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(photo by Henry Donald)

June 9th Edition

In This Issue:

 

Riding BE-cause ~ Charitable & Educational Events in the Carolinas

Lil' Weather

Free Thinking with FancyFree

Harley-Davison News

BIG RIDE 2 Rides Out!

Lester - May Event Reports & Good Times Had

Free Ride! - mostly free events throughout The Carolinas

Loose Talk with Jon

 

 

The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area

for Week of June 9-16, 2015

Wednesday 90h & partly cloudy, Thursday 92h & clear, Friday 92h & p-cloudy, Saturday 94h & clear, Sunday 96h & clear, Monday 98h & 50% rain, Tuesday 97h & 50% rain (as per www.intellicast.com on 06/9/15)

Good People!

I am a fortunate woman. I get to enjoy meeting all sorts of new people in my work and projects and I am truly grateful for the wealth of GOOD PEOPLE I have the chance to come in contact with. Enjoyed chatting with some this past weekend in Lincolnton's Hog Happenin as well as the Maggie Valley Rally over Memorial Day weekend. Thanks so much for stopping by, for telling me that you've been reading our magazine, for taking a moment to learn about what we're doing, for sharing your own ride stories with me!

Among the many GOOD PEOPLE I had the chance to hang with at both of those recent events were "Mr and Mrs" Lester and their sweet friends Steve and Debbie. While I knew to expect them in Maggie Valley since they'd said they would be spending Memorial Day nearby and would ride by, I was pleasantly surprised to see them roll up this Saturday in Lincolnton. And who else was with them? Well The Tarheel Tornado, that's who! So good to see you all, to, as Carol Burnette used to sing, have a laugh or sing a song!"

Can't wait to share more good times ahead .. Smoke Out's a-comin' just 'round the corner!

I'm on Facebook ... "friend me!"

Have you heard about Harley-Davidson's Street bikes? I first laid eyes on one during a reveal at an instructor gathering in Charlotte - the Street 500 being incorporated into all Harley-Davidson Riding Academy classes. Got to sit on it (we were indoors and they weren't offering test rides!,) and was wowed by a whole new H-D experience. Not what you expect when you hear "Harley." A leaner, meaner look without all the glitz and glamour; a lighter cafe-racer-like ride for everyday living. Since my initial sit-down on the 500, I've seen the 750 as well and I'm hearing great things about these new translations of Harley-Davidson .. especially the price. A brand new Street 500 can be had for as low as $6800; or, as the corporate website promotes, $500 down and $99/month. Having chosen another brand when I purchased my own bike back in '04 due to the high entry fee for joining the Harley crowd, I'm guessing that's surely an appealing come-on!

So how's the ride? The Street 500 and 750 are water-cooled which means it won't overheat in our intense heat during Summertime traffic stops. And I hear from an expert source, Riding Academy Instructor and H-D Network Quality Consultant, Jon Pendleton, that the ride is nimble; made for carving through mountain curves or daily-commute traffic. These bikes are part of the Dark Custom line that The Motor Company's design works has been cranking out in the last few years. Intent on offering alternatives for varied tastes and styles, the Dark Customs include The 48 and The Street Bob, The Iron 883 and The Fat Bob.

The Streets only recently emerged this year leaving few of us aware of their availability and that's part of the reason they're now the center of a new corporate campaign among dealerships to raise awareness of these spunky little gems. "Dealerships have been invited to participate in a Street 500 or 750 customization challenge," explained Ken Lipack, owner of Harley-Davidson of Charlotte during a recent chat. Not all dealerships have taken on the challenge but, of those who have, the past couple months have been filled with creative activity around their competing bikes. In April, participating H-D dealerships were deep into their own design phase. Under a cloak of competitive secrecy, 4-person design teams around the country spent April brain-storming and idea-expanding. "Actually, there've been multiple people in our dealership other than the design team who have provided ideas and input that have been incorporated into our bike," excitedly emphasized Lipack. "All competing dealerships are required to pull together build teams. Our Build Team has been expertly led by Steve McIntosh as our Crew Chief, Bob Demski responsible for tech, George Bell focused on parts, and Sally McAteer guiding promotion and social media."

The customized Streets were required to be built during the month of May thus bringing H-D of Charlotte's challenger to the ready just in the last week. In addition to a list of competition guidelines and restrictions such as "total retail can't exceed $15,000" and "strongly encouraged to utilize popular social media promotional venues," there's tons of corporate paperwork that must be completed along with detailed photos and build reports that go to the Motor Company judges. Judging looks at the following:

  • 40% - quality of customization & build, fit and finish (professional job?, theme?,...)
  • 30% - creative utilization of Genuine H-D parts and accessories (altho they can use other parts as well)
  • 15% - creative use of paint, designs, finish techniques
  • 15% - dealership display and social media promotions

There are several judging phases to get to the award of Custom King and Harley-Davidson of Charlotte is hoping to make it all the way with their inventive custom that you are getting an early peek at in the teaser shots throughout this article. The full bike will not be visible to the public until their Unveiling Party on June 26.

"There are 50 Harley-Davidson districts in the US," explains Lipack. "For the first round of judging, a winner will be chosen from each district. Those 50 winners will then move on to the next level of judging in our 7 Market regions which will produce the final 7 to move on to the vote. The winning bike will be chosen by the dealers during our Summer meeting in Las Vegas in August and will then go on to be displayed in the Harley-Davidson Museum. Winners will be crowned The Custom Kings!"

The Carolina Rider wishes all competitors well in this cool Harley venture and looks forward to showing off more photos of Harley-Davidson of Charlotte's entry.

Have you had the chance to ride a Street 500?

As mentioned above, these are the bikes-of-choice for Harley-Davidson Riding Academy. Gone are the days of the Buell Blasts once used for student rides. Buell, owned by H-D, was discontinued in '09 and the Riding Academy has been working toward an appropriate new rider bike. Students have been on the Street 500 since the beginning of this year. Perhaps you have had a chance to ride one? Write in and let us know if you have!

New Rider Classes

Here's something you probably already know: You're surely aware that Harley-Davidson offers riding classes for new and experienced riders. These classes are in conjuction with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or MSF which also offers classes through your local community colleges like CPCC in Charlotte, NC. Harley's Riding Academy classes are expanded and enhanced to provide riders with an even more full learning experience.

Here's something you might not know: Harley-Davidson is offering free training for military. "Operation Personal Freedom" provides all current and former US military to take the class for FREE! This mind-blowing community service by The Motor Company is available through September 13, 2015. What a great way for this US corporation to give back.

Lipack shares that his dealership in Matthews has been adding classtimes to accomodate the uptick in participation due to the free class offer. Whether you want to take advantage of the military discount or simply want to learn to ride, you've got lots of options out there. For more info on new or experienced rider classes, look to a H-D dealership or community college near you and; once educationally-equipped, practiced, and confident in your skills, get out and enjoy the ride!

Hello everyone, I hope all is well in your world, that you have been out there in our great Carolina’s vast beauty, and that May was a great month for you. I spent a lot of time riding in May, so much in fact that I haven’t been able to write my stories like I should. So for this story, I’m going to report on the month of May...

It was a wonderful month, hot when it needed to be and cool when it should be. Rain here and there but not bad. The first big ride for me was Myrtle Beach Bike Week.  The first weekend was a wash out. I’m glad I didn’t plan that weekend. I guess all that rain contributed to the success of the second weekend. This year because of family and work obligations we were not able to go down until Friday morning, actually 2 days later than usual. Daryl was not with us this trip so we didn’t have to stop to eat like normal. This trip was Chester and myself. That’s right , Chester and Lester! Did I hear somebody say, ”The Dynamic Duo”? I don’t think so. We have hung out together and worked  together now for 20+ years, but Dynamic Duo? Not even close. Daryl decided to ride the Memorial Day DC ride, so he elected not to go on this trip. The ride down for Chester and me was uneventful. We hit the normal traffic when we got to Columbia but it wasn’t bad.  We stopped when we had to but never to eat.

 

From there we went to our old stomping grounds, The Beaver Bar. There was quite a large crowd there as well. This was another parking lot that was filled to capacity. We had to park two businesses down and walk back up.

Over all it was a great weekend. A calm, fun loving crowd.  Peaceful surroundings, and tons of beautiful and unusual bikes to look at. A great place to people watch, if you’re into that kind of thing. Maybe we will see you there next year!

The next ride was Memorial Day Weekend. Saturday to be exact, a nice ride from Sevierville Tn. back over to Maggie Valley for the Maggie Valley Rally.

(There's nothing like great riding with great friends!)

There were four of us going on this one.  Some great friends with their trike and Mrs. Lester and myself.  We were camping (again) in Tennessee, near the World’s Largest Knife Store located in Dandridge Tn. on Hwy 66.

My next story will be about the Hog Happening in Lincolnton NC.  In the meantime, if you see me out and tell me that you saw it here, I’ll buy you a cold adult beverage.  
See ya on the road!
Keep it safe!
Keep it fun!

Lester

Washington Summer Festival ~ Washington, NC ~ June 12-13

Chautauqua History Alive Festival ~ Greenville, SC ~ June 12-21

Art in the Park ~ Blowing Rock, NC ~ June 13

NC Aviation Museum Annual Fly-in ~ Asheboro, NC ~ June 13

Mighty Moo Festival ~ Cowpens, SC ~ June 17-20

301 Endless Yard Sale ~ Smithfield, NC ~ June 19-20

Ridge Peach Festival ~ Trenton, SC ~ June 20

NC Blueberry Festival ~ Burgaw, NC ~ June 20

Festival of Flowers ~ Greenwood, SC ~ June 25-27

Singing on the Mountain ~ Linville, NC ~ June 28

Christmas in July Festival ~ West Jefferson, NC ~ July 3-4

SC Peach Festival ~ Gaffney, SC ~ July 10-19

SC Festival of Discovery ~ Greenwood, SC ~ July 9-11

 

Have you been to Hog Happenin in Lincolnton? I have ... for several years. But this year I saw it from a whole different perspective - a bird's-eye view. Well, a "whirlygig" view anyway.

This past weekend, I sent The Carolina Rider's Whirlygig the Drone up for some shots of the BBQ & Bikes festival that brings folks from all over into historic downtown Lincolnton. While I knew that the event was scattered all over downtown, up and down Main street, and stretching out into alleys and sidestreets, I was astounded to see it from above. Just check out the scope of this event! ...

The event was great this year; lots of people and good BBQ. The weather was hot as it always is and the rain crept in a couple times but nothing kept folks from coming on down.

Blue Ridge Harley-Davidson was there in force with the Riding Academy and their Jump Start machine stayed busy with folks trying out the ride of a Harley. Indian Charlotte brought their giant rig and several beautiful Indian bikes right out front and center on Main St as you can see in the second photo above. Yes, everyone had a great time. You should put this one on your schedule for next year for sure.

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