Thursday, January 23, 2014

TT: Full Throttle

TT: Full Throttle is Toronto author Nicole Winters' first published novel. Though it was written with "reluctant young adult" readers in mind, and I have no doubt it's a great piece for that audience, it's a great read for anyone, even avid adult readers.  The protagonist, Scott, wants to fulfill his late father's dream of racing the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Race.  Scott and his friends-cum-newbie pit crew travel from British Columbia to the IoM with the goal of qualifying to race in the TT.  

For background research for her book, Ms. Winters attended the IoM in 2010 and 2011 and interviewed organizers, riders, pit crew members, et al.  She even toured the 37 3/4 mile/200+ corner course with a former TT champion and volunteered as a roadside marshal.

Check out the author's website for more info and reviews and high praise from IoM TT riders. The book was resealed in Canada last Fall, with the U.S. release scheduled for March 2014. I suggest ordering the book by clicking thru to Amazon from Ms. Winters' website. 

TT: Full Throttle
  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: James Lorimer; Reprint edition (March 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1459405161
  • ISBN-13: 978-1459405165

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Why Own A Vintage Motorcycle?

There are countless reasons to own a motorcycle. The freedom, the economy, the cost, the sense of excitement - it all adds up to a connection with travel and the road that you’re unlikely to experience in a car. If you find a reason to own an old motorcycle, the experience can be even more enjoyable - the simple mechanics and pure ‘seat of the pants’ riding is addictive and can often lead to a love affair with vintage motorcycles. Here are 5 reasons to invest in and ride an old motorcycle.


There is a definable sense of camaraderie within the riding community, and even more so if you have an old motorcycle. Parts get shared, tips exchanged and anecdotes swapped. It provides an involved and immersive sense of being involved in something, and regular meetups and social events help to contribute to the enjoyment of being part of something everyone can relate to.


With an old motorcycle it’s likely that the repairs will cost far less than more modern bikes. Old fashioned carburettor systems are relatively easy to work on, and have a number of benefits over modern fuel injectors when it comes to tools, access and sourcing parts. Repairs either done by yourself or a mechanic can also be completed fairly quickly.

Smell, Atmosphere and Sense of Occasion

You more or less know that if you try to start your modern motorcycle in the wet or cold, everything will be fine. They’ll be no glitches, no hiccups and no sense of drama. However perfect that might seem, it is sometimes the temperamentality of vintage and old motorcycles that give them their charm and character. Their sound, the smell of grease and the sense of occasion every time you ride one is part of their attraction - and part of the sense of nostalgia many people have when it comes to their most treasured possessions.

Gain in Value

Because they are easy to work on, many people can buy old motorcycles for a small sum and increase their value by restoring them to their former glory. Although the costs of restoring compared to their ultimate sale value must be borne in mind, if there is an old motorcycle which has seen daily use their value is likely to remain relatively stable.

Style and Substance

There’s no doubt about it, having an old motorcycle in truly excellent condition will turn heads no matter where you go. There’s something recognizably refined and stylish about it - old motorcycles have a look and feel you can’t find these days even in the more modern replicas of cafe racers, choppers or old school bobbers. The associated lifestyle, clothing, music and films can often be intrinsically linked to the motorcycle you own. Companies such as Deus Machina are a good place to go for more information.

About the Author

This post was created by Infinity Motorcycles – stocking the fullest range of motorcycle clothing, accessories, luggage and care products for motorcycle riding. We have 10 UK branches from Southampton to York, and you can be sure of quality and excellent service when you visit any one of them.

Please do get in touch if you’d like any more information. Alternatively, find out what we stock in our onlineshop.

Photo credits: Tilted Horizons

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

The million mile motorcyclist, Glenn Turple!

Photo Credits:

Glenn Turple of Alberta, Canada, was only eighteen when he bought his first motorbike, a 1926 Harley Davidson – even in 1946 it was a bargain at only $25 but he never even rode it; he fixed it then went away on a summer job and when he came back his brother Rex had broken it again!

But this was the beginning of one man’s love affair with the motorbike and it wasn’t long before he made them his living, opening small parts and servicing business – Olds Motorcycle Sales – in a shed on the family farm. Although motorcycles in those days didn’t all have odometers, Glenn started keeping a careful eye on his mileage and soon was averaging over 25,000 a year on his various bikes with trips to places as far away as Los Angeles

Turple Bros. is born

After only seven years trading off the farm, the brothers moved into town, converting a house in Red Deer, on the highway between Calgary and Edmonton. They used the old kitchen of the house as a workshop and the business was soon doing well enough to keep them both occupied full time. Glenn always rode British bikes – Ariel, Triumph and BSA – until he bought his first Honda in 1966 and has never looked back. When the Gold Wing entered his life in 1975, Glenn’s mileage per year (and per bike) absolutely soared. The Gold Wing was designed as a touring bike and Glenn does love to tour – his 1984 Gold Wing took him over 215,000 miles. 

Insuring for the road

When Glenn first started riding, insurance was not as sophisticated as it is now and not everyone carried it. Nowadays, insurance is mandatory of course and everyone who uses the public highway must carry it.

With big bikes like Gold Wings people tend to worry that motorcycle insurance might be too costly, but of course it is not just the price and engine size of the bike that determines the cost, but the riding record of the owner, their age and experience.  Luckily all this can be done online and there are many sites that offer Express Insurance, the bike insurer and GoCompare to name a few. There won't be many motorcyclists in the world who can claim a total mileage like Glenn’s, but what the bike is used for is also a deciding factor on the price of the motorcycle insurance and also any exclusions or excesses on the policy.

Use as a commuter vehicle will bring a different quote from use as a leisure bike; accurate form filling is essential, as in all kinds of motor insurance.

Every state and province
Glenn estimates that he passed the million mile mark back in October 2013, although he has had to do a certain amount of maths to convert kilometres to miles. Since his motorcycle wanderlust really kicked in with the purchase of his first Honda Gold Wing, he has visited every state in the US and every province and territory in Canada.

His business is still in operation although now in much bigger premises and run by his family. Glenn is 85 now and still on his motorcycle – he says that as long as the temperature is above -10°C and the roads have been cleared of snow, he’s happy to ride anywhere. Now there speaks a true Canadian!

One of his never-miss dates in the year is the Calgary Motorcycle Show so it’s just as well he doesn't mind the weather. The show takes place in January every year and January on the Prairies could challenge the keenest motorcyclist. Glenn and his Gold Wing will hopefully be making the journey for a good long time yet.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Product Review: Auritech earplugs

You DO ride with ear plugs, right?  If not, you've got no excuse; wearing ear plugs can prevent wind-induced hearing loss, will reduce rider fatigue and, contrary to what many believe, will allow you to hear MORE of your engine and surroundings (e.g. automobiles).  I literally haven't ridden a mile without ear plugs since the first time I tried them around 1998.  The key is finding plugs that work for you among the many brands, shapes and materials on the market; most fall into the categories of foam, wax/silicone, plastic or custom molded.

I've been auditioning a set of Auritech Hearing Protectors/"Biker Earplugs" from Appia Healthcare, a UK outfit with extensive hearing protection experience.  They're available from retailer, which also sells a great variety of ear care and hearing protection products.  The Auritechs are constructed of soft thermoplastic and contain both a ceramic filter and a venturi chamber, which together are claimed to attenuate wind noise without muffling conversational frequencies.  We've had a lot of snow and ice so far this winter, so my riding has been limited, but after about 400 miles I can say that the Auritech Biker plugs perform as claimed.  While the claimed attenuation is a little over 29db, I don't notice much difference in noise reduction between the Auritechs and my "go-to" foam plugs that are rated at 33db.  Comfort is highly individual, with ear canal size and shape, and helmet interior construction all playing a part, but these plugs worked fine for me without a hint of pressure or pain. The Auritech plugs are much easier and quicker to insert than my foamies -- using the molded-in "handle" one simply inserts them straight into the ear canal while pulling the ear up and back a bit; no rolling/compressing required like with foam plugs. Unlike foamies, however, the Biker Earplugs won't be thrown away after a few uses, so some minimal care is required; AllEarPlugs sells a cleaning kit, or they can be washed in soapy water.  The plugs are supplied with a useful aluminum screw-top cylindrical carrier sealed with a rubber o-ring, which also has a split-ring for attaching to a key ring, jacket zipper pull, tank bag zipper, etc.

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