resort, 8302 S Brighton Loop Rd, Brighton, UT, 84121

October 22nd – 24th, 2021 – Southern NY/NJ/CT

Check back soon for more information

October 29th – 31st, 2021 – Loudon, NH

New Hampshire Motor Speedway, 1122 NH-106, Loudon, NH, 03307

Ride On, Ride Safe

OK….. I am a motorcyclist and I was an Army Paratrooper, but this is not something I would ever do! Sorry guys I don’t need to by that Twitter Famous!

I am not going to jump a motorcycle off a cliff!

James Madison’s Montpelier

As noted in in Part 1 of this Quarantine Motorcycle Ride series on the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Byway, had to occur over three seasons.  Part 2 Leesburg to Montpelier occurred last summer.

This leg of the ride started on a cool summer morning.  Blue skies, white puffy clouds, and the local weatherman, promised a comfortable day to ride the motorcycle.

Our eyes and the weatherman were right! Our ride on the Harley Davidson Ultra Limited motorcycle was smooth and sweet.  Great tunes and light traffic made this leg of the Hallowed Ground Byway nothing short of great.

This part of the Byway is packed full of sites that just beg to be stopped and explored as this part of Virginia is packed with history and historical sites.

Getting to Montpelier took us past the following historical sites, and these are the major sites. There are many, many smaller sites in each of the towns you pass through.  This leg of the Hallowed Ground Byway can, by itself, could take a week to work your way though.

Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park | Nova Parks

George C. Marshall’s Home

President’s Monroe’s Oak Hill

Bull Run Battlefield (1st and 2nd Battle for Manassas)

This section also passes though the Northern Virginia wine and brewery corridor.  For example, there are over a dozen breweries and 30 vineyards in Loudon county alone! Just do not drink and ride, of course!

Of course, the destination of this motorcycle ride was the home of President James Madison’s home Montpelier.  Montpelier was the plantation home of the Madison family, including the fourth President of the United States James Madison and his wife Dolly.

Montpelier is both a National Historic Landmark and part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Completed in 2008 a major restoration (by the National Trust), in part to return the mansion to its original size of 22 rooms.

Archeological investigations provided information on African-American life at the plantation. Philanthropist David Rubenstein funded and enabled the National Trust to restore the slave quarters in the South Yard and open a slavery exhibition, The Mere Distinction of Colour, in 2017.

Getting to Montpelier is a wonderful ride through historic lands.  If you are in the area, on the Journey Thorough Hallowed Ground Byway or not, take the time to stop.

ijustwant2ride.com

Down ShiftDucati Motorcycles have a parking problem. By now it would difficult not to know that a HUGE ship tried to parallel park in the Suez Canal.  Intentional or not that parking incident has caused a huge backlog in the world of international shipping.

Ducati is one of the many companies caught in the hold up at the canal. A Ducati spokesperson reported “We have goods in transit that probably will not respect the estimated delivery time due to the Suez accident, but to date, we have no news of an impact on the production lines”.

Parking issues

Ducati is one of the many companies caught in the hold up at the canal. A Ducati spokesperson reported “We have goods in transit that probably will not respect the estimated delivery time due to the Suez accident, but to date, we have no news of an impact on the production lines”.

My Take – Looks like Ducati folks maybe waiting for parts and bikes a little bit longer. It is not Covid it is something else missing with our riding!  I hoped 2021 would be better!

*****

Hitting Neutral20 Year Old FEMALE Influencer is A 50 Year Old Man!  If you have been following 20-year-old motorcycle influencer (@azusagakuyuki) because she is knowledgeable and pretty.  SURPRISE she is a 50-year-old man named Zonggu.

Zonggu has been using editing tools to “morph” his appearance into that of a younger woman, because “nobody would be interested in what an old uncle had to say online”.  The Japanese man was outed due to his lack of detail in editing.  While he worked on his face, people started noticing hairy arms and other small details.

My Take – Well he is not wrong! The “influencer” gig is dominated by young, pretty women, even in motorcycling.  While I do not condone what he did, I applaud the fact that he was able to get over 18K followers.

Full disclosure —- I am not a young, female influencer!  😊

*****

Up ShiftBMW wants to be spotted on Radar!  Every new car model year more and more drivers become even more reliant on “safety” systems.  One of the driving technologies driving those systems is radar.

Car use radar to spot the traffic around them and then perform tasks like maintaining lane position.  However, motorcycles are often not seen or even misinterpreted by the computer running the safety system, either of which could cause issues in traffic.

BMW is attempting to patent reflectors to increase the radar reflection capacity of motorcycles in an attempt to make the bike more visible to the computer.  Their solution mounts the reflectors on the end of the handlebars or on the axles to get maximum reflection.

My Take – Suzuki is also doing something similar to improve radar reflection of motorcycles.  This is something that must come from the motorcycle industry as the automotive guys just don’t think of motorcycles and the Vision Zero folks want to get rid of us.  Let us hope that something comes of this effort that will save lives.

*****

Ride on, Ride Safe

Be aware that this motorcycle recall list is for the United States for the last 30 days, there is no way I could cover the entire world. But in the world of global manufacturing, if a motorcycle is being recalled in one country there is a good chance it is under recall in others.

Also, this should not be considered a definitive list, check for yourself if you have any questions.

If you are US based use the NHTSA website http://www.safercar.gov. Enter your VIN number to see if your motorcycle is affected by the recall.

If you are based outside the USA, use the appropriate website to locate recalls that may impact you.

*****

Manufacturer KTM North America, Inc.

Components ELECTRICAL SYSTEM

Summary

KTM North America, Inc. (KTM) is recalling certain 2020 1290 Super Duke R motorcycles. The wiring harness located in the rear of the motorcycle may be routed incorrectly, which could result in wiring damage and an electrical short-circuit.

Remedy

KTM will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the rear wiring harness, and repair as necessary. In addition, dealers will modify a piece of the bodywork called the “tail end lower part” to correct the routing of the wiring harness and add wiring protection and cable ties. Repairs will be performed free of charge. The recall is expected to begin March 2021. KTM’s number for this recall is TB2104.

*****

Ride On, Ride Safe

motorcycle fail

OK folks…. just FYI….. If you ride a typical cruiser or touring motorcycle the geometry of the motorcycle requires a much flatter load angle. The bottom of the frame will hit if the angle is to high. This video shows it very very well!

Use this fail video as a “WHAT NOT TO DO” when it comes to loading your bike. Find a location to get a flatter angle, it will just work out better in the end!

Few commerical enterprises can say they have been in business for 100 years or more.  Even fewer motorcycles companies reach that mark.  This month Moto Guzzi reaches that mark.

Moto Guzzi started after the first World War by veterans who had decided to go into the motorcycle business as soon as the war ended.  The motorcycle company they created would go on to have a big impact on the industry.

A short list of Moto Guzzi’s achievements include:

  • 14 World Championship Titles
  • 15 World Speed Records
  • The first use of wind tunnels for testing design

Moto Guzzi was also one of the first motorcycles to reach the artic circle when, in 1928, a GT500 Norge, ridden by a brother of the founder, made the journey.

They also tried out an eight cylinder 500cc race bike out in 1955.  It could reach over 170 MPH!  While they had a technically advanced engine, the rest of the motorcycle was not able to keep up with the engine technology and it was shelved.  It would be decades before racers would again be hitting 170 MPH on the track.

The unique and “quirky” Moto Guzzi has fans all over the world and those fans will have a chance to own a special “Centennial” edition of the following motorcycles.

  • 2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone 100th Anniversary: MSRP $9,190 / late March
  • 2021 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber 100th Anniversary: MSRP $10,690 / July
  • 2021 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure 100th Anniversary: MSRP $13,190 / late April

Congratulations to Moto Guzzi and here is to the next 100 years!

This byway is 180 miles of American history. Stretching from Gettysburg, PA to Monticello, VA the byway covers sites and history from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, multiple Presidential homes, plus 18 National and State parks.  By motorcycle, this ride is a fun way to learn and honor American national heritage.

The majority of Hallowed Ground Byway is US Route 15 which runs right through our hometown.  This made it an easy decision for a motorcycle ride (like we need an excuse for a ride). 

While this should have been an easy long weekend ride for us it was anything but easy. Because of Covid and the changing quarantine restrictions we had to do this ride over 3 seasons of the lost year of 2020. We started our ride, of the Hallowed Ground Byway, at the Gettysburg Battlefield in the spring.

Part 1 – Gettysburg, PA to Leesburg, VA

Gettysburg by motorcycle is fun and it would be extremely easy to spend several days touring the battlefield and the town. You will not be the only motorcycle there, it is surprising how many folks ride their “iron” horses to the national battlefield. I highly recommend that you take a bus tour of the battlefield as the guide will provide a running commentary of what happened at each stop as well as the sites between stops.

Gettysburg by motorcycle is fun and it would be extremely easy to spend several days touring the battlefield and the town. You will not be the only motorcycle there, it is surprising how many folks ride their “iron” horses to the national battlefield. I highly recommend that you take a bus tour of the battlefield as the guide will provide a running commentary of what happened at each stop as well as the sites between stops.

At the time we rode this leg of the Hallowed Ground Byway most of the historic sites were open with very tight restrictions. Many of the indoor facilities were closed but you could still visit the outdoor sites.

I cannot speak to a lot of regarding local accommodations in Gettysburg. Being only a little over an hour from home we did not need to stay overnight. There are a lot of hotels, campgrounds, and such but with the quarantine limitations in place, few were open. Restaurants were mostly restricted in Pennsylvania and less so in Maryland (at that time).

The day of the ride was overcast and cool. The motorcycle was running well, and we were ready for a day behind bars.  We rode around most of the Gettysburg Battlefield stopping a few of key points of the battle before heading south on the byway.

The ride south from Gettysburg is an easy county ride on both 2 and 4 lane roads.  There are MANY, MANY places to stop along this leg of the Hallowed Ground Byway for example:

National Museum of Civil War Medicine

Multiple covered bridges

Antietam National Battlefield

Multiple State Parks

Vineyard, Breweries and Distilleries

Monocacy National Battlefield

Catoctin Mountain Scenic Byway

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

Unfortunately for us most everything was closed or very restricted. This day was more about the ride and being with each other than about the sites.  One thing that is true is the couple that rides together tends to stay together. On this daytrip we had a great time, just the two of us.

The next leg will cover the Hallowed Ground Byway from Leesburg to Montpelier, home of President James Madison.

Ride On, Ride Safe