Posts Tagged ‘motorcycle riding’

We rode for about 7 hours on Monday from our home to the rally. This ride was all interstate and really reminded me why one should avoid Interstate 81, south or north, it is a terrible experience in the best of times.  Thousands of tractor trailers and stupid car drivers weaving to get “the fastest” spot while hold a phone to their face.  SIGH.

As we approached the hosting hotel, the “Airport” Hilton, the GPS lady was telling us to ride the motorcycle to the arrivals and departures section of the airport. Of course, we thought that the crazy GPS lady was once again full of “stuff”, so I stopped and reselected the location.  Turns out the hotel is literally a few steps from the arrivals and departures doors of the airport.  Imagine that!

Day One of the Great Smokey Mountains HOG Rally

Rally registration was at the hotel and sign in for the pre-registered, like Debbie and me, was quick and easy.  We each received a SWAG bag that contain pertinent rally materials a t-shirt, patches, pins, and a HOG water bottle.

We were also showed how to download the routes from by scanning a Q-code from their routes posters and how to load those routes into the motorcycle. Snip/snap and we had multi-routes installed on our Harley Davidson. 

Ok not quite snip/snap.  The problem is the that the Harley Davidson Boom GTS radio/navigation system does not come with a paper owner’s manual but with a little coaching I was able to get the routes set up.  I mentioned to the National HOG representative that they should hold a few classes on using the Boom GTS at each rally, I think it would be one of the more popular aspects of future events.

After registration we rode to Smokey Mountain Harley Davidson. SMHD is the host dealership of the rally, and their facilities are among the best that I have ever experienced. A large dealership with an inviting exterior and expansive interior they have very large inventory of motorcycles (and sold 2 while I was there), accessories, and clothing.  But that is just the start, Smokey Mountain HD also has a BBQ restaurant and a concert venue. I have never seen a dealership like this before.  A little more on the concert venue below.

As we were looking around the dealership and the vendor, Debbie spotted a Custom Dynamics Rear Finder Tip Light which would be SO much brighter than the existing OEM light.  She bought the light and wanted it installed while we were there, I did not argue. With the large number of drivers, she saw holding phones on the ride down another run/brake light will never hurt.  I will do a separate post on this light and my thoughts on Custom Dynamics soon.

After the part was installed, we decided to ride through Wears Valley, TN.  The twisty ride up and over a mountain was a lot of fun and the ride through the valley was quite beautiful. The route we took dropped us in Pigeon Forge, TN near the Rocky Top Harley Davidson Dealership.  If you have followed IJustWant2Ride on Facebook or Twitter you will know I collect dealer pins which means I had to get a Rock Top pin!

We had a snack at the Iron Boar bar and Mexican Grill right across the street from the dealership … along with 30 new friends, all from the HOG rally! After we had fueled ourselves, we headed back to SMHD for the opening ceremony and the first concert of the rally.

Still watching you Hurricane Ian!

Ijustwant2ride.com

For a pleasant change we had family come to visit and ride with us! Debbie’s sister (Vicki) and her husband (Jeff) trailered their Harley Davidson Fat Boy motorcycle from Ohio to our home in Front Royal, VA.  Neither of them had ridden Skyline Drive or anywhere in this part of Virginia.

They came out for the Labor Day weekend arriving late Friday afternoon. Saturday morning, we unload their Fat Boy and made ready for Skyline Drive. The morning was cool but comfortable and the view of Skyline Drive from my driveway was clear and bright.  Little did we know that the bright sun would disappear and reappear and disappear and reappear as rode along the ridges of the parkway.

Stopping at a few of the early western view overlooks Vicki and Jeff though the sites of blue skies and the Shenandoah Valley were just spectacular! They were both enjoying the smooth tarmac and twisty nature of the parkway and as it was early in the day the bonus of a low traffic.

Looking east, however, I realized that the bright and sunny would not be the way the entire trip.  Lots of clouds clung at the treetops, with breezes moving them around in movie like motions as they sweep up and down the eastern ridge. I knew, from the number of times I have ridden the parkway, that in short order we would be riding in a cloud and the temps would drop.

I was not wrong, as we approached the first exit from Skyline Drive, Thornton Gap, the clouds were right down on the parkway.  Ridding through a cloud, if you have not done so, is foggy and damp.  Riding our motorcycles out of Thornton Gap we quickly made it to Mary’s Rock Tunnel.  Of course, we had to hit the throttle to hear the music of the V-Twins reverberate from the halls of the tunnel.

We pulled off at the Mary’s Rock overlook, today’s view was more, inside of cloud, then amazing vista but, we talked to Jeff and Vicki and generally admired Skyline Drive and the other motorcycles parked at the overlook.

Back on the bikes we were in and out the clouds going from warm to cool with the occasional mist and rain drops. We dropped off Skyline Drive at the second exit and then rode the motorcycles north on SR 340 back to Ft. Royal.

After the ride we went to “Shenandoah Valley Ax Throwing Company” for dinner and some fun.  Throwing the ax was a lot of fun and a bit therapeutic depending on what you were imagining the target to be 😊.  This is the first time we had been there be it will not be the last! 

The next day was just as much fun.  We rode the motorcycle south on Fort Valley Road to Luray.  Swung by Cooters, Duke’s of Hazzard Museum and then over Thornton Gap.

Thornton’s Gap has signs on both sides that state that this is a high crash area for motorcycles! The signs are right, people overestimate their skills.

Like the day before, as we reached the top of the ridge and passed under Skyline Drive, we activated our “storm chasers” superpowers. Three quarters of the way up a nearly all the way down the other side it was motorcycling in a light rain and fog.  But it was warm and sunny when we were back in the valley below.

This day we stopped for lunch in Front Royal at “PaveMint Smokn’ Tap House” which is a great place for wood smoked meals.  Everyone loved their food, Vicky and Jeff said they would like to come back someday. 

2 days of motorcycling, with 2 members of our family for 220 miles of the best of riding in Virginia … just cannot beat that!

Ride On, Ride Safe

We have not been getting out on the motorcycle a lot, nowhere near what I want. Between work (new job) and life (covid, weddings, etc.) I am way behind on this year’s riding.  I hope to change that with less than half the year remaining.

But we did get the motorcycle out for good ride a few weekends ago.

That morning we set out with new helmets (Harley Davidson/Sena Outrush), new jackets and I had a new pair of Kevlar lined riding pants.  Each of those products will get a separate post. For this motorcycle ride there was no real destination, I had only a road to start on, “Fort Valley Road” or State Road 678.  

Fort Valley Road is, at the start, a quite twisty road with stone cliffs on one side and a drop into Passage Creek on the other. After a while the valley widens to allow for farmland and the road goes from twisty to rolling hills with a few tight turns thrown in for fun.

We rode Fort Valley Road to the end and then made our way into Luray, VA. Riding through downtown Luray it is evident that we need to come back and spend some time here.

Taking State Route 211 out of Luray, we crossed through Shenandoah National Park, and under Skyline Drive.  The ride up and down the mountain is normally spectacular, this day not so much.  There has been a lot of thunderstorms recently and there were several places where gravel had washed onto the road requiring slower speeds and more attention.  In one spot there was several inches of water running across the road.

After coming off the mountain we decided to ride over to Culpepper, VA for lunch. Culpepper is another of those small towns in which we need to spend some time.  That day we did not get to lunch in town as every spot we checked had a line and many were closed (it was a Sunday).

By now the day was getting quite warm, it was over 90F. Luckily our route back to home was via a scenic mostly tree covered route.   We did not take a direct route but wandered through a dozen back roads until we ended back in Front Royal.

It was an awesome day to be out on a motorcycle ride!

Ride On, Ride Safe

I have ridden along many national parkways including the Natchez Trace (TN/MS), Great Lake Seaway Byway (NY), Blue Ridge Parkway (VA, NC) and, of course, the Skyline Drive Parkway (VA). I have also attended multiple motorcycle rallies along the east coast including Daytona.

Outside of rallies, I have never seen as many motorcycles in one location as I do in Front Royal, Virginia. During motorcycle riding season, it is not uncommon to see hundreds of motorcycles in Front Royal, either singular or riding in large groups daily. You can see these large numbers of motorcycles passing through almost every day but especially on weekends. In my opinion Front Royal could be the motorcycle destination of Virgina much like Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee.

Why are so many motorcycles passing through Front Royal? It is because the town is located at the northern terminus of Skyline Drive and about an hour from the nation’s capital.  All these motorcycle riders are passing through the town on the way to Skyline Drive or to parts unknown as they leave the Parkway.

By just passing through Front Royal motorcyclists are missing out on opportunities for some great local rides and the great local flavor.  For example, a rider can take a loop from Front Royal to Luray via Fort Valley Road. That ride would last about two+ hours, depending on stops, and would have you back in town by lunch time.

After lunch, mount the motorcycle and head south out of town to cross under Skyline Drive at it two gaps.  But be careful, they are quite technical, and the northern gap is designated as a high crash area. Two+ hours later you will be back in town with enough time to get to dinner and a stroll along main street.

After dinner, riders could visit the Virginia Beer Museum for brew and live music or Shenandoah Valley Axe Throwing for a unique activity or any of the many other venues in town.  Front Royal has lots of hotels and restaurants and a main street that could be considered a throw-back to another era. Check out the movie theater that has a 1950’s vibe with a state-of-the-art projector and sound system.

Front Royal may be the gateway to Skyline Drive, but it should also be a destination at the start or end of your motorcycle ride.  Stay a day or two, there are plenty of hotels and campgrounds, to explore both our local roads and our small-town atmosphere.

Going for a spin!

A few weekends ago the wife and I took a motorcycle ride to Shenandoah Speedway racetrack.  A friend of mine was participating in a “drift” event.  For the few of you out there that might not know about drifting it is the sport of sliding your car sideways through a turn as fast as you can.  Quite exciting to watch a lot harder to do, unless you have plenty of practice and a car set up to do it properly.  My buddy has both the skills and the car.

The ride to the racetrack was great.  Bright blue skies with a few big puffy white clouds. The temp was not too hot or too cool making the ride with “ATGATT” comfortable. We left Front Royal going south on SR 340 in the spring green Shenandoah Valley.  With little traffic it was no time at all before we passed Luray Caverns. The Caverns are a very popular tourist destination and today their parking lot was full of hundreds of cars and lots of buses.

Just a short distance past Luray Caverns is “Cooter’s”!  For those of us of a certain age that remember the TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, Cooter’s is a museum of sorts celebrating the show.  The man who played Cooter, Ben Jones, is from the area and had collected a lot of memorabilia from the show which is on display including some of the cars with a General Lee replica out front.  By the way Cooter is also multi-term US Congressman.

My wife had never been to Cooter’s, so we pulled into its packed parking lot.  This day they had a Blue Grass and Folk music band playing, something they do on a regular basis.  We wondered around the facility for a bit with Rocky Top and Country Roads dancing in our ears.  The stop was a nice diversion back to our teen years.

Back on our steady stead we continued south on SR 340 until we reached the racetrack.  I knew we were close when I could see the plumes of white smoke and the smell of burning rubber in the air, drifting is very hard on tires.

It was not long before my wife was buckled in the race car and out on the track.  She was only able to get two laps in before they blew up the right rear tire.  Yet, those few laps were enough to give her an ear-to-ear smile.  She talked about it for many days later.

As the day got longer it was time to head to the house.  A 100+ mile motorcycle ride and a new experience for my wife made this a great day.


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.

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NHTSA Campaign Number: 22V325000

Manufacturer Beta USA

Components SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC

Summary Beta USA (Beta) is recalling certain 2022 350 RR-S, 390 RR-S, 430 RR-S, and 500 RR-S motorcycles. An incorrect front brake hose was installed during production.

Remedy Beta will replace the front brake hose, free of charge. Owner notification letters were mailed May 24 2022. Owners may contact Beta customer service at 1-805-226-4035. Beta’s number for this recall is R-2022-1.

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NHTSA Campaign Number: 22T006000

Manufacturer Continental Tire the Americas, LLC

Components TIRES

Summary Continental Tire the Americas, LLC. (Continental Tire) is recalling certain TKC80, ContiGo!, K62, and LB Continental Motorcycle tires. Please refer to the recall report for specific tire information. Cracks longer than 3/16 inch may develop in the tread grooves. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 119, “New Pneumatic Tires-Other Than Passenger Cars.”

Remedy Continental Tire will notify owners and replace the affected tires, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed June 6, 2022. Owners may contact Continental customer service at 1-888-799-2168.

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NHTSA Campaign Number: 22E036000

Manufacturer Performance Machine, Inc.

Components EQUIPMENT

Summary Performance Machine, Inc. (Performance Machine) is recalling certain Burly Brand Dominator and Jail Bar motorcycle handlebars in 10inch, 12inch, and 14inch heights. Please see the recall report for the full list of affected part numbers. The handlebars may be improperly welded, which can cause them to crack and separate from the motorcycle.

Remedy No remedy has been established at this time. The manufacturer has not yet provided a schedule for recall notification. Owners may contact Performance Machine customer service at 1-714-523-3000.

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ijustwant2ride.com

This is my take on motorcycle news that grabbed my attention. There is a whole lot more out there, but this is the news that I want to discuss. Drop me a note if you disagree with my take.

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Up Shift – Moto Guzzi Experience  

Moto Guzzi is helping more of us to get back to normal in the post pandemic world by offering events around the world.  These events are going to be held in 9 countries including the US.  Some of the events have already occurred like the ones in Corsica and Crete but others are still to come.  You can check out this website for detail for global events but look her (RideApart) for info on the US rides.   

My Take – I am so happy to see events like these make a comeback.  Harley Davidson has done so with their regional HOG rallies and having Moto Guzzi doing their thing is great!

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Down Shift – E15 fuel is getting a special dispensation this summer. Normally E15 is removed from the fuel supply, because of pollution concerns.  This year it is going to stick around in an attempt to lower gas prices as E15 is normally 5-10 cents a gallon cheaper. E15, by the way, means that the fuel has up to 15% ethanol.

Please be aware that E15 fuel is bad for your motorcycle (and other small engines).  Manufacturers state that using E15 will cause damage to your engine AND the EPA has not certified any motorcycles or ATVs for fuel with more than 10% ethanol.

“E15 has been shown to damage carbureted and fuel-injected motorcycles, reduce gas mileage and decrease shelf life of the gasoline,” said AMA Director of Government Relations Michael Sayre. “The fact that it is illegal to use in motorcycles, and that clear labeling at the pump is not required, poses a significant risk for misfuelling.”

My Take – The current administration has taken this action, among other things, to reduce the “pain at the pump”.  The American Motorcyclist Association and the Motorcycle Riders Foundation both have taken action to make sure that proper labeling of pumps and rider education on the action are occurring.

So, what is more important the price of fuel or the environment or poll numbers…. You make your pick.

*****

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.

*****

NHTSA Campaign Number: 22V217000

Manufacturer Piaggio Group Americas, Inc.

Components SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC

Summary Piaggio Group Americas, Inc. (Piaggio) is recalling certain 2020-2021 MP3 500 HPE scooters. The brake hose terminal fittings zinc plating may contaminate the brake fluid, decreasing brake performance.

Remedy Dealers will perform a complete brake system flush, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed April 18, 2022. Owners may contact Piaggio customer service at 1-212-380-4400.

*****

NHTSA Campaign Number: 22V207000

Manufacturer Triumph Motorcycles America, Ltd.

Components SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC

Summary Triumph Motorcycles America, Ltd. (Triumph) is recalling certain 2022 Speed Triple RS and Speed Triple RR motorcycles. The rear brake disc bolts may loosen.

Remedy Dealers will replace the rear brake disc bolts, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed April 29, 2022. Owners may contact Triumph customer service at 1-678-854-2010. Triumph’s number for this recall is SRAN 596.

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Manufacturer Arcimoto Inc

Components SERVICE BRAKES

Summary Arcimoto Inc (Arcimoto) is recalling certain 2020-2022 Deliverator, 2019-2022 FUV, 2021-2022 Rapid Responder, and 2020-2022 Roadster motorcycles. The brake pressure switch may corrode after exposure to salt and chemicals found in de-icers, causing the brake lights to illuminate constantly.

Remedy Owners will be notified by mail and instructed to contact Arcimoto to schedule a service appointment to have the brake pressure switch inspected and dielectric grease added to the connection to prevent the brake lights from remaining on. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on May 2, 2022. Owners may contact Arcimoto customer service at 1-541-683-6293.

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NHTSA Campaign Number: 22E022000

Manufacturer Midwest Motorsports LLC

Components EQUIPMENT

Summary Midwest Motorsports LLC (Midwest) is recalling certain Kylin helmets, model number K77, in sizes L, XL and XXL. The helmets may not adequately protect the wearer in the event of a head impact during a crash. As such, these helmets fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 218, “Motorcycle Helmets.”

Remedy Midwest will notify the helmet purchasers and instruct them to return the helmets for a full refund. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed May 6, 2022. Owners may contact Midwest customer service at 1-616-935-7443.

*****

Ride On, Ride Safe

On May 7th, 2022, women across the world will be riding their motorcycles for the 16th annual International Female Ride Day!  For 16 years the IFRD has “shined a spotlight on women riders and females in the motorsports arena!”

Nearly 20% of riders are women and that number has been growing over the years and I do not expect that growth to end anytime soon. Coming out of the pandemic more people and especially women are feeling empowered to do the things that they really want.

The goals of the event are:

  • Highlight the number of women who ride.
  • Encourage other women to take up the activity
  • Raise awareness about women’s equality in motorsports
  • Celebrate women’s advancement in motorsports and powersports
  • Ride for accelerated gender parity.

Are you going to participate?  If so, submit your photos to the IFRD photo gallery for a chance to participate in the photo challenge sweepstakes.  And while there are no prizes here, you could post to the comments section to show us what you were doing!


Ride on, Ride safe

Your motorcycle helmet is your most important piece of equipment so keeping it clean is important.  Not just from an appearance perspective but as a method to ensure it is still in good working condition. Also, April is Motorcycle Helmet Awareness month so now is a good time to do the work!

While you are cleaning your helmet look for cracks in the shell, that the hard foam is intact and in good condition (this is the part that does most of the work to protect your head) and all the other parts are in good order.  

Before you start… read your owner’s manual on cleaning your specific motorcycle helmet.

1 – First thing is to clean the exterior of the motorcycle helmet. Using a wet microfiber cloth or a paper towel, lay it across the visor and helmet shell for at least 10 minutes. This will soften the baked-on bugs and cruds allowing them to be wiped away reducing the chance to scratch or damage the finish. You may have to repeat this step.

2 – Remove the visor after you have cleaned the exterior. Use warm soapy water to really get the visor clean inside and out. Rinse, dry and reassemble your helmet.

3 – The visor needs special attention. DO NOT use any products that have acid or ammonia!  Even products with citric acid can damage the visor.  Most glass cleaners have some form of acid or ammonia so pay close attention or just avoid them. Warm soapy water and microfiber cloth is the best way to safely clean your visor.

4 – Make sure you clean the visor mechanism.  Keeping the mechanism clean will ensure it works as designed.

5 – Does your helmet have a sun visor?  If it does clean it in the same manner, you cleaned the visor.  No ammonia or acid-based cleaners!

6 – Next up is the interior of your motorcycle helmet.  Most helmets allow you to remove the interior padding. Look at your owner’s manual for directions on removing the padding. Some manufactures allow you to use a washing machine and other recommend hand cleaning in warm soapy water.  If you use the hand method, I recommend using a baby shampoo.

7 – If your helmet’s padding is not removable follow the instructions your helmet manufacture provides. But, in my opinion, dunking the entire helmet into soapy water is not the way to go.  It takes forever to dry; it can mildew, and I am always unsure if it can damage the underlying foam.  My suggestion is to use a motorcycle helmet sanitizing spray.

8 – Check the air vents to make sure they are clean, and function as designed. A shot of compressed air, from the inside, might dislodge dried road grime and bugs.

9 – Put it back together, following the manufacturer’s instructions, if you still have them.


Ride on, Ride safe