The Motorcycle Blog

Go Play In Traffic

I’m writing the blog entry “Keep it Simple” and it occurred to me that I don't remember which side of my brain is the creative side and which side is the analytical side.  So I Google the "brain" and begin reading about how our brain functions and quickly read through some “exciting” sites to re-learn this information.  In short, our left brain is the analytical side and the right side is creative and loves to have fun.  Unfortunately for many of us, myself included, the right brain is overpowered by the analytical left brain and our creativity and ability to have fun suffers.  So what can you do?  I’m no expert, but my research leads me to conclude that we must ride more, especially on twisting roads and in moving traffic!

Hopefully most of you have already grabbed your helmet and are out the door, but for those who are still being controlled by your left brain here’s why you need to go riding.  The act of controlling something that’s moving, whether it's a bicycle, car or a motorcycle is performed by our right brain.  Our analytical left brain is too slow to make the necessary decisions and body movements to safely control a moving vehicle.  This is why when we go riding we feel relaxed.  All the worries our left brain has are put on hold as it has to let the right brain take control.   Once our right brain takes control we relax, have more fun and start to have creative ideas.  The longer our right brain is in control the better our ideas could become.  We could solve some problems that have bothered us and perhaps realize that some of these problems aren’t that big of a deal after all.  At the very least you’re going to have some fun.

Keep It Simple

I’m reading through a review of the 2009 Ducati Monster 696, Ducati’s entry level and best selling motorcycle.  Now my left brain, you know the half that is logical, calculating and sometimes boring, is trying to locate the details of this motorcycle.  You know, the facts.  What’s the horsepower and torque?  What components are on the motorcycle and are they adjustable?  How does the motorcycle stack up against other motorcycles in its class?  Those facts.  Now if I were to take what my left brain had to say about this little Ducati, and I often go with my left brain, I would have stopped and moved on to the next review before the end of the article.  My right brain, however, is getting excited!  It’s reading words like “fun”, “smile” and the “Ducati sound”.  My right brain is also seeing the Ducati symbol and the distinct Monster style and likes it a lot.

Too often we, and I include myself in this, pay too much attention to our logical left brain when it comes to what we do.  Now for some things, like personal finance, this isn’t a bad thing.  For motorcycling, however, our left brain needs to take a “time out”.  The motorcycle you purchase should be one that puts a smile on your face every time you see it and that smile should grow as you hear the engine fire up.  That smile should turn to maniacal laughter as you twist the throttle and head out on the road. 

The Sun Is Shining, Lets Ride!

The sun is shining, your day at work is over and your motorcycle is waiting for you in the parking lot.  What do you do?  You put your helmet on, thumb the starter and listen to the sweet sound of the engine idling.  Now instead of heading directly home, you head out in search of the most indirect way home possible.  Perhaps it’s a road with a view, a road full of turns or an area that you’ve always wanted to see.  It really doesn’t matter you’re riding in the sun.

You’re finally heading home, he sun is setting and whatever stress you were feeling at the end of the workday is gone.  A feeling of relaxation fills your body and your ready for a great evening.

Before bed you check the weather report and see that the sun will be out again.  You go to bed and dream of taking a day trip to anywhere.  The open road is calling! 

Morning has come and you can’t get the dream out of your head.  You call in sick and hit the road.

Now I’m not proposing that you skip work to go riding on a sunny day.  Wait a minute, of course I am!  Life is short and for many of us so are sunny days so get out and live.

Play It Safe!

Whichmotorcycleforme.com has finally been updated!  In March the hard drive of my Mac died and all the data stored on it was lost, including the program and source for the website.  Now a smart person would have a complete backup of their important information, but not me.  I’m smarter now and have multiple backup sources.

Anyway, like backing up important computer files, a smart motorcyclist will make sure that their motorcycle is in great, not good, working condition.  Keep up with scheduled maintenance, check the pressure in the tires, the tire tread and be on the lookout for any loose bolts.  If the battery of your motorcycle requires regular maintenance, make sure it’s done.  If you’re not comfortable doing this on your own, have your trusted mechanic do the work.  In fact have him put you on a scheduled maintenance program.

Your motorcycle will perform better, last longer and you will be safer.

Lets Ride!

Accessories

Accessories are available for any brand and type of motorcycle.  the challenge is to choose which accessory, if any, will help make your motorcycle more enjoyable.  That enjoyment can be from improvement in performance, appearance of the motorcycle and improvement in comfort.  This section is meant to help you go through the thought process to select the right accessories for your motorcycle.

The Economy and Motorcycling

If you are a motorcycle manufacturer, dealer, investor or work in the industry, times are not what they use to be and will likely get worse before they get better and I believe they will get better.

Now, if you already have a motorcycle and own it outright, or are keeping up with your payments, your motorcycling may not be effected too much.  In fact, you may find that your motorcycle helps your economic situation, or at the very least help keep you sane while dealing with your economy.  Simply put, if you don’t use your motorcycle as a daily commuter, start.  You will save a little in gas money and have fun at the same time.

How will the economy affect the motorcycle industry and motorcyclists in the future?

I see fewer new motorcycles being produced and sold over the next two to three years. Current owners will keep their motorcycles longer and will spend more on maintaining, upgrading and customizing.  New riders and former riders will still be joining the motorcycling fraternity, but on used motorcycles, which will help keep the parts and maintenance industry alive.  I also see the manufacturers cutting their production overall, but not across the board of their model line.  They will focus on motorcycles that are multipurpose in nature and reduce or stop producing motorcycles that are already “customized”, returning that element to the rider.  The manufacturers will also eliminate motorcycles in their line that are similar in use and style.  This will allow them to reduce production cost and leave them with the ability to increase production volume when needed.  Customer satisfaction and profitability will be their focus.

Self Help for the Motorcyclist

There are some wonderful places to ride all over the world and most of us will only get to ride a fraction of them.  So what’s a motorcyclist to do? 

Let's take a page from the “self help” world go through a little exercise.

Take 10 minutes, no more, and write down the ten places you would like to ride the most.  Write as if you had unlimited time, funds and the motorcycle of your dreams.  Be specific, from the location to the length of the ride.  Even the time of year and the weather should be written down.

Next, go to a one of the mapping services that are available on the net and plot a course for each ride and print it out, include the map as well as the satellite view if available.

Next, use the image services that sites like Google or Yahoo have available and find some photos of the route you have chosen for each trip and print them out.

Finally, put what you have in a binder.

Once you have gone through all of this, pick one of the trips and plan out when you will take it and what you will need to make the trip happen.  Look at the plan every day and do what needs to be done to make it really happen.

The Magic of Harley Davidson

Question:  What do dogs and Harley Davidson’s have in common?

Answer:  They both like to ride in pick-up trucks. 

Harley Davidson motorcycles have been the butt of jokes and criticism for years, a few of which are well founded.  Harley’s are expensive and they don’t have the same level of performance as comparable metric motorcycles.  They have also had reliability issues in the past as well.

For those Harley owners and enthusiasts, who are probably nearing the boiling point, this isn’t a “bash Harley” post.  In fact, it’s just the opposite so please keep reading.

With everything Harley Davidson seems to have going against it, the Harley Davidson brand is one of the best known in the industry.  Hell, the Harley brand is well known period!  Harley owners are the most loyal in the motorcycling industry and the Harley Owners Group or HOG has chapters in more the 30 countries around the world. Not too bad for what some say is a second rate motorcycle.

So what’s the magic of Harley Davidson?

This question could be answered with the usual clichés about style, freedom and individuality, however that wouldn’t truly answer the question.  I believe the magic of Harley Davidson lies in emotion. If it were about style, Harley would have been out of business years ago as the “other” manufacturers of cruisers, who have added improvements to performance and reliability, have copied their style.  No, the magic is emotion.  It’s the feeling you get when you see a Harley going down the road.  It’s the feeling you get when you hear the sound the Harley Davidson makes.  And it’s the feeling you get when riding the Harley.  

The Motorcycle Lifestyle

If you ask someone who doesn’t ride to describe the “motorcycle lifestyle” you will likely get a description of someone who is a leather clad outlaw type.  “Crazy” may also be used in the description. In reality the “motorcycle lifestyle” is more of a state of mind and transcends age, gender and nationality. In fact, motorcycling is a culture more then a lifestyle.

This “culture” was made evident when earlier today I was checking my Facebook page and found that one of my friends had posted some pictures on the Harley Owners Group page. Now I’m a member of this Facebook group, but had never looked through all the photos that people have posted until today.  While it was great looking at the motorcycles, rides and events chronicled in the photos, the thing that struck me the most was how many locations and countries have HOG chapters.  There were photos from Europe, Jordan, Dubai, Lebanon, Australia and Iraq.  Here are people who come from very different cultures who have one thing in common.  Motorcycles!

Why We Ride.

I ride because I like the feeling of freedom I get when I’m on my motorcycle.  It’s the feeling of the wind, the smell of the air and the change of temperature that one can only experience by being exposed to the elements.  It’s the feeling of soaring when maneuvering around corners and the rush of acceleration when I twist the throttle.  It’s the relaxing feeling that I get every time I go for a ride, even if it’s just across town.  And it’s the way that I’m able to be “in the moment” when I’m riding, not thinking or worrying about anything but riding.  Riding doesn’t define who I am, it’s a part of who I am.  In short, riding is a rush!

Why do you ride or want to ride?

Lets Ride! (copyright: whichmotorcycleforme.com,  contact information: info@whichmotorcyleforme.com)