Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What's Up With Tilted Horizons?

The site is either on hiatus, or is shutting down, or will be sold; yet be determined. Why would I consider shutting down the website I've published for over nine years? To have more time to ride -- simple as that.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Dam good ride!

During last Sunday morning's motorcycle ride I visited Holtwood Dam on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.  Even though I've ridden past the turn-off for the dam hundreds of times, I'd never stopped in.  Later, I stopped at another dam on the Susquehanna, Conowingo Dam, which is in Maryland, and a dam I've visited many times.  For instance, clicky here.

Holtwood Dam


Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Two-wheeled Berlin

(Warning: this post contains a bit of non-motorcycle content!) I spent a couple of weeks in Germany and Czech Republic last month, the majority of it in Berlin. Two-wheeled life in Berlin appears to be very good: the car drivers are disciplined and courteous (except the cabbies) as to right-of-way rules, and both human-powered and internal-combustion two-wheelers are allowed to park in just about any available space; sidewalks are very popular.  Bicycles are provided their own lanes on many streets, including their own traffic signals at some intersections. While the most common private conveyance in Berlin is shoes, bicycles come in a close second, followed by cars, then scooters; full-size motorcycles are a very distant 5th place. All this is based on my outsider viewpoint of course; nothing scientific.  

Simson scooters are relics of eastern Berlin's Communist past, and I'm told are quite popular today as resto projects.
Not many places in the States where we can park like this.
Small scooters with top boxes are are so common I think Berlin must issue them to its citizens.
Go ahead, just try to find yours.
Why does USA hate efficient use of space like this?
This could've been a couple of dozen cars taking up space instead.

Traffic signal for the pedal crowd.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Road Eats: OleyTurnpike Dairy

I recently stopped in the Oley Turnpike Dairy, located south of (surprise!) Oley, Pennsylvania on (wait for it...) Oley Turnpike.  I first worked up a hunger by negotiating the twisties on PA 345 through French Creek State Park; it was early, so I had the whole park to myself. The blindingly bright low sun dappling thru the trees, making it difficult to spot potholes, gravel and deer, just added to the challenge.  The dairy started making its own ice cream back in 1970, and over the years, a diner and small petting zoo were added.  I'm not a big fan of private roadside zoos but as this one had only farm animals, and appeared very well-kept, I guess it's OK.  (Nothing like poor ol' Ricki the bear at another PA diner I've visited.) The diner was very busy, the grub decent enough, and the service was friendly if a bit harried.  As I was in the parking lot gearing up to leave, a tiny woman who had to be in her mid-80s told me how she'd motorcycled all over the country until she got "too damn old" to continue.  As I pulled away, she still had that wistful look in her eyes.


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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Komoot phone app

My son-in-law Alex is an iOS developer for Komoot.  Above shows a test I did on the way to work this morning using the app. Click on "Open in Komoot" to see the full display.  I've also used Komoot for hiking and bicycling, it's chief intended uses, but there's no reason it can't be used for motorcycling (or driving) as well. Give it a try; it's a great way to plan, record, or share your travels. Komoot is available for both Apple and Android phones, and the maps can be downloaded for off-line use, which is a big plus.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Product Review: MotoJug hydration system

MotoJug is a universal on-board hydration system kit designed by ADVrider.com forum member "lacofdfireman" a/k/a Dave and his wife from Utah. You can order the bag and straps only for $50 (shipping included) or get the whole she-bang like I did for $75, which includes the tubing, tubing retractor and bite valve, everything you need except the water cooler, which would cost more to ship than for you to buy.  Click here for the full product description, photographs and ordering information.  Below I've copied and pasted a short review I recently posted in the ADV thread. Highly recommended!

"Lovin' my MotoJug so far. Had it out for a long shake-down ride over the weekend. Not only did it remain 100% secure despite my best cornering and braking efforts to induce movement, but the handling wasn't at all affected, which I was a little worried about ahead of time, particularly as I have a mid-sized bike. Mine is on the left as my exhaust would interfere on the right. I have the tubing retractor clipped to my tankbag so it takes a few extra seconds to deal with the tube when mounting/dismounting the bike, but it's well worth it in the heat. (When temps don't warrant carrying this much H2O, I may use the cooler as a waterproof storage device.) The bag, loops and straps offer many mounting possibilities, and everything is constructed very well. The price was worth it to me to have someone source and build the kit. I went with Dave's recommended $8 cooler but I had to get someone else to buy it for me so I could keep my claim of never having purchased anything at WalMart intact...well, sort of."


"Iron Butt types: order two, but substitute a small funnel for the bite valve on one side, so you'd have both intake and output."

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Friday, July 17, 2015

A Job Worth Doing is Worth Doing Twice

A few weeks ago I get home from a long ride and find my left front turn signal dangling, the rubber mount having broken in half.  Hmmm, that's weird; wonder what caused that?  Impact with something? Someone bumping into it? Old age? No matter, I ordered a new left-hand mount right away, and being the smart guy I am, also ordered the right-hand mount, figuring that some day that one may fail as well and, if so, I'd already have the part on hand.

What I'd figured would be a 10-minute installation of the new turn signal mount turned out to be a sweaty, cuss-filled hour or more (thanks Kawasaki!), which would've taken someone with normal man-sized hands much longer (thanks genetics!). While I had the dashboard and windscreen off, I of course considered replacing the "good" mount on the other side, and, of course, decided against it because of the major hassle involved with the wiring I'd encountered on the "bad" side, and anyway, what were the chances the other mount would somehow fail or get broken anytime soon?  I fear the 95F and 100% humidity in my garage influenced that decision.

This is what I found at the end of a ride about a week later:

The good news is that now I know to an accuracy of about 200 miles the precise life of a Kawasaki ZR-7S rubber turn signal mount, and I've become twice as proficient at replacing them.  Yay for me. Freakin' yay.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Nothin' to see here; move along please!

It's difficult to get photos of oneself in motion on a motorcycle.  Below are some from the last few years, mostly shot by event or roadside photogs. You don't really need to see them; I just decided to catalog them in one place for future reference.  Yeah, I know a couple are just me standing around...

This and the 2nd below were taken at nearly the exact spot 3 years apart.

Too much civilization; get me outta here!

T'was a slow news day obviously. Posted at my American Legion hall.

Photo by Rod Don

Don't distract me with your camera; I'm trying to not ride into that stream.

Can you can spot the error in this image?

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Thursday, June 04, 2015

Pro Hill Climb This Weekend!

This Sunday, June 7th AMA professional hill climb returns to the 300-foot hill at White Rose Motorcycle Club's facility near Jefferson, PA. I've attended this event a few times previously and I hope to make this one. If you've never watched a real hill climb, you should. It's one of the oldest forms of motorcycling competition, and also one of the toughest...and most basic: fastest to the top wins (or furthest, if the hill beats everyone). A couple of jumps on the way up make it even more interesting, particularly as the riders are usually on the very edge of control as they blast up. Those who crest the hill with momentum to spare take a final huge leap.  The first rider launches at 12:30 PM, rain or shine. It's easy to plot a nice twisty, back road route to the event.  More event info on the club's website.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Motel, Motor-Tel, wait...what?

This seems so wrong on so many levels, not the least of which are physics and common sense, but hey, may great ideas were spurned in their day.  I wouldn't sleep in it, but perhaps it would come in handy as a sail in the event of an empty fuel tank.  For more info, check out http://www.mobed.eu/.

No joke; they're actually trying to sell this product.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dealer Enthusiasm

About 150 miles into yesterday's ride, I was looking for a suitable rest and hydration stop when I passed a large Harley dealer with a lot full of motorcycles and people, and a BBQ vendor going full blast.  A quick 180 and I parked up.  I've passed Chesapeake Harley-Davidson  in Maryland dozens of time previously, and these weekend gatherings always seem to be happening. There were picnic tables under a tent, rocking chairs on the shaded front porch, food and drink (non-alcoholic I'm happy to report), and a mobile stage for the band that I imagine followed later.  The dealership is impeccably clean and the employees were friendly without feeling the need to put on the sales pitch. Large flat parking lot that even had a roundabout to keep traffic flowing in and out. Quite the oasis for riders. I was there for about 45 minutes and watched 40-50 bikes come and go.  And I know this isn't all that unusual for H-D dealers. Which had me wondering why none of the Big Four Japanese or Euro dealers near me do anything similar.  Sure, most dealers have an open house or a special event or two each year, but nothing consistent, nothing I know I can count on during any given ride for a little break. All it would take are clean restrooms and drinking water. I'm not a "lifestyle" rider, and I know that's a little part of it, but c'mon man, show a little enthusiasm for motorcycling and motorcyclists! And as I'm sure the H-D shops well know, having more riders hanging out, walking by those shiny new machines on the sales floor, leads to a few more sales.  Know ye of such shops?

"One of these things is not like the others..."

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Scottish Games tomorrow!

While not a motorcycle event per se, the 55th annual Scottish Games and Gathering of the Clans being held at the Fair Hill, Maryland Natural Resources Management Area tomorrow. It's a huge, unique one-day event that would be an excellent excuse (as if you needed one) to take a ride. Motorcycles usually are afforded a nice parking area, too. As 18th Century Scottish explorer Alexander Mackenzie is my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather on my mother's side, I claim this tenuous Scottish heritage this one day each year. Among the attractions are the caber-toss, sheaf-toss, sheep dog demonstrations, marching band competitions, bagpipes galore, and of course more red-haired folks in one place than you're likely to see anywhere outside of Scotland itself. There will also be food and Scottish-product vendors, plus plenty of McEwan's Strong Ale, so take it easy if you're arriving on two wheels OK?  See ya there!

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Mid-Week Ride Report

Wednesday seemed as good a day as any to ditch work in favor of a long day-ride through the Amish countryside.  It was also the first day of my motorcycle club's annual rally HQ'd in Bird-In-Hand, PA, so I checked in there as well.

My famous map/nav skills took me down a gravelly road for a couple of miles.

Obligatory Pennsylvania covered bridge shot.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Well, that's 100,000 done.

OK, it's 62,000 miles, but that's 100,000 km to the rest of the civilized world.  Pulling off to document the event on the way home from work yesterday was mandatory, even though it was in a somewhat precarious location.  Disclosure: only 61,999 of those miles are mine; it had 1 mile on the odometer when I headed out from the dealer on my test ride 11 years ago.

Friday, May 01, 2015

1st Ever Triple-Backflip Completed

Not by me. :^)  By Aussie Josh Sheehan on April 28th at Travis Pastrana's facility. Love this quote from the video: "There's only two outcome: roll away on two wheels, or roll away on four wheels..." The helmet cam view is pretty awesome, too.  There's not much dirt bike content on Tilted Horizons, much less freestyle stuff, but I think this is a worthy exception.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

2015 AMCA Meet, Oley, PA

This past Saturday I rode up to the Antique Motorcycle Club of America's annual meet in Oley, Pennsylvania.  Two days later, my legs are still sore from repeated crouching down to shoot photos of so much great vintage iron; everything from Concours-quality restorations to bikes that looked as if they were just unearthed from the back of a barn that morning.  More than you may think were ridden to the meet, too.  Below is a mere sampling; click here to see many more from 2015, and click here to see motorcycles from 2013's meet.

Don't see this brand every day.

Liter bikes aren't new; this model was Lawrence of Arabia's favorite ride.

Beverly Hillbillies meets The Munsters?

This had a number plate autographed by Jack Penton, too.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

MotoStays: an Airbnb for motorcyclists?

MotoStays, the web site that connects motorcyclists with free home stays in other motorcyclists’ homes, announces free memberships for another twenty-five days, until May 15, 2015. “We’ve been offering the MotoStays membership for free for the past year and the site has expanded to include twenty-six countries,” said Tad Haas, co-founder of MotoStays.

MotoStays is a growing motorcycle community that promotes and provides access to home-sharing opportunities throughout the world. The MotoStays network provides a convenient alternative to camping and hotels by connecting motorcyclists with local hosts along their route. MotoStays also features motorcycle-friendly businesses that offer accommodations for members at reasonable rates.

Launched in June of 2014, MotoStays.com is the motorcyclist’s equivalent to Airbnb; the difference being the overnight stays are free. Motorcyclists create a membership account and profile listing then look for places to stay. Using the member location, photos, amenities and accommodation details to see which hosts best match their needs, members then contact potential hosts to work out the details.

“There are lots of people doing this, and have been doing it for years; it just hasn’t happened in an organized way until now,” said Gaila Gutierrez, MotoStays co-founder. “What we’ve done is create a community that is based on reciprocal hospitality and consolidated it in a way that people can actually plan around. It eliminates the randomness and connects people who share the passion of motorcycling in a unique and interesting way.”

Haas and Gutierrez quit their jobs, rented their house and took off on their motorcycles for fourteen months in 2012-2013. Traveling over 40,000 miles through ten different countries, the trip opened their minds to a new way of thinking. Upon their return home they decided to build a community where other motorcyclists could take advantage of the experiences that result when you share space and a connection with other people and founded MotoStays.

MotoStays will be offering free one-year memberships through May 15, 2015. More information can be found on www.MotoStays.com.

If anyone uses this service, please drop me a line or a comment to let me know of your experience.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Finally, a real ride this winter.

Made a wrong turn on the way to work yesterday.  Funny how that happened on a relatively warm (~40F) sunny day.  Spent the day wandering around Maryland's eastern shore.  I chose that area of Maryland over my usual Pennsylvania haunts because the eastern shore roads get plenty of sunlight, so ice wouldn't be a problem, and they're very lightly traveled, so trucks wouldn't be a problem (this was a workday for everyone else, after all). Also weighing against PA is experience, which tells me that its back roads would be full of new potholes/broken pavement, salt/dirt/mud and lingering ice in the shady areas. It wasn't a huge ride, 205 miles, but it was sorely needed.  Since 2015 rang in, my riding had consisted of a small handful of commutes, and a few rides of barely 100 miles each.   I'm hoping the constant freeze/thaw/freeze cycle we've been in this winter is finally done, but March is a rather fickle month for the motorcyclist.

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Thursday, March 05, 2015

It's snow-go for riding this winter.

I don't recall a winter when I've ridden fewer miles.  I doubt I've done 500 miles since Xmas. Today's pic is typical of what we've faced the last couple of months.  So sick of snow, ice and salt!  I'll be shoveling as Daytona Bike Week begins tomorrow...

If my bike were an animal, it'd be a Sad Panda.