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...