Saturday, January 31, 2009

Rider Magazine Rally Cancelled

Another motorcycle rally falls victim to the economy.  Rider magazine's 35th anniversary rally in Ventura, CA is cancelled.  The editors posted this on Rider's forum yesterday: "Due to the current economic uncertainty, Rider Rally 35 scheduled for April 17-19 has been canceled for 2009. Timing is everything--while we believe that holding a Rider Rally is a good idea, 2009 just isn't the year to pursue it. Thanks to everyone who got behind the idea, and stay tuned--you never know what the future will bring!"  I attended Rider Rallies in '96 (Martinsburg, WV) and '97 (Tannersville, PA) and had a great time; the events were low-key and of manageable size  with great riding roads.  This was to be Rider's first rally since the '97 event.  Bummer.

Sport-Touring Track School Announced

Saddlebags, GPS and throttle locks at a racetrack?  Believe it.  While all riders could benefit from on-track instruction, most of us (even the sport-bikers among us) lack either the aspiration to race, or a dedicated track bike. Enter the Utah SportBike Association, which has partnered with CanyonChasers Motorcycle Sport Touring and MSF-provider Utah Rider Education to present a track school dedicated to the street rider: the Sport-Touring Advanced Rider Training.  Rather than spend time teaching riders how to navigate a specific track, ST-ART has been designed to help teach riders how more safely navigate those twisty roads we all love, by focusing on skills such as how to read the road, how to set entry speed, and how to find safer lines through unfamiliar corners.  "Smooth" is given more attention that "Fast".  The school will be held at Miller Motorsports Park on April 11, 2009.  The track has allowed a glycol waiver so riders won't have to drain and refill with "Water Wetter".  To learn more, clicky here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Euro Glove Safety Standards

Europeans have strict standards for motorcycle protective gear, including gloves.  The applicable standard is EN 13594:2002 (there is a dizzying array of "acronyms" doing the testing and advising, and promulgating an even more dizzying array of standards with lots of letters and numbers). To see how your favorites might stack up, here's an intro to the glove standards from SATRA (one of the acronyms).  You can also read a bit about how they're tested from this lab.  Talk amongst yourselves whether all this is necessary, but hey, it's always nice to feel like someone (even a big bureaucracy) is looking out for we motorcyclists' safety. By the way, Swedish company Halvarssons sells the "Safety Grip" glove (shown below), which is the only one I've found so far that claims to meet EN 13594.  If you've never heard of Halvarssons, here's a slick little video introduction. 

Friday, January 23, 2009

RoadRUNNER GPS Files Released!

RoadRUNNER magazine subscribers can now download GPS files of all RR's U.S. tours from 2005, gratis.  Go get 'em on RoadRunner's website.  Yet another reason why RoadRunner is the best motorcycle sport-touring and touring oriented mag for we quality-motomag-starved Yanks.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Protect your Riding Jackets & Suits!

You spent a small fortune on quality motorcycling jackets and/or suits, so why let wimpy hangers damage the shoulder armor or stretch the fabric or leather? Get yourself some honkin' huge, wide and tough hangers! Your Aerostich, Rukka, Rev'It! or Vanson will thank you for it. I use the one shown at right, which has kept my jacket armor and fabric in tip-top shape. These hangers also allow more air to circulate through your gear, which can't hurt, particularly for an out-of-season garmet that may not be used for the next few months. I buy my hangers at this this online dive shop for considerably less than the motorcycling vendors get for the same product. Remember, a very famous person once advised: No wire hangers...EVER!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Garmin and Mac; Together at Last!

Apple computer users who use Garmin GPS units on their motorcycles (guilty on both counts!) can finally celebrate the release of Mac OS-friendly software from Garmin. An entire suite of applications dedicated to Mac is available for free downloading on Garmin's site here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Obama/Biden train off to D.C.!

Here's the Obama/Biden train as it passed thru Newark, Delaware today on the way to D.C. for the Inauguration.  That's Delaware's Joe Biden waving; Barack (being a Harvard man) stayed inside where it was a little warmer than the 18F outside temp.  The custom blurry effect is courtesy of my frozen camera hand.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kawasaki Withdraws from MotoGP

Ending recent speculation, Kawasaki announced on January 9th that it has decided to suspend its factory MotoGP racing activities, an action described by KHI as a "countermeasure" to cope with a "quickly changing business environment". The move will save KHI an estimated $43.8 million in 2009. Kawasaki never won a race in MotoGP, its best result was a 2nd byFrench rider Randy de Puniet in Japan in 2007. Kawasaki's 2009 line-up would have been American rider John Hopkins and the Italian Marco Melandri. Kawasaki will continue racing activities using mass-produced motorcycles as well as supporting general race-oriented customers. Yamaha, which won last year's MotoGP championship with the Italian rider Valentino Rossi, said that it would compete in the 2009 season and had no plans to leave the sport.

Cruiserworks 2009 Rally Schedule

Cruiserworks boots are designed more for, well...cruisers, than for sport-touring, but if like me you're a big fan of their Coolmax riding socks, be sure to visit its booth at Americade, the IMS or GWRRA events, or one of the other rallies on its schedule posted here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Big Aerostich Sale!

Aerostich is having a huge 20% off sale on many awesome products, including the best motorcycling pants around -- the AD-1, and indispensible winter riding mid-layer Windstopper jerseys.  I'm on the road checking my email, but this is such a great deal I had to post it now.  Go get 'em while you can; the deals expire on the 31st.

Monday, January 05, 2009

HSTA to Change Name

Like an Englishman, the HSTA (Honda Sport Touring Association) is dropping its H. On 12/31/08, the membership voted overwhelmingly in favor of deleting "Honda".  Though not part of the ballot, the understanding is that the organization will adopt a new name representative of motorcycle sport-touring more broadly, in keeping with its mission statement to bring together riders whose focus is motorcycle sport touring regardless of type or brand of motorcycle.  I understand that Honda's support of the club has waned over recent years, which contributed to the call for the vote. The Honda Sport Touring Association (HSTA) was founded in 1982 and is chartered by the American Motorcycle Association.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Dakar Rally Starts Today!

Today the 30th running of the world's toughest (and perhaps deadliest) motorcycle race kicks off. The Dakar Rally (formerly the Paris - Dakar Rally) has always been a Saharan affair, but after 2008's 11th-hour cancellation due to terrorism threats in Mauritania, this year's route will be entirely within Argentina and Chile. Traditional TV coverage for we Yanks is always nearly non-existent (rumor is that daily highlights will be shown on Versus Network), but the Dakar website promises live updates and some Googlin' and YouTubin' may yield some team or spectator video, or other 'Net coverage.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Motorcycling Year in Review: 2008

2009 is nearly 24 hours old and I'm taking stock of 2008.  I was able to get in 7,245 miles even though I wasn't able to get away for any multi-day tours. I'd guess 5,000 of my miles were "sport-commuting" (my term for commuting via interesting and twisty routes). On weekends, I did some favorite ride-to-eat events like the Ephrata "First Sunday" Rally and the event at the Lawn Fire Company near Hershey, PA. I also rode in a charity ride for Ride for Kids and rode the Delaware leg of an around-the-world relay to benefit Riders for Health.  I rode in temperatures ranging from 9F to 105F, in rain, fog, sleet, a couple of snow flurries, and even occasional sunny, dry conditions.  In a departure from tradition, I had no flat tires this year. My goals for 2009 are to find opportunities for longer and more frequent weekend rides, to call in (* cough cough *) sick more often in order to do a few long day trips, and to continue to hide my blog from my boss. Thanks to those of you who have nothing better to do than to read my website (jeez, go fer a ride willya?), Tilted Horizons is now the #1 rated blog in Delaware according to traffic-ranking service Grokodile. Here's to a safe and happy 2009 for everyone; hopefully filled with many tilted horizons!