Jan 1, 2018

The End...

Seems odd to start the year by ending, but that's exactly what I'm doing.

For the past several years I haven't been in the habit of creating new year's resolutions. Mostly because I don't believe I need a specific date to change my behavior or start a new habit or even give one up. If I want to get in better shape, why is the start of the new year so magical? Why not start in the middle of the year, or the middle of the month. In fact, I've been trying to even get out of the habit of starting on a Monday. Why not Tuesday or Thursday? They're all just as good.

I believe starting whenever I want calls me out on whether I really want to start or change something. It's easy to say I'll start Monday. When Monday rolls around, it's easy to come up with excuses and push it to the next day. Which leads to the next day. And by mid-week I've decided I'll start on Monday. So the cycle continues.

If I say I'll start tomorrow or, better yet, today, it puts me on the spot to actually start. The rubber meets the road. If I'm not prepared to start today or tomorrow, then there's no sense in fooling myself into thinking I'll start Monday.

This doesn't mean I don't have goals set for the year. I have plenty of those: writing more; being more of a motorcycling advocate; making more videos; learning more, both professionally and personally.

Unfortunately for me, I've learned my path to success is by paring down my projects and focusing on one or a two things. The list above is pretty large and while I'd like to do it all, I know I'll be most successful if I only pick a few items to focus my efforts on.

That leads me here... Each year I tell myself I'm going to post more to the blog. I even start lists of topics to post. As you can see from my posting track record, it never really pans out.

I've decided this will be my last post here. At least for the foreseeable future. Maybe I'll decide I want to put the time and effort into starting this up again. Maybe I'll start something new with a different focus, maybe a different medium. I do know this isn't it.

With that, peace...

Jan 1, 2017


Hard to believe we're here looking down the front end of another year. At times it feels like last year dragged on yet still passed so quickly. Like most, I want to say 2016 was a lousy year. And in some light, it was. But without the crappy times, I wouldn't have ended up in such a better place. So knee-jerk reaction is to complain, but honestly, it was a tremendously good year.

As far as motorcycling goes, I didn't do nearly as much riding as I anticipated. Hell, only two thousand miles - the majority of which came from a single trip to Orlando. Obviously is wasn't a stellar year for riding.

At this point, I'm normally anticipating the "usual" rides - Rolling Thunder, Smoke Out, Ride for Kids - as well as other rides I'd like to take. One I've talked about for a few years but haven't put the time in to is riding the Blue Ridge Parkway.

This year is a little different. Yeah, I still want to get more riding and miles done this year. But this year I want to get more involved, more active in motorcyclists rights. A good start will be the American Motorcyclist Association EAGLES (Education, Activism, Growth, Leadership, Expertise, Skills) program. It's an advocacy and leadership program that gives AMA members the tools and resources to support their areas of interest. I received the paperwork from the AMA and just need to complete it and get it back to the AMA. With the EAGLES experience, I plan on advancing specific issues within the motorcycling community.

One another note, earlier in the week the weather forecast was calling for nice weather today. I had entertained starting the new year with a short ride, maybe up to the lake and back. In usual North Carolina weather, it turned out be be a rather wet day and I decided not to go out today. However, that didn't stop my father-in-law. He'll turn eighty-one later this month and still rides whenever he can. Gotta admire him.

I'm looking forward to this year. Not sure what it's going to hold but I know it's going to be a good one.


Sep 24, 2016

Back In the Saddle Again...

What a year it's been. Started the year with high hopes of accomplishing a list of things, some motorcycle related and some not - being more dedicated to posting here; getting more involved in promoting motorcycling; vlogging; writing (outside of this blog); reading the whole bible; learning some new skills; etc.

In February, the day after my birthday, my world was turned upside down. Out of the blue, everything changed. What used to be important wasn't any more. And things that didn't seem important came to the front. After coming to grips with the situation and regrouping, it was time figure which way was up again.

I will admit my situation was no where near as bad or tragic as it could have been. I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am for that.

It took me a few months to get things back on track. I finally feel like things are settling in to place. Slowly I've been  putting my goals into action. I doubt I'll get them all in place before the end of the year. And that's okay.

So here it is, time to get back into the saddle, both more on the motorcycle and on the blog.

A few weekends ago, I got to take a ride with my wife - which was awesome for several reasons. We'll talk more about that in the next post. In the meantime, a couple pictures to enjoy...

Feb 3, 2016

Smart Turn System

A thread through the motorcycle class I teach is risk awareness, risk taking and risk mitigation. We're often talking about making making yourself visible and always communicating your intentions. At some point, the topic of turn signals comes up. I talk about using the signals to let others know what you're doing. And, possibly more importantly, canceling the signal when you're done.

How many times have you been driving down the road and see someone who's left their signal on? When you first see them, you're waiting for them to make their move. Eventually you realize they're not going to do anything, not even cancel their signal. At some point, you probably even start ignoring them.

As motorcyclists, we don't ever want other roadway users to start ignoring us. I believe leaving your signal on is a good way to have this happen. So, in class, I try to emphasize using the turn signals when you're going to make a turn or lane change and to cancel them when you're done with your maneuver.

In my never ending quest for motorcycle technology that help make us safer, I came across Smart Turn System (STS).

The device monitors several inputs, including speed and lean angle, determines when you've completed your "turn" and will cancel the signal.

My Road King will cancel the signal after making a turn using lean angle sensors. For lane change maneuvers, or even straight-line riding, it will use a distance measurement to cancel the signal.

Ultimately, my bike will already cancel the signal after a turn or a lane change, much like the STS will cancel the signal as well. The big difference is the STS is smarter in that it "senses" when the turn or lane change has been completed and will cancel the signal based on that.

STS has a beta program and, of course, I've already signed up. Although I never got a response email, so I am a little concerned. The beta program is supposed to kick off in March 2016. So if you're interested, head over to their site and sign up.

Obviously if I get in the beta program, I'll share my impressions with you, in accordance with the beta program guidelines. If you get in, let me know...

Jan 23, 2016

Heads Up Display Contest

Being an avid motorcyclist and instructor, I've always been interested in technology that can help keep us safer on the roads. Of particular interest has been the recent boom in helmet technology. I've heard people already saying that adding this technology will be more distracting to the rider. But, like anything, if it's used properly, it will actually make the rider safer.

Skully first caught my attention with their helmet. There's probably some debate on whether they were the first "smart" helmet or not. They've probably been the most vocal and most successful in getting their helmet recognized and to market. They've combined some neat technology, like 180° rear view, navigation and voice commands.

Next on my radar was Fusar. I was pretty excited about their technology and actually got close to being a beta tester with them. Follow up discussions said they had issues with the company they hired to assist with their beta program and it didn't go as they expected. In the end, they approached the "smart" helmet a little differently. They're giving you an action camera with some additional, cool features; like navigation, communications and an emergency response system. I really like the idea of the emergency response system because, when it detects a crash, will alert emergency responders as well as your loved ones.

Others that have gotten a little attention from me include NUVIZ, BikeHUD and LiveMap. All add their own twist on helmet technology and attempts to make the rider safer.

The latest to throw their hat into the ring, and probably most exciting is BMW. Most exciting because a big name, with money and staying power, is making its way into the "smart" helmet market. To me, this means others will follow.

BWM is working with DigiLens to make the heads up display. DigiLens has an extensive background in optical displays, which lends itself well to BWM's application in a HUD helmet. Better yet, instead of either or both companies going off on their own and developing what they think will be the best HUD for a motorcyclist, they're opening up a design contest for anyone to submit their ideas. It's not to say they couldn't or wouldn't be able to design an awesome system; it's that they're open to soliciting ideas from the ends users.

So, here's your chance to tell them what you think. Head over to the DigiLens contest site and design your own HUD. They give you three scenarios and many options to add to the display.

What can you come up with? Here are my designs.

Jan 10, 2016

Ray Price Racing Team Announces Retirement

I read yesterday I read that the Ray Price Racing team is retiring... I was sad but not surprised. Immediately I thought back to the times I got to see Ray Price, his bike and the racing team.

I got in to motorcycling too late to actually see Ray at the throttle. But where the race or the bike, you could be sure to see Ray there, actively involved in all aspects of the race.

The first time was in 2005 at the AHDRA (now defunct) in Rockingham. I rode with the Raleigh HOG club and the race was quite an experience. I remember sitting on the concrete seats, listening to the deafening noise as the bikes took off and the stands shook. I never realized those bikes could produce so much noise and power. Amazing.

During events at the Capital City Bikefest, Ray and his crew would fire up the nitro bike. In downtown Raleigh you could feel the building shake for blocks around. Before firing up the bike, the crew would carefully inspect and prepare the bike. Ray was very focused on making sure everything was in place before having the bike fired up.

But when he wasn't occupied the the bike or racing, Ray would take the time to talk to you about anything you wanted. The race team, the bike, motorcycles, anything under the sun. He was never too busy to say hi. And he always had a smile.

Not sure if I'll go to another drag race, Ray Price was my big reason to go. If I do, I know it will be impossible to watch without thinking of Ray and his team...

Jan 1, 2016


Starting off the year with 64380 miles on the bikes this year. Means I only put on a little more that 4k last year - sad! Seems I did the usual about of riding at the beginning of the year but had a bit of a dry spell around fall. Weather was good, just wasn't out in it on two wheels too much.

Normally, today I'm looking forward to the trips I'll be taking this year - the usual trips like the Ride for Kids, Rolling Thunder, The Smoke Out, the mid-year instructor update, etc. I'm still looking forward to the travels ahead. However, I'm not sure where the roads will take me this year. I"m leaning less towards the trips I always go on and more towards finding new roads and destinations.

There's talk about riding the Blue Ridge Parkway with my father-in-law and uncle. I've talked about it before, I've ridden parts of it before, but ever the whole thing in one trip. That's still a goal of mine.

I also enjoy and look forward to riding with my son. He's great to travel with and always brings a different perspective.

Most of all, I'd love to take a trip with my wife. It's been a while since we've been on a trip together. I know my bike isn't the most comfortable for her. And if we go for any length of time, there's always the issue of packing. She's a good sport about paring down what she takes but we still end up packing the bike to the gills! Then there's the destination. Where to head out on the bike for a couple days? That she would want to go... On the Road King...

Regardless, he's too remembering a good year of riding and looking forward to the roads ahead...