Thursday, June 28, 2012

Motorbike Insurance and How To Get the Best Deal

If you really need to save money on transport, it's worth getting a bike. The combination of a smaller engine, better efficiency with petrol and improved accessibility on roads could save you an absolute fortune. However, with the increased risk of riding comes the possibility of higher insurance costs; as such, it's worth thinking carefully about how you go about getting a policy. After all, there are many factors that help swing a deal in your favour and could effectively save you hundreds of pounds a year. Taking these tips on board, you'll certainly start seeing more money staying in your pocket.

Choose a greater voluntary excess and you could really hang on to more cash. All insurance policies have a compulsory excess that you need to pay before insurance companies contribute to funding the repair of any damage sustained to your bike. They will often offer you the choice to pick the voluntary excess to suit your needs. A higher excess is a gamble that you must be willing to take, but it will mean lower outgoings each month.

Shop around, but remember the specialists. Insurance companies analyse their customer base in different ways, so it's worth checking online price comparison sites. However, specialist bike insurers such as will usually give better deals and many don't list themselves on these pages because of this. If you're renewing, look elsewhere instead of continuing with your current provider - you'll often find a better deal to match your requirements.

Downgrade your bike for a better deal, because chances are that you're only riding it as a means of getting from A to B. A less powerful bike will be seen by insurers as less likely to be involved in an accident.

Claim only when you need to, or at least when it's worth it, as every time you claim on an insurance deal you will pay an excess that will raise your future premiums. Find out how much things will cost before approaching your policy holder, as paying for a smaller problem out of your own pocket could save hundreds of pounds in just a year. There's a reason why people like to protect their no-claims bonus!

Take an accredited course and you could see yourself on a more powerful bike for the same price. Organisations such as the Institute of Advanced Motorists let riders take courses that could be policy compatible and save you more money in the long-term, in much the same way as Pass Plus does for car drivers.

Installing additional security measures will lower the chances of your bike getting stolen or damaged, so total up the cost of anti-theft devices or the option of secure parking and you could be entitled to lower premiums.

This post courtesy of MCE Insurance, a UK-based insurance centre.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hits 'n' Misses List, Redux

Last Sunday a turkey buzzard lingered a bit too long on his carrion buffet before lift off. I was surprised to feel the solid whump to my left knee, as buzzards seem reluctant to give up a primo seat at the Roadkill Cafe until the last possible moment (I've even ducked a few times, albeit needlessly) but somehow manage to get out of the way. Perhaps this one failed flight school, or had bad vision. Stopped a while later for fuel, I picked a few feathers out of my cooling fins, but found no blood on either my pants or motorcycle. If nothing else, the 50 MPH impact probably left Beaky mighty sore the next morning.

I've blogged my list of things I've hit or nearly missed/things that have hit or nearly missed me a couple of times, so I figure it's time for an update. New stuff is in red. Please leave a Comment with anything particularly interesting you've hit or missed.

  • 1 each (amazingly only one) squirrel; he must've been real old 'n' slow
  • bat (mammalian, not baseball) to my left hand on I-95
  • 2 nails, 1 of which was in my motorcycle dealer's parking lot (2 resulting punctured tires)
  • a brake caliper slider pin that some kid down the street lost during a curb-side brake job; guess whose rear tire found it? (flat tires are a theme on this list, no?)
  • drywall screw left by contractors at work (gather 'round and watch Doug plug a tire in the parking lot, in the rain!)
  •  turkey buzzard
"Missed by That Much"
  • many deer (including a few dead ones)
  • large turtles, 2
  • 2 or 3 snakes
  • thousands of squirrels
  • a few dozen chipmunks
  • a few 'possums
  • a few dogs
  • very, very few cats (they don't chase motorcycles like dogs)
  • dozens of college students with cell phones walking into the street
  • 1 young bovine on the loose
  • 5-6 ill-placed orange warning cones
  • a construction barrel blowing around in the wind
  • a large empty plastic kiddie-pool blown by the wind
  • various trash cans and bags of garbage blowing around in the wind
  • 1 water-cooler that flew out of the back of a tradesman's truck
  • the odd piece of lumber
  • dozens of beer bottles
  • lotsa squashed-flat waxed cups (ice has more traction BTW) and soda cans
  • a few Amish buggies
  • a roof from a collapsed small barn (!)
  • fox, 2
  • SUV and Civic that decided to argue with each other right in front of me (see below)

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ride to Work Day 2012

Motorcycle and scooter riders' 21st annual commuting day is this coming Monday, June 18th. Participation in the yearly demonstration is estimated to triple the number of riders on the road. Motorcycle and scooter groups and organizations actively encourage riders to commute by cycle on this day. On Ride to Work Day, motorcycle and scooter commuters seek improved employer recognition and support for this form of transportation and increased public and government awareness of the positive value of riding.

Adding more commuting motorcycles and scooters makes urban parking easier and traffic flow better, according to Ride to Work, a non-profit advocacy organization. Studies have also shown that across the same distances, riders reach their destinations faster than those using automobiles. Most motorcycles and scooters also consume less resources per mile than automobiles. "Riding to work on this day is fun and highlights the positive value of motorcycling. For many people, riding is a socially responsible form of mobility that saves energy, helps the environment and provides a broad range of other public benefits," stated Andy Goldfine, this year's event organizer.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New from Aerostich: Motorcycle Courier Bags for the Vintage Set

 Waxed Cotton Courier Bags

The timeless style and rugged durability of Waxed Cotton merged with the functional design of Aerostich Shoulder Bags. Constructed with a seamless bottom for maximum strength and durability, these 100% cotton bags feature the waterproofness and hard-wearing toughness of a traditional English waxed cotton outer fabric, with a reinforced vinyl bright yellow waterproof inner lining. Also inside the bag is an organizer pocket and "clip-on" key loop. These bags are soft, supple and feel like an old favorite the first time you strap one on. The 2" nylon carrying strap adjusts quickly and easily with a cam lock buckle for a secure, comfortable all-day fit. A large flap closes with both a wide strip of hook and loop as well as adjustable buckles to accommodate small or large loads. Visibility is assured with a wide strip of 3M Scotchlite™ reflective running across the flap. Available in classic Black or Brown waxed cotton fabric and four convenient sizes. Choose from: Letter (9"x3.75"x9"/12"), Dispatch (12"x7"x12"/18"), Courier (12"x7"x18"/23"), Parcel (14"x9"x18”/26”).
Aerostich Waxed Cotton Courier BagsAerostich Waxed Cotton Courier BagsAerostich Waxed Cotton Courier Bags

Aerostich Waxed Cotton Courier Bag Features:

  • Classic, time-tested English waxed cotton fabric.
  • Practical design, highly durable construction.
  • Reinforced yellow waterproof liner.
  • Cam lock adjustable 2” shoulder strap.
  • Internal organizer pocket and ‘clip-on’ key loop.
  • Ideal satchels for everyday riding.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Another (yawn) Very Boring Rally Announced

 2013 Very Boring Rally 3

Mark your calendar, tie a string around your finger and start planning a ride to scenic Northern Minnesota. The Very Boring Rally 3 will be August 23-25, 2013, at Aerostich World Headquarters and the nearby Spirit Mountain Resort in Duluth, Minnesota. Attend the thirtieth anniversary celebration revelry and join with the usual assortment of happy-campers, malcontents, curmudgeons and dorks. Good-times, both planned and impromptu, will be had by all who attend...with a few top-secret surprises in the works, too! There will be on-site camping, celebrated national entertainment, great food (BBQ dinner), an on-site National Championship Observed Trials, guided area riding tours, games, and lots of prizes and awards - for motorcycle poetry readings, the oldest/youngest/farthest distance riders, and much more. Even an award for the sorriest bike ridden to the party, and one for the most worn-out Aerostich suit. Come celebrate 30 years of Aerostich nonsense and Riderwearhouse catalog mischief. Advance ticket sales, camping and hotel reservation information, and much more info is online at

Aerostich 2013 Very Boring Rally 3 Features:

  • Aerostich's 30th Anniversary.
  • Moto-related activities a-plenty.
  • Food, fun, friends, foolishness.
  • Big fancy-ass door prizes and other such hoo-ha.
  • Campfires, Cocktails, 'n Smores. (mmm...)
  • Three times as boring as the 2008 VBR II.
  • 'Collectable' VBR 3 swag.
  • Mix with the famous and the foolish – at the exact same time.
  • A Mr. Happy Puppet reunion.

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Haag's Ride-In Endangered?

This past Sunday at the Haag's Hotel "Second Sunday" ride-in/breakfast gathering in Shartlesville, PA I learned that the hotel will soon be leased to a third party for two years. The historic hotel has been owned and operated by the same family since 1915, and they're going to keep a close eye on the changes the new operators make during the lease period.  According to my super-duper-top-secret sources, the family-style food service will go but no word yet on the monthly motorcycle gathering.  I hope the new operators would appreciate the extra customers it brings--  between a dozen in winter to 40-50 in summer, which in either case it probably double the usual number of customers for that day, but one never knows others' prejudices against motorcyclists. Those like me who enjoy the Haag's gathering as a low-key (and better grubbed) supplement to the massive Ephrata and Lawn ride-ins are hoping the new operators are riders!

Update: The even was still going strong in August; there were about 30 bikes in the parking lot, including a Vespa ridden by Gerry, the former publisher of the Scoot Lancaster blog.

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Monday, June 04, 2012

RevZilla's June 2012 Contest

Revzilla's latest giveaway contest is a doozy: $1027 worth of Rev'It! gear. To enter, click over to RevZilla's June contest page. The First Prize winner this month will receive an Ignition 2 jacket, Gear 2 pants, Fly gloves and socks. Two Second Prize winners will receive $50 Revzilla gift certificates.

While you're on RevZilla's site, take a look around at what RevZilla has to offer the serious adventure or sport-touring motorcyclist. Why shop RevZilla? I can tell you why I do: fast, free shipping for orders over $39.99; TeamZilla cash back program; "no  hassle" exchanges; price match guarantee; and above all, RevZilla's top-flight reputation among riders I know for its customer service and product knowledge. Let 'em know Tilted Horizons sent ya!

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