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(photo by Lester from Smoke Out 16)
June 23rd Edition
In This Issue:
The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area
for Week of June 23-30, 2015
Wednesday 97h & partly cloudy, Thursday 98h & clear, Friday 97h & 60% rain, Saturday 87h & 60% rain, Sunday 85h & 60% rain, Monday 86h & partly cloudy, Tuesday 91h & partly cloudy (as per www.intellicast.com on 06/23/15)
Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel
With no editor prompting, I had photos and stories "piled high on my desk" this morning from all TCR contributors covering this past weekend's Smoke Out. Often when there's an event, it may be weeks before the report is readied; but not this gang, not this event. Smoke Out is inspiring and intriguing, sets one's mind a-thinkin', moves a writer to write and a picture-taker to go the extra mile. And so it was for Lester, The Tarheel Tornado, Shaggy, Paul, and Footloose and myself whose gifts were poured into the topic at hand: Smoke Out 16 held June 19-20 at Rockingham Dragway.
It was hotter 'n hell and we were all more than grateful to have The BIG RIDE 2 - The Phoenix as shelter from the sweat that poured from us for hours and days; that is, until the propane ran out and we had to turn tail and run home. But heat and lack of propane did NOT stop the fun from being had and our little band of TCR-staff-for-the-weekend were undaunted in our efforts to see and experience as much as we could possibly squeeze out of Smoke Out 2015 (and our sweat-soaked clothes as well!)
The full expose' will not be unveiled until next week's edition ... but we wanna give you a peek, show you some leg, and tease you just a little this week. So enjoy what's offered below as we all recover from more fun than we can even express.... and check back next week for more on Smoke Out 16 ... Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel!
Hope your weekend was cool!
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I wear safe protective motorcycle gear and ride one of the safest motorcycles made - a 2010 Honda Goldwing GL 1800 HPNAM. The safest motorcycle of all time is the 2010 Pearl Hot Rod Yellow Goldwing HPNAB “Air Bag” Model. Honda makes the only widely-available Air Bag Motorcycle. The Gold Wing with low center of gravity, front and rear crash bars, radial tires and wide stance makes it the safest motorcycle sold. The visibility of the 2010 Pearl Hot Rod Yellow makes it the safest motorcycle ever.
Except for long distance touring, I ride once a month to be fair to the bike and / or participate in a Patriot Guard Ride, Gold Wing Road Rider Association, BMW and / or other events as time and interest permits.
I would very much like an air bag model but, just as I rescue Great Danes, I rescue used motorcycles and there are not a lot of air bag models available. I did seriously consider the air bag model though as I worked on the development of the air bags for General Motors as a “summer engineer” An air bag will provide significant protection for a head on collision and protection on the “rebound” from a rear end collision. But, I bought the 2010 Honda GL1800 HPNAM and the last US Made Model.
The Gold Wing windshield is a safety item. While in college (BF = "Before Fairings!,") a huge black bird hit me in the shoulder. Had I not been lifting weights, I might have had a serious accident. The impact turned my body almost 45 degrees pulling my right hand off the throttle.
My Bike is fitted with Honda’s third tail light / light bar and low running / fog lights. The bike has huge brake and turn signal lights both on the saddle bags and on the trunk. The turn signals are mounted on the mirrors and saddle bags giving them the widest possible mounting and greater recognition by drivers. Half of the third brake light which is mounted just above the trunk as part of raised spoiler turn from red to yellow and blinks providing additional indication / warning to drivers.
A reflector is mounted low on the fender. This makes you extremely visible when turning / braking. The bike is also equipped with side reflectors / lights making you more visible during the day and particularly at night. In my opinion, those bikes / riders that have minimal turn signals / brake lights, on a black bike wearing black gear are putting themselves at risk.
Gold Wings are equipped with forward and rear crash bars such that if you fall and keep your feet on the pegs you are generally safe. This has been demonstrated at shows by tipping the bike over at very slow speeds such that the passenger and drive are safe. When you fall on a motorcycle it is the sliding / road rash that does the most damage provided you don’t hit anything.
I purposely wanted / bought a Gold Wing with Anti-Locking Braking System (ABS) for safety. Locking up the tires while turning is almost a certain crash. I have seen new riders brake in a turn only to fall.
The Dempster Highway takes on various forms depending on weather, traffic, grading, etc. While pushing the 45 mph speed limit, I hit a series of depressions in which my bike began oscillating and started to go air borne. Although it is fun to have your wheels off the ground on a motorcycle, it is not something you want to happen on a 900+ pound Gold Wing. Grabbing for brakes to slow down I hit front wheel first, striking the windshield. Had the brakes locked up, I probably would have fallen. ABS is essentially standard equipment in Europe and I would not want to own a motorcycle without it.
I have a Kuryakyn Back Rest ($299.95) which should provide some protection especially if you are rear ended as it will support your back. My helmet has a padded collar that provides some whiplash protection. In an accident where a Gold Wing T-Boned an automobile, the Gold Wing appeared to crush the passenger’s side of the car hitting the driver. The crush zone of the car essentially provided some safe deceleration for the motorcyclist. The fairing and the fact that my knees are almost touching the inside of the fairing will provide some protection in a collision.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) makes sure my tires are not over / under inflated. This provides significant protection as a tire failure could ruin your day and / or life.
I run Dunlop Elite 3 Tires as they are Dunlop’s best tire for my bike and much quieter than the OEM tires. Being quieter means less fatigue keeping me more alert. The Elite 3 incorporates Cosecant Wave tread grooves that continuously match the forces running through the tread face of the tire during cornering. This keeps driving and braking forces remain consistent during cornering. They are a dual compound that provide better grip when cornering and longer wear.
The Gold Wing being large is more easily seen and provides some intimidation to car drivers as opposed to a 125 – 250 cc light weight bike. And the color of my Gold Wing – "Hot Rod" or “Safety" Yellow - makes you significantly more visible during daylight riding and findable in the snow. Snow along with rain turned me away from completing both the Dalton “Haul Rode” and the Dempster “Ice Road.” I met a young rider that was on the Dalton the same day. He fell a couple of times on his Kawasaki KLR because of the snow around Coldfoot. We met / crossed paths in Whitehorse in the Yukon and ultimately had dinner together in Teslin just before the Teslin Bridge which is a fairly long white knuckle / squirrelly ride.
Falling in the snow on a light weight bike when you are young is no problem. Falling in the snow on a Gold Wing can be a little hazardous. You will not suffer any road rash but trying to hold up a falling Gold Wing could be hard on hips and some bones. Some riders stud their Gold Wing tires and ride to the Arctic Ocean as it can be much safer (and you can truly become an ice road trucker.)
The Weather Alert Warning is a plus too as I have ridden between two tornado cells in Nebraska and ran into other severe weather several times. The sky “lit up” with hundreds of lightning strikes around Deadhorse Lake on my way to Drumheller, Alberta.
My trips were naturally broken to stop to see things, eat, gas, etc. to keep concentration / focus. On rare occasions when I had to be some place I have had to fight off going to sleep on a motorcycle.
I plan my trips for late summer / early fall so I can wear more protective clothes. Traveling after the students are back in school means less traffic in vacation areas which is especially important as vacationers can be distracted drivers. Late fall also means students have completed drivers education and road damage from winter has been repaired and / or road repairs in general are largely completed eliminating most of the road hazards particularly hazardous to 2 wheel vehicles.
I do not use a CB radio or communicate with Bluetooth with my phone. Although these are great devices – they can be distracting and unlike a car, milliseconds of distraction as opposed to fraction of seconds in a car could result in injury. Also years of experience and knowing your limitations help. Nor do I use the head phones in my helmet but rely on my fairing speakers and keeping my speeds generally below 65 mph where road noise is much less.
I have a SPOT GPS Tracker. Many, if not most riders mount their SPOT on their bike for convenience along their cell phone. I wear the SPOT firmly strapped to my left wrist and my cell phone in a protective case on my hip. If you are in a crash you separate from your bike (from personal experience and watching crashes on TV / YouTube,) and the bike typically slides 50% further than you. This makes both your SPOT and cell phone useless if you are seriously hurt.
The SPOT with the push of a button connects you with the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center which then signals your GPS coordinates and information to local response teams. You can check in with family and friends know you're ok when you're out of cell phone range with pre-programmed text message with GPS coordinates or an email with a link to Google Maps™ to your contacts with your location. With another button you can alert your personal contacts that you need help in non-life-threatening situations. It also has a tracking feature that allows friends and family to follow your progress online in near real-time.
Spotwalla is then a site that captures this information as a record based on the information you provide when you “click” your location / notify friends and family. It can also track you almost continuously if you pay extra with “SPOT” to automatically send your location every 10 minutes.
(This is my favorite route. It's a distance more than half the way around the Earth!)
While coming in the North Entrance to Yellowstone the road was dotted with what seemed to be 10-foot centers with flattened ground squirrels literally for miles. Now, I never want to hit any animal and did not want to hit one of them. I learned an important lesson that day. As I swerved left the squirrel swerved right and I hit him. I am sure his last words were, "you Son of a Bitch." The lesson being: they are watching you and anticipate to dart out of your way at the last minute. So do not change your direction when you see a squirrel on a bike.
I also played my XM Radio loud or my Staples Eclipse portable media player while often traveling at dusk and early night. I saw a bear look at me as he crossed the road and the hind quarters of moose and other animals as they walked into the woods. Sound broadcasts in every direction whereas your scent depending on wind or lights do not.
My Harbor Freight blind spot mirrors have been the best investment for saving my life multiple times. I suspect someday bikes, like cars, will have blind side alerts. I can check my blind spot when I check my rear view mirrors. Occasionally you run into drivers that will pass you on the right and / or you can be in 3 / 4 / 5 lane wide traffic making these very handy. I highly recommend having these.
I have a belly pan which provides protection against road debris and keeps me from hanging up on some of the challenging portions of gravel road highways such as the Dalton, Dempster, Top of the World, Taylor and Highway 7 when you enter the Northwest Territories.
The Wing warns you if the saddle bags and / or trunk are not fully enclosed then locks them seconds after you open / close them. An open saddle bag lid / cover could cause a wreck and Honda has your back on this one.
In the next part of this series, I will cover my evolution and quest for better safety gear.
Good to see you!
I always run into folks I haven't seen in awhile at the various events we attend throughout the year. Smoke Out was no different. It was great to see Edge and all the Smoke Out organizers, of course, and I commend them on another job truly well done. It was so hot this year. That had to make their job even harder.
But, honestly, it was really good seeing all the vendors who have come to know us over the years ... along with JB, Bob, Ben, Dave, Sam, and so many others that I can't remember to name but appreciate. And thanks to our columnists who showed up and helped out so much all weekend - Shaggy, Lester, and Danny ... plus all of you who read The Carolina Rider Weekly Magazine.
Temps going Down?
This week's forecast shows a drop in temps over the weekend ahead. I sure hope so! It's just about impossible to get me out of the a/c and onto the asphalt when the thermometer is about to burst.
Cool riding to us all....
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