Posts Tagged ‘motorcycle riding’

Why 9 tips on winter motorcycle storage? Because everyone has lists of 10 and 11 is to hard! Hah!

The first heavy frosts have already stuck in the northern Virginia area of the United States.  While I am sure there more than a few good riding days left …. Those days are going to be leaving us soon.  It is important to make sure your motorcycle is well taken care of in the winter so it will be ready to roll in the spring!

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 should consider.

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 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 storageLubricate 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.

winter tires

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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Ride on, Ride safe

White Sands New Mexico

Five years ago, I didn’t own, ride, or predict seeing my future self on a motorcycle.  Not that I didn’t like motorcycles, they were just not on my life’s blipping radar.  I was a cruise agent with six grandkids, a brick-and-mortar home and, well, I did have a nice little convertible.  Transport yourself to the future ‘now’ and you see me riding 5-6 hours a day, many days in a row…and on a sidecar no less.  I rode it on the Tail of the Dragon, Twisted Sisters, Talimena Scenic Drive and so many other ‘famous’ road.  I’m full timing it in an RV working and riding.  Icing on the cake – I’m making a living at it.  How the heck did I get here!

  • Step one:  Your spouse suggests you guys buy a bike and take motorcycle lessons.
  • Step two:  Two-upping isn’t enough, you get your own ride.
  • Step three:  Life sneaks up and kicks your ass – you decide how to respond.

I didn’t take naturally to riding a motorcycle.  I failed my first class.  I went out and bought a bike anyway and practiced in a parking lot for months before I could get up the nerve to take the class again.  I passed with a perfect score.  About a year into riding, I was in a motorcycle accident (mechanical failure), the bike totaled.  Broke my kneecap and nose and was in physical therapy for 9 months.  What did I do while I was laid up?  I bought a new bike and helmet. 

On a cross-country road trip, I dropped my bike at a corner with my weak knee.  It took me an hour to feel like I could get back on the bike, but I found I had messed up the gear shifts.  My spouse and I two-upped it the rest of the trip.  On this trip I decided two things – riding a motorcycle wasn’t for me, not riding wasn’t an option either.

Mounting up for another day of riding!

Idea!  How about a sidecar.  A new journey of resistance, not on my part but for every inch I tried to step forward, something or someone was shoving me a foot back.  The first sidecar builder I found botched the job – the wheel fell off at 60mph going down the interstate.  The wheel well kept it from flying off and I was able to pull over.  At least 10 other things went wrong in this journey until I found the sidecar builder who helped me change my life (to him I will forever be in debt). Thanks Texas Sidecar Company!

I have put over 20,000 miles on my sidecar in less than two years.  And like this whole path, I continued to forge forward following my new passion.  My spouse and I started RVing so we could ride new places.  I had written a couple of articles for Ride Texas Magazine.  The editor found out and mentioned it might make a good story.  Like everything else, I took it to the next level.  I now write a series called Direction Wide Open on our RVing and motorcycling experiences for Ride Texas Magazine which will culminate in the first ever RV-Motorcycle Rally in the U.S end of September 2022 – hosted by ‘Me’.

I looked for new ways to share my excitement about riding and RVing and found several more magazines who would have me.  I submitted a short motorcycle story to Continue the Ride which is a series of rider stories that showcase the diversity and shared passions in motorcycling.  My story was in the first round picked up and the only one with the unique combination of RVing and motorcycling full-time around the United States.  A few months later Progressive reached out to me to present my experiences at the national Progressive IMS Motorcycle Shows across the U.S.  As an introvert, I now find myself center stage at six major cities presenting on RVing and motorcycling five times per weekend.

RV’ing at Iron Mountain

How did I get here?  Well, I don’t think I was planning on a shift from being a work from home cruise agent grandma to a RVing, sidecar toting, riding, grandma writer and speaker.  But here I am.  This has been the best ride ever!

We have been moving from our former home in Leesburg to a new “temporary” home in Front Royal, VA.  The reason, I thought we were at the top of a sellers’ market and wanted to cash in before it faded.

So now being in Front Royal it is time to get out and discover new roads on my motorcycle.  We live about 3 miles from the northern terminus of Skyline Drive Parkway but that was not my destination this time.  I wanted to try something new.

Leaving my new neighborhood on a cool, for a dramatic change, morning I turned west and headed to Strasburg on State Route 55. The morning light dappled through the tree cover creating a crazy show of shadows and light. It was a quite and very uneventful ride to Strasburg.

The road into Strasburg proper is a mess right now, I don’t know what they are trying to do but watch yourself on the uneven and rough road up to the traffic light at the intersection of 55 and 11.

Strasburg seems to be a pretty cool town with a brewery, antiques and art boutiques mixed in with the normal main street business. Murals seem to adorn, what was, every blank wall giving the town a renaissance feel. I had hoped to find a diner for some breakfast, but I did not, which given everything else on Main Street seemed odd.

Taking State Route 11 out of town I was now headed down the Shenandoah Valley.  Passing though the small towns of Toms’ Brook, Maurertown, Woodstock (not that Woodstock), and Edinburg.  I admired the views from the valley, mountains rising from both the left and right framed the valley and the small towns in a way you can’t get from inside a car.

When I reached Mount Jackson I decided to turn around and head back the way I had come.  There were other ways to make it back to Front Royal but there were places I wanted to stop and take photos.  For my first motorcycle foray into Shenandoah region, I was quite happy.  I look forward to more local trips in and round Front Royal.

An older Skyline Drive motorcycle ride post – 2015

Typically, I attend the “Big” International Motorcycle Show series that feature all the major manufactures which, normally, occurs in winter in my region of the world.  This year I will attend not only that show, but also the IMS Outdoor event as well. One reason is how starved I am for in person motorcycle events but also because a friend of this blog is going to be a presenter.

Progressive IMS Outdoors motorcycle shows are offering presentations on “RVing with motorcycles, sidecars, and trikes”.  Lucinda Belden is the new presenter, and her sidecar will be on center stage for a half hour show two times per day at each event.  From August – October she will be covering six event locations nationally talking about how RV and motorcycles work together.

Lucinda is the proprietor of “Direction Wide Open” or DWO. DWO is Lucinda’s, and her husband Will, place to share their RV and Motorcycle adventures with family, friends, and future friends.  They are two full-time RVers and avid motorcyclists, sidecarists (is that really a word?).

Lucinda is the proprietor of “Direction Wide Open” or DWO. DWO is Lucinda’s, and her husband Will, place to share their RV and Motorcycle adventures with family, friends, and future friends.  They are two full-time RVers and avid motorcyclists, sidecarists (is that really a word?).

I can’t congratulate Lucinda enough; it is always tough to get a break into any industry but through her and Will’s hard work she is going to be telling a story many of us will want to hear.

Please go to the International Motorcycle Show Outdoors website and if an event is near you check it out.

ijustwant2ride.com

Hey guys, I am in a middle of a move and have not provided as much content lately.  Please stand by for a bit while I get back to normal… whatever that is!

Up Shift Entire Family to Race at the Amateur Championship – The entire Rau family is going to the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s motorcycle complex! This is the first time that a mom, dad, and son have pulled this type of hat trick.

Mom and dad (Tressa & Justin) qualified for the Senior (40+) and son (Jett) made the cut in the Mini-E Junior (4-6) class.

My Take – This is one of those, “Isn’t that cool!” items.  Congratulations to the Rau family and I hope they all make the podium for another amateur motocross racing first!   

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Up ShiftNew Harley Davidson Sportster – If you did not see this coming, I don’t know what to say to you.  The ever changing and tightening emission standards is slowing ending the air-cooled era of motorcycling. Lament if you wish, but the old engine just could not compete in this modern world.

The 50+ year old Sportster name continues at Harley Davidson with an all-new motorcycle. The new Sportster brings the Harley Revolution Max engine and 121 horses (from 1252cc) as a major upgrade to the name.   

To help tame that horsepower the new Sportster has lean-sensitve Antilock brakes, wheelie control, traction control and “Drag Torque Slip Control” to reduce rear wheel lockup during engine braking.

My Take – At first glance this new Sportster looks a like the FXDR from a few years ago.  A lot of styling points from that bike made it to the Sportster.  I do like the styling; I do like the performance upgrade, and I understand why Harley Davidson had to make the change to old bloodline.  I have not yet had an opportunity to ride this motorcycle, but I will make the time to do so.  At a $15,000 US starting point it seems to align with many of its competitors.

*****

Ride on, Ride Safe

Click here to see the last news update.

ijustwant2ride.com

Hey guys, I am in a middle of a move and have not provided as much content as normal lately.  Please stand by for a bit while I get back to normal… what ever that is!

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Hitting Neutral – Certified Pre-owned Harley Davidsons – Somewhere along the line I missed this news item.  Back in November 2019 Harley Davidson started a new program to the “Certified Pre-Owned program

This program will, if you buy from an authorized US dealer, provided used motorcycles that have been through a 110 point inspection and certified by Harley. If you buy a certified pre-owned motorcycle, you will get a 1-year warranty and roadside assistance.

These bikes will have under 25,000 miles and must have fully stock powertrain. So, no straight pipes as part of this program! See Harley Davidsons website for more information.

My Take – My first thought “why have they not been doing this for years”? Then, “This might help some folks make that decision to buy a bike”. Then, “Oh well, moving on”.   

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Up Shift – One of the fastest men on a motorcycle does not have a license to ride on the street! – If you have won 6 straight World Superbike championships, and the front runner for #7, one would think you have had motorcycle licenses most of your life, right?

Apparently not, but even world champion Jonathan Rea must take the official course to get the licenses.

My Take – LOL… to funny.  But I am glad he is doing this it will help show folks that everyone is on the same playing field when it comes to safety.  You can check out how well he does on his videos.  

*****

Ride On, Ride Safe

Click here for previous motorcycle news post

We originally passed through Goshen a few years ago during one of our motorcycle tours of Virginia.

Goshen is a quaint town bordering the George Washington National Forest the nearest “big towns” are Staunton and Lexington VA.

One of the things that interested me was the Goshen Truss Bridge.  Not the best light for good photos but you get the idea.  Built in 1890 it was the height of bridge engineering at the time.

Ride On, Ride Safe

The other day I mentioned that West Virginia does not do enough to promote motorcycle tourism in the state.  On a trip (via car … sigh) to visit family we stopped at the West Virginia boarder rest stop. 

At the rest stop I walked around and looked for motorcycle related pamphlets. There were more then I expected but less then I hoped.

Some of these are new to me. The “Devils Den”, for example, was a first and one that I need to check out!  The pamphlet entitled “Southern West Virginia Motorcycle Ride Guide” includes many of the areas I have rode.

Looks like things are improving, slowly, but there is a lot more that can be done.  WV could be a motorcycling Mecca, like east Tennessee, with some dedicated effort.  If I hit the lottery maybe I will be the guy to do it… LOL!

wv tourism  

9 road-2565675_960_720

Long motorcycle trips can be very rewarding, with a lot of fun along the way. Whether you are travelling solo or with a companion, there are lots of ways to entertain yourself during those points where the scenery is not so thrilling. For those night stops, you can use these tips too.

  1. Listen to music

There’s nothing like the right soundtrack to make the road feel even more epic. Take care about playlist choice and volume – you can’t skip a track when you’re riding, and you don’t want to block out important noises which could warn you of hazards.

  1. Play counting games

If you start to get bored, you can initiate a counting game. If you’re travelling with someone else, you can make it competitive, but it works alone too. Pick something and count it – like the number of roadside pubs you pass, or so forth. You can also count decorations on houses that you pass around Christmas or Halloween.

  1. Watching films or TV

When you’re at your stop for the night, you can fill in some time by watching TV shows or films on your smart phone or tablet. If you need to download them, make sure to use a VPN connection for safety. You can also download them before you set off so you’re ready to watch.

  1. Listen to a book

A bit like listening to music, only more intellectual. You can load up an audio book on your phone and pop your headphones in to listen to a story which will accompany your journey. A lot of audio books tend to be many hours long, so this will work well.

  1. Film yourself

If you set up a GoPro camera and a microphone in your helmet, you can actually record a travel video while you ride. This is something you can edit down later and use to showcase your journey. You could even start a vlog for this purpose.

  1. Sing to yourself

If you don’t want to fill your helmet with music, how about providing your own? You can sing out loud on a long journey, especially if you’re on a long highway without much variation. It will keep you awake as you try to remember lyrics, too.

  1. Wave at people

If you’re travelling through populated areas, try waving randomly at passers-by. Especially if you spot kids, this is a lot of fun as they get excited! Only do this if it is safe, such as when you are stopped at a light. If you’re riding a long motorway or highway, you might not get a chance.

  1. Write a novel

You won’t be able to write it down, but why not make up your own fantasy world in your head? Make up a story with characters and decide what happens to them. This can be a lot of fun to stretch your creative imagination while you’re trying to find something to grab your attention.

  1. Think about life

Finally, why not use the long journey to think about life in general? You can do some real soul-searching and think about what you want out of life, and how you can get there. This is a time to answer the really big questions. By the time you reach your destination, you might have made an important decision about the rest of your life.

There can be dull moments even on the most exciting motorcycle road trips, and you can find yourself getting sleepy or bored because of the monotony. These techniques will help prevent that from now on.

Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb, BizDb.co.nz and Datastical, 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.

motorcycle vacation ohio WV www.ijustwant2ride.com

This time last year we had between 500 and 1000 miles in the motorcycle.  We had several all-day rides to different places in the region.  This year we have a little under 150 miles with nothing other than “ride to eat” jaunts.  When will the weather turn good?

The few times it has been nice on the weekends, which are rare for 2018, we have had to perform those yearly home owner chores and maintenance.

So, I just looked at the weather for this coming weekend and guess what … 100% chance for rain on Saturday and 50% chance on Sunday!  AND, if you have followed this blog for any time you know that a 50% chance for everyone else is a 100% chance for me!  Well at least snow is not in the forecast.

Now Saturday works out ok in that we have tickets to see the new Avengers movie (I hope they have motorcycles again).  But, come on…..IJustWant2Ride!!!!