Posts Tagged ‘Motorcycle’

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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.

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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.

 

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

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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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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.

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!!

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

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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.

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. 

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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

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Location – Lock 8 

Milepost – 8.4

Historical Comment – The lock house has been converted in to a mini-museum called the “River Center”.

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

Amenities – There is a picnic area but no rest rooms. At the time of our visit there were no trash cans in the picnic area.

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 – The River Center open weekends May to October