Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sweaty Palms Revisited

Motoboss Airflow Glove Review

When I was getting together the gear I needed to take the Motorcycle Safety Foundations Basic Rider Course, I had picked up a pair of Motoboss Airflow Gloves from the local Cycle Gear. I ride in Texas and I wanted some gloves I could wear even in the summer. Texas summer temperatures range from 80-100+ degrees. These gloves have a mesh backing to let air in. So, I thought I’d try them out.

The Motoboss Airflow Gloves were priced reasonably enough that I had concerns about the quality. I have large hands and it is hard to get gloves that will fit comfortably. I tried on the XL size Airflow and they felt just right. They were not tight and I had full maneuverability of all my digits. This was partially due to the stretch-nylon finger inserts running around the edges of the fingers. The label on the inside read, “Outer Shell 50% Leather 40% Nylon”.

These gloves do have nice air flow cooling your hands through the nylon mesh back while riding. They even performed well soaking wet, like when I took the MSF Course. The palms of the gloves have a padded layer, albeit thin, for comfort. They have an extra layer patch of leather on the inside of the thumb where your thumb grabs around the motorcycle grip. There is also a protective layer of suede leather across the knuckles on the back side. The Airflow Gloves fasten with a hook and loop style fastener around the wrist. The stitching appears of good quality and so far I have had no problems with them.

If you have been riding long enough, your hands have been hit by debris. Bugs, rocks, and the like can hurt at highway speeds. Gloves offer nice finger protection while riding and in the event of an accident. In the summer time in Texas, you can’t even touch parts of your bike without some kind of protection. If you need to make some type of roadside repair you will need a good pair of gloves. The Motoboss Airflow Gloves offer an alternative when riding in the heat to full leather gloves and provide more protection then leather fingerless gloves. Torch gives the Motoboss Airflow Gloves a M.M.M Rating of 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Ride on,
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Friday, February 27, 2009

Why Motorcycles Are Better Than Women

Disclaimer: Forgive me in advance for offending someone. That is definately not my intention. I’m only posting this because of the humor involved. I, in no way, wish to offend any of our women motorcyclists or women in general. I have just barrowed bits of this from various other sites and edited it to fit motorcycling. I am sure one of our female riding bloggers will come up with a list of their own of why motorcycles are better then men.

Why Motorcycles Are Better Than Women

A motorcycle does not care if you are politically correct or not.
A motorcycle doesn’t complain about being tied up.
A motorcycle doesn't care when you come.
A motorcycle doesn't get jealous when you ride another motorcycle.
A motorcycle doesn't mind being parked in the ""wet spot"" that it left.
A motorcycle goes good with leather.
A motorcycle is always ready to leave on time.
A motorcycle is never late.
A motorcycle never fishes for compliments.
A motorcycle will let you have your way with it.
A motorcycle won't complain about leaving the toilet seat up.
A motorcycle won't get upset if you come home with alcohol on your breath.
A motorcycle won't make you eat some experimental meal.
A motorcycle won't make you go to church.
A motorcycle won't make you sleep on the couch.
After you have ridden a motorcycle, you're committed to nothing.
If a motorcycle leaks all over the garage, it smells kind of good.
If you change Motorcycles, you don't have to pay alimony.
If you say bad things to your Motorcycles, you don’t have to apologize before you can ride it again.
If you twist your throttle hard enough, you will always get ahead.
If your Motorcycle doesn’t look good, you can paint it or get better parts.
If your Motorcycle goes flat, you can fix it.
If your Motorcycle is misaligned, you don’t have to discuss politics to correct it.
If your Motorcycle is too loose, you can tighten it.
If your Motorcycle is too soft, you can get different shocks.
If your Motorcycle makes too much noise, you can buy a muffler.
If your Motorcycle smokes, you can do something about it.
It’s always OK to use tie downs on your Motorcycle.
Motorcycle labels come off without a fight.
Motorcycle labels don't go out of style every year.
Motorcycles always feel like going for a ride.
Motorcycles always look the same in the morning.
Motorcycles always sound pleasant.
Motorcycles are always easy to pick up.
Motorcycles are easy to dress up.
Motorcycles are easy to get on.
Motorcycles are fun to ride in a group.
Motorcycles are never overweight.
Motorcycles can’t change its mind.
Motorcycles don’t care about how many other Motorcycles you have ridden.
Motorcycles don’t care about how many other Motorcycles you have.
Motorcycles don’t care if you are late.
Motorcycles don’t demand equality.
Motorcycles don’t get cold hands/feet.
Motorcycles don’t get jealous if you come home with grease under your fingernails.
Motorcycles don’t get pregnant.
Motorcycles don’t have parents.
Motorcycles don’t insult you if you are a bad rider.
Motorcycles don’t mind if you look at other Motorcycles, or if you buy Motorcycle magazines.
Motorcycles don’t remember.
Motorcycles don’t snore.
Motorcycles don’t whine unless something is really wrong.
Motorcycles won't blow you off.
Motorcycles don't care if you have no culture or manners.
Motorcycles don't complain about insensitivity.
Motorcycles don't complain about the way you drive.
Motorcycles don't demand legality.
Motorcycles don't get bad breath.
Motorcycles don't get cramps.
Motorcycles don't go crazy once a month.
Motorcycles don't have a lawyer.
Motorcycles don't have a mother.
Motorcycles don't have morals.
Motorcycles don't live with its mother.
Motorcycles don't look you up in a month.
Motorcycles don't make you go shopping.
Motorcycles don't mind football season.
Motorcycles don't mind getting dirty.
Motorcycles don't mind if you fart or belch.
Motorcycles don't mind seeing Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson flicks.
Motorcycles don't need much closet space.
Motorcycles don't need to go to the 'powder room'.
Motorcycles don't pout or play games.
Motorcycles don't tease you or play hard to get.
Motorcycles don't tell you to mow the grass.
Motorcycles don't think baseball is stupid simply because the guys spit.
Motorcycles don't use up your toilet paper.
Motorcycles don't wear a bra.
Motorcycles don't worry about someone walking in.
Motorcycles don't worry about waking the kids.
Motorcycles go down the road easy.
Motorcycles last longer.
Motorcycles never argue with you.
Motorcycles never ask for the remote.
Motorcycles never ask if an accessory makes it look fat.
Motorcycles never change the station.
Motorcycles never complain when you don’t stop and ask for directions.
Motorcycles never complain when you take it somewhere.
Motorcycles never have a headache.
Motorcycles never say no.
Motorcycles never talk back.
Motorcycles only need their fluids changed every 2,000 miles.
Motorcycles won't run off with your credit cards.
Motorcycles’ curves never sag.
No matter how many times you ride it, the motorcycle is still worth something.
Oil stains wash out.
One gets in no trouble for storing disassembled pieces of the motorcycle in the basement.
Road rash heals.
When motorcycles get old you trade it out.
When riding, you and your Motorcycle both arrive at the same time.
When you go shopping, you know you can always pick up a motorcycle.
When your motorcycle is gone, you just get another.
With the odometer on zero, you always know that you are the first one to ride a motorcycle.
You can always talk to your motorcycle.
You can choke your motorcycle.
You can dress warmly and still ride a frigid motorcycle.
You can enjoy a motorcycle all month.
You can have more than one motorcycle.
You can kick your Motorcycle to wake it up.
You can legally rent a motorcycle.
You can ride a motorcycle all night.
You can ride a Motorcycle any time of the month.
You can ride a Motorcycle as long as you want and it won’t get sore.
You can ride a motorcycle in public.
You can ride more than one motorcycle a night and not feel guilty.
You can share a motorcycle with your friends.
You can share your Motorcycle with your friends.
You can upgrade your motorcycle at any time.
You can't catch anything but “euphoria” from a motorcycle.
You don’t have to be jealous of the guy that works on your Motorcycle.
You don’t have to convince your Motorcycle that you’re a motorcyclist and that you think that all Motorcycles are equals.
You don’t have to deal with priests or blood-tests to register your Motorcycle.
You don’t have to pay child support to an ex-motorcycle.
You don’t have to take a shower before riding your Motorcycle.
You don’t have to talk to your motorcycle after you ride it.
You don't have to wash a motorcycle before it looks good.
You don't have to wine and dine a motorcycle.
You only need to get a new chain or belt for your Motorcycle when the old one is worn.
You rarely (if ever) find motorcycle labels on the shower curtain rod.
Your Motorcycle doesn’t care what you’re wearing when you take it out.
Your motorcycle doesn’t get mad when you ignore it for a month or so.
Your Motorcycle never wants a night out alone with the other Motorcycles.
Your motorcycle will always wait patiently for you in the garage.
Your motorcycle won’t leave you for another rider.
Your motorcycle won’t wake you up at 2:00 AM and ask you if you love it.
Your parents don’t remain in touch with your old Motorcycle after you dump it.

Ride on,
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Who Would Wear A Jacket In The Heat?

OSi Cool Mesh Jacket Review

When I first got my V-Star 1100 and started riding I was using a regular, non-motorcycling, leather jacket. Summer came fast in Texas and I wanted to ride with some protection on, especially being a new rider. I decided I needed to find a mesh jacket soon. Not long after that, I received an e-mail, (I had subscribed), from Value Accessories with a nice looking mesh jacket for sale in it. What really caught my eye were the color choices. They had a titanium color that would match the color of my Mistress, (my bike), and my Vega XT Half Helmet.

OSi Sports manufactures this jacket overseas and is sold through several retailers. I liked their slogan found on their website, "Designed by Riders for Rider Safety and Comfort." The Value Accessories sale price was extremely nice and they had my size in stock, so I ordered one. I choose the least expensive shipping so it would be several days before it arrived. I continued the hot commute back and forth to work sweating all the way.

The jacket arrived as promised, was undamaged, and my debit card had long been debited. I opened the package like a little kid at Christmas time and tried it on. It fit perfectly. Designed for the motorcycle rider, the sleeves were longer than on a regular jacket. I stretched my arms out reaching for some make believe handlebars and the sleeve lengths were just right. I also notice that this jacket had Velcro arm adjustment tabs on the wrists. A lot of jackets I had looked at lacked this feature.

The Cool Mesh Jacket had waist adjustment straps on both sides. The waist adjustment straps use Velcro also. Combined with the side expansion panels it was very easy to customize the fit at the waist. The rear of the jacket also has six-inch gusseted zippers with expansion panels as well. I unzipped them.

The OSi jacket comes with protection for the rider. It has built in dense foam armor at the elbows, shoulders and back. I am not sure how much protection that would give me, but it beats the alternative. The back and shoulder pads are removable and I have never taken them out. It feels nice knowing I had some protection at these critical points. The newer model version jackets available now have no pads in the back. The neck also has a Velcro closure for when you have the jacket zipped up all the way. There is also a zipper at the bottom to attach to OSi pants if you get some.

Something I was not expecting was that this jacket had a full-sleeve thermal liner that is waterproof. I unzipped it out to store in my closet for winter. While removing the liner I also noticed two additional surprises. The fist was a medium sized pocket inside the jacket located at the bottom of the jacket in the fanny pack area. The best surprise was a hidden pocket just inside the zipper on the left side. I unzipped it open and felt inside. Hmmm, just about the right size. I reached in my right front pocket and pulled out my Kel-Tec P3-AT in the Uncle Mikes pocket holster and slipped it in the jacket pocket. I’m no criminal; I do have my Texas Concealed Handgun License. It fit nicely in the jacket pocket and you cannot tell it is there.

The jacket has two layers. On the outside is a mesh outer shell with reflective piping. I like jackets that have reflective material on them. It increases the odds that the driver of another vehicle will see you at night. The Cool Mesh Jacket also has a mesh inner liner. The only issue I’ve ever had with this jacket is the outer mesh jacket material is real easy to snag. I stored the jacket in my saddlebag during the day at work. Being as careful as I could it still would snag on something every now and again. I finally resided in not being careful with it so I would not be so concerned over how well it looked.

Riding with the Cool Mesh Jacket on is almost like riding with no jacket on at all. Once you get moving it feels like you have turned on the air conditioner in a caged vehicle. Riding in the Texas summer heat it felt much better than riding in the leather jacket I was using which had no airflow. In fact there was no comparison at all. Do yourself a favor. If you ride in the heat without protection because you think a jacket is too hot, get yourself a mesh jacket. You can really feel the air coming through all the little holes in these Cool Mesh Jackets.

This fall when the temperatures started getting cooler I zipped back in the waterproof thermal liner. It changed the OSi jacket into a completely different jacket altogether. It is like having two jackets in one. It really kept the cold air out. The Cool Mesh Jacket functioned so good I used it well into winter until I could afford a real leather motorcycle jacket with a quilted liner. The OSi Cool Mesh Jacket is an extremely versatile jacket. Torch gives the OSi Cool Mesh Jacket a M.M.M. Rating of 9 on a scale of 1-10.
Ride on,
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Where Is Your Horn Button?

The D/FW traffic reputation has been notoriously bad, and probably for good reasons. There is one intersection in Grapevine Texas that I go through at least once a day Monday through Friday and sometimes on Saturday. It is the first intersection I go through on my way home from work. It is the intersection at Grapevine Main Street and State Highway 114 on the north side of SH114. Even when driving a cage through this intersection I have had too many close encounters and near misses to count.

Traveling west bound on the SH114 access road you come the intersection at Grapevine Main Street. There are three lanes to choose from. The far right lane is for right turn only onto Main Street headed north. The far left lane is to turn left on Main Street headed south or continue straight west bound on the SH114 access road. The center lane is to continue straight west bound on the SH114 access road.

Map Link

Street View
The problems start when vehicles in the center lane attempt to turn left onto Main Street headed south. They turn left in front of the vehicles that have opted to go straight through the light. That is the most common traffic mistake that you see at this intersection. However, I have also experienced people in the far right turn only lane going straight causing three vehicles to attempt to fit into the two lanes available on the other side of the stoplight. There is no telling how many traffic accidents have happened at this intersection. I have almost been hit three to four times in various vehicles, all when going straight from the far left lane.

There are several reasons that I feel that this happens. First is that people do not pay attention to the traffic signs. Unless a larger vehicle blocks your view, you can clearly see the sign on the left showing that the far left lane can turn left or go straight. I you scroll closer to the stoplight you can see it is also clearly marked with a large sign that the center lane is to go straight only, the far right is to go right only. On top of that, the arrows, although worn, are also painted on the road itself indicating which lanes can go which direction. I feel they need to add a solid line across the intersection for the drivers in the center lane to follow in an attempt to keep them from turning left. When will people learn that if you are in the wrong lane there is always another intersection ahead you can turn around at?

The second issue is that the coming from the opposite direction at the stoplight on the other side of the bridge, it is different. Going the other direction the far left lane is left turn only. The center lane can turn left or go straight. The far right lane is still right turn only. I feel that making it different on each side of the bridge makes it confusing for the sheep, I mean, drivers.

So, there I was nine months later since making my Fiamm Freeway Blaster Low Note horn upgrade to my V-Star 1100. I had just gotten off work and I was setting at the stoplight at SH114 East bound at the Grapevine Main Street intersection. I was in the far left lane; a few vehicles back, waiting for the light to turn green. I was going to go straight through the light and hop on State Highway 121 Southbound for home.

The light turned green and I twisted the throttle on Mistress and started to go. As soon as I started to enter the intersection, a large dark pickup truck of unknown make, in the center lane besides and ahead of me, turned left cutting me off. I slammed on both brakes at the same time almost coming to a stop. When I could see the truck was going to pass by with out me becoming a fender molding, my left thumb went for the horn button. My thumb, instead of hitting the horn button hit the headlamp high beam switch instead. By now the encroaching truck was long gone. I twisted the throttle, hoped on S.H.121 and was gone.

The good news was, I was able to slow down quickly and gracefully and had avoided an accident. Hitting the high beam switch instead of the horn was embarrassing. I’m writing this to remind all the motorcycle riders out there to be familiar with all the controls on their bike of choice. I knew where the horn button was. I panicked and hit the wrong one. Practice, practice, practice, until you can get them all with your eyes closed. Where is your horn button?

Ride on,
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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Midlife Motorcycle Madness Definition

Midlife Motorcycle Madness

mid·life mo·tor·cy·cle mad·ness (mid'lif' mo'ter-si'kel mad'nis)

n. 1.The quality or condition of being middle-aged and insane about motorcycles.
2.An excessively intense enthusiasm for, interest in, or desire of; a motorcycle.
3.Psychiatry: A manifestation of midlife motorcycle mania disorder, characterized by profuse motorcycle riding and rapidly changing and or hoarding of accessories.
4.Enthusiasm or intense excitement for all things relating to motorcycles or riding.
5.Crazy about motorcycles; Motorcycle Addiction

M.M.M.: An abnormally elevated motorcycle state of awareness characterized by such symptoms as inappropriate chrome drooling, increased riding times, severe insomnia and/or sleeping with a motorcycle, grandiose notions of anything two wheel related, increased speeding and/or volume of accessories, disconnected by long trips, racing motorcycles, fear of cages, increased motorcycle desires, markedly increased energy and activity of bike cleaning level, poor judgment, and inappropriate social behavior.

A severe form of M.M.M that may require hospitalization is termed hypermotodysfuntion. M.M.M also features symptoms of depression ("agitated depression") when not riding. Sufferers may also exhibit severe concerns or inadequacy issues over horsepower, chrome, leather, cubic inches, and torque. Victims of M.M.M may also spend too much time surfing the Internet reading forums, articles and reviews of motorcycles.

See also: Two-Wheelpolar disorder, Hypermotodysfuntion, Motorcycle mania.

Midlife Motorcycle Madness® Dictionary of the Motorcycle Language & Dysfunctions, First Edition
Copyright © 2009 by John Ashford "Torch"
Published by Midlife Motorcycle Madness. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Ride on,
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fiamm Freeway Blaster Horn Installation & Review

Alternate Title: Torch’s First V-Star Mod/Upgrade

Before I started using my ’03 Yamaha V-Star 1100, I wanted to give her a good "T-CLOCS" inspection. I learned about the "T-Clocks" pre-ride checklist when I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundations Basic Riders Course. You can download your own "T-CLOCS" checklist to print and use here.

"T-CLOCS" Stands for:

T-Tires & Wheels

While performing this inspection I noticed what I feel is a shocking omission on the MSF’s pre-ride inspection list. I could not find the horn listed anywhere. I even used the PDF file document search and it came up empty, so I knew it was not just my oversight. If you use their list I suggest adding, "Horn if equipped," under the lighting or control section.

So, I performed my "T-CLOCS" pre-ride inspection and hit the horn button. Mistress, (my nickname for the motorcycle,) let out a soft, timid "meep" sound. I laughed out loud. Then I remembered a real humorous thread on the V-Star 1100 Riders Forum about the 1100’s apathetic Original Equipment Model horn. Someone on the forum actually coined the sound that the OEM horn makes on a V-Star as "meep". I did not think much more about it at the time.

After commuting to work for a couple of weeks in stop and go D/FW traffic, I had to opportunity to use the horn. It was the classic cage changing into my lane without looking. For those who do not know, a cage was a vehicle driving on four or more wheels. I hit the horn button on this big, bad, Yamaha, V-Star, 1100cc monster of a bike I was riding and it responded with the anemic "meep" sound. I’m not sure the sound was even audible over all the traffic noise. I could sense the other drivers around me laughing. I knew then it was time to change out the OEM horn. It had, in fact, become the first thing that I wanted to change on the bike.

Not long after that I found myself in the local Pep Boys Auto store looking at replacement horns. I saw the Fiamm Freeway Blasters and grabbed a Low Note Horn. I figured the low note would give a larger sound, which was definitely what I wanted. I got home and read the simplistic directions. I also referenced the V-Star 1100 Riders Knowledge Base in the Horn section. It appeared that it was pretty much plug-n-play. Always remember, appearances can be deceiving. Your mileage may very, as they say.

I went to the garage and started the install. The first thing was to remove the pathetic OEM horn. It had only one bolt attaching it to the upper frame between the down tubes. Once unbolted, I pulled the electrical connector off the OEM horn and it was now off the bike. That part was easy enough.

I then compared the two horns. There were a couple differences. One was that the Fiamm Freeway Blaster wiring connectors were a lot farther apart than the OEM horn connector. I thought about this dilemma and decided I could do one of two things. I could cut the OEM plastic connector in half down the middle, or fabricate a jumper harness using spade lugs and wire. I reached for my favorite knife clipped in my left front pocket and carefully cut the wiring connector in two. My favorite knife was a Kershaw Leek Speed-Safe Assisted Opening Knife my wife had given to me for Christmas. I figured it would be less obtrusive than reaching into my right front pocket and pulling out my Kel-Tec P3AT .380 and just blasting the connector.

The second difference is that the Freeway Blaster horn is larger that the OEM horn. I held the Fiamm supplied bracket up to the bike mounting spot and noted that it was too short. Then I noticed the bracket on the OEM still attached to it. So, I removed the OEM bracket from the OEM horn and held it up with the Fiamm Horn to the V-Star. The bracket went the wrong way and the horn would not fit properly. I scratched my head, flipped the OEM bracket upside down and held the Fiamm horn back up to the bike. It looked like it would work.

I attached the OEM horn bracket upside down on the Freeway Blaster. Then I attached it to the bike, bending the bracket slightly to position it correctly. I hooked up the electrical connectors I previously had set free to the new horn. I turned the key on and hit the horn button. Now it sounded like a real horn with a much deeper sound. It was not supper loud, but was definitely louder than the OEM. You can hear a sound clip at the Fiamm website here.

I noticed that the Fiamm horn protrudes out farther than the OEM. I had read of people installing horns on motorcycles and not allowing for the fender travel. This would lead to the fender hitting the horn and damaging the paint or fender. So, as a precaution, I made one more modification to the Freeway Blaster. I took a hacksaw to the front plastic portion of the horn that sticks out and lopped it off. Now I was done.

As far as a review the Fiamm Freeway Blaster Low Note Horn works as advertised. I’ve had it on for a year now and works when called upon. Eventually I want to also install an air horn on my Mistress. Torch gives the Fiamm Freeway Blaster a MMM rating of 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Ride on,
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Vega XT Half Helmet Review

I started riding using a used inexpensive full-face helmet my oldest son found in a junkyard. It fit correctly and I had cleaned it up real well. It had no damage, just minor scratches and scuffs. My wife made the comment that the full-face helmet did not match the style of my bike. I was riding my 2003 Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic, which is a cruiser. Honestly, I did not like the idea of riding around in a used helmet anyway.

Thomas Ramirez
I decided to start looking at all the local motorcycle shops for a new helmet. I was looking for a half helmet, D.O.T. and or Snell approved, titanium in color to match my bike. One day at lunch a co-worker, Thomas Ramirez and I rode to Full Boar Cycles in Hurst Texas to look at motorcycle parts and accessories. Thomas owned a 2008 Yamaha V-Star 650 Silverado at the time. Sadly, he has since traded it in on a 2006 Ford Windstar because fatherhood was calling him again. He hopes to replace it one day so he can ride once more.

I still needed to pick up a lot of riding equipment so I was browsing in Full Boar Cycles and pricing riding gear. I was in the helmet section and saw a titanium colored helmet that was close to the color of my Mistress. Mistress is my V-Star 1100 Classic. I tried on a size XXL and it was loose on my head. I had read that different helmet brands fit differently and have certain head shapes that they fit well. I tried on a size XL and it felt snug. I saw it had the appropriate DOT decal on the back. The price was reasonable and within my budget, (read inexpensive), so I purchased the helmet.

I had a brand new D.O.T. approved Vega XT Titanium Colored Helmet size XL. I also picked up an Echo Products Helmet Strap Quick Release while I was at Full Boar Cycles. This would make the chore of taking off and putting on the helmet a lot easier. The Quick Release itself meets all D.O.T. Snell, and N.I.J standards for safety. Here are the XT Half Helmet specs from the Vega Website:

XT Half Helmet

• Meets or exceeds DOT standard.
• Fiberglass shell in traditional shape.
• Available in 6 sizes (XS-XXL).
• Zip-on/zip-off communication ready wind curtain is standard.
• Adjustable forehead intake vents allow for proper airflow in all riding conditions.
• Plush "Wick-Dri" fabric interior with superior wicking properties.
• Includes traditional tinted 3-snap visor.
• Vibrant color choices including Honda™ Gold Wing™ color match.
• Fabric Vega logo bag protects your investment.
Colors available: 16Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL

Since it was summer time here in Texas, the first thing I did to my new Vega XT Helmet was to remove the zip-on/zip off communication ready wind curtain and store it in my saddlebag for cooler days. It zipped right off as advertised and then I easily removed the helmet straps through the holders built into it. Next, I installed the Quick Release on the helmet strap. It installed simply according to the directions. I adjusted the two forehead intake vents to the open position at the top and I was ready to ride.

I used the Vega XT Half Helmet to commute back and forth to work on my V-Star Most of the summer. The plush “Wick-Dri” fabric interior lived up to its superior wicking properties description. It would almost dry my hair in the morning after showering and then riding the short distance in to work.

The Vega XT Half Helmet feels sort of high on your head. The section from the top of your head to the top of the helmet shell is probably three to four inches thick. It feels slightly top heavy giving me the feeling of being a Cone Head. For those of you that do not know, Cone Heads were Aliens on the Saturday Night Live skits that had tall, bald, cone shaped heads. I’m sure that if this helmet was involved in an accident you would not complain of it being too thick.

What I really wish this helmet had, is larger or a few more forehead vents. The Vega XT Half Helmet only has two small separate vents at the front of the helmet. They each have a separate individual plastic slider to open or close them. The sliders would be hard to operate with gloves on. The air holes were small, about the diameter of a pencil. In the heat of the day my head would sweat a lot. It became apparent that the adjustable forehead intake vents were just too small to cool your head effectively, at least in Texas.

The XT Half Helmet had a nice black tinted three snap visor. However, the visor sets so far up, and not so far out, that it does not provide very much shade. At highway speeds the visor acted like a sail and caught the wind and moved the helmet back on my head. It was more apparent with a strong headwind coming at you. The only way to counter act the helmet from sliding back on your head is to tighten the straps real tight. Having to tighten the helmet straps so tight could be very uncomfortable on a long ride.

When the weather turned cool I re-installed the wind curtain and it zipped on just as easily as it came off. It did a great job of keeping my ears from frostbite. I have not had the chance to try out the built in speaker pockets yet. The exterior color, finish, and apperance looks good. The finish is durable as well. Once after dropping off my seat to the garage floor a small scuff buffed right off. Due to the smallish vents and non functional visor, on a scale of 1-10, I would give the Vega XT Half Helmet an MMM rating of 6.

Ride on,
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Mistress

My Mistress is my motorcycle. It was time to take stock of what all this bike had on her. I believe that I am the third owner and the previous owners had really decked her out. It was a 2003 Yamaha Star V-Star 1100 Classic with 26,000 miles on it. Although a Classic model, She looked more like a Silverado because of all the accessories. Every time I looked at it I discovered something new. I had been keeping a running tally of all the accessories for quite some time and here is the list as best as I can discern, not in any particular order:

SS Customs Mid Range 420 Cam Kit (includes: Chubby Air Kit, Needles, and Jets)

Jardine Chrome Oil Filter Relocation Kit

Progressive Front Fork Springs

Progressive Rear Suspension Spring

Corbin Dual Touring Seat with Front & Rear Removable Backrests

Audiovox CCS100 Universal Vacuum Cruise Control

Kuryakyn Hypercharger for V-Star 1100 (vacuum is hooked up, but just for looks)

Kuryakyn ISO Grips

Kewl Metal Kewlock Grip End Helmet Locks

Star Motorcycles Floorboards with Heel & Toe Shifter

Kuryakyn Chrome Floorboard Covers

Star Motorcycles Billet Brake Brake Pedal Cover

Star Motorcycles Rear Luggage Rack

Barons Customs Sport Board Adjustable Passenger Floorboards

Star Motorcycles front Light Bar

Star Motorcycles Headlamp, Front Passing, and Front and Rear Turn Signal Visors

Clear Alternatives Clear Front Turn Signal Lenses & Amber Bulbs

Clear Alternatives Smoke Rear Turn Signal Lenses

Radiantz LED Rear Turn Signal Conversion Kit

Kuryakyn 7" Halogen Headlight Wave Cut Tri-bar with Black Dot

Kuryakyn Chrome Brake Master Cylinder Cap

Chrome Rear Brake Fluid Reservoir Cover

Kuryakyn Magnum Plus Mirrors

Kuryakyn Billet Chrome State Inspection Plate

Cobra Speedster Longs Exhaust

Memphis Shades Windshield

Memphis Shades Lowers

Laminar Lip on Windshield

Leather Three Pocket Windshield Bag With Braiding

Star Motorcycles Front Fender Trim Bumper

Custom Classic Hard Leather Bolt On Saddle Bags with Braid & Pocket

Easy Brackets Saddle Bag Quick Detachable Brackets.

Kuryakyn Chrome Neck Covers

Clocks 4 Bikes Chrome Handlebar Clock, Original Mount with White Faceplate

Clocks 4 Bikes Chrome Handlebar Thermometer, Original Mount with White Faceplate

Kuryakyn Chrome Mid-Frame Cover

Kuryakyn Lighted License Plate Frame

Kuryakyn Chrome Boomerang Frame Trim

Kuryakyn Chrome Handlebar Control Covers

Show Chrome Celestar Rear Brake Master Cylinder Cover

Kuryakyn Phantom Swingarm Chrome Cover

Avon Venom-R Tyres

Here is the list of things I have added or upgraded since I purchased her:

Replaced the OEM horn with a Black Fiamm Freeway Blaster Low Note Horn

Binetto YTX14-BS High Performance AGM ATV/Motorcycle Battery

Stebel Nautilus Compact Chrome Air Horn

Kuryakyn X-Tension Pegs

Replaced front Avon Venom-R Tyre with Metzler ME 880 Marathon

Replaced worn/missing Star Motorcycle Billet Brake Pedal Cover Rubber Inserts

Replaced one Cobra Dragster Long Exhaust tip, lost while riding

Battery Tender Connector to battery for Battery Tender Jr.

I will be writing reviews and stories of these projects and upgrades in the future. I will also be reviewing the riding gear I have picked up and used along the way.

Ride on,


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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Roses are Red, Legs are Blue…, What?

Alternate Title: My First Practice Session on My New Mistress.

No, there is no kinky stuff going on here. Mistress is my new V-Star 1100 Classic. I had just purchased her and had managed to ride her home in one piece. The next thing on the agenda was to get it insured.

I had filled out all kinds of online applications for an insurance quote to find out how much it was going to cost. In my searching earlier that week, I had run across a link to TWFG Insurance Services, a motorcycle insurance broker selling motorcycle insurance in multiple states. They are set up with several different insurance carriers. I had filled out their online email form and they emailed me back a reasonable quote through Progressive. My wife called them and we promptly had the insurance policy in effect.

Now that we had the bike insured it was time to practice riding. I would worry about getting the title and registration transferred over next week. I tossed on the used helmet I was temporarily using, my non-motorcycling jacket and hopped on the shiny V-Star. I was going to head up to one of the local school parking lots to practice, stops, turns, and take offs.

I let out the clutch to leave my driveway giving the bike enough throttle not to kill the engine. I was turning right out of my driveway. There is a dividing island with grass, trees, and regular curbs that starts right at my driveway. It divides our street up from that point on up to the main entrance to my subdivision.

Well, I took the right hand turn a little too wide. Maybe not just a little. Before I knew it, my bike was tracking towards the gutter and too close to the curb of the island. My MSF Basic Riding Course training kicked in about target fixation and I looked beyond to where I wanted to be, anywhere besides next to or hitting that curb. I mean, In the center of the street ahead.

My left floorboard must have just caught the curb. Mind you that I am not really traveling that fast, having just pulled out of my driveway. OK, probably faster than I should have been making a sharp right turn. This is where it got interesting. As near as I can tell, when the left floorboard caught, the front wheel, which is attached directly to the handlebars for you non-motorcyclists, slammed hard left. My hands were no longer holding those grips on those said handlebars. I suddenly felt a sharp pain from my left inner thigh just above where my knee bends. This all happened real fast, in a matter of seconds.

Right after the handlebar bottomed out on my thigh, the gyroscopic force of the motorcycle made the front wheel, with handlebars, whip straight again. Just as they straightened out somehow I managed to grab a hold of the handlebar grips again, gained control, and headed down the center of the lane. If the bike had not had a driver’s backrest I probably would have flipped off the back of the bike. I did the natural and looked around sheepishly to see if anyone had witnessed this miracle. Or, maybe I should call it an embarrassing spectacle.

I continued up to the local school parking lot as planned. I practiced stopping and then taking off right or left like I was at an intersection. Right hand turns seemed to give me the hardest time because the bike wanted to swing wide. I kept practicing until I got it down. I’m sure people in cages driving by that saw me going in circles thought I was crazy. After practicing a good while, I headed back to the house.

I did not think too much more about the incident, other than an aching feeling from my left thigh, until I went to take a shower that night. Most of my whole left thigh was a dark blue, almost black in color. Now I knew why my thigh was aching. A couple of weeks later it was just a yellowish brown in color and my wife saw it and had a fit. I just shrugged it off, and sadly noted how much longer it takes my body to heal, as I get older.

Ride on,
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The First Ride Home

I had just purchased a 2003 V-Star 1100 Classic. I had the title and two sets of keys. I grabbed my leather jacket, which was not a real motorcycle jacket, and put on the black full-face helmet that my son had found in a junkyard. It was time to head for home. My wife would be following me in our 1998 Ford Explorer the 40 something miles back.

The first thing I noticed while backing the bike down the driveway was how heavy the bike was. It felt three times as heavy as the bike I used in the MSF Basic Riders Course. I'm 6'2" and weigh a good 200 something and I had to be careful not to lean it so far over that I could not get it back upright. I managed to finesse her backwards down into the street and was ready to take off.

I started her up and she roared to life underneath me. I let off the clutch and, promptly killed the engine. Hmmm, I needed to get used to that clutch and the friction zone. I took off from the first stop sign with no incident and decided to go to a parking lot to practice before taking her out on 635, the local multi-lane racetrack, I mean Interstate. I635, or LBJ as it is sometimes non-affectionately called, was named after Lynden B. Johnson and is a large freeway that circles part of north Dallas Texas. I drove for several blocks out of the neighborhood and on up to the main thoroughfare. I turned right and headed away from the direction of the Interstate and looked for a parking lot to pull into.

I pulled left into an empty parking lot with my wife following right behind. I came to a stop and turned off the bike and she asked if everything was all right. I assured her everything was fine and that I just wanted to get used to the clutch better and make a couple adjustments. I adjusted the mirrors noting that the handlebars seemed perfect for me. The previous owner must have been the same size, which would save me having to make a lot of adjustments later. Now that I could see behind me in the mirrors, I was ready to go. I started the bike back up and cautiously headed back to 635.

I came to the stoplight at 635 and got ready to turn right on red. This intersection was on a slight upward incline. I accidentally killed the roar of the mighty 1100 V-Twin again by letting out the clutch and not giving her enough throttle again. The cagers behind me now are all getting a little anxious and I’m a little flushed from embarrassment. Thinking it would take me a while to get used to how much throttle to use to get this big beast moving, I quickly restarted her and took off rapidly and sped onto the windy Interstate.

This bike had some power. When you twist the throttle you better be holding on tightly. The driver’s backrest on the Corbin Dual Tour Saddle saved me several times. Occasionally I had been caught by surprise when twisting the throttle and the bike pushed me back into the backrest. I hated to imagine what would have happened if it was not there.

Fortunately, it was a weekend, so there was not as much traffic on 635 as usual. Or, maybe I should say, rather than one gigantic parking lot, the Interstate traffic was actually moving. It didn’t take long for me to remember about the wind advisory for the day. This motorcycle had a Memphis Shades Windshield on it. Windshields on a motorcycle are nice to have to keep some of the head wind off you. The bad part of a windshield is that they act like a sail. I was headed west and the wind was gusting from the north. When the gusts were kind of hard the bike wanted to tack to the left. My knuckles whitened as I tightened my fingers around the Kuryakyn ISO grips harder.

About halfway home I checked my right side mirror to make sure my wife was still behind me, and she was. Just then, the Audiovox CCS100 Universal Vacuum Cruise Control switches, mounted on the right handlebar control box, caught my eye. This got me thinking did it work? Probably not the smartest decision being a new rider on a new bike, I took my eyes of the Freeway momentarily and tried to figure how to turn the cruise control on and then how to set it. With my eyes bouncing back and forth between where I was going and the switches, I finally decided to just start pushing buttons and on the second try got the combination between on and set correct and the cruise control kicked in. I used my new found right hand freedom to make another adjustment to my right mirror and quickly put my hand back on the grip. I pushed buttons again and turned the cruise off. I was stoked; the cruise control does indeed work.

It wasn’t long before I was north of the D/FW Airport and came to the large two-lane left hand ramp that curved up and then down to Highway 121 southbound from I635. The MSF Basic Riding Course training for taking curves was going through my head, outside, inside, outside. I was in the right hand lane and already on the outside track of the curve. As the lane started to turn I was now almost on the white line and shoulder. I was not turning fast enough and probably going way to fast for this curve being a newbie on an unfamiliar bike. Then the training kicked in again and I looked where I wanted to go and pushed the left handle bar forward. The beautiful V-Star leaned and went to the left and I leaned with it as she responded to my leading. I was right back on track and in the middle of my lane finishing the corner gracefully.

It was not much of an eventful ride otherwise. The new bike and I made it home in one piece. My wife and youngest son later told me that I gave them a scare on the curve and also when a large truck had wanted to be in the same lane I was in. The truck incident was just normal D/FW traffic stuff. I moved into another empty lane, let the truck have the one I was in, and went around him. I thought it was a great first ride. The bike, she was getting used to me and I her. It was the start of a kind of bonding process. It was nice to have motorcycle now to ride.

Ride on,

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Hunt Was On For A Steel Steed

Now that I had my Motorcycle Riding License and new what type of bike I wanted, it was time to start looking for a bike to ride. My wife agreed we could use the funds from an upcoming Income Tax refund to pay for it. My plan was to use it to commute to work everyday which would cut down on our fuel expenses. This would also make my 1998 Ford Explorer available for one of my teenagers to drive. I would still need to purchase some more riding gear down the road.

I had already been to several dealers both new and used. I was also watching all the local inventories on-line through their websites. Two weeks before the Income tax money was to arrive I checked Craigslist one more time. My search was specifically for V-Stars this time since that is what I was leaning towards. One listing caught my eye. It was for a 2003 V-Star 1100 Classic with 26000 miles on it. The mileage did not scare me off because I had read of the V-Stars easily going over 100,000 miles. It had a short list of some of the upgrades made to it including cams, cruise, and chrome. It was a platinum and cream type color which did not look too bad. The price seemed reasonable considering the age, mileage, and accessories. It was also located in North Dallas, which is not too far from me.

The weekend came and I doubtfully called to see if it was even still available. It was, so I made an appointment to go and look at it the next Saturday. My IRS refund was supposed to come in before then by direct deposit making it possible for me to purchase it, if I liked it. It sure sounded too good in print to be true. I could hardly wait until next Saturday.

My oldest son had recently found an inexpensive full face black helmet at a junkyard. It was not in too bad of shape so I tried it on and it fit. It had a few minor scuffs and scratches on the outside. There was no structural damage indicating an impact of any kind, so, I estimated it to be safe. I took it completely apart and washed everything, liner, padding, and the inside. Now I had a helmet to use until I could purchase one that I wanted. The week before I had purchased a regular leather, non-motorcycle, jacket from a discount rack at a local Kohl's store. It would make due until I could get something better.

My refund came in that week so I withdrew the cash needed to purchase the bike in case I decided to buy it. Saturday came around and my wife, my youngest son Joshua, and myself headed to the North Dallas address to meet the friend of the seller and to see the '03 V-Star 1100. The owner of the bike was out of town at the time. It was a cool overcast day with a threat of rain. The wind was really blowing from the north and the National Weather Service had issued a Wind Advisory Warning.

We arrived at the address a little after the set time and no one was home. We waited in the Explorer for a short time and then someone drove up in a vehicle. He introduced himself as the owners friend and representative and opened the single garage door where the bike was located. Wow, there she was and what a site. He backed her out of the garage and let me look her over. He started pointing out to me a lot of the accessories that had been added to the bike. This bike was decked out. He started her up for me and she was loud. Then one of the neighborhood kids that had wandered up grabbed the throttle and twisted. He had to get after the poor kid to get him to let go. The boy was surprised by the sound and had not let go of the throttle. Did I mention how loud that exhaust sounded? Insert smile here.

I asked if I could ride her and he said no because they had heard stories of people test riding motorcycles and never coming back. I had heard these stories as well. He stated however, that if I had a helmet, he would gladly take me for a ride. I agreed and got the helmet out of the Explorer as he maneuvered the bike around and into the street so I could get on.

The owners representative , like me, was a large guy. At least as big as me at 6'2” and probably weighed as much, or more. The V-Star moved us up to speed effortlessly without a strain. We opted not to take her out onto the freeway. So instead, he made a large circle around his neighborhood. This allowed us to at least get her up to 45 mph, or so. The bike would gracefully get us up to speed in neck jerking time as you heard the mid level cams kicking in. I smiled every now and again while going through the neighborhoods. It seems that her vocal Cobra exhaust pipes made the car alarms go off as we made our way back through the neighborhood.

Far too soon the ride was over and we were back at the house where we began. I asked if he had the title and he did. I made an offer $500.00 less then the asking price. The owners representative replied no, stating that the owner had too much money invested in accessories to come down that much. However, he said the owner probably would not mind coming down off the price $250.00. Realizing that the bike plus accessories, despite the mileage, was worth a lot more, I made the deal. He got the title from inside the house, which had already been signed by the actual owner, and we counted out the cash together with my wifes help. He handed me the the OEM cams, a spare bottle of Mobile One Synthetic Motorcycle Oil, one of his business cards, and tossed me the spare keys. It was time to go. We left with me navigating the new She Beast home wards with my wife following close behind in the explorer.

Ride on,


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Which Motorcycle To Start Out On?

I had been doing a lot of reading about which motorcycle a first time rider should get. The amount of information out there is astounding. Books, magazines, on- line forums, talking to other riders, everyone had an opinion. Most riders suggest that you get whatever their style and brand is. A lot of people suggest getting a small used bike, the style of your choice, and after getting used to riding, purchase a larger one. Others recommend getting a larger bike so you do not have to trade up as soon. I kind of liked the buy big theory myself. It would make it a little more challenging at first but you would be able to enjoy the ride for a lot longer without wishing you had something bigger.

The style of bike you get is really a function of personal preference and the purpose of it's intended use. There are several choices of styles including; Sport, Dual Sport, Cruiser, Chopper, Touring, and Adventure Touring. Each of these styles of motorcycle had their own purpose and were designed for specific intents. They each had pros and cons to certain types of riding and conditions. Although similar, riding positions and handling characteristics vary as well. There was the bare minimum, “naked” bike to the completely decked out Tourer with everything on board but the kitchen sink. Come to think of it, maybe I did see a Gold Wing with a kitchen sink.

I had decided early on that I wanted a Cruiser. I felt that the American brand bikes, sad to say, were overpriced, so I looked mostly at foreign made bikes. I had no brand preferences set in stone, but the Star brand of motorcycles seemed to be catching my eye a lot. For those who do not know the Star brand is a part of Yamaha. They were sexy looking with tight lines and attractive curves. They set low which gave them a lower center of gravity helping comfort, control and handling. There was a plethora of accessories to customize them. They also had a very large, loyal, and dedicated bunch of riders.

I looked at all the local motorcycle dealers. Service at the dealers was hit or miss. Sometimes I was waited on right away and sometimes completely ignored by salespeople while I browsed through the new and used bikes or accessories. I even applied for credit with Yamaha and Honda on-line. Both turned me down. Looking back, I'm glad they did. So, it was settled, I would be buying used. I also went to several used bike dealers and checked out what they had in stock as well. I saw bikes of all shapes and sizes.

During this process I set on several different machines to see how they felt. All the V-Stars I sat on sure felt nice. Being a large 6'2” guy, I felt that a 650cc sized engine/bike would be too small of a bike for me. It would probably be just fine starting out but I wanted to get something that I would not outgrow and want to trade up too soon. The 1100cc size seemed to be just about right. They set right in the middle of the large cruiser segment. The search was on.

Ride on,


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Friday, February 6, 2009

Motorcyclists Make Safer Cage Drivers

It takes a lot more cognitive awareness to negotiate a motorcycle down the road than an automobile, or cage, as we like to call them. I have been riding my 2003 V-Star 1100 motorcycle now for almost a year. I have noticed some of my motorcycling cautiousness has rubbed off on my cage driving. This is a good thing.

When I’m in my cage at a minimum I tend to keep a better watch out for motorcyclists on the road. I am always taking my time to double-check my mirrors and physically turning my head to check blind spots and the lane next to me before changing lanes. Cagers have no grasp of just how fast a motorcycle can speed up and how nimbly they can change lanes.

While piloting a cage around I now find myself much more aware of my surroundings. When riding a motorcycle you are much more intimate with the road, traffic, and weather, after all, we have a lot more at stake because we have less protection. I find myself keeping a closer watch out on vehicles waiting to pull out of a side street or parking lot now. I’m also a lot more cautious when approaching a yield sign, stop signs and stoplights, always looking twice before proceeding.

I even caught myself slowing down in my cage the other day coming to a stoplight when it was starting to rain and the road appeared real slick, and the cage has anti-lock brakes! I find myself always watching the road for its condition and debris that might make navigation harder. I now approach cagers that are talking on the phone, driving erratically like they are intoxicated, or going slow doing a lot of stops like they are lost a lot more timidly. I try to give them a wider birth or go around when it’s safe to do so.

Even cage drivers that I know that have a relative or are close to someone who rides tend to be more cautious. I think its because they get to hear first hand of all the issues motorcyclists have to deal with. That alone is enough to make them a little more aware, hence safer. Take for example my lovely wife. She called me at work to let me know that on her way home from her job, when she went through a construction area on the freeway that we both have to drive through, she saw a gravel spill. How considerate is that?

I have come to the conclusion that maybe a part of drivers’ education should be to teach motorcycle riding to everyone. Then make them ride a motorcycle for a couple months. Heck, one commute on the freeways where I live in the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex would give them a real eye opener. Or, maybe they should just have to take a ride with someone to get a glimpse of what it is like to be on the other end of a loaded cage. I can say that the motorcycle riding experience has definitely made me a safer cage driver.

Ride on
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Midlife Motorcycle Madness is now on Alltop - All the top Motorcycle News

Alltop is a one stop news aggregator website similar to, and inspired by, Popurls. I usually check this site for the latest news everyday. They have everything organized neatly by subject. This makes it easy for the user to bookmark just the subjects they are interested in. The layout and color scheme is simple, easy to read, and navigate. Clicking on a link opens the complete article in a separate window making navigation much easier. You can check out all your favorite news sites at once on Alltop.

Rid on,
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The MSF Basic Rider Course Part 5

I left early Sunday morning to head to the next phase of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course. It was still raining and after being soaked yesterday I wanted to stop at the local Wal-Mart and see if they had a rain suit. I headed straight back the sporting goods section and found that they were out of rain suits my size. I grabbed a waterproof jacket at least, thinking that some protection was better than none, and headed to the class.

We got the motorcycles set up while the Instructor set up today’s courses using small flat top cones. We practiced more of the same riding techniques we learned from the day before. Then we added in some lane changing practice, which we all performed fairly well. Then, suddenly, one of the more experienced dirt bike riders dropped his bike making a turn. Funny, I always figured that it would be one of us less experienced riders that would drop one. Neither he nor the bike was hurt much other than his pride.

By now it had rained enough that my legs were soaked again. Soon the water started seeping in from the neck opening of my waterproof jacket. My shirt acted like a wick and just soaked it in. After a while of riding in the rain it wasn’t long until there was not much of me left dry again. This waterproof jacket was not designed with motorcycle riding in mind.

Then we moved on to the figure eights. You have to ride the bike in the friction zone making a complete figure eight inside a very, very small rectangle (60’x20’). The Instructor demonstrated it for us a couple of times and we were ready to try it on our own. Almost everyone had a hard time staying inside the rectangles borders and keeping the circles the same size. So far I found this to be the most challenging part of the class. We had to get it down to pass the riding portion of the course in order to go get our licenses. After a couple of tries it got easier.

I was still amazed at how well the motorcycle tires gripped the wet road surface. I did not imagine that with it being so wet and leaning the bikes over while turning at speed the tires would not slip. Once I got used to it my confidence in the handling characteristics of the bike went up and my abilities to navigate the bike through the various turns and stops went up as well. Motorcycles are indeed fascinating machines.

Soon the Instructor felt we all had it down enough to start doing some of the exercises for the riding test. He let us take a practice run first and then do the one that counted for the test while he graded us and the others watched. One by one we went through all the lessons. Everyone passed the course and the instructor passed out the paperwork we needed to go to the Department of Public Safety to take the written test for our licenses.

A week or so later I took a long lunch from work and went to take my test for the license. It was basically a rehash of the things we learned in the MSF Basic Rider Course and similar to its written test. Because I took the riding portion of the test in during the course I did not have to take it again at the DPS. They gave me a temporary paper license, took a photo for my new drivers license that arrived in the mail a month or so later. Now if I only had a bike to ride!...

Ride on,
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