Archive for the ‘Motorcycle Rides’ Category

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The 28th annual International Ride Your Motorcycle to Work day is fast approaching.

The goals of this event are:

A day of rider unity.

     Highlight the positive aspects of motorcycling

     Arouse the curiosity of coworkers as they see a lot of motorcycles in the parking lot.

    Allows us to bring up important motorcycling related items such as distracted driving, E15 fuel, lane splitting, etc..

This event is always the third Monday in June!

Learn more and get free propaganda at the RIDETOWORK.ORG

Ride on, ride safe!

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When you first get your motorcycle, the feeling is incredible. It doesn’t matter how many motorcycles you own in your lifetime, the feeling is always the same.

If you’re planning on buying a motorcycle for commuting, or want to start commuting on a motorcycle you already have, you’re in for a treat. However, as with everything, there is good and bad. If you go about motorcycle commuting the wrong way, you can find yourself uncomfortable, frustrated, and ready to go back to driving.

Here are a few quick tips for commuting on a motorcycle.

1. Get A Reliable Motorcycle

This should be obvious, but you shouldn’t commit to commuting on an unreliable motorcycle. Make sure you keep up with the maintenance on your bike, like changing your oil and your brake pads. Simple steps like this can help ensure you have a reliable ride every day.

2. Invest In A Motorcycle-Specific GPS

Unless you plan on only going to and from the same place every day, the benefits of purchasing a motorcycle-specific GPS device are hard to ignore. Unlike your phone, a motorcycle GPS is generally waterproof, easier to see, easier to use, and provides more data, not to mention, it won’t siphon off the battery from your cellphone.

When you’re riding, you need to be able to focus on the road. Using a GPS device that is designed for motorcyclists is a great way to make sure to get where you need to go, while still being safe and aware of your surroundings. (If you want to learn more about these, check out: https://theridersmarket.com/best-motorcycle-gps/)

3. Get A Waterproof Backpack

Another motorcycle commuting essential is a good, waterproof backpack. If you don’t have saddlebags, you’re going to want a safe, dry spot to store everything you need to bring with you.

A good motorcycle backpack will be comfortable, have plenty of storage, durable zippers and be able to resist light rain.

4. Take The Path Less Traveled

Traffic jams are much more obnoxious on a motorcycle than they are in a car. On a bike, if you sit still for too long, it gets hot, your back starts to hurt and if you’re in stop and go traffic, you’re at risk of being rear-ended by someone who isn’t paying attention.

Even if this means adding an extra 5-10 minutes to your commute, find a route that isn’t as busy so you have a more enjoyable ride.

5. Always Stay Alert

The more often you ride, the more likely you are to get in an accident. Be sure to always follow the basics of motorcycle safety. If you take the same path every day, it is easy to get complacent and lazy with your motorcycle safety. Always remember – everyone is out to kill you. Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but you should still act that way! Ride defensively all the time. Ride like everyone wants to hit you. This way, you’re ready to avoid a collision and keep the rubber on the road.

6. A CamelBak Is Great In Warm Weather

If you live in a warm state down south, setting up a Camelbak in your backpack is a game changer. If you do end up getting stuck in traffic or are out longer than you thought, having quick access to a drink can be super helpful.

Make sure you clean your Camelbak every so often. It is easy just to want to fill it up, but it will eventually get the ick if you don’t clean it at least every few days.

7. Check Tires Regularly

Another simple maintenance to-do is to keep an eye on your tires. If you ride through the city, you’d be surprised how easy it is to run over a nail on the road and be none the wiser. Every week or so, check your tire pressure and inspect for any punctures. If you find a leak, make sure you take care of it right away.

8. Bring Music

As long as you can still hear what’s going on around you, music is an excellent addition to your motorcycle commute. It can help pass the time and make your ride that much more enjoyable. If you have speakers that you can mount to your bike, get that set up or invest in some motorcycle-friendly headphones for the ride.

9. Know The Gas Stations In The Area

If you have a small gas tank, it’s easy to find yourself near empty without any idea where the nearest gas station is. Make sure you fill up your bike once you see the low-gas light come on, or once you know you’re running low. You don’t want to be on your way to work and get stuck pushing your bike a mile up the road for some gas.

Remember – Motorcycle Commuting Should Be Fun!

If you’re going to commute, it may as well be on a motorcycle. Life can be numbing. The day-to-day sameness can give life a feeling of dread. Let your commute be your escape. Learn to enjoy the time you spend going to and from your destinations. With this mindset, you’ll look forward to your commute every day, rather than dreading it.

 

 

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April is Motorcycle Helmet Awareness Month so we are doing a series of posts to try and do just that… provide awareness! This post is about “things” you should consider in order to make your helmet last and protect you longer.

1 – Keep the exterior clean. After your ride take a moment to clean the helmet shell of bugs and road grit. If you use an open face helmet also brush your teeth.

2 – Keep the interior clean. Yup sometimes your helmet can get funky. BUT you must be

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Might take some work to remove the dog smell

careful about cleaning the interior. Follow your owner’s manual on cleaning the inside of your helmet.

3 – Don’t use odor masking or sanitizing sprays on the interior of your helmet. Some sprays can degrade the foam under your padding, which will degrade its ability to keep you safe.

4 – Clean your visor. You must see right, so follow your brands instructions on cleaning the visor. But, be careful when working on the inside of the visor, most come with an anti-fog coating that needs to be properly handled….. DO NOT USE PAPER TOWELS on either side of your visor.

5 – Don’t grab or carry the helmet by the visor. Yes, we all know not to do this, but we all have. Really, try not to do this as it will damage the visor and possible the hinge point.

6 – Don’t hang your helmet from the mirror. As you should know the main part of the helmet that protects your head is the foam liner. Hanging your helmet from the mirror can cause the foam to compress where it sets on the mirror. Also how are your going to admire yourself with only one mirror.

7 – Keep your helmet ventilated. No, do not drill holes to get better air flow LOL. After you ride store your motorcycle helmet in a manner that will allow a good air flow to dry things out. Don’t just toss it in the helmet bag and into a closet…. Let it breath like a good wine!

The last two I had never thought about until researching this post.

8 – Don’t store your gloves in the motorcycle helmet. A couple sites stated some obvious things like….The gloves will restrict ventilation and not allow the padding to dry. Also the gloves will add their own “STINK” to the lining.

9 – Don’t slide your arm though the eye hole. The idea is that if you do this a lot, in order to free your hand for a task, your motorcycle helmet will get worn faster. That your jacket sleeve will cause undue wear an might also damage the inside of the visor.

 

Have any additional ideas on how to make your motorcycle helmet last longer? Add those ideas to the comments below.

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Vintage BMW Motorcycle in Legos!!!  A “Lego Master” from Taiwan creates a brick masterpiece.  He created a 1967 BMW R60/2 with working suspension, steering plus all the hoses and cables.  It took 3 months and over 700 bricks to create this wonderful piece of art.

Another Electric Motorcycle Manufacture Runs Out of Power. Sad to report Alta Motors is closing its doors.  Their Red Shift looked to be an awesome machine, winning a bunch of races.  It had a deal with Harley Davidson that fell though, which may have had some impact. 

Speaking of Electric Motorcycles…Really? $120,000? Comes with an Iron Man style HUD helmet and a haptic (physical) feedback system built into the matching jacket. Oh and you get a high performance motorcycle too.

The other Milwaukie Motorcycle.  Did you know that Royal Enfield has it’s US Headquarters in Milwaukie?  Nothing like looking at the big boy down the block!

The Best Driving (riding?) Roads in the UK.

 

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We rode motorcycle across the Highland Scenic Highway as part of our long get away weekend.  I left this and another road off those posts as they deserve their own discussion.  In a nutshell, if you are anywhere near this road you owe it to yourself to enjoy this ride.

Ijustwant2ride.comIt is not a technical, twisty motorcycle road but fun in its own way.  It is more like the Blue Ridge Parkway or Skyline Drive, 43 miles of ridge top riding with spectacular views and vistas.  Just a sit back, relax and enjoy kind of road.

The Highland Scenic Highway runs from Richwood WV to US Route 219, or vice versa.  The highway is also an “American Byway” that rolls through Monongahela National Forest. We were a week or two early for the peek fall foliage displays but if you time it right it is going to be a wow moment with all the hardwood forests on leafy display.  There are 4 overlooks to stop and view undeveloped wilderness, not all had open facilities, but each had paved parking and picnic areas.

As for the road itself, it was well maintained with mostly rolling ridge top riding.  Toward the IMG_20181005_145617771_HDRnorthern end there was a long, steep incline, parts of which are 9% or (seems) greater!  With over two thousand feet of elevation change, I had the motorcycle in 3rd gear and used engine braking for what felt like miles of decent.  Had the day not been getting late and the shadows long, I would have turned around and rode the Highland Scenic Highway again.

Make sure your tank is topped off before riding, while it is relatively short there are no fuel or snacks along the route.  This road would make for a nice picnic ride, pack your lunch in, stop at an overlook or trail head (there are a lot of hiking trails) for a fun afternoon.

This Scenic Highway is not as easy to get to as most others, it really is in the middle of nowhere.  However, the roads you need to take to get to this byway are just as fun as any we have rode.  If this area and the Highland Scenic Highway are not on your motorcycling bucket list, you need to add them right now! 

 

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 Click here for part 1. 

After stopping for a break and lunch at the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park we were back on the motorcycle.  An hour or so later we make it to the southern terminus of the Highland Scenic Highway. 

About 43 miles later we came out on the other end of the highway near the Snowshoe Resort Area. I am going to do a separate post on the Highland Scenic Highway.

 

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The view from the top of Snowshoe Mountain.

In the mid-Atlantic area of the US Snowshoe is one of the premier snow skiing areas, and in the summer is renowned for mountain biking. For us, today, it was the end of a day of riding and touring on the motorcycle.  We rolled up to the Snowshoe Inn, got a great meal at a nearby restaurant and turned in early. 

The folks at Snowshoe Inn were very motorcycle friendly. The allowed us and three others to park our bikes under their covered entrance, somewhat out of the elements.  

ijustwant2rideThe next morning, we awoke to dense fog in the valleys that climbed quite away up the mountain sides.  We rode at a slower pace due to visibility issues and not wanting to run into any deer, literately.   

The ride out of the Snowshoe area could have been great fun.  If we could have seen more then a couple dozen yards ahead!  Oh well, maybe next time. 

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There were a LOT of hairpin turns!

 

By the time the fog had burned off we were back at Yokum’s Store in Seneca Rocks.  A sausage, egg and cheese sandwich with a Dr. Pepper hit the spot and now both the motorcycle and its passengers were full and ready to roll. 

Roll we did, through the rolling hills of the Greenbrier and Canaan Valleys, up and over a couple ridges we were soon at the last stop of our long weekend, Blackwater Falls State Park outside Davis, WV. ijustwant2ride

Blackwater Falls gets it name from the color of the water that flows over the waterfall.  A very dark brown to black flow, picked up from the rocks over which it flows.  400 steps round trip for some wonderful pictures and a good time with the wife. 

The last major road we traveled was Corridor H (US Route 48) or as many call it, the “Road to No Where”.  It starts north of Davis, WV and ends near the VA boarder running for about 100 miles.  I am going to do a separate post on this road as it is a real beauty.  

Our weekend covered 3 days and 610 miles of awesome Twisty, Technical, Tight, Scenic roads.

 

signs Below is a description of our long weekend motorcycle ride.  I cannot put into each of the descriptions of where we stopped during our ride how astounding the roads are for riding a motorcycle.  Curvy, twisty, technical, rolling, tight, flowing, and scenic are just a few of the adverbs I could use to describe the roads in this amazing area.  The roads here can be dangerous as well; road conditions, weather, wildlife and bad drivers, of course, can make any road dangerous but these roads can pull you into over riding your abilities.  Decreasing radius turns abound and can catch you unaware. Ride safe.

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Creating a long weekend, the wife and I took a 610-mile motorcycle ride through eastern West ijustwant2rideVirginia.  We left our home Thursday morning with neither true routes set nor lodging planned. 

I knew that there are cabins for rent at the Smoke Hole Caverns Resort, so I set the GPS on the bike to take us there via the scenic route.  I can truly say that it the route the GPS lady took us was nowhere close to the route that I would have picked by looking at the map.  However, we did enjoy the path it laid out.  Twisty in the mountains, rolling valleys and great views.  We were not disappointed with what the HD GPS programs had provided (this time LOL).

ijustwant2ride.comWe arrived at the Resort about 4PM and we got the last cabin (or room) available.  It was a happy coincidence that we got the “Honeymoon Cabin” on the day our 32nd wedding anniversary.  The heart shaped whirlpool tub was just the ticket for rest and relaxation after a day of motorcycle touring.

The next morning, we rolled out with the idea we were going to ride the Highland Scenic Highway.  The ride across the Highland Scenic Highway was AWESOME ,but that will be another post!  ijustwant2ride

Our first stop of the day was for breakfast at Yokum’s Store in Seneca Rocks WV. This store and its next-door neighbor, are throw backs to the era of the “General Store”.  The food was good (good enough we would stop again the next day), and folks friendly.  

Back on the bike, we headed to Marlinton, WV (GPS still on scenic) which is the southern end of the Highland Scenic Highway.  The route took us near the Green Bank Radio Observatory, so we decided to defy the GPS lady and ride off her route and check out the Observatory.  We “recalculated” her route LOL. ijustwant2ride

The visit to the Observatory was a lot more fun they one would think.  While you do not get to peer through a telescope it is still quite interesting.  A nice visitor center, a guided tour of the grounds and some cool stories (like how a short circuit in an electric toothbrush 8 miles away was picked up by the telescopes) made for a great 2 hour stop. Make sure you add this as a stop on your motorcycle tour of West Virginia.

Back on the motorcycle and again following the GPS ladies’ (what would you think of a GPS that used Ozzy Osborn’s voice? LOL) directions we soon came to Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.   ijustewant2ride

This state park is located at a stop on the old steam engine rail line.  They still use several of the original steam engines to take riders up to the top of “Bald Knob” mountain (4.5 hours) and other locations.  Both the wife and I have ridden the steam train to the top of the mountains as kids so we passed on this trip.  I do recommend if you are in the area to take the trip to the top or one of the other rides if you are in the area!

That is enough for this blog post.  Check out Part 2. 

 

 

 

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Maybe blue is an unlucky color for me. This is the second tow with this bike.

If you are out and about having a nice motorcycle ride on one of the few nice days we have had this summer your motorcycle refuses to start.  We were topping off the tank, after having made multiple stops about town, when the bike would not restart.

Not restarting sounds a bit too nice to describe what happened.  When I hit the starter button we got one grunt and then nothing.  My troubleshooting thoughts went right to the charging system.  Did we drain the battery because the bike was not charging the battery as we rode?

After getting the bike towed to the dealership turns out that the battery had a dead cell and could not be charged.  Something about how the newer batteries worked of which I am not knowledgeable.  Anyway…. Got the motorcycle back after a few days and dollars everything seems to work again.  Luckily the towing was covered by the Harley Owners Group membership.

Now the weather forecast states rain for the next 10 days…. Sigh!

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Location – Ferry Hill Plantation

Mile Mark – 72 (as it is not on the tow path it does not seem to have an actual mile marker)

Historical Comment – A 19th Century Plantation Ferry Hill overlooks the C&O Canal and the Potomac River. Prior to the civil war the slaves of this plantation were some of those that John Brown hoped to inspire to revolt when he attacked the Harpers Ferry Arsenal. This was the home of an officer in Stonewall Jackson’s army and was used during the Civil war by both sides to secure the river. The plantation is only a short distance from Antietam, the bloodiest battle in American History. Currently operating as a Visitor’s Center and as a Headquarters for the C&O Canal National Park Service.

Ride to the Site – Very easy. Directly of the main road.

Amenities – Restrooms and picnic area.

Road Conditions (from main road) – Paved

Railway Situation – no railroad tracks or crossing.

Parking Lot Condition – Mix of paved and gravel with about 20 parking spots.

Main Attraction – The visitor’s center and the view of the river, and Shepherdstown, WV.

My Thoughts – Interesting stop when you put it into historical context. Hundreds of slaves were used to farm the 700+ acre farm, who were targets of John Browns raid and the Civil War.

 

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Location – Dam #5

Mile Mark – 106.6

Historical Comment – Originally constructed of timber in 1835, Dam No. 5 was an important source of hydro power for millworks on the river. As soon as the dam was built, Edward Colston paid $100 a year for water rights and began the area’s long history of milling and hydro-electricity.

Unfortunately, the dam’s timber construction was no match for the many floods that swelled the Potomac River. The canal company decided a masonry dam would be stronger, but completion of the new 700-foot “high rock” dam was delayed by more floods and the Civil War. In fact, the dam was a target for destruction on several occasions but was successfully defended by local Union militia each time. [Taken from the C&O Trust website.]

Ride to the Site – Very easy. Not far off of I-70 access to Dam #5 is an easy ride.

Amenities – There is a picnic area but no rest rooms.

Road Conditions (from main road) – This lock is directly off the main road.

Railway Situation – no railroad tracks or crossing.

Parking Lot Condition – Gravel with about 10 parking spots. Pick your spot as a few have a drainage slope.

Main Attraction – The Dam, fishing and the view.

My Thoughts – As you exit the road you go down a shot but somewhat steep hill (gravel).