Lots of motorcycle ridin’ coming up!

Man am I getting excited about it, too! This Saturday there is a 100-mile charity ride that Bikers Against Child Abuse are hosting.  Kickstands up from Martinsburg Motorsports here in Martinsburg at noon sharp!  Any bikers in the area should be sure to swing on by!  Registration is only $10 and is from 9:30-11:30am.  This is a rain or shine event, and the weather man is calling for rain, so be sure to bring your wet-weather gear!  The only way I won’t be there is if my Tae Kwon Do test for my next belt gets moved up to this weekend.

The first full week of next month I’ll be heading down to Deal’s Gap, NC to ride “The Dragon” with a bunch of bikers from my church, The Living Room.  This is their second year doing this run.  While there we’ll be staying a what is basically a luxury cabin overlooking the Smokey Mountains.  I’ve seen pictures, and it is awesome!  It’s got its own theater room! The guys had a blast last year, even with the weather being pretty poor (from what I heard).  I unfortunately didn’t have the leave time built up to take last year’s trip, but this year I made sure to plan for it!

I’m leaving a couple days early to ride down the entire Blue Ridge Parkway with two of the guys.  We’re gonna take Saturday and Sunday to do it, that way we can just take our time and cruise along and enjoy the sights.  With the route we’re taking, it’s about 670 miles (one way), which means it’s actually FURTHER than my Vermont trip I went on last year!  Right now the plan is to ride back by myself with a route that takes me up  through TN, into KY, and then across through the western side of WV to end up in Fairmont for my buddy 2.0’s birthday.  Whether that happens or not, we’ll see, but that’s the plan.  Total route distance that way (including back to Martinsburg from Fairmont) would be about 1,420 miles (or so).

Then, at the end of the month over Memorial Day weekend, it’s time once again for the XS East Motorcycle Rally!  This is the one I went on last year to Vermont, but this year it’s in Somerset, PA, which is only as short 115 miles away.  Each planned route for that rally (Saturday and Sunday) is between 120 and 130 miles.  I would have liked to have ridden a little further, but this is still nice since I can make it to the rally point in less than two hours.  I may not even take a full day of work off that Friday!  Ok, doubtful, but it could happen.  My buddy Ralph that I rode with last year is the one organizing this year’s rally, which is cool.  Part of the route takes us to the Flight 93 Memorial, which means I will have visited each crash site in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Much further down the road, on the second weekend in July, I may ride back down to Tennessee to LibertyCon 23 in Chattanooga.  I just found out that Larry Correia will be there for the event!  It’s about 560 miles there, but it’s all pretty much straight down the interstate, so it shouldn’t take me forever to get there.  If I take off that Friday to ride down, that would give me all day Saturday to hit the Con, then I could ride back home on Sunday.  I normally wouldn’t consider doing this except for the fact that Larry pretty much never makes it over to my side of the country… at least no where near D.C. (can’t imagine why he’d NOT want to visit our center of “democracy”… *rolleyes*  LOL).  July should be a good month for riding, anyway, so I won’t mind getting another 1k+ miles in.

So as you can see, I wasn’t joking about getting some good riding in here in the next few months!  Hopefully I’ll pick up a few more charity rides in-between.  Well, as usual…

Keep the rubber side down, and your powder dry!

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Motorcycle Truth

I read this over at the XS11.com forums.  Man, is it ever true!

Motorcycle Truth

There is cold, and there is cold on a motorcycle. Cold on a motorcycle is like being beaten with cold hammers while being kicked with cold boots, a bone bruising cold. The wind’s big hands squeeze the heat out of my body and whisk it away. Caught in a cold October rain, the drops don’t even feel like water. They feel like shards of bone fallen from the skies of Hell to pock my face. I expect to arrive with my cheeks and forehead shredded and streaked with blood, but that’s just an illusion, just the misery of nerves not designed for highway speeds.

Despite this, it’s hard to give up my motorcycle in the fall and I rush to get it on the road again in the spring; lapses of sanity like this are common among motorcyclists. When you let a motorcycle into your life you’re changed forever. The letters “MC” are stamped on your driver’s license right next to your sex and weight as if “motorcycle” was just another of your physical characteristics, or maybe a mental condition. But when warm weather finally does come around, all those cold snaps and rainstorms are paid in full because a summer is worth any price.

A motorcycle is not just a two-wheeled car; the difference between driving a car and climbing onto a motorcycle is the difference between watching TV and actually living your life. We spend all our time sealed in boxes and cars are just the rolling boxes that shuffle us from home-box to work-box to store-box and back, the whole time, entombed in stale air, temperature regulated, sound insulated, and smelling of carpets.

On a motorcycle I know I’m alive. When I ride, even the familiar seems strange and glorious. The air has weight and substance as I push through it and its touch is as intimate as water to a swimmer. I feel the cool wells of air that pool under trees and the warm spokes of sun that fall through them. I can see everything in a sweeping 360 degrees, up, down and around, wider than Pana-Vision or IMAX and unrestricted by ceiling or dashboard. Sometimes I even hear music. It’s like hearing phantom telephones in the shower or false doorbells when vacuuming; the pattern-loving brain, seeking signals in the noise, raising acoustic ghosts out of the wind’s roar. But on a motorcycle I hear whole songs: rock ‘n roll, dark orchestras, women’s voices, all hidden in the air and released by speed. At 30 miles per hour and up, smells become uncannily vivid. All the individual tree- smells and flower- smells and grass-smells flit by like chemical notes in a great plant symphony. Sometimes the smells evoke memories so strongly that it’s as though the past hangs invisible in the air around me, wanting only the most casual of rumbling time machines to unlock it. A ride on a summer afternoon can border on the rapturous. The sheer volume and variety of stimuli is like a bath for my nervous system, an electrical massage for my brain, a systems check for my soul. It tears smiles out of me: a minute ago I was dour, depressed, apathetic, numb, but now, on two wheels, big, ragged, windy smiles flap against the side of my face, billowing out of me like air from a decompressing plane.

Transportation is only a secondary function. A motorcycle is a joy machine. It’s a machine of wonders, a metal bird, a motorized prosthetic. It’s light and dark and shiny and dirty and warm and cold lapping over each other; it’s a conduit of grace, it’s a catalyst for bonding the gritty and the holy. I still think of myself as a motorcycle amateur, but by now I’ve had a handful of bikes over half a dozen years and slept under my share of bridges. I wouldn’t trade one second of either the good times or the misery. Learning to ride one of the best things I’ve done.

Cars lie to us and tell us we’re safe, powerful, and in control. The air-conditioning fans murmur empty assurances and whisper, “Sleep, sleep.” Motorcycles tell us a more useful truth: we are small and exposed, and probably moving too fast for our own good, but that’s no reason not to enjoy every minute of the ride.

-Author unknown

Keep the rubber side down, and your powder dry.

My motorcycle is on the inter-webs!

So check it out! I sent pics of my motorcycle, as well as a little blurb about it/me, in to this guy.  He really liked my bike!  Enough to post it on his blog.  His blog is pretty much one of the best sources of information about the Gadsden Flag there is on the internet.

http://www.gadsden.info/

My brother-in-law’s dad took the pics of my bike, so kudos to him!  Thanks, Bart!

Keep the rubber side down, and your powder dry!

Being politically active gets results

So about two weeks ago I was reading an article from the January issue (starting on page 42) of American Motorcyclist magazine about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, also known as the Lead Law, that restricts the amount of lead that can be in products intended to be sold for/to children under the age of 12.  This law was passed last year and sounds like a good thing, right?  Well, it is, for the most part.  We don’t want kids eating toys with lead in them.

The problem is that it wasn’t thought through, like so many other laws we have passed anymore.  This law has the unfortunate side effect of making basically all youth-model motorcycles and ATVs illegal to sell due to the amount of lead used in the construction of motorcycle engines (amongst other parts).  Here’s the real kicker.  When this issue was brought up, Congress acknowledged that this was an unintended consequence and issued a year long exemption from the law to see if something could be done about it in a more permanent fashion.  So the American Motorcyclist Association took the fight to the people in charge of the council that would be able to change this.  Guess who that is?  West Virginia’s senators, Rockefeller and Byrd.  Guess what the AMA was told by Rockefeller when they had their appointment?  That he didn’t think children should be riding motorcycles anyway.  How much bull $hit is that?!

Obviously I got fired up.  I don’t even have kids, but I sure as there is a Heaven want any future ones to be able to ride a dirt-bike that is appropriately sized for them if they should want to!  So I wrote my governor, Joe Manchin III, who happens to be an avid motorcyclist, a letter to see if there is anything his office is doing or can do to try and help get this changed.  Then I went onto the AMA’s Facebook page and told them I was a West Virginian and was disappointed that my senators were the ones responsible for not letting an exemption be made and that I had written my governor a letter about it.  A few days later I get a Facebook friend request from someone I’ve never heard of.  So, doing the responsible thing, I clicked his name to see his profile.  It said his name was Bill Kresnak and he works for the AMA magazine as Government Affairs Editor.  Being surprised and curious, I confirmed his friend request.  A few minutes later I had a message from him that read as follows:

We want to use the comment you left on the AMA facebook page and your photo in [the March issue of] American Motorcyclist magazine.  Do we have your permission to do so?  Thanks.

I of course gave him my permission and am very excited to see my little facebook pic and quote in the March issue.  That’ll make two publications I’ve been quoted in now!  Woo hoo!

A day or so after this, AMA sent out an email with a link that auto-generates a letter to your appropriate representatives based on what zip code you enter.  I filled it out and sent additional emails to both of these senators (since I’m from  WV) and congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito.  Well guess what?  Two days ago I got a letter back from Congresswoman Capito!  It wasn’t a stamped signature either, it was hand signed.  WV bikers, let it be known that Shelley is concerned with the future of motorsports in this state and has cosponsored legislation to exempt off-highway vehicles (dirt bikes and such) and all-terrain vehicles (4-wheelers) from the Lead Law!  How cool is that?!  I haven’t written a thank you letter yet, but I will be.

I do urge you readers, regardless of what state you live in, to click the links above, read the article, enter your zip code and contact info, and send your representatives a letter stating that an exemption needs to be made.  We need YOUR voices to help ensure that our children and future children can enjoy these sports.  Even if they don’t compete in tournaments, how many families would like to go out into the woods on dirt bikes or 4-wheelers together with everyone on their own vehicle?  Think about it.  I hope you’ll see my point. Make your voice heard.  Together we can make a difference.

Keep the rubber side down, and your powder dry.

She’s a whole new woman!

Well, I picked up my motorcycle from Evel Speed yesterday evening after work.  I had Travis over at Bucky’s Ltd. do the paint job, and Dwain at Evel Speed put her back together.  Man oh man does she look sweet!  I don’t have any pics  yet on account of the crummy weather we’ve been having, but as soon as a sunny day rolls around, you can bet I’m gonna be snapping a bunch!  Travis did awesome taking my idea from my girlfriend’s mock-up and bumping it up to the next level!  The rest of her may still be stock (for now…), but she is definitely no run-of-the-mill Warrior anymore!  She’s a great reflection of my ideals.  For those who aren’t familiar with the Gadsden Flag and why it so adequately and accurately portrayed the spirit of the American people at the time of its inception, here’s some light reading.

The following letter was published in the Pennsylvania Journal on December 27, 1775. It was signed by “An American Guesser,” recently identified as Benjamin Franklin. Written after the Revolution began but before the Declaration of Independence was signed, it offers a unique glimpse into Franklin’s observant mind.

The Rattlesnake as a Symbol of America

I observed on one of the drums belonging to the marines now raising, there was painted a Rattle-Snake, with this modest motto under it, “Don’t tread on me.” As I know it is the custom to have some device on the arms of every country, I supposed this may have been intended for the arms of America; and as I have nothing to do with public affairs, and as my time is perfectly my own, in order to divert an idle hour, I sat down to guess what could have been intended by this uncommon device — I took care, however, to consult on this occasion a person who is acquainted with heraldry, from whom I learned, that it is a rule among the learned of that science “That the worthy properties of the animal, in the crest-born, shall be considered,” and, “That the base ones cannot have been intended;” he likewise informed me that the ancients considered the serpent as an emblem of wisdom, and in a certain attitude of endless duration — both which circumstances I suppose may have been had in view. Having gained this intelligence, and recollecting that countries are sometimes represented by animals peculiar to them, it occurred to me that the Rattle-Snake is found in no other quarter of the world besides America, and may therefore have been chosen, on that account, to represent her.

But then “the worldly properties” of a Snake I judged would be hard to point out. This rather raised than suppressed my curiosity, and having frequently seen the Rattle-Snake, I ran over in my mind every property by which she was distinguished, not only from other animals, but from those of the same genus or class of animals, endeavoring to fix some meaning to each, not wholly inconsistent with common sense.

I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids. She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance. She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shown and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal. Conscious of this, she never wounds ’till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.

Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America? The poison of her teeth is the necessary means of digesting her food, and at the same time is certain destruction to her enemies. This may be understood to intimate that those things which are destructive to our enemies, may be to us not only harmless, but absolutely necessary to our existence. I confess I was wholly at a loss what to make of the rattles, ’till I went back and counted them and found them just thirteen, exactly the number of the Colonies united in America; and I recollected too that this was the only part of the Snake which increased in numbers. Perhaps it might be only fancy, but, I conceited the painter had shown a half formed additional rattle, which, I suppose, may have been intended to represent the province of Canada.

‘Tis curious and amazing to observe how distinct and independent of each other the rattles of this animal are, and yet how firmly they are united together, so as never to be separated but by breaking them to pieces. One of those rattles singly, is incapable of producing sound, but the ringing of thirteen together, is sufficient to alarm the boldest man living.

The Rattle-Snake is solitary, and associates with her kind only when it is necessary for their preservation. In winter, the warmth of a number together will preserve their lives, while singly, they would probably perish. The power of fascination attributed to her, by a generous construction, may be understood to mean, that those who consider the liberty and blessings which America affords, and once come over to her, never afterwards leave her, but spend their lives with her. She strongly resembles America in this, that she is beautiful in youth and her beauty increaseth with her age, “her tongue also is blue and forked as the lightning, and her abode is among impenetrable rocks.”

An American Guesser

Keep your powder dry.

I’m not crazy, I just love riding!

So yesterday I jet home at lunch so I can swap out my Subaru for my Warrior.  Mind you, it was somewhere around the mid-thirties yesterday… without windchill added in.  You might ask why I would do such a thing.  Well, it’s twofold really.

The first and primary reason is that I had an appointment at Evel Speed in Inwood after work that day to take my bike and drop her off to have the fenders, tank, and side-covers removed so that I can turn them in for the custom paint job I’m having done.  Could I have arranged it so that the bike was trailered?  Most likely.  But that leads me to the second reason.

I just wanted to ride!  It was a relatively warm day compared to the others we have been having recently.  It also hadn’t snowed or rained in several days, so the roads were nice and clear and mostly free of dirt/salt/debris.  Riding in the cold… at least down into the 20’s (after windchill)… doesn’t bother me too much.  I like to layer my clothing anyway, so adding an extra jacket to the top and making sure there’s a scarf around my neck keeps me nice and toasty.  It’s the wet and cold that I don’t do.  That’s just dumb.

But anyway, you should have seen the looks I was getting from people when they saw me out riding.  I’d just wave and keep going.  They just don’t understand.  I make sure I’m safe about it, but when I get that itch to saddle up, I just gotta go!  Besides, riding along in the brisk winter air is good for you.  🙂

Keep the rubber side down… and your powder dry.

Speed Weekend at The Living Room

For anyone in the area (Martinsburg, WV), my church, The Living Room, is having their annual Speed Weekend on June 27th and 28th.  Speed Weekend is basically like a giant car and motorcycle show at the church.  They have people doing tricks on bikes and burnouts… the works.  In the past it’s just been on Sunday afternoon, but since it got to be so popular, they separated the events into two days this year.  Saturday is now just for bikers!  Here’s the schedule for both days:

Saturday June 27 – “Bikes, Blues, & BBQ”

1pm – Bike Registration ($10 for both days)
1:30pm – 100 Mile Ride begins
6pm – Barbeque in parking lot (they’re doing a whole pig!)
7:30pm – Jimmie Bratcher BLUES Concert

Sunday June 28

9:30 & 11:15am – Jimmie Bratcher LIVE during church service
4:30pm – Cruise In Registration ($10)
5pm – Show Opens/Judging Begins.  Food Vendors & Inflatables Open!
6pm – Burn-Out Contest
7:30pm – Awards (25+ Trophies!)

Anyways, hopefully I’ll see you there!

Keep your powder dry.