Archive for the ‘Motorcycle’ Category

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?

The folks at Vintage British Bikes British Bikes asked me to do a guest post for their site.  Of course I agreed to that request. 🙂

Turns out that I was reading a book, “Shooting Star – The Rise and Fall of the British Motorcycle Industry” when the request arrived!  Fortunate happenstance as I do not own a vintage British Bike!

Check out my review of the book HERE!! out my review of the book HERE!!

51D6m5euLiL._SX348_BO1,204,203,200_

LOL…. London to Glasgow, West Virginia.  The towns are about 8 miles apart!

WP_20170806_12_14_27_Pro

Location – Lock 6  

Milepost– 5.4 

Historical Comment – After the canal was closed by flood in 1924 this building was used a Civilian Conservation Corp local headquarters.

Ride to the Site – Very easy.  This point on the canal is near Washington D.C.  Traffic might be an issue during the “rush hour” phases of the work day.

Amenities – There were no restrooms or picnic tables.

Road Conditions (from main road) – This lock is directly off the main road.  But there is steep, rocky trail down to the lock area itself.  

Railway Situation – no railroad tracks or crossing.

Parking Lot Condition – All paved with about 10 parking spots.  

Main Attraction – This is one of the lock houses that can be rented for overnight stays.

a1

Up until now I did not know that this motorcycle even existed. Not surprising as, according to a couple sources, only about 300 were made. But, the Aermacchi Chimera motorcycle is, in my eyes, a very cool, space age, looking bike. 

a4

The Aermacchi “Dream” (the translation for Chimera) was designed by Alfredo Bianchi as his first project for Aermacchi Motorcycle.  It was originally produced as a 175cc bike but was later updated to a 250cc engine both with 4 speed transmissions. 

a6After Harley Davidson bought into Aermacchi Motorcycles in 1960 the Chimera was discontinued. But the engines would go on to support several Aermacchi and Harley Davidsons including the Harley Sprint. 

There is something about Italians and their motorcycle designs. While this particular bike did not become a sales success it sure is a success in the history of motorcycle design.

Sources:

http://www.motorcycleclassics.com/classic-italian-motorcycles/aermacchi-chimera-zmwz14mazbea 

https://www.classicdriver.com/en/bike/aermacchi/other/1960/421321

https://www.bikez.com/motorcycles/aermacchi_chimera_250_1961.php

https://www.hemmings.com/magazine/hmn/2011/11/1957-Aermacchi-Chimera/3705831.html

w5

Twisting and turning through the West Virginia panhandle counties of Jefferson, Berkley and Morgan the Washington Heritage Trail is a lot of fun on a motorcycle.  Riding through an area that George Washington surveyed, fought for during the French and Indian war and represented as part of the Virginia House of Burgesses was very interesting. 

Leaving the house about 9AM we decided to stop for breakfast at McDonalds in Bunswick, MD.  The McDonalds is just off a roundabout and, as you know, traffic coming into the roundabout must yield to traffic in the circle.  Well as most of us in this part of the world knows, traffic rules do not apply to operators of Maryland automobiles.  A gray haired lady nearly took us out by not yielding the right of way.  Luckily, being aware of the fact that the rules of the road do not pertain to Maryland drivers, I was paying close attention and was able to turn tight against the inner curb allowing for a near miss. This was not our only run in with a Maryland driver that day. 

 After breakfast we headed out and, after crossing the Potomac and Shenandoah,w3 were quickly riding our motorcycle on the Washington Heritage Trail. There are a lot of places to stop and take in the history and culture of life in the West Virginia panhandle but for us this day was about riding the motorcycle.   

Riding our Daytona Blue Harley Davidson through the towns of Harpers Ferry, Shepardstown and Martinsburg was a ride through the rolling hills and country roads of the Shenandoah Valley.  Bucolic county side, cattle in the fields and sadly decaying main streets made for a visually stunning ride.  

It was in Martinsburg that our second run in with a Maryland driver occurred.  Sitting at a traffic light, the first in line, we waited for the light to turn green.  At the green I released the clutch and started through the three way intersection when the pickup truck waiting across the pavement decided that left hand turns had the right of way.  Not this was not a close as the incident at the traffic circle but having a pickup pull up short when they realize they are in the wrong is not a fun moment.  The truck was no less than half way into our lane.  The young girl at the wheel thought it was very funny and was laughing as I shoot her my strongest “dirty look”…..it must not have work. sigh 

w1 (2)Our motorcycle tour of the Washington Heritage Trail started into the Appalachian Mountains shortly after passing through Martinsburg on WV Route 9.  Steep accents and deep valley roads brought us to the little town of Berkeley Springs.  This town was once the regions greatest tourist destination due to its famous springs and “baths”.  Lots of little shops dot this downtown and you can spend an entire day just wondering around town.  But, as I mentioned earlier, we were about motorcycle touring today, hanging a left we headed out of town on Valley Road. 

It was not long before we turned east off of Valley Road and onto Big Oak Tree/Shanghai Road.  This would be a great road for motorcycle riding or touring if it were in better condition.  I am only guessing but, I would think that the elevation from Valley Road to the top of the mountain had to be over 1000 feet.  Some of the 160 degree (or more) switch backs had you gain or lose dozens of feet of elevation in a single turn.  Sadly the road is poor shape, the patching of patches on top of other patches to the tarmac make for a rough and tumble ride.  It is worth it in my opinion but take it under advisement.   

Coming down the other side of that mountain leads you into the town of Shanghai,WP_20170904_12_58_57_Pro WV.  A four way stop intersection and a blink and you have rolled past.  Climbing and deciding another mountain and we were back into the Shenandoah and heading towards the 136 mile marker and the end of the Washington Heritage Trail. 

 All in all, our motorcycle tour of the Washington Heritage Trail took about 3 hours.  If one were to stop and enjoy the towns, parks and points of interests this ride could take all day, there is that much stuff to check out.   

The Washington Heritage Trail is just one of the many roads comprising the amazing American Byways. If you have not checked out the website please do, you just might find an amazing road in your area.

ijustwant2ride.com

Can you spot the rear shock adjuster?

Harley Davidson is not holding back or onto tradition by the looks of it. The release of the 2018 Models show that they are serious about making changes.

Gone is the Dyna line of motorcycle.  Three “nameplates” of the old Dyna line have been retained but they are now part of the “new” softail family.  The Wide Glide and Low Rider S are gone completely along with the exposed twin rear shock Dyna frame.

The V-Rod and its 125HP right out of the box engine is gone too! No more V-Rod Muscle or Night Rod.  Those bikes have been around for more than a decade but have been rolled out of the lineup for whatever the future is bringing.

The softail line has been totally changed!  New engines (the Milwaukie 8), new frame and a new rear shock.  Gone is the under frame, dual shock configuration, replaced with a mono-shock that is hand adjustable from the outside of the motorcycle!

As noted above, some of the old Dyna names moved over to the softail world.  The Street Bob, Low Rider and Fat Bob models are additions to the softail lineup while the Softail Slim S and Fat Boy S have been dropped.  Speaking of the Fat Bob… wow they really hit the styling cues out of the park, well at least for me!

Everything said and done, excluding the Sportsters, all the motorcycle in the Harley Davidson stable are now water cooled… or twin cooled to use their terminology.  Harley Davidson is making waves with all the changes.  Their promise of 50 new models in 5 years and 100 in 10 is well underway.

So what is my take?  I like it!!  Harley Davidson took a big step on technology with the Softail family.  While the bikes might look the same, it is only sheet metal.  Folks that have been complaining about how Harley does not embrace new(ish) technology cannot say that now.   Between the new engine, water cooling, monoshocks, this is not your Dads’s softail or maybe not even your brother’s or sister’s softail.

P.S.  Mr. Davidson also stated that their electric bike will be out within the next two years, how is that for embracing new technology.

WP_20170827_14_28_16_Pro

WP_20170827_14_28_40_Pro

The FAT BOB is looking good!

A mashup of GTA and some home footage!  Made me smile!  Make sure to watch to the end…the giraffe seems to be sad that the ride was over.

 

WOW there is some truly good news and bad news about the Pirelli Night Dragon MotorcycleWP_20170813_18_39_29_Pro Tires.  So let’s get that out of the way first. 

The good news —- These motorcycle tires handle great!  We rode on them in hot and very hot conditions and never felt any traction issues.  In wet and VERY wet conditions they are the best motorcycle tires I have every rode on, I never once felt any discomfort on wet roads.

The bad news —- We only got a little more than 12,000 miles on these tires before I had to park the motorcycle to get new tires.  I would have hoped that we would have rode over 15K before needing to replace the tires.  

So overall what do I think?  I love the handling and wet road performance.  During our 2017 Motorcycle Vacation almost two-thirds of the trip involved wet roads, rain and torrential downpours. Never once did I feel I needed to worry about slips and slides.  I never was fully confident of the Harley Davidson OEM Dunlop tires in the wet so the Pirelli Night Dragons are a step up. 

ijustwant2ride

The rear Perilli Night Dragon at about 12.5K

I was disappointed with the mileage wear of the tires. But, is that a tradeoff of grip v. wear?  Unfortunately,  with these tires, it really is a tradeoff.  So it comes down to do I buy tires a little more often for a grip that makes me feel safe (at every lean angle)?

For now the answer is yes, I just ordered a new set of Pirelli Night Dragon motorcycle tires.  If I only get another 12K miles maybe I will consider testing another tire. 

If you want to see earlier post on the Pirelli Night Dragon tires….

New motorcycle tires! Trying something different.

Motorcycle Product Review: 5000 Miles on the Night Dragon Motorcycle Tires 

After all that I am giving these motorcycle tires a 4 out of 5 stars!

4 out 5 stars

WP_20170806_10_56_28_Pro

Debbie and I decided to take a quick Sunday morning motorcycle ride this past weekend.  Our ride took us to three national parks in about 5 hours!

Leaving home about 8AM we headed out to the George Washington Parkway (a national park). It took us about an hour to get to the southern terminus which is also Mount Vernon home of George Washington. Riding north on the parkway gives the rider a wonderful, at times panoramic, views of the Potomac River and surrounding country.

Coming abreast of Washington D.C. the view is remains panoramic as well as breath taking. The Washington and Lincoln Monuments clearly in view, the Kennedy Center and the spires of Georgetown make the few minutes you ride past the city quite awe inspiring.  Just past those sites you come across Theodore Roosevelt Island.  This is an often a much under looked memorial to a great president.  Take the time to walk across to the island and view this memorial. We did not stop this time…the parking lot was full, otherwise it would have been 4 national parks in 5 ½ hours.

The second park of this motorcycle ride was the C&O Canal National Park.  If you follow this blog you will see that I am attempting to get to all the motorcycle accessible stops along the canal.  I have knocked out a few but there is a lot of stops remaining.

Lastly we stopped in and took a look at Glen Echo National Park.  Just a short distance from the Clara Barton Parkway (named after the founder of the American Red Cross) this National Park started life in 1891 as a school and in 1911 transformed in to the premier amusement park of the great D.C area.  In 1971, shortly after the amusement park closed the Park Service took over and it is now a national park!  The park is an easy motorcycle ride coming out of or into Washington D.C.

Leaving Glen Echo we returned to the Clara Barton Parkway and headed west towards home.  All in all…a great day for a motorcycle ride!