Motorcycle of the future?

Ok, so this is pretty awesome.

Hoverbike is a beautiful, sit-on helicopter

Here’s the article:

This is the Hoverbike, a flying machine that is terrifying and awesome in equal measure. Unlike a flying car, which puts the rider in a relatively safe cocoon before firing him off into the sky, the Australian Hoverbike is a flying equivalent of a regular motorbike.

If you were to flip the wheels 90-degrees so they lay parallel to the ground, and then swapped out those wheels for rotor blades, you’d have the Hoverbike. You still sit between the wheels, and you still have a pair of handlebars to grab on to.

Otherwise, not much is different. The engine is an air-cooled 1170cc model that outputs 80kw, and almost everything else is made from carbon fiber or kevlar for strength and lightness (the propellers are Tasmanian Oak).

According to the makers, the Hoverbike is remarkably stable, and all parts are designed with triple redundancy should something go wrong. There is one other big advantage over a regular helicopter, too: you can wear a parachute (the bike also has a pair built in).

To control the Hoverbike, you use flaps to tip forward and back, twist the handgrips to control the flaps for yaw (twisting left and right around the axis of your spin), and just shove the handlebars down to roll and steer.

So far only tethered testing has been carried out, but only through caution. Apparently the thing “does not want to tip over.” This prototype took two and a half years to perfect, so you’ll have to wait a while longer before you can buy one.

Check out more info and better photos on the official website here.

Radio interview this morning

So I was on the radio this morning.  I contacted my school buddy Hans over at WEPM and asked if he’d be interested in doing a short segment about the Mountaineer Boys State charity ride that is coming up this weekend, hosted by the WV Post 14 American Legion Riders.  For being my first radio interview, I feel like it went really well.  I managed to only stumble over what I was trying to say just once!  Haha.  Hans told me I did well, though, and thanked me for coming prepared with details about the American Legion Riders, Mountaineer Boys State, and our charity ride.  I even sneaked a jab in at Harley riders, so mark one up for the metric riders.  LOL.

Keep the rubber side down.

Motorcycle Trip 2011

Well, last week was my big motorcycle trip for this year.  I’m gonna do this review in “highlights” format instead of a big long story style.  I would have blogged about it as we went, but not every place we stopped at had wi-fi or good cell phone service.

The trip was made with two of my buddies from The Living Room, Wayne and Dave, and one of Dave’s friends, George.

Day 1Start: Martinsburg, WV; End: Fancy Gap Cabins and Campground; Fancy Gap, VA

This was the day we really put some miles under us as we were trying to get down the Blue Ridge Parkway a ways in order to cruise around the rest of the week.  We were all pretty beat by the time we got to our cabin, which was late.  We actually thought we missed the campground turn-off from the Blue Ridge Parkway and turned around, back-tracked a few miles, then pulled over and called them.  Turns out we were only about a minute away when we turned around!

Today’s highlights and pitfalls:

  • Wayne losing his kickstand off his Harley in Dave’s driveway.  I was behind him when it fell off, but thought he had just ran over a pipe or something and drove around it to continue on.  The guys at the campground were able to give him a giant block of hardwood to carry and use as a kickstand, though!  LOL
  • Wayne running out of gas one the Blue Ridge Parkway before we got to our late lunch at Peaks of Otter Lodge and Restaurant.  After coasting downhill for a few miles, and then pushing his bike for about half a mile, he finally conceded and let me hook his bike up to mine with long bungee cords and tow him to the restaurant!  EDITED: In Wayne’s defense, he was trying to let Dave know for about 25 miles that he was going to run out of gas, but Dave’s headset was off.

Day 2End: Big Lynn Lodge; Little Switzerland, NC

Today’s highlights and pitfalls:

  • The phenomenal customer service at the Big Lynn Lodge!  They were awesome from the time we walked into the lobby.  Not only were they super accommodating about where we could park our bikes without fear of them falling over, but they told us the best place to park so it would be closest to our rooms.  Then as we were leaving to go ride “The Diamondback”, they ran out and told us they were upgrading our room from a single four-person room (two full beds, two bunk beds) to two two-person rooms with queen beds, mountain view, and nice flat parking spaces right out front!  Our rooms included a great turkey dinner and choice of breakfasts.  I would recommend this place to ANYONE who is traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Riding “The Diamondback.”  I know I mentioned it in one of my other blog posts, but now that I’ve ridden it, I AM A FAN!  Riding this road was like being on a roller coaster!  It wasn’t NEARLY as extreme as far as turns goes and was FAR more enjoyable.  I would ride this road forward and backward a few times just for the fun of it.  This may be my favorite short motorcycle road I have ever ridden.

Day 3End: Chattanooga, TN

Today’s highlights and pitfalls:

  • Wayne getting a new kickstand!  And then losing the spring off of it in the rain on the way to Chattanooga.  LOL.  Poor guy!
  • Visiting Bridal Falls in/near Highlands, NC.  We got lucky and just happened to be under the falls taking pictures when the sky opened up.  So another 10-15 minutes looking at the map and putting on rain gear and we were ready to head out… just in time for the rain to pretty much stop.  Haha.  Isn’t that the way it usually goes?

Day 4End: Cookeville, TN

Today’s highlights and pitfalls:

  • This morning before we left Chattanooga, we discovered that the bracket that held Wayne’s muffler on was completely broken through and apparently had been for some time, because the neck junction where his muffler joined the pipe was cracked about 60% of the way around.  He ended up staying behind as we headed to Lynchburg so he could get his pipe and the bracked welded at the local Harley dealership.  This was the worst pitfall we encountered the whole trip.
  • Touring the Jack Daniel’s Distillery was definitely my favorite part of today.  That was SUPER cool.  Being a Jack fan, it was neat to see the history behind the whiskey and learn what the actual difference was between the various labels they offer.
  • Having lunch at Miss Mary Bobo’s was also a very cool experience.  Family-style dining, awesome food, and an entertaining hostess.  If you’re coming down to Lynchburg, you might as well call ahead and make the reservation to eat here.  You won’t regret it.

Day 5End: Kingdom Come State Park; Cumberland, KY

Today’s highlights and pitfalls:

  • We visited the Cumberland Gap National Park overlook.  It was nice, but compared to some of the views we got on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it wasn’t anything spectacular.  There’s plenty of other stuff to see there (I personally wanted to visit the caves), but we were on a time crunch to eat up some miles so we didn’t have quite as far to travel tomorrow on the way to my family cabin.
  • Camping at Kingdom Come State Park was a lot of fun, outside of the obnoxious teenagers who decided they wanted to “camp” just a few spots down from us.  We had hotdogs and beanie-weenies with Oreo cookies for dessert.  I got to show the guys how to use a pull-off can lid as a spoon, so that was cool.  I also found out that my little one-man tent and ground mat work just fine, so that was good since I bought them specifically for camping from my motorcycle.

Day 6End: “The Farm”; Czar, WV

Today’s highlights and pitfalls:

  • Just getting back into WV was nice for me.  Not that I wasn’t having fun, but I like when I’m on a road trip and I cross back into the WV borders.  We crossed the New River Gorge, which I did last year, so it was nothing new.  Still made for a nice view, though.
  • I really enjoyed being able to take one day of my vacation and spend it visiting my grandfather at our hunting cabin.   We had a big dinner of deer steak, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, biscuits, green beans… it was delicious.  If you see a jar of cherries in the fridge, though, DON’T eat them.  Their poison.  You’ve been warned.

Day 7End: Martinsburg, WV

Today’s highlights and pitfalls:

  • The nice breakfast of scrambled eggs and biscuits was delicious, again courtesy of my grandfather.  I had my own small skillet of eggs since I don’t like rabbit food (peppers and onions) in mine.  Just ham and cheese for me, please!  Thanks!
  • About 20 minutes down the road from the farm, the license plate bracket that Wayne had fabricated for his bike BROKE!  Of course we got pictures of this, too.  He blamed it on the gravel road leading up to and from the farm, but I think it was road gremlins.  LOL
  • Traveling a different route home from the Farm than I usually do was nice, especially since we had pretty good weather.  I had ridden it once before several months ago, but it was literally raining the ENTIRE way home.  All four-and-a-half hours of it.  Anyway, we traveled down through Elkins and hit Seneca Rocks, so we ended up traveling through some nice WV country.

Total miles for this trip?  2,140!  Now THAT’S what I call a good motorcycle trip!  I’ll try to insert some pictures from the trip a little later.

I’m a Blue Ridge Parkway End-to-Ender!

So I just discovered this today while looking up route information about the Diamondback, Route 226A, in NC.  I had no idea there was a Blue Ridge (BRP) Parkway Foundation, let alone an official recognition program for the end-to-end traveler of the BRP.  Well this year will likely make the second time I’ve traveled he whole BRP – the first being last year’s trip with the bikers from The Living Room – so I filled out the form and submitted it!  Can’t wait to get my certificate and pin.  🙂

American Legion Riders to hold motorcycle run

American Legion Riders to hold motorcycle run – The Journal.

This is the American Legion Riders of Post 14 here in Martinsburg that are holding this run.  I’m the Assistant Director of our chapter this year.  It’s to benefit Mountaineer Boys State.  Read the link.

New Shoes for the Warrior

Well, I figured with a 10-to-11-state (not really sure how many) motorcycle trip coming up, I should probably have my tires and brake pads looked at to make sure I’ve got enough left for the ride.  Turns out, not so much.  Only about 500 miles or so on the rear, and the front I’ve felt like I needed for a while anyway.  Blarg.  There goes $550 (total, tires and labor).  I really should start transferring more per month into my “Upkeep and Maintenance” savings account.

Here’s the tip for the day, kiddos:  when riding a motorcycle, don’t skimp on good protective gear (helmet, jacket, gloves, etc…) or good tires.  The good tires are the only thing separating your bike from the pavement, and in case those fail, your gear is the only thing separating YOU from the pavement.

T-Boned at Chick-fil-A

Yesterday started off pretty nice.  The weather was cooler than previous days had been and it made for a really nice day to ride my motorcycle to work.  Mom and I decided to head to lunch at Taco Bell.  Upon leaving, I turned left and headed up towards the entrance to Route 45 so I could get on the interstate.  I saw a woman in a black Cadillac waiting to turn left from the oncoming traffic into Chick-fil-A.  Then she started moving.  I thought to myself, “She has to see me… I’m riding a bright yellow motorcycle.  She’s gonna stop… SHE’S GONNA STOP… NO, NO SHE’S NOT!”

Since I saw her coming, I managed to lift my left leg out of the way of impact, and it’s a good thing I did too.  Otherwise my left leg would have been crushed between my bike and her front bumper.  She slammed into me with her entire right-front bumper, basically t-boning my motorcycle.  The bike flew over onto it’s right side and began to spin.  My left leg that I had lifted, flew over the handlebars.  My right leg rebounded off the pavement, into the engine, and then up from under the bike.  I spun like a top on the left side of my saddle.  When the bike came to a stop a few feet away, I was literally sitting on top of it.

Mom, who I had been having lunch with, didn’t see this happen, but heard it.  She said she kept looking for me to drive up to the entrance at 45.  Once the car in front of her pulled out, she saw me sitting on the bike.  She came across the intersection and stopped behind us to keep traffic from running into the accident.  An ambulance arrived within a few minutes.  The cops?  AT LEAST 25 minutes.  Then when he got there, he quickly surveyed the damage, and then asked me to pick up my bike and move it out of the way.  No offer to help the guy who was just hit by a car.  Mom went ballistic.  The cop ended up helping me lift and push it after all.

The awesome guys at Martinsburg Motorsports came and picked up the bike for me.  A quick survey of the damage yielded a shattered air scoop on the left side (possible damage underneath), useless shifter, bent forks, scratched muffler, bent front brake lever, among other things. Definitely NOT drivable.  The real kicker?  Not a single visible scratch on the paint job!  Talk about favor of God!  Haha.  The mechanics couldn’t believe it.

Mom ended up insisting I go to the emergency room to get checked out.  I suppose she was just following the advice of the paramedics.  I got my right leg x-rayed and my back and neck got CT scanned.  Nothing turned up but some bad bruising to my shin and some pulled muscles in my back and neck.

I’m really really sore today, but grateful that I’m otherwise ok and the bike seems to be repairable. This could have been a lot worse.  So a note to all you cage drivers out there… WATCH OUT FOR MOTORCYCLES!!!

Keep your powder dry, and the rubber side down…