xmas 17Last year I offered a list so this year why not another?

These ideas are only to get you started.  Every rider is different.  These ideas are based on my thoughts from this past year. 

9.  Books about motorcycles – On a cold winters weekend a good book might be the ticket.  Recommendation:

revolutionary rideRevolutionary Ride, the latest book from Lois Pryce, “Revolutionary Ridedocuments her solo motorcycle expedition to and through Iran.  The book vividly recounts her story of finding the truth about the “real” Iran.  I reviewed this book here.

 

8. Motorcycle brake light flasher – Get your rider’s rear end noticed, in a good way, in traffic.  These devices flash your break lights for a few moments when ever your touch your brakes, giving the cars behind you notice you are stopping. Recommendation: 

z3Custom Dynamics Brake Light Flashers is the product that I purchased for my bike.  They make them for more than just Harley’s but not for all bikes.  You can read about my use of the flashers here. Check around for your biker’s make and model.

 z17. Headed Gear – Does your motorcyclist lament cold weather? Then some heated gear might help.  I don’t own any but it is on my personal list!  There are many different companies making heated gear.  Some gear are battery operated while other are plugged into the motorcycle.  At this point it is a personal taste of what to get and how it works. 

z46. Disc Brake Lock – Motorcycle thief is up all over Europe and in parts of the US.  A disc brake lock in and of itself might slow down thieves but as part of a thought out package it might have them moving on to easier targets. Locks come in all colors and shapes some even have load sirens to further deter the bad guys.  

z55. Replacement Gear – Take a look at the gear your rider wear the most, does it need replacement.  Jackets, riding pants, and gloves are all good candidates for checking out and replacing as necessary.

 

z64.  Motorcycle Art or Household Items – Does your rider have a man cave, or maybe wishes for one?  Well every man cave needs some motorcycle themed items or art. I did a post a while back about a man cave bathroom.

 3. Ride Maps – These are maps made specifically for motorcyclist and showcase all the fun and interesting roads. Now in the age of computers and GPS why buy a paper based map?  IMHO there is something to be said for looking at a map on a cold, rainy day planning out the next epic ride. Recommendation:

          Mad Maps

 2. Helmet – Is your biker’s helmet more than 5 years old?  If so ask some sneaky questions to find out what they like in a helmet.  Full face, modular, open face, there are so many possibilities… maybe a gift certificate for a helmet might be better. 

1.  Membership in the AMA – That is the American Motorcycle Association not the medical association (or the version of the AMA in your area).   Membership not only gets you things like emergency towing it gets you a voice in Washington DC.  The AMA is the biggest (but not the only) motorcycle lobbyist group trying to protect your right to ride.  This is, most likely the most important motorcycle gift idea on the list!Motorcycle, motorcycling, Harley, Harley Davidson, café racer, café motorcycle, motorcycle safety, motorcycle advocacy, congress, Motorcycle Ride, motorcycle riding, hog, hd, custom motorcycle, harley owners group

fivez2

Royal Enfield has 2 new Motorcycles

Royal Enfield launches two new 650cc motorcycles, the upgraded Continental GT 650 and the Inceptor 650.  Both are using the new Royal Enfield parallel twin power plant producing 47HP.  The Continental GT continues the café racer look while the Interceptor looks more like a normal cruiser.  To me the Interceptor looks a lot like an older Honda CB.   Watch a video on the launch at EICMA, Milan.   OH, why has the Royal Enfield Himalayan not yet been released into the US?

A sad account of the human commuter.

A mini-van pulls out in front of a motorcyclist, an accident occurs and no one stops!

A Star Wars Land Speeder Cruises Manhattanz1

A ran across a cool video of a couple riding a land speeder in downtown Manhattan.  Using some well-placed mirrors they really, kinda, pull off the effect.  There is a second video that discusses how they pulled off the land speeder/motorcycle.

Motorcycle Safety Foundation Tip Sheet

Nice little article from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation on “Pretending Your Invisible”.

10 Best Harley Davidson Motorcycles of All Time

While I don’t agree with all the Harley Davidson motorcycles on this list, it is a good effort.  The site is a bit “click-baity” but that seems to be the norm with a lot of sites anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you’re a motorcycle mechanic and an enthusiast, you may be thinking of starting your own business. Finding a way to do what you love and still make money is the goal of any entrepreneur. However, there are some things that you should think about before you dive in and get started. Take a look at this list of things you may not have thought of when you were toying around with the idea of opening a shop.

NAME

You may not realize it, but one of the things that can often make or break a business is whether or not it has a catchy name, that people will remember and want to share with others. While it’s not the most important thing to think about, you will want to invest time and a bit of market research into picking the right name.

ZONING

Beware that what looks like a fantastic location might not work out as well as you’d hoped. Local zoning and ordinances can make it very difficult to find a suitable location for your business. Considering that most motorcycle shops tend to be loud, you may find out that options for your shop are limited.

NEIGHBORS

Even if you find a location where the zoning regulations are met, that doesn’t mean that you’re going tod old 4 have an easy ride. Sometimes other local businesses or residents may take issue with the noise, or even the customers. Public perception is often your worst enemy, and many motorcycle businesses find themselves being visited regularly by inspectors, police, and other regulation authorities based on complaints from unwelcoming neighbors.

CUSTOMERS

You probably already have a few folks in mind, but you want to make sure that you will have a large enough customer base to sustain your business. When selecting your location, you want to make sure that it not only meets legal requirements, but also that it will be accessible to your customers.

CAPITAL

Finding the money to start up any business can be hard- finding capital to start up a motorcycle business can be even harder. Because the love of riding is so often not understood by others, convincing bankers and investors to see the value in your company is often difficult. Develop a strong business plan to help potential investors see the value of your business.

d21MARKETING

Part of running a solid business is making sure that you aren’t only satisfying the customers you have, but also enticing new ones to your shop. In today’s business environment, building a website and having a strong social media marketing campaign are crucial to increasing revenue and turning a profit.

 

LICENSING/PERMITS

Any business will need licenses and permits to operate. Be sure to fully research an attain any certifications, licenses, and inspections that you will need. Failure to do so can result in your doors closing before you are up and running, essentially wasting any time and resources you’ve put in already.

SEASONAL INCOME

Motorcycle riding tends to be a seasonal activity in many places. Depending on where you live, there win dcan be several months or more of down-time. Carefully consider the months when you may have reduced traffic because of weather or other limiting factors, and make sure that you have the cash flow to cover any lulls in business.

EXIT STRATEGY

One thing that many entrepreneurs overlook is how they plan to wind down their business when the time comes for them to retire. Whether you intend to close down, sell, or pass the business on to an employee, you will want to understand your exit strategy before you begin. Your options may be limited by your business model and your record-keeping throughout the time you are open. Planning ahead will help you decide which option is best for you when the time comes.

Opening any business isn’t something that you want to take lightly. You’ll want to do your homework and be certain you’ve thought out all of the moving parts of a business before you invest your time and money into making it work.

Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb and BizDb.co.nz, an online resources with information about businesses. 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. Sarah guest posted for IJustWant2ride check it out here.

 

Yamaha motorcycles R&D has been working overtime by the looks of what they have been showing off lately.  I have been pretty impressed and though I would share their efforts. 

First up is the NIKEN (which is “2 Swords” in Japanese) a three wheel leaning motorcycle/trike/sport bike/something or another. It is defiantly not a scooter with a large 874cc three cylinder engine.  Watch the video and you will see that it is a very interesting motorcycle/trike/sport bike/thing. OH, and it comes out in the USA next year.

 

Next is pickup truck where a passenger gets to ride behind the driver, like you are riding ay hub motorcycle. Seating four the other two passengers ride to the right and left of the driver who sets along the centerline of the truck.  

Called the “Cross Hub” this small pickup is a concept vehicle that they showed off at the Tokyo Motor Show.  There are a lot of interesting features including “suicide doors” and the ability to fit a motorcycle, diagonally, in the bed of the truck. Read more about the Cross Hub here.  

Also appearing at the Tokyo Motor Show was the Yamaha MOTOROiD, their concept of the y droidSport Bike of the future.  With on-board AI Yamaha states that the MOTOROiD will be “capable of recognizing and interacting with its owner”.  Or, in this case who owns who?  The MOTOROiD is an electric motorcycle with some form of rear hub engine and a large battery bank where the motor would normally set.   Oh and do not confuse the MOTOROiD with the MOTOBOT which is Yamaha’s attempt to replace Valentino Rossi.  

Now on a more conventional path, do you like 3D jigsaw puzzles? Well Yamaha will let you, for free, download a paper craft version of many of its motorcycles.  But to me this looks EXTREMLY complicated and tedious.  I am not into jigsaw puzzles but if you are this might be up your ally.  The site is in Japanese so you may need to run it through a translator.  Check out this completed MT-10.

y paper

This is made of paper!!

win 8

Why 9 things on winter motorcycle storage? Because everyone has lists of 10 and 11 is too much work! Hah!  (This post first appeared in November 2014)

Anyway, here in northern hemisphere winters cold fingers are starting to grip and the polar vortexes appear ready to freeze us off our motorcycles. In fact the first snow of the season is right around the corner!

Riding season, depending on what you are willing to put up with, is either over or nearly so. There are thousands of suggestions and tips out there on winterizing your motorcycle, such as putting a teaspoon of oil in your cylinders and filling the tires with nitrogen, so do your own research to find out what works for you with manner and place you store your bike. If it is time for you to store your bike until the spring thaw here are some of the things you need to consider AND an interesting info-graphic from Allstate Insurance.

1. Stabilize the fuel or drain the tank. Almost all gas, especially the ethanol “enhanced” stuff, has a short shelf life. While many believe that draining the tank (and carb system if equipped) is all that is needed to prevent the gasoline from turning to muck, I am not one of them. I just don’t think it is possible to burn all the fuel in the system, small despots will always remain. I prefer to fill the tank and add fuel stabilizer, I then run the engine for at least 15 minutes to work the stabilized fuel through the entire fuel system. After the short ride to get the stabilizer through the system I then refill the tank as much as possible to limit the amount of air in the tank.

2. Change your oil.   Do this as close to your final days of riding as reasonably possible. If you are a do-it-yourself guy consider doing the oil change right after you complete the ride to mix in the fuel stabilizer. Why change the oil before storage? Because changing the oil now removes the sludge, dirt and residual contaminants in the oil that could oxidize during storage. Make sure to run the engine a few minutes to disburse the new oil throughout the engine.

3. Prepare and Protect the Battery. Most motorcycle batteries are lead-acid and should be

bl1
One of the tenders I have used.

kept under a constant charge in order to maintain their life. Be aware there is a difference between a battery tender and a tickle charger. A battery tender is specialized charger that has special circuits to prevent overcharging your battery. You can use a trickle charger but check the instructions carefully; many cannot be used on your battery for more than 30 minutes each day. If your motorcycle will be stored where freezing temperatures will likely occur often, consider removing the battery and place it in a warm dry place. You will still need to keep it charged but he cold will have less effect on the life of the battery.

4. Check your anti-freeze. Harley Davidson riders this now includes a lot of you too. Make sure you have the proper amount and type of anti-freeze in your bike. Depending on what type of coolant your manufacture uses it could be one of several colors. Rules of thumb, if it a light color or clear you need to change the fluid. If you are a do-it-yourself kind of person remember to “bleed” the system to get all the air out. If would be a bad thing if on your first spring ride your bike overheats.

5. Clean your bike. Whether you kept your bike clean all riding season or you only give it a bath once a year now is the time to do it (again). All that evil road krap (dirt/sand/salt/oils/road kill) attaches to your motorcycle’s metal surfaces and will begin to corrode those parts. A good cleaning before storage will make that much harder for the forces of evil to work their powers on your bike. If you bike uses a chain, now is the time to clean it as well.

6. Wax, polish and Lubricate. After the good cleaning I think it is important to put a nice coat of polish on the paint and chrome. This will help protect the surfaces from any condensation that might occur during storage. Lubricate the chain as described in your owner’s manual. Lube all moving parts such as cables and your side stand pivot. Use a metal protectant spray on the underside of the frame and drivetrain, I prefer to spray it on a rag and wipe it on that way I can also get some of the dirt I missed while cleaning the bike. These actions will help you combat rust on any areas exposed from pitting or scratches.

7. Put a sock in it. When I was a kid I was helping a friend start his bike in the spring and shortly after starting we heard a lot of rattling in the exhaust. A few moment later out shot a handful of lightly roosted acorns that some chipmunk had hidden there. Depending on the area you are storing the bike cover your exhausts or insert exhaust plugs to protect yourself from critters.

8. Check your Tires. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Now I am not sure about this step but, many folks recommend that you let some of the air out of the tires, to allow any condensation to escape. Of course you need to add more air to the tires after you bleed them. Also many folks think you need to get the tires off the ground if you are going to be letting them sit for long periods to avoid “flat spots”. I am not sure I concur with this thinking and I have read in several places that Harley Davidson does not recommend this as it places stress on the front suspension. Check with your manufacture if this is something you are not sure about.

9. Cover your motorcycle. Even when stored inside, your bike should be covered while stored. Use a cover that can breathe don’t use a plastic tarp. Moisture should not be allowed to become trapped under the cover on your bike’s metal surfaces.

That’s the bare basics to storing your bike. Remember winter is also a good time to take care of those bike projects you have been thinking about… for me it will be installing a removable tour pack.

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norman

Season two of “Ride with Norman Reedus” has begun.  This time around he begins the ride in Spain with Walking Dead cast mate Jeffery Dean Morgan (aka Negan).

I thought the first season of “Ride with Norman Reedus” was a bit pretentious. A lot of “waxing poetic” on the meaning of life stuff, stuff that just does not work for me.  But, if you removed those parts, the show was somewhat enjoyable.  Only one show into the second season it looks like they may have removed some of that conceit, which can only make it better.

Currently “Ride with Norman Reedus” is scheduled on AMC Mondays at 9PM (EST).  In episode two Norman is riding the South Carolina Low County with Dave Chappelle.   

OH… and “Ride with Norman Reedus has already been picked up for a third season!

Link to my comments on the show from last year.

As another motorcycle riding season begins to slide into winter here in North America I started to think about how best to keep the riding memories alive.  While there can be as many methods as there are people to accomplish the task I have chosen a few to discuss:

Photos/Videos – With the ubiquitous cell phone camera, not to mention action cam’s, producing high quality pictures and videos there is almost no reason not to take pictures or videos of your rides.  Sitting on the couch in your warm domicile during a winter storm, watching a slide show or video of last season’s rides might be a perfect way of not only remembering what happened but scathing an itch for spring. Or, at least you can annoy your friends and family.

Photo Books – This is a favorite of my wife’s. She loves compiling the pictures from the year and then sending them off to one of those on-line photo processing companies. A few weeks later we have a book documenting our motorcycle vacation for that year!

Blogging – Blogging, of course as that is what I like to do. Writing about the ride for the world wide web is one way but, not one that most folks will want to use. If you do want to jump on the blogging bandwagon there are many places that will help you get started for little to no cost.

Writing it down – Whether or not you are blogging you can take some notes about your trips. Stop at a cool location and take some cool pics, write yourself a quick note about what is going on to help jog the memory later on. Your phone’s notepad is one way but something a simple as a pocket notepad will work as well.  You can also use the notes to add context to your video’s or photobook.

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top 15

Well at least according to the folks over at Test Facts IJustWant2Ride is a motorcycle blog that you should be following, but if you are reading this you already know that!  LOL      It is always nice to get some recognition for the things that we do and this is no different.  Thanks team Test Facts for making my motorcycle blogging day!!

Test Facts is a web site that “independently review and analyze products to find the best in each category”.  A few of the motorcycle related items that they have reviewed are the best modular motorcycle helmets and best motorcycle rain suits.

After looking at their site I have added them to my favorites.  I added them not because they included me on their list of best motorcycle blogs but because, as I look through their motorcycle offerings, I was impressed enough that I will to back.

Australia-Flag-Map

Travelling the AU By Motorcycle

When I decided to tour Australia by motorcycle, most of my friends and family thought that I had lost my mind. In truth, I really wanted to enjoy some solitude and forge a stronger connection with nature. By exercising my independence and absorbing new sights and sounds, I came away from my trip feeling better as a person. While it was admittedly difficult at times, I have no regrets. The challenges were merely opportunities to learn, and I’m never one to turn down a challenge.

Preparing for My Trip

I planned to be gone for a month. I don’t have any pets, so I didn’t need to worry about them. I threw away all the perishables in my refrigerator, unplugged all the things I wouldn’t be using, and made an arrangement through Spacer to find a storage and have my valuables stored somewhere safe in my absence. I made sure I let my family know the places I was going, when I intended to be there, and how long I planned to be gone. It was easy to get a hold of them by phone, but it always helps to have someone who knows your whereabouts just for the sake of safety.

Packing Smart

Between the motorcycle and the weather, I needed to make sure I was wearing appropriate clothing. Light, breathable long sleeve shirts were the best bet. My skin was motorcycle-933022_960_720protected from both the sun and the wind. I also brought a lot of extra sunblock so I could remember to reapply it every few hours, and enough refillable water bottles so that I’d never run out before I had a chance to stop.

I also brought some campsite tools with me. I had a camping hammock, a small tent, and some basic campfire cooking tools. There are plenty of beautiful places to motorcycle camp in Australia, and it was much cheaper than relying on a hotel every night. I wanted the full experience, and I could only get that by sleeping in nature whenever possible.

Setting Up My Itinerary

I mapped a general route before I went, but I was careful not to put too many specifics on my map. There were a handful of landmarks I wanted to see, mostly beaches and natural formations. I also gave myself a rough time estimate for how long it would take me to get from point to point along that route. By not meticulously overscheduling, I was able to live in the moment. I could find campsites that seemed interesting to me, rather than limiting myself to things I chose before I even got a chance to see them.

Planning my Long Stops

I was eventually going to need to shower and wash my clothes – being on the road for a long time is no excuse to smell bad. While I brought camp hygiene products with me, nothing is a legitimate replacement for an actual shower. I found all the places along my route that I could stop at night to sleep in a real bed and get access to a shower and laundry facility. You never know when you might need one of these places, so it’s best to be aware of how many you can potentially encounter.

Although it was exhausting and trying at times, it was a worthwhile experience. I got to enjoy some time to get my head together and experience the world. If you’ve ever read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance, you’ll find that most of its sentiments ring true. It’s half hard work, and half finding yourself.

Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb, an online resource with information about businesses in the UK. 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.

bucket-list-pic

The best part of the 2017 motorcycle riding season is nearly over for this year.  But we did put a dent into our motorcycle bucket list! We love touring these places by motorcycle. 

During out 2017 motorcycle vacation we made it to Nigeria Falls and Mount Washington.  We also knocked out the Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway.  All three were on our bucket list. 

Because we knocked a few items off the list I added a couple more.  I added Mount Rushmore, Beartooth Pass and US Route 50 coast to coast to our motorcycle bucket list! 

What’s on your list?