Friday, May 11, 2007

Update: Honda Spray Cleaner & Polish

Who'dda thunk it? My March 23rd post regarding Honda Spray Cleaner & Polish generated the largest-ever number of visits to this site by far, and also numerous posts on various message boards. It seems I'm not the only out-of-the-closet clean-bike nut, nor the only one who swears by Honda's magic elixir. Just to add more mystery to the origin and marketing of SC&P, I received an anonymous comment with additional information, which I promptly checked out. Thanks to Mr. (or Ms.) Anon, we now know that Honda Spray Cleaner & Polish, masquerading as "Amrep Original Spray Cleaner & Polish" and available in strangely-familiar packaging (see image at right; note the word "Original" where we're used to seeing "Honda"), is available from this vendor for only about $6 per can. Apparently, this product was/is manufactured for Honda by Petro Chemical under a private-labeling agreement. Perhaps Petro Chemical is also manufacturing this, or very similar (less the distinctive odor) product for Motorcycle Stuff...or not...the world may never know the complete answer to this vital, burning question. Where's the Mystery Machine and crew when you need them?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Beware the Unseen Left-Turning Truck Crowder!

I had a close call last Sunday morning on my way to Ephrata for the First Sunday Rally, which I thought I'd share. It was about 7:00 a.m. as I was heading north on PA Rte. 10, approaching the intersection with Rte. 41 near Cochranville, PA. (My route is the yellow arrow in the not-so-artfully drafted diagram). This is out in the sticks, but Rte. 41 is heavily-traveled during the week by big trucks. As I rounded a tight right-hand curve and the intersection entered my visual field, the only vehicle in sight was an 18-wheeler southbound on Rte. 10, slowly accelerating away from the intersection. I made the assumption that the light must've turned green just seconds prior. Something "didn't feel right" (cager radar?), so I slowed from about 45 MPH to maybe 30, moved from the left of the lane to about the center, and entered the intersection cautiously. As I closed on the truck, a small car suddenly darted from behind it, turning left in front of me onto Rte. 41. I climbed on the brakes (admittedly a bit too quickly as I nearly locked the front tire) for a second, then let off as soon as I decided the car was going to continue across my lane and not stop. I then did a quick swerve to the left, behind the car, followed by a quick swerve to the right and another to the left to get back on course. My heartbeat returned to normal in a few seconds and I continued on my merry way to Ephrata. Fortunately for me, there wasn't another vehicle behind the left-turner or it would've made evasive maneuvers a bit more complicated. The elderly lady behind the wheel must've felt very lucky that morning as she had obviously been following so close behind the truck that there was no way she could've seen around the trailer to know what was approaching before she darted out from behind it. Fortunately for her, it was all 165 pounds of me and 500 pounds of motorcycle and not a 10-ton truck doing 50 MPH.

Critiquing my reaction, I should've squeezed the front brake progressively instead of employing the "holy sh*t!" grab technique. I'm also not sure of my lane positioning as I entered the intersection. Further right would've let me see the car a fraction of a second earlier, but it also would've left less room to make an avoidance left swerve behind the car. What did I do right? I slowed down, covered the brakes, didn't lock up either tire, and didn't panic (much) or fixate on the car. I think my comfort level with steepish lean angles and swerving (All that swerving between the dots and dashes on deserted roads? That wasn't playing; I was practicing!) was an advantage. Please feel free to weigh in with your thoughts or share your own close encounters -- I'm always trying learn from my and others' mistakes and near-misses.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Updated info: First Sunday Ride-In, Ephrata, PA

This is to update my prior post (click here) on the First Sunday Ride-In in Ephrata, PA. This long-running event now has a website here. According to the website, the event is now known as the "Ephrata First Sunday Motorcycle Rally". I've never heard it referred to as such, but I kinda like it. I'm not sure who is behind the website, but it has all the major details and it appears that the site will expand in future.

I'm also experimenting with posting my route charts for others to use. Click here to view and print my "Ephrata Loop 1" route chart. (If you don't have a Google Docs & Spreadsheets account, please let me know if you have trouble accessing or printing the chart). This, and all my route charts, begin and end on the two major routes between my little corner of Delaware and Maryland and Pennsylvania -- DE/MD 273 and DE/PA 896. Feel free to copy my chart and edit, fold, spindle or mutilate it so it makes sense for your locale. If this works and enough folks use the charts, I'll upload more of them.

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