Friday, November 27, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Gives new meaning to the term Iron Butt
Assorted scooter trash discussing the shaping effects of motorcycles on rebellion in our modern culture
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
State Route 68.
Options for camping while riding the Smokies vary depending on the level of comfort the rider desires. Motorcycle campgrounds like Hunt's Lodge located just south of Tellico Plains on the aforementioned route 68, offer amenities sometimes lost in more primitive camping, such as hot showers and laundry facilities. Usually, I opt for one of these campgrounds and there are several to choose from in the region. They provide a more secure setting for leaving gear unattended and companionship when returning from a long day in the saddle.
Being the middle of the week, the campground hosted no occupants other than myself. I chose as remote a spot as possible relative to the campground entrance, a level shelf on the side of a hill encircled by pines. While the Cove had pit toilets, there were no showers or plumbing carrying drinking water. The only source of water, a small stream running down the mountain to feed the Tellico River. The nearest ranger station was 12 miles to the west near where River Road joins the Skyway. I arrived with enough light to set up the tent, a $30 purchase from Wal-Mart, by the way, and to gather a little firewood before settling down with a cup of coffee, a book, and the breath of the wind through the trees.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
While I applaud the above organizations for their efforts in educating non-riders, May is also a time when we as motorcyclists should be examining our own habits. When was the last time any of us took part in an MSF certified training course? Certain manufacturers offer rider education programs of their own, like Harley's Rider's Edge program. Do we check our gear, assuming we wear it, for signs of break down and does that gear need to finally be replaced? Sites like Rock the Gear, started as a collaborative effort between Brittany Morrow, known as the Road Rash Queen, and the MSF, promote a postive combination of proper riding technique and modern motorcycle-specific safety gear. Ultimately, it's up to the rider to determine just how much polish the rider's skills and gear require.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
"Is it waterproof," I've asked.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
With the advent of a new riding season, I required a replacement for my three and a half year-old Cortech Solution waterproof road boots. Over the last six months, the waterproofing of the boots has become dubious. The harder the rain, the more water works it's way past the seals. Lately, "hard rain" has become a broad category. Often, I'd climb off the bike at work and squelch my way down the hall to my office, doomed to wander the corridors in wet socks for the day.
To be fair, the Cortech's have seen nearly 50K miles of on-cycle use. If I'm riding, I spend the day in my boots, strolling around the office. While on tour, I hike short trails in them, provided my right ankle can take the strain. The bottoms of the no-slip rubber soles have been worn smooth. Fine white stress lines web the outer leather shells, and the soft, inner material, known as K-315, has degraded to a hard, flat panel, like walking on a piece of balsa wood. Small chunks of K-315 occasionally attach themselves to my socks for a free ride through the house.
Like saying farewell to an old friend, I have a hard time discarding something as comfortable as an aging pair of boots. Seems to me, the longer I utilize a boot, the more hospitable an environment they prove to be for my feet. In fact, the Cortech's haven't made it to the trash yet. Visitors to our house discover them sitting neatly by the door, leaning against the Alpinestar Web Gore-tex boots I purchased to replace them. Why replace them? There are two areas that just seem to make the world a brighter place when they're dry. The first is my testicles, and running a close second, I appreciate toasty lower digits. There's nothing quite like the sensation of water slowly soaking into socks, like milk supersaturating cereal left too long uneaten in the bowl.
When shopping for replacements, several factors play a role in my choice for the next pair. Waterproofing is a must. No squish, squish. While I'm not interested in winning a fashion show by any means, boots with style add a little flair to any motorcyclist's ensemble. Basic black remains a static choice with me. Then there's the practical things to consider. Dry boots mean dry feet which keeps feet healthy, especially between those lower digits I mentioned earlier. Nothing like intolerable athelete's foot to cause problems at 70+ mph. The Alpinestars have hard armor on both sides of the ankle and the shin. The Cortechs do not, which is the main reason influencing my decision, comfortable and reliable though they may be, not to purchase a second pair. I evaluate not only the motorcycle with the dawn of the spring season, but the effectiveness of the gear I use as well.
After shelling out the cash, I slide into my new boots for the ride home and stuff the Cortechs into the saddle bags. I grimace a little as I walk out of the store. The Alpinestars are a little stiff. "Don't worry," the salesmen calls after me, "they'll break in after a while. There's nothing like a pair of Italian leather boots. After a while, they'll be as comfortable as an old pair of tennis shoes."
Oh yes, Italian; I think my new boots and I are going to become old friends.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I guess I can sit and sigh over the vision of spring yet to come, or I can drag my lazy butt off the stool at the awful waffle and hunker down in the driveway with the toolbox. Despite the lack of practicalities completed, I've put in my request with the employer for a little time free from the trenches during the first week of April. Now if I can just get the inside of my head and the outside in the driveway to meet in the middle, I'll be a contented man.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
The new Chief will be powered by a 105 cubic inch air-cooled engine, the Power Plus, complete with fuel-injection. The drive train will consist of a six-speed gear box and a belt final drive. The bike weighs in at just under 800 pounds. The Chief line includes four variations, the Standard, Deluxe, Roadmaster, and Vintage. I'm partial to the Vintage. With it's sloping, classic fenders, chrome guards and grab rails, leather fringed seat, and white-wall tires, undoubtably, it is a rolling work of art. An expensive work of art, the bike cashes in at a little over $35,000 according to the brochure on the company's website. While I admire the machine's lines and timeless detail, I'm afraid with a price tag like the one listed above, I'll only be admiring from afar.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Of particular interest to this rider was the Twist the Throttle series. Twist focuses on the manufacturers from around the world, including a few Japanese, Italian, and British companies. The episodes provide a brief overview of each company's history, such as Kawasaki's start as a shipping company or Bimota's beginning as a heating and air conditioning business. Each episode progresses through how and where that particular brand of motorcycle is manufactured to an enticing exploration of a brand's iconic models, such as Honda's CBR1000RR.
With limited riding time through the colder months, I'm always looking for methods of keeping my wanderlust in check. A few good books and a series like Twist keep me dreaming of open highway, dry pavement, and the sun on my back.