Thursday, February 16, 2012

Caption This!

Caption this photo or attribute words or thoughts to those pictured (check out the Gold Wing rider!). The two that make me laugh the hardest will get helmet maintenance/storage donuts (US addresses only please). BTW, I shot the pic during last June's Americade motorcycle rally.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cold Riding Tips

Motorcyclists who never learned their mother's lesson to come in from out in the cold have likely read tons of advice about proper layering, maintaining core body temperature, and the never-ending battle with helmet visor fogging. Here are ten more items to consider, hopefully a couple are new to you. All were learned the hard way during many winters riding:
  1. If your jacket's insulating liner allows it, wear it as a separate layer rather than zipped/buttoned into the outer jacket. You'll be warmer and the outer jacket's main closure will be more wind-resistant.
  2. Protect your neck: gaiters, tubes, "cozies", wraps, scarves or balaclavas are brilliant for keeping those big arteries and veins running through your neck warmer. (They also keep you a bit cooler in the heat through shading, plus keep rain, flying and stinging things from getting down your jacket or into your helmet. My neck is covered on nearly every ride year-round.)
  3. Tape up any helmet or jacket vents that allow wind leakage. You're not going to use them in frigid temps anyway.
  4. A rain suit or waterproof glove covers can extend your gear's lower temp range (every piece of gear has it's limits, now matter how hi-tech).
  5. Never keep any gear, including helmets, in the garage/shed overnight. Even worse, if you happen to do that with any Outlast (or similar "phase-change" gel) equipped liners or gloves, you'll stay cold for hours, perhaps all day.
  6. Similarly, never leave your helmet, jacket or gloves on your motorcycle (even in tank bags or panniers) at stops of more than a few minutes.
  7. Avoid sweating like the plague. Don't put on those final layers until you're ready to go out the door. De-layer if you  stop en route to push a motorcycle, fix a flat, take a hike, dance a jig, etc.
  8. Assist blood flow to your extremities by avoiding restrictive boots or gloves (watch those thick socks or liners), or excessive bunching of layers in the knees or elbows. Ensure your levers are adjusted to keep your wrists as straight as possible (most are set too high).
  9. Keep your bladder as empty as possible. Remember that your body has to burn energy to keep all that fluid warm, and the vasoconstriction-induced "gotta pee!" feeling is very distracting.
  10. Be smarter than me, own a bike with enough spare electrical output to support heated gear, ignore most of the above advice and crank up the electrons!
Do you have any tips to share?

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Airing One's Dirty Laundry

A pinless, travel clothesline is a slick item for motorcycle trips lasting more than a couple of days. Hang it from trees, your bike, your significant other or fixtures in a motel room, and your "performance" fabric shirts and riding shorts will dry overnight; hi-tech type socks in about 24 hours. (You're not still wearing cotton, are you?) You'll be able to pack fewer clothes, and won't have to waste precious time at a laundromat. The best lines will have multiple ways of fastening, including velcro. They're inexpensive, pack very small and weigh next to nothing. Check Amazon or outfitters such as Cabela's and Eastern Mountain Sports.  While you're at it, pick up some backpacking leaf-type soap, which will work on both your bod and your laundry.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Breaking: Extra-Corny Fuel Update

If you follow my Twitter feed, you know I've been bugging my federal Senators and our lone Representative (Small State Syndrome) to support all efforts aimed at preventing 15 percent ethanol blend (E15) gasoline from being sold, at least until all the scientific data is in on its effects. Happily, there was a small breakthrough today when the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology reported H.R. 3199 favorably, as amended, with a vote of 19 - 7. The bill, introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), a long-time supporter of motorcyclists' rights, would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to seek independent scientific analysis on the effects of E15. The bill now heads for consideration on the House floor. No date has been scheduled. Automakers insist that using E15 will void warranties, lower fuel efficiency and cause premature engine failure. Despite those concerns, in October 2010 the EPA approved E15 for use in model year 2007 and newer light duty vehicles (cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles). In January 2011, it added model year 2001-2006 light duty vehicles to the approved list. Riders should pay attention to this list because no motorcycles or ATVs are currently listed. Motorcyclists should also be concerned that E15 burns hotter than gasoline that contains a lesser amount of ethanol. In engines not designed to dissipate that extra heat, damage in the form of premature wear can result. Although this is a concern in all motorcycles, it's particularly problematic for air-cooled engines found in many bikes (like mine). Sensenbrenner also introduced H.R. 748. This bill would prohibit the Administrator of the EPA from authorizing the use of gasoline containing greater than 10 percent ethanol in certain vehicles. Please write your federal Representatives today and ask them to support H.R. 748 and H.R. 3199. (Thanks to the AMA for quickly providing much of the above information through its Action Alerts program.)

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Monday, February 06, 2012

Revzilla's February Helmet Giveaway!

I bet you'd be happy with a high-tech motorcycle helmet such as the Bell Star Matte Carbon. I bet you'd be even happier if it were free. Hurry over to RevZilla's February contest page, create your Rider Profile, then wait for the lucky winner to be drawn. The First Prize winner this month will receive not only the Bell Star Matte Carbon helmet, but also a Transitions face shield, total value $769.90! 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, sport-touring or sportbiking 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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Friday, February 03, 2012

Product Eval: TomTom Rider GPS

Here's a good overview of the TomTom Rider GPS for motorcycle use by a fellow member of the Motorcycle Sport Touring Association (MSTA): Product Eval: TomTom Rider GPS

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