Saturday, December 22, 2007


Why do I like cruising? It’s about the freedom of hitting the open road, feeling the sun on your back and the wind in your face. Hearing the basso profundo throbbing of the pipes, and feeling the throb of that V-twin between your knees. You don’t have to scrape the pegs at every corner, of blast through every sweeper with a hard turn of the thottle. Oh, sure, you can do those things–and often do–but it isn’t esssential to the ride. Because for a cruiser, the ride’s the thing. It’s the journey itself that matters.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Why the heck would you want to ride a motorcycle?

I've heard that question a lot of times since I started riding in 1949. From my first ride on a ServiceCycle that I bought for $64 to my last ride last summer there was never any doubt in my mind that riding a motorcycle was the fun. Just plain fun. A pilot friend that I used to ride with said it was like low level flying.

From cruising across the great plains with nobody else in sight for hours to maneuvering through traffic in New York City, riding is always exhilarating. And there is that occasional time when it provides a high that cannot be described. It is a feeling of peace and unity with the surroundings I've never found anywhere else. It usually happens to me when I ride over the North Cascade Pass in Washington state. There is a place there that, as you round a curve on the way up the mountain, you see the high snowed capped mountain framed in the handlebars. You want it to last but, all too quickly, it passes. But you know it will happen again.

What kind of a life would we have without motorcycles?

Pack Wisley

Motorcycle Packing for a Short Trip and a Longer Trip

Small Gadgets

In my left glove box, I have a small pack with a good pocket knife, a folding multi-tool pliers, a couple spoons and forks, a camping can opener, a weekly pill container, a cigarette lighter and a small metal flashlight. Big 5 sporting goods sells most of this stuff at really good prices if you watch for a sale. The weekly pill container holds aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), antihistamine (Allegra), cold tablets (Aleve / Sudafed), caffeine, and melatonin. Long's drugs gives away the pill containers for free. A small camera bag holds a digital camera and spare batteries and flash ram. A small portable tripod. A zip-lock baggy holds 10 pair of spare earplugs. Ask around, everyone who rides long distances wears foam earplugs. Reading glasses (I'm not young anymore, I can't read a map without them). Sun block. A few hair bands wrapped around the sun block tube.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Garmin GPS Handlebar Mount

After staring at my Garmin i3’s socket-and-suction-cup mount for a couple of minutes, the answer turned out to be almost as easy as raiding the kid’s toy box.

It looked like all that was needed was a proper sized bead, a handlebar mount and a machine screw to join the two (Figs 1, 2, 3). So a look in the Yellow Pages revealed a local business whose sole existence was based on the selling of beads, and this was in a town of only 16, 000 people.

It looked like Beads-R-Us when I walked through the door. The woman who ran the place had heard it all before, so when I asked for a 17 mm diameter bead she didn’t even blink. And did the nice man want it in clay, glass, wood, ceramic or resin? How about colours and maybe place of origin?

She advised against wood because humidity can cause it to swell and make removal a risky job; glass and ceramics preclude any fine-tuning such as shaping and drilling.

I settled on a bike-matching burgundy resin bead of 17 mm in diameter (in one axis it was), all from the exotic location of Indonesia. So for $1.00 plus tax I was on my way. Grrrr, they came 5 to a bag. read more:...

See other maintenance procedures:

Brake Bleed

My First Brake Bleed for Maria

Today was the day I'd been prepping for about a month, with some of the parts bought months ago. I had, when I first bought the motorcycle a year ago, let the Beemer dealer whom I don't trust anymore to service my bike; do the annual brake bleeding of the wheel circuits and the bi-annual bleeding of the ABS control circuits in November.

So, Maria, my R1150RT was due again for the required annual bleeding of the wheel circuits for both front and rear brakes. read more:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Watch For Ice

When the potential for slick roads increases I make a number of riding adjustments. The first is occasional stops to assess available traction. I want something other than the tires telling me they are breaking loose.

I also decrease speed. Depending on where I am and what the weather is like it can be pretty dramatic. Other times it means slowing to the speed limit, which this morning meant I had instant company on my back wheel. I’ll pull over or just keep moving along but I usually can’t be coaxed to go faster. The creative driver though can influence me to go much slower though.

Finally, I choose different routes. Usually choices are made in order to have less traffic and always mean longer distances and slower speeds. But they are safer in bad weather. I’m fortunate to have good alternative routes.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Never underestimate a heavy load

Well I guess I found out the hard way about loads on a bike. I am on my longgggggggg.... trip to pheonix and loaded my bike up with my new T-Bag ultimate expandable (3.5 cu total) and my extra large River road saddle bags. And to top it off my laptop backpack fully loaded. All totaled I will guess it to be around an extra 200 pounds of dead weight (a guess!) I wish I would have taken the time to load up the bike and drive it around to test out before leaving on my grand journey. Instead I load it up Wendsday morning and embark (A week late mind you. Waiting for my T-Bag to get to me) to Phoenix.
So everything is going ok as I get on the interstate heading south, except that the bike feels real stiff and the front forks seem to flex instead of turn. I did crank my rear shock to the second to last notch, but didn't know if there was a way to set the forks for higher load. She rides nice and smooth at highway speeds and stops real quick too (bad traffic in Kansas city) its just the slow speed handling is gone.
All this information has lead me to believe I have overloaded my bike and I got to learn this lesson the hard way, cause just 2 hours after taking off from Grand forks. I came to my first refueling stop and as I came to a stop on the off ramp (which was rough and had gravel on it) I laid the bike down. Thank the stars I had the engine guard on cause the only thing damaged was the chrome on the guard got gouged and my mirror (which I was going to replace anyways). I also think I sprained my toe or bruised it cause it is swelling up and aches a bit. I will have a doc look at it when I get home if it doesn't change. Oh and my pride was a casualty as someone had to help me lift my bike up. Under its normal load, I would have kept it upright. Of course from then on I have been extra careful when I stop trying not to use the front brake for slow speed stops.
Then the real embarrassing thing happened that same evening. I am just out side Omaha (My first evenings stop) and I needed to read my directions to find out what exit to take. So I slow down and pull off onto the wide paved shoulder and come to a smooth stop, but as I put my feet down my left hit ground but my right foot didn't. And over I went, in slow motion, with me trying in vain to stop the bike from going down. I think if it was on video it might have been kinda funny, but for me it wasn't. The bike gracefully laid on its side as I rolled down the steep embankment. Again the bike wasn't injured but my pride was. I could not for the life of me lift the bike. I tried what I seen in the video and all that. I finally had to take off the T-Bag and my laptop case and then lift it up right. It went up easily and thankful for the video, cause I remembered to put the kick stand down before lifting it.

So the lesson I learned is to keep the bike lean and will use whats learned this spring when I head back up to ND from AZ. I think i will just put pillows in the T-bag.

Sorry for the long winded post but I am horrible at getting to the point of what I am trying to say.

Later. Heres hoping I can make it to Phoenix without anymore mishaps.
Plasma Blue 2007 Custom 900

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Heated Riding Gear
DO IT YOURSELF HEATED RIDING GEAR Feeling crafty? Here is an article that has been floating around the web for a few years now. I have tried this myself and it really does work. If your handy, and not afraid to experiment a little it makes for a nice Fall or Winter project while saving yourself a lot of money.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tracking Your Tracks Using USB Key

Trackstick is a USB Key-like device, ie, a device that plugs into your computer's USB port. When you're not connected to your computer, you can record your position in real time.

The Trackstick carries between 1 and 4 Mb of flash memory, enough to store up to one month of tracks. The Trackstick is a GPS without all the "stuff" (like a monitor, buttons, antenna, etc). You switch it on, and it records where you are with GPS accuracy.

Friday, July 27, 2007

1500cc Goldwing powered

Aiming at a unique synergy derived from the company’s vast experience in both motorcycle and automotive R&D programs and manufacturing, the conceptual study model is powered by a 1,500cc six-cylindered horizontally opposed engine developed for motorcycle application. The aerodynamic exterior and interior design inspired by a Formula racer were then carried over for the J-VX, an evolutionary version that made its debut at the 1997 Tokyo Motor Show.

National Parks

Monday, July 16, 2007

$50 Dollar paint Job
This guy (name unknown) painted his 1966 Corvair in his driveway for $50! The ingredients included two quarts of your favorite Rustoleum (yep, the stuff you paint your grill, patio furniture or lawnmower fenders with etc), some mineral spirits and foam rollers. Yup. The man painted his ride with foam paint rollers! All his work was done in his driveway and his biggest worry was bugs getting fatally stuck in each of the seven coats he ended up applying. Fortunately sanding took them right out.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Riding Tips

1. Keep a greater following distance, perhaps three seconds or more. Some authorities recommend up to a six-second interval.

2. Avoid complicated and congested roads and intersections. “Input overload” is a phrase often used to describe the presence of too much information to be able to process accurately. A good choice is to pick a route that contains less complicated roadways with less traffic flow and fewer turns.

3. Allow larger gaps when moving into a stream of traffic. Selecting a safe gap when passing another vehicle or crossing or turning at an intersection is an important decision for smoothly blending with others.

4. Make a point to check side-to-side at intersections. It is a wise motorcyclist that recognizes that eye movement and muscle movement (head and neck muscles in particular) become more difficult with age. A rider should take an extra moment to double-check cross traffic to get a good look.

5. Keep making good blind-spot checks. Traffic research shows that older drivers don’t check blind spots as well as younger drivers. An extra moment to ensure nothing is hiding in a blind spot may help reduce risk.

6. Have a passenger help you S.E.E. Passengers can be an additional set of eyes to help identify hazards and assess risk.

7. Keep windshield, helmet face shield and eyeglass lenses clean. Dirt and grime on a rider’s “window to the world” may adversely affect quick and accurate perception of factors such as traffic control devices, road markings, debris and other traffic movement.

8. Avoid tinted lenses at night. Any tint lessens the light available to the eyes and makes seeing well at night more difficult.

9. Wear sunglasses when glare is a problem. During daytime glare, good polarized sunglasses may reduce the effects of glare significantly and make identifying a traffic hazard easier.

10. Adjust mirrors to avoid glare from following vehicles. Sometimes a slight mirror adjustment may reduce the distracting effects of traffic behind you and still provide the perception necessary to identify hazards to the rear.

11. Keep the headlight(s) clean and properly adjusted. During routine maintenance, be sure the headlight is aimed correctly. Refer to your owner’s manual for adjustment information.

12. Avoid glasses with wide frames or heavy temples. Eyeglasses or sunglasses may be constructed in a way that creates a blind spot. Be sure the frames do not inhibit side vision or create difficulty in seeing the entire field of vision.

13. Avoid being in a hurry. It is unwise to make up for lost time by riding aggressively. Leaving a little early will result in a more relaxed, enjoyable ride and create an opportunity for choosing greater time and space safety margins.

14. Remember that the average age of the driving population is increasing, and you are sharing the road with others who may be experiencing the effects of aging on their operation of a motor vehicle. Keeping a greater safety margin is a wise choice.

Motorcycle Choice

15. Choose a motorcycle with large dials and easy-to-read symbols. Brightly illuminated gauges may be helpful for riding at night.

16. Choose a motorcycle that fits well and doesn’t cause muscles to strain because of an unusual seating position or because the controls are difficult to operate. How a motorcycle fits its rider may affect overall handling and performance at both low speeds and at higher speeds.

17. Follow manufacturer recommendations in the owner’s manual. Good maintenance will keep your motorcycle operating like new.
Personal Responsibility

18. Wear protective gear. The muscles and bones are more prone to injury and the time for healing is often extended for an older person. Using extra body armor may help mitigate injury should a fall occur.

19. Renew skills often by completing a Motorcycle Safety Foundation ERC Suite Skills Plus RiderCourseSM. The half-day of practice is always fun and helps keep riding skills fresh.

20. Enroll in the AARP Driver Safety Program. (AARP is the American Association of Retired Persons.) It is the nation’s first and largest classroom driver improvement course specially designed for motorists age 50 and older. (It is eight hours in length and costs $10. Insurance discounts may apply. Take the quiz on the AARP website at under the topic of “Driver Safety.”) Also, AAA offers a course for older drivers called “Safe Driving for Mature Operators” (contact a local AAA club for details) and the National Safety Council has a course titled “Coaching the Mature Driver” (call 800-621-7619 for information). See helpful resources below.

21. Separate alcohol and other impairing substances and conditions from riding. Over-the-counter and prescription medications could cause impairment. And don’t forget the possibility of synergistic impairment that occurs when drugs are used in combination.

Physical Health and Fitness

22. Have annual eye checkups. This is a good recommendation for anyone over the age of 35.

23. If 60 or older, be sure your eye doctor checks annually for cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other conditions associated with aging.

24. Have annual medical checkups. Being physically fit and in good health helps ensure the safest, most enjoyable ride possible.

25. Keep an exercise regimen to enhance flexibility, strength and endurance. Fitness is important at any age. Maintain good muscle tone and flexibility to improve the enjoyment of motorcycling.

26. Ask a significant other if they notice changes that might affect safety on a motorcycle. Motorcycle operation is a complicated perceptual-motor skill, meaning it is a skill of the eyes and mind as well as the hands and feet. Identifying deterioration or weaknesses in other areas of normal living that require perceptual-motor skill, whether in the workshop, in the yard, or in the kitchen, should be used as clues that operating a motorcycle safely could also be affected.

27. If/when the time comes to retire from motorcycling, buy a sporty convertible.
Boomers, motorcycles don’t seem to mix

By Gary S. Mogel
May 7, 2007

NEW YORK — The thrill of the open road is proving hazardous to some baby boomers.Allstate Corp. last month issued safety tips for boomers who drive motorcycles. Older riders need to take more precautions, because age may erode the balance, coordination and reflexes needed to maneuver motorcycles, according to a statement by the Northbrook, Ill.-based insurer.

People 40 and older accounted for about half the motorcycle-related fatalities in 2005, the last year for which statistics were available, compared with a quarter of fatalities in 1995, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Washington.

For instance, one of the world’s foremost cat experts, 58-year-old Dr. James Richards, was killed last month while riding his motorcycle — ironically, while trying to avoid a cat on the road. He had been director of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, N.Y.

Allstate urges boomers to provide extra space for emergency braking and avoidance, and to make lane changes more gradually. There is also a financial incentive for riding safely: The company offers premium discounts up to 40% for motorcyclists who have had no accidents or traffic violations for five years.

Summer Motorcycle Gloves 2007

Summer Motorcycle Gloves 2007

by Rick and Bill for

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month! Reason Why Lane Splitting Needs to be Legalized">Riding a Gear Lower

Friday, April 20, 2007

What is a Long Distance Ride?

What is a Long Distance Ride?
by Steve, Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Is gobbling up 600 miles on the slab the same as doing 300 miles on back roads?

That's the question riders are pondering on the Motorcycle Tourer's Forum today...

So... do you ride long distances for the sake of the long distance and live for the open highway with no stop signs in front of you? Or do you just love to get out there and ride for 8 hours on town roads and check out the diners along the way that are hiding in the woods?
What's really at the root of all this is how you define a "long distance rider". Is it defined by the number of miles ridden in a day, or the amount of time spent riding in a day?

I might be one of those rare breeds who's just as happy cruising 80mph down the super-slab as I am flower-sniffin' through a twisty two-laner. For me, it's really about the time spent on the saddle and the "therapy" of riding along without a care in the world.

If you can string up 5 or 6 biker bars within a 150 mile loop, and spend a good 12 hour day riding and hanging out at each one, then can that also be considered a long distance ride?

Must a long distance ride be a test of endurance? Or, could it just be joy riding without thinking about the time or where the road is taking you?
Labels: Long Distance Riding, Love of Riding

Sunday, April 15, 2007

bench set carbs

Lay the carbs on a table, throttle plates (butterflies) up.
Stick a flat blade screwdriver in the throttle linkage to hold it open a tad.
Straighten out a small paperclip.
Use the idle speed adjuster to set the throttle butterflies so the paperclip just fits between the throttle plates and the carb body on the downhill side.
Adjust the screw between the carbs using the paperclip as a feeler gauge to get the throttle plates exactly the same.

I know, it sounds jackass as hell, BUT if you follow this procedure the motor will pull even vacuum on both jugs at 2300-2500 RPM someplace... which means at cruising speed the mirrors are still and clear. Vacuum (on my Morgan Carb Tune) will be even at 3 places, one at as much RPM as the idle adjuster will give ya, one at like 2400, and one closer to idle. Believe it or not I can static sync and the hook up the Morgan and the damned thing is dead on.

Staying Safe on Your Motorcycle #20 - Danger Comes from the Sides

Staying Safe on Your Motorcycle #20 - Danger Comes
from the Sides Too

Packing Up for a Long Motorcycle Trip

Packing Up for a Long Motorcycle Trip
by Jeff Sinason Weeks before I'm ready to leave on a long motorcycle trip, I start getting excited. Often I get to the point where I can think of anything else. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that I spend the time getting prepared for it. I usually put this off to the very end. I’ve learned however over the years that this means that my packing never matches what I will really need for the trip. Proof, last year I was in Sturgis with nothing more than a sweatshirt and leather vest riding around in 45 to 55 degree weather. DUMB MOVE. Anyway, to try to avoid that I’ve started putting a list together of the stuff I need to pack for every trip and where I want to store it on the motorcycle. To help me build the list I put everything in categories to help keep it a little more organized. The categories I use are:

Things to keep the Motorcycle Rolling
Things to keep the Motorcycle Secure
Things to keep the rider going
Protective clothing and gear (Riding Gear)
Camping Equipment
Miscellaneous Stuff

Things to keep the Motorcycle Rolling

Regardless of your mechanical skills, on long trips you will usually end up having to fix something on your motorcycle. It’s just the nature of motorcycles. At a bare minimum I always carry tire patch and CO2 cartridges to perform those road side tire problems and hope I don’t have far to go till the next motorcycle shop. If the shop is a fair distance away you should have tools that would allow you to remove the tire and hitch a ride. Since I ride a Harley Davidson (not balanced and not rubber-mounted) I always carry a complete set of wrenches, Torx, and Allen wrenches, along with a bottle of LocTite to tighten up those parts that think it would be better to end up on the side of the road. I also carry a small multi-tool that includes a small LED flashlight because it seems I always breakdown after dark. In my tool pouch you can almost (important word there) always find extra fuses, an extra sparkplug and extra light bulbs. And the two most important things, zip ties and electrical tape. After all with those you can fix just about anything that would keep you from making it down the road. I’ve found that for most brands of motorcycles you can find pre-packaged tool pouches that have a good set of tools lined up for you. Sometimes the quality of the tools may be questionable, but hey all they’re going to do is ride around in your saddlebags and they’ll do in a pinch.


Things to keep the Motorcycle Secure

If you plan your trips like me (NOT) you don’t always end up staying at the most reputable establishments. It’s always a good idea to lock your bike and have some way of locking the wheels. At least that way you’ll keep the lazy motorcycle thieves from getting away with your bike. I always carry two keys for every lock with me when I travel. There’s the ones that I carry in my pocket or attached to my belt, and the ones I carry deep in my bag for when I lose the other ones. As for disc lock I really recommend them. They are small, strong and provide a pretty good deterrent. They don’t however address the case where someone comes with a lift and just hauls your bike away. For that you need to carry a heavy duty cable or chain lock to tie your bike to a solid structure. I personally don’t like these due to the bulk and weight that they add to the saddlebags, but then I have pretty good insurance to replace the motorcycle if it’s stolen.


Things to keep the rider going

Taking care of the rider is every bit, if not more so, important as keeping the motorcycle going. When we are out there in the wind there are millions of things that affect our ability to be comfortable and safe. Some of these I’ve discussed in other articles. First and foremost we need to make sure that we are protected from the sun. Getting sunburned on your arms, hands and face can absolutely ruin a good day of riding. I carry a stick sunscreen that has a SPF-30 rating and is waterproof and dries instantly. I use it on any skin that I have exposed to the sun. In addition I always carry a lip balm. Chapped lips can be a very painful thing on the road.

Both sunburn and chapped lips can sneak up on you without you being aware of it. Other things that I pack are a first aid kit that includes bandages, pain reliever and antiseptic ointments. Injuries on the road can become infected very easy due to the road grim that we are constantly hit by.

Perhaps my most important piece of equipment is my cell phone. I always carry that with me and make sure that it’s always charged. Today, there is probably no piece of equipment that is more important than a cell phone in case of emergency. I usually carry a charger for use at night and a 12v car charger. Luckily I’ve installed a lighter on my motorcycle that allows me to charge my phone from the bike. This way I never have to worry about being stranded with a dead phone.

While I’m talking about phones, please make sure that you have I.C.E. number coded into your address book on the phone. I.C.E. numbers are the first thing that emergency workers will look for In Case of Emergency. Having these number(s) in your phone can greatly increase your chances of getting proper medical care. Two basic considerations for the numbers should be:

Make sure the numbers are current. It won’t do any good to have a number that is no longer valid specified as your ICE.
Make sure that the person that answers that call has some basic knowledge about your medical history. Things like known allergies, blood type and doctors’ name. By providing this basic information the emergency medical workers will be able to make much more informed decisions.

Protecting clothing and gear (Riding Gear)

On long trips you are most likely going to hit every kind of conceivable weather. No matter how hot it may get in the middle of that sunny summer day, there’s probably some cold miserable weather waiting out there for you. If you’re in the middle of the desert you’re sure to run into some rain. After all you are on a motorcycle. To be prepared, I save all of the space in my saddlebags for riding gear. My usual list is:

My colors. Can’t ride a bike without those.
Leather Jacket preferably one that has a removable lining and good ventilation.
Chaps. Make sure they fit well and are in good condition.
Fingerless gloves and full fingered gloves
A couple of extra doo rags. I’m always losing those things.
Face mask of some sort. I’ve got a windshield on my bike and that protects me most of the time but in heavy rain, hail and the cold a neoprene face mask really helps.
Sunglasses and/or goggles. I personally like the convertible combos, which can change from sunglasses to goggles and have interchangeable lenses. My personal favorites are the SG-1 from WileyX.
Rain Suit. One of those cheap sets from Wally World won’t do. Sure they may keep you dry for awhile, but more often than not you’ll get 30 miles down the road and the suit will be flying behind you like streamers. Don’t skimp here. A couple of bandannas will always come in handy.
If the weather is going to be extremely hot then a polymer crystal cooling bandanna is a great piece of gear to be carrying. I usually carry this in a small baggie that helps keep it fresh and keeps other things from getting wet from it when not in use.

Of course as has been said millions of times “Dressing in layers is the way to go”. Being able to add layers and take off layers can substantially add to your riding comfort. As far as clothing is concerned keep it to a minimum. Carry enough for a few days and plan wash stops into your trip. This will help keep your load manageable. The key is to pack for all the conditions you are likely to run into but keep the load as sparse as possible. Get creative and figure out multiple uses for different pieces of clothing and the best way to extend the wear-ability of the clothes. After all if you get caught in the rain without your rainsuit, those clothes are good for another day. Aren’t they?



Even a scummy old biker like me likes to clean up every once in awhile. And since I often alternate between camping and motels I carry things to wash up with. These would include a towel, washcloth and those little bars of soap and bottles of shampoo you can get at most motels. It helps that in my day job I travel all the time so I’ve got a life time supply of those.

I’m also trying to keep the last few remaining teeth that I have so that means I have to carry my toothbrush and toothpaste. Since I’ve got long hair I have to carry a brush to get the rat’s nest that forms in my hair every day out. Usually on long trips I don’t shave, but I always have a razor with me. I just use the soap to lather up on my face instead of carrying shaving cream.

One last item you should never leave without is toilet paper. There’s nothing worse than suddenly needing it when you’re out on the road and not having it. I usually start out with a small quantity which would take care of the duties a couple of times. If I end up using that up, I usually restock courtesy of the next gas stop or hotel.

All of this is carried in a small bag that I always have packed so I never have to worry about it. If I use something, I replace it and it’s a thoughtless act to throw that in the T-Bags.


Camping Equipment

Camping equipment is probably one of the hardest things to carry and pack on a motorcycle. This is based mostly on the fact that it usually bulky and doesn’t necessarily pack down real well. Even when they pack down the bags seem to be longer than you would want. They usually end up being to tall if you tie them on standing up, or to wide if you try to have them laying down.

For a tent, I’ve found that the small two man dome tents work best. They are easy to set up, have plenty of room to spread out in at night (if there’s only one person in it), and they pack down pretty nice. My tent originally came in a flimsy nylon bag that I knew would hold up to rolling down the road so I replaced the bag with a sturdier one. My tent is usually bungeed onto my T-Bag and additional one to attach it to the motorcycle.

On the other side of the T-Bag, I have my mattress. As the years have gone by that ground has gotten harder and harder. I use one of those self-inflating mattresses that blow themselves up. While they’re not the most comfortable, it sure beat sleeping on the ground. In the morning all you have to do is open the valve, roll it up and it’s ready to go. I got a bag to carry the mattress in too.


Miscellaneous Stuff

I’ve always found that carrying cameras on a motorcycle trip can be a pain. The old styles (film based) have a tendency to take up to much space. And the digital camera require to much accessory stuff, like chargers, place to download the pictures and such. For a while I was carrying Advantix cameras, since they can be relatively small and take good quality pictures. Now I’ve never been a fan of the panoramic views but that is available on them. I’m now carrying a digital camera and have bought several different memory cards for it. This way I can use the cards like regular film and don’t have to carry all the stuff to download the pictures until I get home.

Other important items are a wallet, credit cards and money. Can’t keep going without these. And the one thing that I consider the most important, a notebook and pens. When I’m on a trip it’s great to be able to keep notes about what you saw, how the motorcycle was running, where I stayed and interesting characters I meet along the way. It’s also important cause if you’re like me and suffer from CRAFT disease (write me if you want to know what that stands for) it’s a great way to refresh your memories of the trip years from now.

Now that the bike’s all loaded up one last thing to remember is that with all the additional weight of the stuff you’re carrying the motorcycle is likely to handle differently. Remember to try to keep the weight as low and as close to the center of the motorcycle as possible. This will help keep the front wheel from getting to light or making the motorcycle a little top heavy. Make sure everything is strapped on real well. Good straps and bungies will give you a good dose of peace of mind knowing that your load is secure.


Be Safe … Enjoy the Ride
Packing Checklist for a Motorcycle Trip - Don’t Forget Anything!
Posted on November 19, 2007 by 123travel
By Atticus Fits

One sure fire way to ruin a great motorcycle trip, or at least up the hassle factor, is to forget important and sometimes seldom thought of pieces of gear, clothing or accessories. Seasoned riders often prepare a motorcycle trip packing checklist in order to avoid arriving on location without all those items that make a trip not only enjoyable but easy logistically. Avoid having to buy missing items at your destination and save time and aggravation while preparing for the trip.

Below is a list of items that riders can consider bringing for their motorcycle trip. Many of the items will depend on your own personal circumstances, the time of year and your destination.

Spare inner tube
Tire patch kit
Portable tire pump
Spare clutch cable
Spark plug
Chain links
Chain oil
Bottle of engine oil
Bottle of spare petrol
Small tool kit (key metric wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers etc)
Rain gear (Rain coats, Ponchos)
Helmet, gloves and body armour
Trash bags (For waterproofing and dustproofing)
Long sleeved shirts and long pants
Bungee cords / bike hooks
Sun screen and mosquito repellent
First aid kit ( plasters, paracetamols, aspirins, charcoal pills etc)
Contact details of motorcycle rental company
Passport (or a photocopy if your passport is surrendered to the motorcycle rental shop)
Driver’s license
Insurance papers
Travel guide(s)
GPS receiver
Torch Light with spare batteries
Matches / Lighter
Mobile phone
Chargers for the various electronic equipments
Power adapters
Phone list
Papers and pens
Hammock and camping equipment
Cooking equipment
Toilet papers
Water and food
Cash and credit cards
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Spark Plugs

How I Read My Motorcycle's Spark Plugs
By Jim Noss
This past weekend, I installed new spark plugs in my Toyota truck. So while it is fresh in my mind I wanted to cover the basics of how to read a spark plug, from the point of view of weekend mechanic.

First let's cover the basic functions of the spark plug.

The spark plug has two primary functions:

1. Ignite air/fuel mixture

2. Transfer heat from the combustion chamber

Now that you know what a spark plug does, lets discuss how to remove the plugs.

This may be common sense, but please allow the engine and exhaust to cool down prior to performing this task.

1. With the engine cooled, disconnect the spark plug wire caps where they connect to the plug inside the cylinder head. My advice is to very gently pull of the wire caps. On one set I yanked at the wire cap and stripped out the inside. This was dumb, but it allowed me to buy a nice set of red wires.

2. With the spark plug wire caps removed, I suggest cleaning out the area around the plug. The best way to do this is with compressed air to blow out the debris and crud that has accumulated. Please leave the plug in for this, the idea is that you want to remove the crud so it does not fall into the cylinder head when you extract the plug.

3. Grab your spark plug socket, I forget the correct size for the Victory plug, and remove the plug. It does not take much to loosen the plug since they are only tightened with 12 lb-ft (Foot Pounds) of torque.

4. Now is the time to perform basic inspection of the plug. A plug is the best indicator on how well your engine is performing.

First check for the following:

a. worn out electrodes
b. check the insulators for cracks
c. and check the color of the insulator.

As mentioned, the spark plug insulator color gives you an indication of how well your freedom engine is operating.


- A light to light tan/gray color ... Condition is: GOOD. This light tan/gray color tells you that the spark plug is operating at optimum temperature and that the engine is in good condition.

- If the insulator is white .. Condition is LEAN and engine is running hot.

- When the insulator has a black sooty deposit or looks wet ... You have an Over-RICH condition and possible Oil control problems.

Installing the Spark Plugs

Whether you are replacing or installing a new spark plug, always check the spark plug cap with a gap or wire gauge. The gap specification is: 0.8mm (0.032in).

I run the NGK CPR6EA-9 spark plugs in my 204 Kingpin. 2003 Vegas bikes use model: NGK CR7EB

If you are disciplined, you will put anti-seize compound on the spark plug threads. I never have, but it is suggested.

The torque specifications for the plugs are: 16Nm or 12 lb-ft (Foot Pounds)

I hope this article has provided you with the basics on how to read the spark plugs from your motorcycle. Note that the same principle of reading the spark plug coloration applies to all engines, not just motorcycle engines.

Contributing author to Cycle Solutions

and the Kingpin Cruisers

For more information:

For more Motorcycle Maintenance articles:

Before you ride - Motorcycle Maintenance

Caring For Your Motorcycle When It's Being Stored

Cleaning and Lubricating Motorcycle Chain

Do You Need a Part For Your Harley Davidson Motorcycle?

Frame Slider Design and Selection

How to Change a Spark Plug

How to clean a fuel screen on a Honda Rebel 250

How to Save Money on Motorcycle Repair

Keeping Used Motorcycle Parts As Good As New

Motorcycle Batteries

Motorcycle Parts - OEM or Aftermarket ?

Motorcycle Suspension Setup: Getting to Grips with a Black Art

Motorcycle Suspension: - A Troubleshooting Guide

Online Shopping for Motorcycle Accessories

Proper Installation Of Used Motorcycle Cables

Save money maintaining your motorcycle

Save Money on Used Motorcycle Parts

Saving Money Maintaining Your Motorbike

Secure Motorcycle Parts and Accessories Satisfaction

So, Your Starter Is Just Clicking

Take Care of Her and She'll Do the Same (How to start out the riding season)

Technical Service Bulletins (TSB)

The Cooling System

The Zen of Cleaning and Preparing Your Motorcycle After Winter Storage

Tips for Keeping up With Automotive Recalls

Two and Four Stroke Engines - Fast and Simple Answers

What Are Some Of The Different Types Of Welding?

When Looking to Purchase a Motorcycle Cover

Winter Season Come: Basic Steps to Winterize Your Bike

Monday, March 12, 2007

Golf Club Rack for your Motorcycle
Friday, March 09, 2007

The problem with riding your Harley or Honda to the golf course is strapping down the golf clubs with bungee cords.

Well no more. Rivco Products introduces the new Sports Caddy!

Just how cool would you look pulling up to the clubhouse on your Road Glide, wearing your bermuda shorts and your Le Tigre shirt, with a full bag of clubs on the back?

But it's not just for golfing, it can also haul your fishing gear, hunting gear, camping gear, this may be what you'll need for Sturgis.

It measures 10" wide at at the cradle, is 30" tall, and will accommodate most golf bags even wheeled caddie as well as most sporting gear. Includes upper and lower web straps with positive locking quick release buckles. It weighs less than 2 lbs.

The Sports Caddy is designed to mount on to Rivco's new Cooler Rack, that's the platform at the bottom. The Cooler Rack was originally meant to hold a cooler or ice chest, but Rivco was able to design the Sports Caddy to fit right on it.

The Cooler Rack is quick-detachable.

The Sports Caddy costs $89.95 (click here for more).

The Cooler Rack costs $129.95 (Choose one: Harley Davidson or Honda Goldwing)

Labels: Luggage Racks

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Oroville to Sutter ride

14 bikes took the AM ride to Sutter after our CMA Breakfast on 10 Mar 07. Hwy 162 west and south along East side of the Sacramento River to Colusia, see map:

Friday, March 09, 2007

How To

How to Maintain Your Motorcycle
Maintaining a bike means regular pre-ride checks, monthly checks, and then yearly maintenance, including tune-ups.
• STEP 1: Read the ehow "How to Check Your Motorcycle Before Riding".
• STEP 2: Check your tire treads at least once a week. Look for cuts and scrapes on your tires, which could cause a blowout. Add air pressure as needed. Many blowouts are the result of low air pressure.
• STEP 3: Investigate both of your wheels for loose or missing spokes. Check the rims for dents or cracks.
• STEP 4: Lift the wheel off the ground. Spin it and watch the motion. Listen for noise and move it to check for looseness.
• STEP 5: Inspect the controls for smooth operation, and watch for kinks or broken strands in your cables. Put lubricant on the mechanisms at either end of the cables.
• STEP 6: Check the sprockets for worn teeth and oil the chain .
• STEP 7: Watch out for missing or loose bolts, nuts or cotter pins. Keep your bike clean so it's easier to spot missing parts.
• STEP 8: Adjust your brakes so when they are applied fully, the wheel is locked (see your owner's manual for instructions).
Tips & Warnings
• Inspect your motorcycle carefully and fix things right away if you note potential trouble. That's the only way to spot problems before they cause an accident.
Follow a regular maintenance schedule using your Owner's Manual and the following list:
• STEP 1: Check tire pressure and visually inspect the tires before every ride. Check the wheel bearings once a year.
• STEP 2: Check the oil level before each ride. Change the oil and filter at least every 2,000 miles. Your bike will love you if you chage the oil and filter every 1,000 miles.
• STEP 3: Check the coolant level (if applicable) before every ride. Change the coolant every 2 years.
• STEP 4: Check the brake cables and operation before every ride. Check the thickness of the pads and/or shoes every month. Change the brake fluid every 2 years.
• STEP 5: Check the suspension and chassis for loose nuts and bolts and leaks. Lubricate the swingarm bearing monthly. Change the fork oil every 2 years.
• STEP 6: Replace the spark plugs every year. Replace the spark plug wires every 2 years.
• STEP 7: Check and adjust the engine valves yearly.
• STEP 8: Check and adjust and lubricate the chain before every ride.
• STEP 9: Repalce the air filter every year.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Sportbike Starter Guide

Sunday, February 25, 2007
Highway 33 - My 2nd Favorite Motorcycle Road

Monday, February 19, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

All Terrain Camera

All Terrain Camera

The Extreme Cam is a digital video camera that enables the user to capture video clips of their sports activities. After capturing footage, the user can replay the video clips on a television or edit the movie on computer and share the video clips with friends through Internet connection or write back the footage creation to the console for carrying around.

Capture video clips with sound.
Three selectable resolutions (640x480, 320x240, 160x120)
Video clip file format: AVI – 640x480, 320x240, 160x120
Two frame rates (15fps and 30 fps) for all three resolutions.
PAL A/V out for showing the video in the TV
With built-in memory and SD card slot for memory expansion
Low battery detection
Power-saving management
Firmware upgradeable


Multiple mounting design (bike, helmet, …etc)
Splash proof
Professional Helmet Cam looking Design
640x480 VGA CMOS sensor
32MB internal memory (NAND flash)
SD memory card support up to 2GB
USB interface A/V out interface

Keys: (3 buttons)

Shutter (Movie only) (one or two beeping sounds)
Menu (one beeping sound)
On/Off/Enter (two beeping sounds)
Buzzer for key tones and other alert sounds
Internal real time clock
Operated by 2 x AA batteries
Compatible with Windows XP/2000/Me

Monday, February 12, 2007

American Suzuki Announces Company’s First Pre-Owned Motorcycle Program

Suzuki Select Certified Pre-owned Motorcycle Program”, the street motorcycles and scooters, which have to be less than four years old with 30,000 miles or less to qualify, will undergo a strict 77 point inspection. Suzuki will offer the standard 90-day extended protection plan, roadside assistance, and extension programs for the pre-owned vehicles.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Great Canadian Motorcycle Trek
The Great Canadian Motorcycle Trek is a 13 week, half hour episode about 3 riders crossing Canada in 30 days.

National Parks

Video Clips

Description: What happens when you're foolish, and lack the basic sense of fear. this is a short clip of someone doing a front flip with their motorcycle off a ramp. Needless to say, it ends up in a pretty spectacular crash

This is AWESOME.. I think they are riding smaller VFR's but I have never seen anyone handle a bike like this... It's like ultra tight motorcycle autocross!

Following to close!
Crazy illegal speeds, the video camera is strapped to the gas tank, bike is in speeds up to 300 Kilometers!

Sunday, January 21, 2007
Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.

There’s a Quality in riding a bike that transcends all lines: age, economics, country, gender, and reason. It doesn’t matter what you wear, what type or color of bike you ride, or where you go. We all know what it is, we all share it. Rational words can’t describe it; it’s what you ‘feel’ inside you and around you.

ActualRiders is a group of folks who share this quality of riding. We share it online through this website and associated elements. And we share it in real life during local, regional and continental meets and group rides. We hope to continue annual rallies in places that inspire us to keep riding and sharing those rides with others. Remember, it’s not just the goal, it’s the journey.

The ActualRiders website and forum offer a central online interface for members to share discussion, events, news, technical matters, travel logs, and ourselves. As the group expands, the website interface will evolve. So check back for updates and news.

We welcome all riders who share our enthusiasm for riding and we hope you will join us on our journey.